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There are 6 messages totalling 778 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

3. Protesters Throw Eggs at Albright
4. Iranian cleric warns Belgium over rights probe
5. Italy Seeks To Heal US-Iran Ties
6. Clinton hopes for more openness in Iran


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 17:25:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

Vol. 3, No. 10, 6 March 2000

A Review of Developments in Iran Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.


Former Tehran Mayor Gholamhussein Karbaschi, who was
recently released from prison after serving eight months of a
conviction on corruption charges, gave an interview to RFE/RL's
Persian Service on 2 March. He discussed a range of topics, but
his comments about Expediency Council chairman Ali-Akbar
Hashemi-Rafsanjani are particularly relevant in light of the
newly-elected parliament's future.
Asked about the effect of Rafsanjani's poor showing in the
election and the possibility of lasting splits between the
Executives of Construction Party and other members of the
reformist 2nd of Khordad coalition, he had this to say: "Whoever
was against [Rafsanjani] probably didn't vote for him. ... if
the majority of the parliament votes for him he will become
speaker of parliament ... and if they are against his being
speaker of parliament they will not vote for him. ... this is
not a real issue of concern." He added that cooperation between
factions is not based on Rafsanjani's possible leadership of
Some have come to see Rafsanjani as a right-wing figure,
while others see him as above factionalism. Karbaschi was asked
where he thinks Rafsanjani's sympathies and tendencies lie.
"I cannot really speak for him on this. Since the beginning
[Rafsanjani] has always been a moderate and centrist. In other
words he was a member of the Ruhaniyat [the conservative Tehran
Militant Clergy Association, or Jameh-yi Ruhaniyat-i Mobarez-i
Tehran], which is effectively right-wing, but he never had a
radical tendency in the Ruhaniyat. ... I think Mr. Rafsanjani is
a faction, he is a line, he is a model, for people who never
really pursued extremes in the country's cultural and political
affairs. Now it is possible that some link this centrism with
the right, ... [while] some at the beginning of the revolution
accused him of being left-wing and some even said he had a
hammer and sickle under his clerical robes. There have always
been these accusations. The most that can be said about him is
that he followed a centrist and moderate path. All the groups
have basically cooperated but sometimes, of course, there is
publicity against or for him."
Asked about his own return to politics, Karbaschi said that
"Legally I am banned from political leadership and government
service for ten years, but I want to continue in public
service." (Bill Samii)

