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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Mar 2000 to 11 Mar 2000
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There are 9 messages totalling 971 lines in this issue.
Topics of the day:
1. IPS: IRANIAN LEADERS TO FACE SAME SHAME AS DID PINOCHET: EXPERTS
2. IPS: ATROCITY IN IRANIAN PRISONS CONTINUE UNABATED
3. IPS: Mr. RAFSANJANI MAY HAVE CREATED THE ANTI-BELGIUM STORM
4. AP: World Bank Likely To OK Iran Loans
5. BBC: Reformist victories cancelled in Iran
6. AFP: Four newly elected women MPs challenge chador as required garb
7. Independent: Revealed: role of a president in the murder of his people
8. U-WIRE: George Washington U. researcher wins award from homeland, Iran
9. AP: Rare sea animals from Ukraine transferred to Iran
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:41:50 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: IRANIAN LEADERS TO FACE SAME SHAME AS DID PINOCHET: EXPERTS
IRANIAN LEADERS TO FACE SAME SHAME AS DID PINOCHET: EXPERTS
By Safa Haeri
BRUSSELS 6TH Feb. (IPS As more Iranians parties, organisations, groups,
religious foundations, unions and personalities from left and right,
conservatives and reformists alike, continue to close ranks behind Ayatollah
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, there are also more political analysts and
observers who tend to see a "mischievous manipulation" from both the former
President and the hard liners to restore the badly damaged image and credit of
the former president in the one hand and to stop to nascent and timid
democratisation process that got a shot from the last Majles elections on the
"There are few troubling coincidences in this otherwise bizarre affair", said
Mr. Ahmad Salamatian, a prominent Iranian political analyst based in Paris.
To his observation, the unidentified accuser has filed his complaint on 10th
February, the very day that in Iran electoral lists were closed, making clear
that the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the leading reformist Party that
backs President Khatami has refused to endorse Mr. Rafsanjani among its
"Second of March, the day the news of Judge Damien Vandermeersch's decision to
have ordered the Police to investigate the complaint was leaked to the press
coincides with the date that back in Tehran hundreds of ballot boxes are to be
recounted officially to check charges of possible vote rigging in favour of
Rafsanjani who, despite of being conservative parties number one runner, had
lost his bid but was nevertheless pushed into the Majles as Tehran's last
candidate, but in fact the operations, suggested by the Council of the
Guardians, is a ploy to bring in more votes for this unfortunate candidate. In
politics, there are very few mere coincidences, but this one is not", Mr.
Salamatian told Iran Press Service.
Anyhow, a short item carried by Agence France Press on second of March was
transformed quickly into a storm in Iran where from the President hojatoleslam
Mohammad Khatami and reformist political parties and organisations that
supports him down to a multitude of Islamic associations and unions strongly
denounced Brussels for "blatant interference" in Iranian internal affairs and
urged Belgim to "rectify its "unacceptable action of face serious
More troubling was the indirect but clear threats from Ayatollah Hasan Sane'i
of the notorious 15 Khordad Foundation warning Belgium of possible terrorist
operations, saying "the move by the Belgian Court being within the
the vicious policies of the US and international Zionism, in case the Belgian
government do not apologise to the Iranian nation, our reaction will not be
Controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the embattled leader of the Islamic
Republic, the 15th Khordad Foundation is the same organisation that offered
millions US Dollars for the assassination of the Anglo-British novelist Salman
Rushdie after he was condemned to death in 1989 by grand Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini for his controversial book "The Satanic Verses" that Muslims in
general considers as blasphemous to prophet Mohammad.
What puzzles many Iranian observers is why the man who has lodged the
insist on remaining unidentified.
According to the accuser's lawyer Marc Libert, the man is a "militant
member of the outlawed Marxist Feda'iyan e Khalq, arrested in 1983 when the
present leader, ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, then a hojatoleslam, was president
and Mr. Rafsanjani though Speaker of the Majles, or the Consultative Assembly
the real number two leader after ayatollah Khomeiny.
Quoted in the hard line English-language daily "Tehran Times", Mr. Libert has
said though the whole of Iranian Islamic regime was being targeted in the
complaint but directed against Mr. Rafsanjani because of his considerable role
in the power structure.
In Brussels, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that a local magistrate had opened
a case against Mr. Rafsanjani, but denied reports that an arrest warrant had
been issued against him.
"It is possible that the original plan was to leak the news the very day the
complaint was filed, but either Judge Vandermeer who is not a new comer, is
known for his seriousness and avoids mediatisation, did not allowed or just
because the mayonnaise was not ready", Mr. Salamatian further added in an
effort to say the Chairman of the Expediency Council might have orchestrated
the whole issue.
Taking into account the fact that from an almost lunched political figure Mr.