The trial of about 20 law enforcement officers for raiding
a Tehran University hostel in July 1999, which led to a week of
violent demonstrations, began on 29 February. This is an
important step in realizing the rule of law that President
Mohammad Khatami has called for. A number of the protesters,
however, are still imprisoned and at least one of them is facing
the death penalty. And an Iranian commentator suggests that the
individuals who are actually responsible for the violence are
not being tried.
The trial at the Tehran military court started on 29
February, on the basis of 397 complaints filed by students, 18
of which serve as the basis for this case. The highest- ranking
person on trial is Tehran Law Enforcement Forces chief Farhad
Nazari. Other senior officers on trial are commander of the
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps special unit Colonel Jamshid
Khodabakhshi, special squad commander Farhad Arjmandi, deputy
commander Captain Ramin Nazari, and a lieutenant. The others
facing charges are enlisted personnel.
The charges against Nazari include issuing orders to attack
the university despite instructions to the contrary from the
Interior Ministry. The others are charged with forcible entry to
the dormitory and use of excessive violence. The lieutenant also
is charged with stealing an electric shaver.
The attorney for the complainants is Hojatoleslam Mohsen
Rahami, who defended Hojatoleslam Abdullah Nuri during his trial
in late-1999. He said in the first hearing that the attack on
the student housing was pre-arranged, and Nazari was just
waiting for a pre-text to launch the attack. Rahami also
questioned why civilians who assisted the police in the attack
are not being tried.
The Armed Forces Judicial Organization's 5 December report
on the July incident, as well as one released in August, had
said that non-uniformed individuals were involved in the attack
on the university. And according to the testimony given on the
hearing's first day, individuals in civilian clothes were
directly involved in the violence against the students in the
dormitory, "Entekhab" reported on 1 March. Files of civilians
involved in the violence have been referred to the Revolutionary
Court, according to IRNA.
Journalist Abbas Abdi, in an interview with the 1 March
"Asr-i Azadegan," argued that the wrong people are in the dock.
"I believe that the persons who are facing the trial, are not
the main elements responsible for the attack on Tehran
University's dormitory. That is, there were others who paved the
way, in theory and practice, for the attack. The persons who are
tried, are themselves victims. What does a 25-year old man, who
illegally entered the university hostels and beat up the
students, understand? ... His senior commanders, who hatched the
plot and issued orders, must be tried. At any rate, we hope that
the trial of these persons will be a prelude to the trial of the
main elements who conducted the operations behind the scene."
Over 1500 students were arrested after the riots. One of
the students sentenced to death for his part in the July unrest,
Akbar Mohammadi, complained that he has been bastinadoed and
beaten, according to the 1 March "Arya." He said others were
tortured, too. Amnesty International issued an appeal on
Mohammadi's behalf on 22 February. Also, the Revolutionary Court
issued prison sentences of 13-15 years for three member of the
Iran Nations Party for their parts in the July events.
Revolutionary Court Judge Gholamhussein Rahbarpur said last
September that four people had received death sentences for
their parts in the unrest, and he added that members of the Iran
Nations Party were also involved (see "RFE/RL Iran Report, 20
September 1999). (Bill Samii)

"Our brothers in the Basij and police...must increase their
moral, social and cultural enforcement and carry out Islamic
punishments precisely, so the middle class feels fed up and
believes the reformists are incompetent," the Ansar-i
Hizbullah's "Jebheh" pronounced on 26 February. This report, as
well as subsequent developments, have led to speculation that
there is a hardline plan to show people that social reforms are
impossible, despite the parliamentary election.
Shoppers at an upscale Tehran mall complained that in the
days since the election they have been subject to increased
harassment by the Law Enforcement Forces and the paramilitary
Basij Resistance Forces, Reuters reported on 29 February. Also,
satellite dishes have been confiscated, since they are illegal.
Also, a van full of singing and clapping girls was stopped
by members of the Basij. The passengers were held at a mosque
until their parents collected them.
On 24 February, police raided Tehran's fashionable Sorento
restaurant, which was hosting a birthday party. Law Enforcement
Forces took away the young male and female patrons in waiting
vans. The patrons were accused of mix in waiting
vans. The patrons were accused of mixing and the women were
accused of improper dress (bad-hejabi), but restaurant manager
Tahmasb Ahbabpour said the men and women were sitting apart, AP
reported. The women, furthermore, were in proper Islamic apparel
and were not wearing make-up. Even after the police searched the
women's bags, no make-up was found.
Forty-two young people arrested at a dance in Shiraz were
sentenced to 35 lashes each, "Kayhan" reported on 1 March. The
daily said they were improperly dressed and dancing "together."
The party's host was fined.
In a conversation with RFE/RL's Persian Service, however,
"Jebheh" chief Masud Dehnamaki denied any connection with these
events. And Tehran police chief Brigadier General Mohsen Ansari
told Reuters on 2 March that there was no specific crackdown,
"we are just continuing the old trend." (Bill Samii)

"Hundreds" of teachers from Khorramabad and 150 cultural
personalities in Luristan Province protested in front of the
governorate against non-payment of wages, "Resalat" reported on
2 March. Students at Tehran's Allameh Tabatabai University
staged a protest against the poor condition of their dormitories
and the general lack of services, "Abrar" reported on 1 March.
Some 1200 students at Qazvin's Azad University staged a
five-hour protest against the segregation of male and female
students and against the recent increase in unexplained
expulsions, "Asr-i Azadegan" reported on 29 February. University
Dean Morteza Musi-Khani met with the protestors and told them
that their demands would be unmet unless they returned to their
Another 200 students from Qom's female-only Fatemieh
Medical School staged their fifth sit-in against the poor
quality of instruction and facilities at their institution (on
previous protests, see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 24 January 2000 and
7 February 2000). They now are demanding the dismissal of the
university's board of trustees, IRNA reported on 29 February.
The university's chancellor has resigned, but the students say
that their protests will continue until all their demands are
met. (Bill Samii)

There has been a lot of talk about increasing privatization
in the Iranian economy, under which the powerful semi-public
foundations would divest their holdings. President Khatami's
Third Development Plan, submitted to the parliament last autumn,
also calls for increased privatization. At least one of the
foundations, however, is moving in the opposite direction.
Villagers from six villages in the Miandroud region have staged
sit-ins to protest confiscation of their lands by the Oppressed
and Disabled Foundation (Bonyad-i Mostazafan va Janbazan),
"Tehran Times" reported on 28 February.
And there are indications that privatization is not working
out. About 200 workers of Mobiliran, a furniture manufacturer
privatized in 1992, blocked a highway to protest not being paid
for the last 20 months. According to IRNA, the protest started
when the factory's electricity was cut off due to its "heavy
debt" to the power company. A similar protest was held last
month. Labor and Social Affairs Minister Hussein Kamali said
that Mobiliran's problems can be traced to its privatization and
to mismanagement. (Bill Samii)

Iran got its first of three Russian Kilo-class submarines
in 1992, and it developed batteries that would allow them to
operate in the warm regional waters. The role of submarines in
Iranian naval doctrine was described by Rear-Admiral Ashkbus
Danesh-Kar in an interview with the military journal "Saff" in
December. He said the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf make it
better suited for laying mines and using shore-base missile
batteries. The Sea of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz, however,
are deeper and better suited for submarine operations. He added
that "since the Sea of Oman is the first defense perimeter of
the Persian Gulf, submarine operations rank high" in the navy's
doctrinal priorities.
Expediency Council chief Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi-
Rafsanjani was in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, on 1 March
to inaugurate a new center for submarine maintenance and
repairs. Rafsanjani also inaugurated a submarine training
center, state television reported.
Indeed, undersea warfare has been a part of most Iranian
naval exercises in the 1990s. The ten-day Vahdat-78 naval
warfare exercises held in the Straits of Hormuz, the Persian
Gulf, and the Sea of Oman at the end of February involved
submarines, as well as paratroopers, divers, aircraft, and
The undersea warfare phase started on 28 February, Vice
Admiral Abdullah Manavi told state broadcasting, and it involved
attacks on surface ships by submarines, anti-submarine
countermeasures, and simultaneous defensive tactics against
aerial targets.
"Our submarines are equipped with the latest and most
modern sound absorption devices as well as with equipment to
weaken sonar waves. All these devices were successfully tested
during the said maneuvers," Manavi told "Saff" in November after
the last exercises. Manavi explained that the submarines conduct
exercises in the Sea of Oman because "it has deep waters where
friendly submarines can lay in wait deep under the sea. Using
their sophisticated sonar and electronics devices, the submarine
can then detect any naval vessel or formation which intends to
commit aggression in the region."
Navy chief Vice Admiral Abbas Mohtaj told state
broadcasting 29 February that during Vahdat-78 the Iranian armed
forces used less live ammunition than they usually do in order
to protect the environment. Foreign forces in the Persian Gulf,
he added, "cause tension and pollution, and [they are] a serious
threat to the region's ecosystem." He also said that the
exercises, originally scheduled to end on 6 March, were being
cut short by three days to reduce pollution. (Bill Samii)

The Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, Vice
Admiral Ali Shamkhani, announced that "we can manufacture
whatever the country's political officials desire." And he added
that "There now exists the capability to export the relevant
know-how," according to state television on 29 February.
Shamkhani's comments, designed for a domestic audience, call
into question the sincerity of Iranian officials' statements for
international audiences. Hadi Nejad-Husseinian, Iran's
representative at the UN, said on 29 February that
industrialized and developed countries should adopt measures to
prevent the proliferation and production of light and small
weapons, IRNA reported. Last November, Nejad-Husseinian proposed
a UN resolution on missile technology. And in October, "Tehran

<< Continued to next message >>>


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 17:26:38 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

Times," an English-language daily affiliated with the semi-
governmental Islamic Propagation Organization, said that "arms
production is a crime against humanity."
A possible Iranian export item is the "Standard" surface-to-
air missile, which was test-fired during the Vahdat-78 military
exercises. Navy chief Vice Admiral Abbas Mohtaj said that "The
missile has been designed and built by the talented researchers,
scientists and industrialists of the Islamic Republic of Iran
inside the country," state broadcasting reported on 1 March.
Paykan-class boats will be equipped with the missile. The air-
to-surface Fajr-i Darya missile was tested, too, as was
electronic warfare equipment. (Bill Samii)

The U.S. Congress unanimously passed the Iran Non-
Proliferation Act on 1 March and sent it to President Bill
Clinton. The measure authorizes the president to place sanctions
on or stop military aid to entities transferring materials Iran
could use to develop missile technology or to develop nuclear,
biological, and chemical weapons.
Tehran official television responded to this development on
2 March by suggesting that Congress, "instead of paying
attention to the baseless remarks of Zionist circles," should
pay attention to the "documented reports of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)." By accusing Russia, China, and
North Korea of cooperating with Iran's WMD programs, the TV
commentary said, Washington is interfering with their bilateral
relations and is in contravention of the Nuclear Non-
proliferation Treaty. The TV commentary went on to say that
America "has also placed obstacles in the way of developing
countries gaining access to nuclear power for scientific
The TV commentary explained that three points must
considered when assessing the new U.S. law: First, America does
not understand developments in Iran or in the region. Second,
there are policy differences between Congress and the White
House. And third, "the Americans seek to bring about global
security in order to establish their own security domination, or
hegemony." (Bill Samii)