Rafsanjani turned overnight a "living martyr", the very symbol of the Islamic
Republic being investigated for alleged crimes against humanity in the one
and finding out that so far the "crime" has profited him", many political
analysts who talked to IPS reached the same conclusion.
Noting that all leader-controlled organisations and institutions, among them
the Council of the Guardians, the Judiciary, the Speaker and 181 MPs of the
outgoing Majles, the Association of Qom's Teachers and many other have all
issued copy-carbon statements, observers also believe that the anti-Belgian,
anti-Western campaign "must have the blessings" of Mr. Khameneh'i as well.
"Coming in the aftermath of (Augusto) Pinochet syndrom and fearing this camel
can well one day knock at their own doors, the conservative leaders of the
Islamic Republic with Mr. Khameneh'i at their helm are taking their
disposition", Mr. Kambiz Rusta, the Co-ordinator of the Berlin-based Iranian
Tribunal of Crimes Agains Humanity told IPS.
That explains why Judge Vandermeersch's decision has united all Iranian
and personalities, including the both the reformists and Islamic
revolutionaries who until now were accusing the former president of
abuse of power, mismanagement, assassination of political and intellectual
dissidents in Iran and abroad have closed ranks, defending Mr. Rafsanjani.
What is more troubling for Iranian leaders is that the action in Brussels is
taken by the very same Judge that lodged a law suite against the former
dictator, brought Mrs Edith Cresson, former French Socialist Prime Minister
the EU's High Commissioner to justice and allowed Belgium the new Belgian
government to become the EU's human rights flag bearer, spearheading the
boycott of the new Austrian coalition government.
The Belgian lawsuit is based on the same principle as the attempts to bring
Pinochet to justice -- that people who commit the most heinous crimes, whether
against other nationals or their own citizens, should be open to prosecution
world wide, observed Mr. Paul Taylor of Reuters news agency.
"The fact is that none of the Iranian leaders or political personalities under
this regime, being conservatives or so-called reformists of the type of
President Khatami or his younger brother, Mohammad Reza, a UK-educated doctor,
acknowledges the rights of the citizen to justice nor have they nay idea of an
independent Justice as there is no such a notion in Islam", Mr. Rusta argued.
"What happened these days in Belgium is the reaction of enemies of Iran and
enemies of international peace and stability pouring their anger on the noble,
magnanimous and proud people of Iran", President Khatami told the visiting
Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.
"What Belgium did was abnormal, a behaviour outside diplomatic norms and
international law", Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a joint news
conference with his visiting Italian counterpart, Lamberto Dini.
"Surely, it cannot be supported by other EU members" Dini, on a two-day visit
underscoring ties between Iran and the European Union. Belgium does not
represent the bloc", Mr. Dini was reported by Iranian official news agency
to have said.
[Sources in Rome said Monday evening that opposition is likely to ask the
government of providing explanation on Mr. Dini's alleged anti-Belgian
statement, in case he has said what the Iranian agency has quoted him, as this
would be regarded as an act of hostility towards a EU founding member contrary
to the organisation's charter.]
Observers also noted that the new tension in relations between Tehran and
Brussels has taken an international dimension at a time that European Foreign
Ministers are "queuing up" to visit Iran in following the landslide victory
scored by pro-Khatami factions in the Majles elections.
"This victory has opened new opportunities for foreign investors as it should
create better political stability, as seen by the visits of Mr. Dini and Mr.
Fischer, the German Foreign Minister, to be followed by their British and
French counterparts. The new Majles would contribute to the policy of détente
undertaken by Mr. Khatami with outside world, including in the Middle East,
where Iran is expected to put an end to its involvement with the Peace
But this tension, fanned by the conservatives, is surely aimed at destroying
all hopes, aimed at proving that Mr. Khatami is powerless, with or without a
friendly Legislative", said one Tehran journalist who asked not to be
identified "due present circumstances.
Anyhow, the complaint has become an Irano-Iranian affair, with the
conservatives accusing the reformists of having "sided" with Iranian
counter-revolutionaries and world arrogance and Israel in accusing Mr.
Rafsanjani of torture, assassination and crime against humanity.
Blowing to the same trumpet, the reformists, while pointing at Israel, the
United States and International Zionism, counter-charges the conservatives to
take pretext from a decision taken by a Belgian Judge manipulated by European
Jewish circles to make for their humiliating defeat at the polls and stop
reforms to come by when the new Majles dominated by the reformists starts
The disclosure in January 1999 that high ranking officials at the Intelligence
Ministry had murdered at least 6 leading Iranian political and intellectual
dissidents, the public trial of senior officers of the revolutionary guards, a
first in the history of the Islamic Republic, the "inadmissible effrontery" of
a segment the press in taking the lead to denounce wrongdoing of the
including Mr. Rafsanjani, to question the unquestionable position of the
leader, to openly accuse the former Intelligence Minister of masterminding the
murder of more than eighty Iranian opponents inside and outside Iran when Mr.