"Iran confiscates 85 percent of all the drugs confiscated
in this world, except for cocaine. [That means that of] all the
morphine, opium, and heroin which is produced in the world and
which is confiscated in the world, Iran confiscates more than 85
percent," UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) spokesman Sandro Tucci
told RFE/RL. Tucci warned, however, that Iran stops only about
17 percent of the total traffic. That compares well with a ten
percent confiscation rate which is considered the norm for drug
interdiction efforts worldwide.
Tehran's effort to intercept narcotics is particularly
difficult because Iran's eastern neighbor, Afghanistan, produces
three times more opium than all other areas of the world
combined, according to the UNDCP. The trade earns Afghan poppy
growers some $69 million annually and supports an estimated 1.4
million people. And the problem is increasing. The country
produced some 4,600 tons of opium last year, more than twice its
yield in 1998.
Hussein Fallah, head of the Anti-Narcotics Headquarters,
announced on 3 March that Tehran has allocated $1 billion to
combat drug-trafficking on its eastern borders. The measures
employed include static defenses throughout Khorasan and Sistan
va Baluchistan provinces. such as trenches, watch towers,
fortresses, and the blocking of mountain passes. Also, there are
roadblocks throughout the country's roads at which vehicles are
checked for narcotics. What makes the situation difficult is
that predominantly Sunni ethnic minorities on the eastern side,
such as Baluchi tribesmen, have more in common with their
counterparts across the borders than they do with the central
government. Tehran, furthermore, has done little to meet the
region's economic needs, so people are forced into illegal
activities to earn an income.
Sixty percent of the narcotics coming into Iran move on to
Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and to Europe, Tucci told RFE/RL.
Ethnic minorities on the western borders in West Azerbaijan,
Kurdistan, and Kermanshah Provinces, particularly Kurds, also
have a long tradition of smuggling. Furthermore, the Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK), which Tehran supports and which has bases
in Iran, operates heroin refineries and taxes other narcotics
smugglers, Anatolia new agency reported in October 1999.
Tucci said that 40 percent of the drugs go to major trading
centers in Iran for domestic consumption. This has led to
climbing addiction rates. About 1.5-2 percent of the Iranian
population of approximately 68 million is addicted to drugs,
according to an RFE/RL interview with Antonio Mazzitelli, who
heads the UNDCP's Tehran office. Muzaffar Alavandi, head of
Iran's Prisons Education and Research Organization, said 90,000
people are currently imprisoned for drugs offenses, "Fath"
reported on 20 January. He added that a growing number of them
have AIDS. Senior Iranian Health Ministry official Dr. Reza
Labbaf Qassemi said that 67 percent of Iran's AIDS victims are
drug addicts who acquired the disease through intravascular
injection, IRNA reported in November 1999.
Some of the narcotics that get through Iran are distributed
by organizations with Iranian links. Ghiaranlou Bahram, Manucher
Kalldian, and Jafar Arabi were arrested in Bucharest 3 years ago
for dealing drugs. According to the daily "Ziua" on 3 February,
they were part of a larger Iranian ring that distributed heroin
in Romania. Akbar Shakuri, Ardeshir Ali, and Ramin Geram were
arrested in Sofia for distributing opium and heroin, "Trud"
reported in August 1999. They were reportedly part of a gang
that brought the drugs from Iran, through Turkey, and onwards to
Europe. Fereidun Bajelani was arrested in Larnaca for trying to
smuggle 4 kilograms of heroin hidden in three Persian carpets,
Cyprus News Agency reported on 3 February. And police in Oman
shot three Iranian drug smugglers on 22 February, Reuters
reported the next day.
Tehran is pursuing bilateral efforts to stem the flow of
drugs. A delegation from Iran's Anti-Narcotics Headquarters
arrived in Cyprus on 22 February to "examine ways of
cooperation" with its Cypriot counterpart, Cyprus News Agency
reported. The two sides agreed to create a joint counter-
narcotics program, IRNA reported on 28 February. Iranian Deputy
Minister for Intelligence and Security Javad Akbarian went to
Pakistan for discussions on drug interdiction (as well as car
theft and terrorism), the "Pakistan Observer" reported on 17
February. Iran has held counter-narcotics discussions and/or
signed Memoranda of Understanding with Armenia, Australia,
France, Georgia, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia,
Thailand, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, also.
From a multilateral perspective, Iran is a party to the
1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, it ratified the
1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances in December 1992, and it allowed the
UNDCP to open an office in Tehran in 1999. The Economic
Cooperation Organization's Drug Control Coordination Unit met in
Tehran on 26-27 February. In spite of all these agreements and
discussions, Iran still gets a relatively small amount of
substantive counter-narcotics aid. This led Vice President
Mohammad Hashemi to say at a Tehran drug-control seminar in
November 1999 not to pin any hopes on the promises of the UN and
international organizations.
But it is Iran's own behavior -- specifically its
assistance to terrorist organizations like Lebanon's Hizballah,
HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PKK -- that limits
what the international organizations can do. For example, the
U.S. is a contributor to the UNDCP. Under current legislation
(Section 307.360 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961),
however, anything the UNDCP or any other international
organization contributes to Iran is withheld in a "proportionate
share" by the U.S. Also, if other countries provide the sort of
military or dual-use aid Iran is demanding, the U.S. government
is obliged to place them under sanctions. (Bill Samii)