Rafsanjani was president etc are seen by Iranian observers as "as many reasons
for the ruling conservatives to stop the process from getting out of control".
"The fact that such investigations have taken place at all, that the findings
have been made public and that there are calls for more such probes shows how
far Iran has changed since the early years after the 1979 Islamic revolution",
one analyst pointed out.
Mrs. Shirin Edbadi, an outspoken lawyer for the victims of the Intelligence
Ministry suggested the new reformists-controlled Majles to establish an
independent commission to follow-up investigations on all unresolved murder
cases, including those perpetrated under Mr. Rafsanjani's tenure of power.
"The outcry in Iran aimed at stopping the action of the Justice in Belgium,
pressures applied on Judge Vandermeersch to close the file, threats against
Belgian government etc, all reminder of what the Iranian leaders did during
Mykonos trial in Germany are bound to fail, as it did with German Justice. The
leaders of the Islamic Republic must know that crimes would never go
and sooner or latter they would face the same situation as the one faced by
Pinochet", promised Dr. Karim Lahiji of the League for the Defence of Human
Rights in Iran. RAFSANJANI INVESTIGATIONS 7300
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:42:42 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: ATROCITY IN IRANIAN PRISONS CONTINUE UNABATED
ATROCITY IN IRANIAN PRISONS CONTINUE UNABATED
PARIS 2ND Mar. (IPS) Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, a student condemned to death
charged prison authorities of physical and mental torture, ill-treatment and
gross violations on his person
In a letter sent from the notorious Evin prison to the Iranian Islamic
Judiciary Chief, the Iraqi-born Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, Mr.
Mohammadi, a student condemned on charges of "fighting God" and "rebellion
against the Islamic Republic", Mr. Mohammadi denounces his conditions and
asking him to intervene before it is too late.
The letter, large excerpt of which was published by reformist press and
by the conservative publications is a typical example that despite efforts
by the government of President Mohammad Khatami, savage, inhuman practices
against political prisoners continue in Iranian prisons.
Mr. Mohammadi's death sentence had been confirmed last week by an Islamic High
Court, rejecting an appeal motion for clemency that was introduced in January
by Mr. Ne'mat Ahmadi, the Mohamadi's lawyer.
The Supreme Court has as well confirmed sentences issued against Mr. Ahmad
Batebi, the young students who's picture holding the bloodied T-shirt of a
friend wounded by the Law Enforcement Forces that became the Cover of many
international newsmagazines to 10 years, Mr. Ali Shafe'i to 2 years and 6
months, Mr. Mehran Abdolbaghi to 9 years and Mr. Arya to 7 years of firm
Mohammadi was the only one of three students sentenced to death. His only
recourse now is to seek an amnesty from Iran's lamed leader, Ayatollah Ali
Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, the younger brother of Manouchehr Mohammadi, the general
secretary of the Association of Nationalist Iranian Students (ANIS) was
condemned to death after he was identified in pictures published by the press
throwing cocktail Molotov at members of pressure groups during anti-regime,
anti-leader demonstrations waged by angry students last July.
But he says what looked being like a cocktail Molotov was in fact nothing
bottle of water he was tending to demonstrators.
The riots, the worse the Islamic Republic had to face, sparked after Law
Enforcement Forces and conservatives-controlled Ansar Hezbollah thugs savagely
attacked a peaceful demonstrations by students in their dorms protesting the
closure of the reformist daily "Salam".
The attack lasted several hours. LEF and members of the pressure groups in
civilian clothing charged the students, burned their rooms, beat them up and
occasionally threw one of them out of the window.
Mr. Manouchehr Mohammadi, 37, portrayed a the student's ringleader, was
sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment on charges of collaboration with
foreign-based Iranian opposition personalities and groups.
He was condemned after he "confessed" on television to the charges, admitting
he had received money, assistance and equipment from organisations opposed to
the Islamic Republic.
In his letter, distributed to the press by his parents who live in Amol, near
the Caspian Sea the younger Mohammadi says he was "physically tortured and
whipped from the beginning".
To mark the authenticity of the letter, the press said it was written from
93 of block 209 of Evin.
"Specifically, I was hung upside down while being flogged at the bottom of my
feet with metal cables as a result of which, I have suffered the loss of two
toe nails. Because of severe punches and kicks to the facial area, I' have
most of my hearing on my right ear".
"The prison doctor ordered me to hospital but up until now I have not been
taken there and I continue to suffer," he said.