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer is scheduled to
visit Tehran on 6 March. Newly-elected parliamentarian Mohammad
Reza Khatami, the president's brother, described what he expects
from Fischer's visit in an interview with the 2 March "Stern:"
"Talks followed by action, above all in the fields of cultural
exchange and economic investments." The main thrust of relations
between the two countries is trade, but the relationship is more
Another aspect of recent German-Iranian affairs relates to
Israel. Late last year the two countries negotiated to arrange
the release of five Lebanese Hizballah members held by Israel.
It was speculated that information on missing Israeli force
navigator Ron Arad, who was captured in southern Lebanon in
1986, would be provided in exchange. Attorney Tzvi Rishi said,
however, that the release of the five Lebanese "involved
relations between Germany and Iran," not Israel or Arad. He
added, the "Jerusalem Post" reported on 9 January, that it was
aimed at the release of German citizen Helmut Hofer, who was
held in Iran over two years on various charges. "Nothing
specific was determined with regard to Ron Arad."
Germany has negotiated similar exchanges in the past, such
as the 1996 exchange of two dead Israelis for 45 prisoners and
the remains of 123 other Lebanese, Beirut's "Daily Star"
reported on 29 December. France has negotiated similar deals,
Some aspects of Iranian behavior still concern Germany.
August Hanning, head of Bonn's federal intelligence service
(BND) said that Iran and other countries, through subcontractors
and cut-outs in Germany, "purchase important components for the
production of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,"
Munich's "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" reported on 24 February. He
added that Iran's nuclear program aims to control "the entire
fuel cycle," and the biological weapons program will experience
a "noticeable development thrust" because foreign experts have
been hired.
German laws are strict against such transactions, but they
are not strictly enforced. An official from the Cologne Customs
Office of Criminal Investigation (ZKA) described 1996 raids that
yielded sufficient information on Iranian procurement efforts to
necessitate investigations of about 200 German firms, Munich's
weekly "Focus" reported on 28 February. Eventually 28 firms were
singled out for prosecution, but 12 of the cases were
discontinued and 11 are still dragging on. There have been two
indictments, and three other cases may be dismissed. "Jomhuri-yi
Islami" reacted to this report on 29 February by accusing
Germany of espionage.
Despite such concerns, President Mohammad Khatami told
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that he hopes to visit
Germany soon, IRNA reported on 10 February. Deputy Foreign
Minister Morteza Sarmadi visited Bonn in early-February to
prepare for Khatami's forthcoming visit. (Bill Samii)

Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 09:01:57 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Protesters Throw Eggs at Albright

Protesters Throw Eggs at Albright

.c The Associated Press

BRNO, Czech Republic (AP) - Shouting ``death to American imperialism,'' two
men hurled eggs at Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today after she told
a university audience that defense of common values sometimes requires
countries to pay a financial price.

The incident marred an otherwise warm reception here on the second day of
Albright's four-day visit to the land of her birth.

After finishing a speech to an enthusiastic audience at Tomas Masaryk
University in this industrial city 125 miles southeast of Prague, Albright
was milling about in the crowded entrance hall as bystanders cheered.

Suddenly, two men shouted ``death to American imperialism'' and began hurling
eggs. Albright was spattered slightly with bits of egg but most of them were
intercepted by her bodyguards, said a U.S. official who asked that his name
not be published.

She was rushed upstairs quickly before leaving for another appearance. Police
Capt. Zdenek Lubas said several people were detained for questioning but
declined to give further details.

Before the speech, Albright had met privately with about a dozen students
from the Gypsy minority to discuss affirmative action and other ideas for
improving their conditions. She also received a gold medal today from the
university named after a Czech president who was born near here 100 years

During her speech, Albright referred to a pledge by Czech President Vaclav
Havel to cancel a $30 million sale of cooling duct parts by a Czech company
to Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Although Iran insist the plant is for peaceful production of electricity, the
United States fears the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear weapons

Noting that this former Soviet Bloc state joined NATO last year, Albright
said preventing the spread of nuclear weapons was a high priority of the
Western alliance.