According to Akbar, his "only crime" was to be the brother of Manouchehr
Mohammadi. "I have always honestly and genuinely stated that I had nothing to
do with these events except to hand out water to the students and even to the
security forces", he further said in his letter.
He also insists that prison authorities tried to force him into signing a
confession and to identify and accuse individuals whose pictures were shown to
him. "Because of my belief in the almighty and the fact that I have not
witnessed any wrong doing by people whom I' have never seen, I never signed
confession", he added in his letter.
One year after the bloody demonstrations and while at least 1.500 students had
been detained and jailed, 20 policemen went on trial on Tuesday in a military
court for their role in the demonstrations.
The 11 officers and nine men, including former Commander of the LEF for
Revolutionary Guard's Brigadier-General Farhad Nazari, were charged with
assaulting students at the dormitory complex.
General Nazari was accused of having ordered the attack against the orders of
the Interior Ministry.
At his appearance, he was offered flowers by some Islamic vigilante and
dismissed officers, but as the trial went in and students describing the
inhuman treatment they received, he lost his arrogance, yet did not show any
The contrast between the slowness of the court martial of the police and the
speed with which the courts prosecuted and convicted student demonstrators
sparked criticism from reformers here.
The case marked a rare prosecution in open court of members of the powerful
security forces, who have often been seen as a law unto themselves.
One student, Ramin Karimi described how the Islamic vigilante and the
revolutionary guards had thrown out him from the window, saying "O Hossein
tird and much venerated imam of the Sh'ia Muslims) this is a gift for you".
"One I touched the earth, wounded, legs and arms broken, I heard other
vigilante shouting he is alive, let's finish him off".
Another student, Mr. Mohsen Jamali, a medical student, told how he lost an eye
after a tear-gas canister hit him in the face and police refused to allow the
ambulance carrying him to leave the complex.
Other students testified to being forced through lines of policemen who beat
them with batons before throwing them out of windows or down stairwells.
Student's lawyer, Hojatoleslam Mohsem Rahami, who also acted as lawyer for
former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri said while one hear talking about
damages to the installations, rooms and other properties, I don't hear
about damages caused to the students dignity.
Mr. Mohsen Armin, a newly elected leftist MP from Tehran, vowed the next
parliament would take up the case if the judiciary did not prosecute the
so-called pressure groups widely blamed for the attack.
Hearings will resume next Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran sentenced Wednesday three
leaders of the Iranian People's Party (IPP) to long term prison terms.
The IPP's top leaders, Dariush Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh Eskandari were
savagely murdered in November 1998 at their residence in Tehran by high
officers of the Islamic Republic's Intelligence Ministry
The leader-controlled Iranian Broadcasting reported that Mr. Bahram Namazi, 65
was condemned to 15 years, Mr. Khosro Seyf, 68 and Mr. Farzine Mokhber, 58 to
13 years and Mr. Mehran Abdolbaqi to 5 years prison terms for "forming illegal
political party, anti-government propaganda and rebellion against the Islamic
The men were arrested in July 1999 after student demonstrations in Teheran and
held in Evin prison before being tried on an unknown date, the group said.
Mr. Namazi, the Party's interim general secretary was sentenced to 15 years as
he was also accused of having insulted the leader of the Islamic regime,
Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i.
The small but outspoken organisation is one of Iran's oldest political
formation that calls for the separation of the State from Religion and the
replacement of the present theocracy by a secular system.
Though considered as "illegal", yet the IPP, like the Iran Freedom Movement is
tolerated by the Islamic regime.
In a statement released from Paris where it is based, the League for the
Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDHRI) said it was "extremely concerned"
the conditions in which the (sentences) were handed down and demands the
immediate and unconditional release of the three men, whom the League
as "prisoners of conscience".
Noting the bitter defeat suffered by the conservatives and their leader,
ayatollah Khameneh'i at the recent Legislative elections, observers both in
Iran and outside generally regard the recent sentences as the conservatives
last shots against the reformists who won the absolute majority if the next
seats Majles (parliament). ENDS AKBAR MOHAMADI 2300
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:42:10 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: Mr. RAFSANJANI MAY HAVE CREATED THE ANTI-BELGIUM STORM
Mr. RAFSANJANI MAY HAVE CREATED THE ANTI-BELGIUM STORM
By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor
PARIS 5TH Mar. (IPS) The national dimension given in the Iranian Capital to an
order issued to the Police by a Belgian Judge to investigate charges of crimes
against humanity brought against former Iranian president Ayatollah Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani by a Belgian national of Iranian origin prompted Iranian
observers and analysts both inside and outside the country to speculate if he
himself is not behind storm.
The Supreme Council for National Security (SCNS) chaired by President
hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, the conservative Speaker of the Majles and MPs
of all walk, political parties of both left and right closed ranks behind Mr.
Hashemi Rafsanjani and firmly condemned Belgium for the "co-ordinated attack"
against the lamed Chairman of the Expediency Council.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned Saturday the Belgian Ambassador to
Tehran Mr. Guillaume Metten to present him a "strong protest" and
"condemnation" of the Belgium's "blatant interference in internal Iranian
The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) that secured the largest of seats
in the next Majles (parliament) and the pro-Hashemi Rafsanjani Servants of
Reconstruction Party (SRP) in separate but similar statements, accused Sunday
"international Zionism" to be behind Judge Damien Vandermeersch's decision to
order the Police to investigate accusations brought against the former Iranian
president by a female Belgian national of Iranian origin.
The unidentified accuser says she suffered sustained tortures, both physical
and mental, threats and violence between 1983 and 1989 in Iranian prisons of
Ghezel Hesar and Gohar Dasht.
This is the period when thousands of Iranian political prisoners were executed
in prisons on order from grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny, the founder of the
Islamic Republic and when Mr. Rafsanjani was Speaker and the regime's number
In its statement, the IIPF harshly condemned the action of Judge Vandermeersch
it said was based on "unfounded allegations" and denounced it, as a "blatant
interference" in Iranian internal affairs.
The statement by reformist organisation accused "international Zionism" of
"plotting" both to "damage" improving relations between Iran and the European
Union and undermining Iranian people's march towards democracy and a further
sign of hostility to the Islamic Republic and its democratic system".
"Therefore, the IIPF condemns the patently illegal move by a Belgian Judge as
being not only contradictory to international law but also an insult to the
system, officials, and honorable people of Iran", the statement added, calling
on the Government, political parties and the press for an end to this nasty
plot and for compensation by the Belgian government for the damage that it has
caused to the reputation of the Islamic Republic.
For its part the SRP condemned the order for investigation against Mr. Hashemi
Rafsanjani as an "unprincipled act evidencing the domineering nature of
foreigners" and called on the Iranian people to be aware of plots hatched by
the enemies against Islamic Iran and it's respected leaders.
Regardless of these sign of sympathy, hard line newspapers Sunday accused the
reformists of having "co-ordinated" with the enemies to finish the Chairman of
In Brussels, the State Prosecutor told the French-language Belgian Television
that Judge Vandermeersch will continue his investigations regardless of
Not only Belgian government can not interfere with the action of the Justice
let alone a foreign power like the Islamic Republic that wants to halt the
Judge's investigations with noisy propaganda and threats", he said.
"If there is interference in one country's internal affairs, here we must say
it is the Islamic Republic that has grossly intervened in Belgium's internal
affairs for, so far, the affair is a purely Belgian, having nothing to do with
Iran", pointed out Dr Karim Lahiji, the president of the Paris-based League
the Defence of Human Rights in Iran.
Mr. Lahiji was commenting on the validity of the Iranian Foreign Affairs
Ministry that summoned the Belgian Ambassador to lodge protest against Judge
"The Judge has done what any judge with any independent justice has to do:
Order the police to investigate complaints he has received from a citizen. Not
having an independent justice, the leaders of the Islamic Republic can not
understand these subtleties and immediately hide themselves from realities by
blaming imaginary plots hatched by Zionism, imperialism or the enemies. But
these tools have lost their efficiency, these kind of arguments do not satisfy
Iranians", he added.
Reading through the IIPF's statement and it's blaming of "international
Zionism", a leading political analyst saw it as Mr. Mohammad Reza Khatami's
"He (the President's younger brother) may be a good vote-catcher, but by
reading his statement in defence of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, I would say they
are birds of the same feather and since the Party of the young Khatami is
to be the next Majles largest fractions, this is a bad omen", he said.
"Instead of listening to hearsay, Mr. Mohammad Reza Khatami should have read
carefully the news in order to realise that there is nothing insulting, even
against Mr. Rafsanjani, let alone the regime. By issuing such a childish,
worldist statement one would expect from Mr. Khameneh'i, young Khatami has
a great mistake", he noted.
Other observers wondered if Mr. Rafsanjani himself is not behind the storm,
taking into account the slap he received at the polls by the great majority of
the Iranians and the mounting accusations and charges brought against him in
the Iranian press concerning his action during the eight years of his
presidency, the murder of more than eighty intellectual and political
dissidents under his term and above all, his role in the conduct of war
Mr. Rafsanjani's two sons Yaser and Mohammad have offices and luxury
in Belgium, where they lived until 1989 when he became president.
Considering this "Belgian connection" in the one hand and the fact that he
almost lost in the recent Legislative elections but was "pushed" into the
Majles thanks to vote rigging in his favour on the other, one informed analyst
said Mr. Rafsanjani could well be behind the whole affair as to make himself a
"living martyr" by blaming "international plots".