As with any goal worth achieving, it is not without cost,'' Albright said,
speaking in English. ``To keep the best technology from falling into the
wrong hands, American firms are required to forgo many potentially profitable
contracts. But a similar responsibility rests upon the shoulders of all who
pledged to defend the best interests of the Euro-Atlantic community.''

Albright said Washington has urged all its allies to ``meet that
responsibility so that our common security is protected and the future safer
for our children and theirs.''

Iran denies any nuclear weapons program and insists that the power plant at
Bushehr is simply for the peaceful generation of electricity.

``We consider the campaign around Bushehr conducted by the Czech government
and the local media a gift to the American minister Madeleine Albright linked
to her visit,'' Sharif Khodai, the acting Iranian ambassador to Prague, told
the newspaper Pravo.

Later, Albright was to join Havel for a visit to the nearby town of Hodonin,
where Masaryk was born. Masaryk led Czechoslovakia from 1918 until 1935 and
was also a close friend of President Woodrow Wilson.

Albright has urged Czechs to follow the example of Masaryk, a towering figure
in Eastern European democratic history. She has said they should pursue his
goals here and throughout the region, including Yugoslavia.

Using that theme, U.S. officials said Albright has urged the Czechs to
undertake judicial reform and encourage tolerance for the country's Gypsy, or
Roma, minority.

``Masaryk's dream was to have Europe whole and free,'' Albright said Sunday
at a joint news conference with Havel in Prague Castle. She quoted Masaryk as
saying democracy was not an act but a ``pursuit'' that must be continually

She has also encouraged the Czech Republic to become more involved in Western
moves to bring democracy to Yugoslavia's main republic, Serbia, and to help
promote ethnic stability in Kosovo, a province of Serbia.

After visiting Masaryk's shrine, Albright was to return today to Prague,
where she was scheduled to hold a roundtable discussion with Eastern European
non-governmental organizations to discuss ways of promoting democratization
in Serbia.

Albright said Sunday that the people of Serbia ``do not deserve'' an
autocratic leader like President Slobodan Milosevic.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, she said the United
States had been urging the Serbian opposition movement to end its divisions
and prove to Serbs that ``they represent an alternate choice.''

Albright also said democratically minded leaders from former Soviet Bloc
countries could offer advice to opposition figures in Serbia on how to unite
in the face of authoritarian rule.

Albright's father, Josef Korbel, a Czech diplomat, fled with his wife and
children to London as Germany took control of Czechoslovakia at the onset of
World War II. When the communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, the
family then migrated to the United States.

After the fall of communism here, the Czech and Slovak republics split into
two countries in 1993.


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 09:02:48 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian cleric warns Belgium over rights probe

Iranian cleric warns Belgium over rights probe

TEHRAN, March 6 (Reuters) - The Iranian cleric who once set a million-dollar
bounty on the head of author Salman Rushdie has warned Belgium of ``practical
measures'' over its alleged interference in Iran's domestic affairs.

Ayatollah Hasan Sanei, head of a religious foundation that set a $2.8 million
reward for the assassination of Rushdie, was quoted as saying on Monday that
the Iranian people would not tolerate foreign meddling in the Islamic

Last week a Belgian court, acting on a complaint by an Iranian expatriate,
ordered an investigation into alleged human rights violations by former
Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

``At this juncture, I see it necessary to announce to the Belgian government
that it must pay attention to this fact:(our) reactions will not be only
verbal,'' Sanei told the hardline daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami.

``If the Belgian government does not apologise as soon as possible and does
not make up for the impudence of the Belgian court, it must expect practical
measures from the Iranian nation and, especially, the 15th Khordad
Foundation,'' Sanei said.