He was joined by Mr. Lahiji who told Iran Press Service that in his opinion,
the storm built-up in Tehran around Mr. Rafsanjani was not only of "purely
domestic brew for local consumption, but also made by Mr. Rafsanjani in order
to refurbish his lost credit capital". ENDS RAFSANJANI INVESTIGATIONS 5300
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:43:17 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AP: World Bank Likely To OK Iran Loans
Friday March 10 4:02 PM ET
World Bank Likely To OK Iran Loans
By HARRY DUNPHY, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two loans to Iran, the first in seven years, are likely
approved soon by the World Bank over U.S. opposition, bank officials and
representatives of other countries say.
Bank and Iranian officials plan a final round of negotiations in Paris before
the end of the month on the $231 million package, bank officials said. If the
talks succeed, the two projects will go before the bank's 24 executive
directors, including Jan Piercy, the U.S. representative, probably next month.
Federal law requires the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and
other international institutions to countries listed by the State
sponsors of terrorism. Iran is among seven countries on the list.
``We will not support any loan to Iran that comes to the World Bank's
board,'' State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said last month.
But several prominent foreign policy analysts have urged the Clinton
administration to reconsider. Richard Haass, vice president of the Brookings
Institution in Washington, said U.S. support for the loan package ``would send
a positive message'' to Iran, where moderates made large gains in elections
Rubin would not comment this week on a report in the Los Angeles Times that
administration is close to a decision to lifting economic sanctions barring
Iranian carpets, caviar and pistachios.
He said, however, ``We are looking for ways to engage Iran in a dialogue
recognize the important changes that are taking place there.'' Iran has been
buying U.S. agricultural and medical products since April.
While the United States is cautiously exploring how to engage Iran, the
European Union is taking a more aggressive approach. Two foreign ministers
European governments have visited Iran since the Feb. 18 elections, which the
reformers won handily.
With Japan joining the Europeans, approval of World Bank loans over U.S.
opposition would send another signal to the Iranian moderates.
Even though the United States is the bank's largest shareholder, Japan and
European nations who favor the Iranian projects could override U.S. opposition
to the Iranian loans. Bank officials said this has happened before, on
China, for example.
It is only when the United States actively tries to line up opposition that
loans fail to reach the board. Representatives at the bank from European
countries said there were no signs so far the United States was mounting a
campaign against the Iranian loans. That likely reflects an easing of
Washington's total opposition, even if it maintains a public position against
``My expectations are that the projects will be supported as long as they are
developmentally sound and benefit the people,'' said Myles Wickstead, the
alternative British executive director.
He said most other members of the board share this view.
Abdullah Bouhabib, a bank spokesman, said he expected the projects to be
approved before the bank's new fiscal year begins July 1.
One World Bank loan of $145 million would go toward a $340 million sewage
treatment project in south Tehran, a poor district in the Iranian capital.
The other loan, for $86.1 million, covers the bank's contribution to a $148.7
million project to help the Iranian government improve health care in urban
The health care loan augments the last loan the bank made to Iran, in 1993,
health care and family planning.
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:47:11 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: BBC: Reformist victories cancelled in Iran
Iranians voted massively in favour of President Khatami's reformist
supporters Reports from Iran say that at least three results in last
month's elections have been cancelled without explanation by the central
election body, the Council of Guardians.
The reports, quoting the reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation
Front (IIPF), said results were declared invalid in the southern cities
of Bandar Abbas, Minab, and Gachsaran.
According to reports the IIPF has expressed concern that the Council
Guardians, which is dominated by conservatives, would cancel other
election results in the next few days.
Reruns and recounts
Reformist supporters of President Mohammad Khatami had scored a massive
victory in last month's vote - winning 226 of the 290 seats in
parliament after the first round of the elections.
A remaining 64 seats are due to be contested in a second round on 21
The election results cancelled on Saturday by the Council Guardians are
expected to be rerun on the same day.
A recount of votes cast for the 30 seats in the capital Tehran was held
last week but the official results have not yet been announced.
Reformists initially won 29 of 30 seats, but a dispute arose as to
whether former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was backed by
conservatives and moderates, had just squeezed in to win the last seat.
The leader of the reformist minority in the outgoing parliament, Majid
Ansari, condemned the cancellation of the results in the south of Iran
as "arbitrary", according to the official news agency IRNA.
"Unfortunately this sort of decision shakes the confidence of the people
in the authorities and the regime," he said. Mr Ansari said that the
reformists would propose a bill requiring any cancellation of results to
be justified in writing.
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:48:11 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP: Four newly elected women MPs challenge chador as required garb
Four newly elected women MPs challenge chador as required garb
Iran -Thursday, 09 March 2000 - Agence France Presse
TEHRAN, March 9 (AFP) - Four Iranian women newly elected to parliament
are questioning the need to wear the chador, the black head-to-toe wrap
which has been standard garb for female MPs since the 1979 revolution, a
Tehran daily reported Thursday.
The four women, who won election on the reform ticket in last month's
polls, say a scarf concealing their hair and a long coat is sufficent to
meet the requirements of Iran's Islamic dress code, the Ham-Miham
"We are the revolution's first generation, and we carried out this
generation wearing a coat," said Tahereh Rezazadeh, who represents the
southern city of Shiraz.
"A lot of people who surrounded (revolutionary leader Ayatollah
Ruhollah) Khomeini and who greeted him did it clad in a coat. The
Islamic dress code is not limited to the chador in Islamic law or in our
traditions," she said.
Soheila Jelodarzadeh, an MP from Tehran, said: "I think female members
of parliament have the right to choose their manner of dressing as long
as they respect Islamic law and the constitution."
Male members of parliament have recently appealed for their female
colleagues to wear the chador.
But Jelodarzadeh said: "It's not for members of parliament to choose for
Her colleague, Fatemeh Aqiqatju of Tehran, said that "if one looks at
the Islamic dress code as set out in Islamic law, the wearing of a
headscarf is what's important and the way of doing it can change with
the times and the place."
The fourth woman MP, Fatemeh Rakei, also from Tehran, said "the Islamic
dress code goes much deeper than the simple wearing of the chador. The
chador is not a religious obligation. "Does wearing the chador make
women faithful to Islam?" she asked.
On Tuesday, two outgoing members of parliament who are close to the
reformists, called for their female colleagues to keep wearing the
The new parliament will include 10 women compared to 13 women in the
So far, women continue to wear the chador in the legislative body even
though it is not considered obligatory outside.
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:50:37 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Independent: Revealed: role of a president in the murder of his people
Revealed: role of a president in the murder of his people
By Robert Fisk in Tehran
8 March 2000
In the wave of half-freedoms that have followed last month's
pro-reformist elections in Iran, the dark and sinister political role of
ex-president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – once the most powerful man
in the Islamic Republic – is at last being revealed in Tehran.
Mr Rafsanjani, who first disclosed the Iran-Contra scandal, is being
linked to at least six senior Iranian government officials who, during
his presidency, ordered the secret execution of more than 80 dissidents,
intellectuals and criminals. The ex-president, it now transpires, also
appointed members of his own family to high positions in the lucrative
oil ministry in Iran.
As the political star of Mr Rafsanjani falls through the firmament so
the revelations about his 10-year presidency and its nepotism are being
uncovered. The names of at least seven men with whom he dealt – some of
whom are said to have issued "fatwas" ordering the death of dozens of
innocent Iranians during Mr Rafsanjani's rule – are known in Iran but
have never been published before: they include Ali Fallahian, former
head of intelligence, Ali Razini, who was head of judiciary powers in
Tehran – he is now a member of the "special" clergy court – and Mustafa
Pourmahamadi, the former deputy intelligence minister in charge of
The "death squad" committee also included Ruhollah Hosseinian, who is
currently head of Iran's "documentation centre", two ayatollahs – said
to have signed a decree ordering the murder of "apostates" – and Said
Emami, the ex-deputy intelligence minister in charge of "operational"
affairs. Mr Emami was found dead – murdered with a potassium injection –
while in prison for allegedly ordering the murders of intellectuals
during the presidency of Mr Rafsanjani's successor, Mohamed Khatami.
Many in Tehran believe Mr Rafsanjani was himself a member of the
"killer" committee. The murder victims include the translator and writer
Saidi Sirjani, killed by injection in 1994, Ahmed Mirallai, another
writer who was knifed to death, Ahmed Taffozoli, who died in a car
"accident", and Ibrahim Zalzade, a journalist also knifed. Also among
the murder victims was a middle-aged woman, Fateme Ghaemmaghami, a
mother of three.
At least three Sunni Muslim clerics were liquidated. An Armenian
Orthodox priest was killed after his name appeared on the intelligence
ministry execution list.
Iranian journalists have already been asking what Mr Rafsanjani knew
about the "fatwas" for the execution of intellectuals, although The
Independent is the first paper to print the names of those known to be
on the execution committee. Akbar Gangi, the most prominent
investigative journalist in Tehran, has written a book about the
committee – without giving names – called The Dungeon of Ghosts, in
which he refers to another cleric as "the éminence grise". Already Mr
Gangi has received death threats by phone and fax. "My friends have said
to me that the only way of protecting myself is to give an interview,"
he said. "The information I have about the murders is exact and very
sensitive – 90 to 100 people were killed."