The case has outraged the Iranian government, leading clerics and the major
political factions, all of whom see it as undue interference in Iranian
affairs. The Iranian judiciary called on Belgian judges to disavow their
colleague's ruling.

Many have also denounced what they say are the hands of Israel and the United
States, Iran's arch-foes, behind the legal action.

``The friends of Imam (Khomeini) have always been, and always will be,
targeted by the United States and Israel,'' Sanei said of Rafsanjani, a
veteran revolutionary and close aide of late state founder Ayatollah Ruhollah

``What has happened in the Belgian court is part of the animosity (toward
Iran) of international Zionism and the United States.''

The main reformist coalition, which has already warned the West not to assume
its victory at the polls would produce concessions from Tehran, has been
particularly outspoken.

``This is based on a baseless lawsuit and is one of the clearest examples of
interference in the domestic affairs of our country and of enmity against an
Islamic and democratic system,'' the coalition said in a statement at the

Last month, the 15th Khordad Foundation reaffirmed its $2.8 million bounty --
plus interest -- for anyone carrying out a death sentence against Rushdie for
blasphemy issued by Khomeini in 1989.


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 09:03:24 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Italy Seeks To Heal US-Iran Ties

Italy Seeks To Heal US-Iran Ties

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Italy wants to help heal relations between Washington and
Tehran following the stunning victory by Iranian reformists in recent
legislative elections, the Italian foreign minister said here Sunday.

Following talks with Iran's President Mohammad Khatami, Lamberto Dini told
reporters that Italy stood beside Iran in its effort to improve relations
with the West, and that Italian firms were eager to help Iran achieve its
economic goals.

Dini said he was not carrying a message from Washington for Iranian leaders.

``But we hope that our talks both with Iranian and U.S. officials will create
the conditions for the two countries to begin political discussions,'' he

The United States and Iran severed ties shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic
revolution ousted the U.S.-supported shah. During the uprising, radical
Iranian students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans
hostage for 444 days.

Khatami, a moderate cleric trying to broaden social and cultural freedoms,
came to power in May 1997 elections. Contacts with Italy soon after
represented Iran's first steps out of isolation from the West.

Dini's three-day visit - which started late Saturday - comes soon after
reformists ousted hard-liners from control of Parliament for the first time
since the 1979 revolution.

The EU has welcomed closer cooperation with Iran following the reformist
victory. German Foreign Minister Joshcka Fischer is due to arrive in Tehran
on Monday for a two-day visit to discuss a possible trip by Khatami to

Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters that his British
counterpart, Robin Cook, was expected to visit Iran this spring.

Dini has visited countries that other Western nations shy away from. He has
traveled to Libya, and later this month is expected to go to North Korea in
what is being billed as a trip by the highest-ranking G-7 official to that
communist country.


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 09:04:58 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Clinton hopes for more openness in Iran

Clinton hopes for more openness in Iran

LOS ANGELES March 4 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton said on Saturday he
hoped for more openness and freedom in Iran after a sweeping parliamentary
election victory by reformists last month.

``I hope and pray that what we have seen in three elections now there (in
Iran) means that there is a movement toward openness and freedom there too,''
Clinton told a largely Iranian-American audience at a Los Angeles

``I regret that so many of you had to leave your native land (Iran), one of
the most wonderful places in all of human history, one of the most important
places culturally in all of human history,'' Clinton said.

He added that he hoped that ``someday all of you may be able to go home to
visit and have two homes, complete and open and free.''

Reformist allies of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami swept to a stunning
victory over entrenched conservatives in Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

Khatami has cautioned that Iran will continue to go its own way and would
build on its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Many Iranians fled to the United States and other countries as that
revolution gathered strength.

The $2,500-per-person fund-raiser was expected to raise $200,000 for the
Democratic National Committee. It was part of a two-day California swing for
Clinton that was expected to raise a total of $1.6 million for the Democratic


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 5 Mar 2000 to 6 Mar 2000