Equally earnest if less grave questions are being asked about Mr
Rafsanjani's family. His son Yasser, it is clear, worked in the
procurement section of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) while
also running a private company connected to NIOC. Mr Rafsanjani's nephew
Ali was a deputy minister of oil while another son, Mehdi, was employed
in the national gas company, NAFT-va-GAS.
Stories of Mr Rafsanjani's wealth have spread throughout Iran and were
one reason for his failure to gain more than 25 per cent of the vote in
last month's elections. He spends several weeks a year in a villa north
of Tehran where gazelles graze amid parkland and hills guarded by
special security police.
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 16:53:12 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: U-WIRE: George Washington U. researcher wins award from homeland, Iran
George Washington U. researcher wins award from homeland, Iran
Updated 12:00 PM ET March 6, 2000
By Ross Rapoport The GW Hatchet George Washington U.
(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON -- A George Washington University research professor
received a prestigious award in early February recognizing her most
recent research on skin cancer.
Mahnaz Badamchian, a native of Iran, received the Kharazmi International
Award, an esteemed prize named for an Iranian mathematician.
Badamchian received the Kharazmi award from the president of Iran during
the opening ceremonies of the 13th annual festival celebrating the
award's namesake. She also was given $5,000, which she donated to
scholarships at the Tehran Medical School in Iran.
Badamchian, a biochemist, is working with peptides and proteins to
develop a cure for skin cancer. Her research also explores aging, wound
healing and new ways to fight tumors.
Badamchian's latest accomplishment did not come without struggle.
Badamchian aspired to be a physician as she grew up in Iran, but she
said was discouraged by people in her country. She pursued chemistry
instead and received her master's degree in 1977 in Iran.
At the age of 18, Badamchian was married and had her first child. Her
second child came a little more than a year later, forcing her to juggle
school and motherhood while teaching biochemistry in Tehran to support
herself. She and her family decided to immigrate to the United States to
pursue a doctoral degree. Again, she worked as an educator to support
herself, teaching math and science to high school students.
Before coming to the United States Badamchian applied to many medical
schools, hoping to become a physician. She attended Utah State
University on a biochemistry scholarship. She graduated in
two-and-a-half years, instead of the usual four years, staying long
hours in the lab while her children played soccer in the hallways.
During these years another obstacle was thrown her way. In 1979, while
she was in America, a revolution took place in Iran. Islamic
fundamentalists overthrew the Shah and installed a government that ruled
by religious authority.
Although she originally held plans to return to her family in Iran,
after the revolution Badamchian closed herself off from a world she
considered morally corrupt. She was cut off from the life she once knew,
her family and her savings.
Badamchian had to work two jobs to compensate for the money she lost by
cutting ties with Iran. She worked for Utah State as a research
assistant and teaching assistant, raising her children alone. Her
husband, a professor on sabbatical, returned to Iran to continue his
work. She graduated from Utah State and went on to study brain diseases
such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's before she decided to look for a
In 1986, Badamchian came to work at GW. Although it was the
lowest-paying job she was offered, she saw more potential to interact
with other researchers than would have been possible in other places.
Settling into her new job, she became a U.S. citizen in 1992. In
addition to her work at GW, she is a consultant for many groups,
including the Food and Drug Administration.
Badamchian said she sees an obvious message that can be taken from her
"Young people should know that anything is possible, especially in the
United States," Badamchian said. "Once you have a goal, you're halfway
there. After what I went through, I refuse to believe that anything is
(C) 2000 The GW Hatchet via U-WIRE
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 17:05:51 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AP: Rare sea animals from Ukraine transferred to Iran
Rare sea animals from Ukraine transferred to Iran
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) - An oceanarium in this Ukrainian Black Sea
port is transferring all its animals to Iran because it cannot properly
feed and heal them, the company's director said Wednesday.
"We could not buy medical supplies that cost thousands of dollars. We
also had no possibility to work and take care of the animals. If we
stay in Sevastopol, a unique collection of rare animals will find its
end," said Borys Zhuryda, head of the Akvamarin company.
The oceanarium has a collection of rare dolphins, South American sea
lions, seals, fur seals, and cormorants. Some of the animals were sent
to Iran on Feb. 15, Zhuryda told The Associated Press.
"In Iran , our animals will have a modern oceanarium. The cages and
pools are much better than what we have in Sevastopol," he said. "There
also is special equipment for purifying sea water and good veterinary
services - something we could only dream about in Sevastopol."
Allocations for science have declined drastically in Ukraine since the
Soviet collapse in 1991. Sevastopol, home base of Russia's Black Sea
Fleet, has long been plagued by financial difficulties caused in part
by Ukraine's overall economic decline.
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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Mar 2000 to 11 Mar 2000