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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 2000
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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 2000
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There are 7 messages totalling 630 lines in this issue.
Topics of the day:
1. Exiled rebels claim mortar attack on Tehran
2. Iran says pilgrims hold anti-U.S. protest at haj
3. Toronto furor over Khomeini
4. Reuters: Clinton extends 1995 sanctions against Iran oil
5. Sunday Times: Horrific film emerged yesterday of barbaric punishments
meted out in Iranian jails
6. Iran awarded $400,000 in damages over film showing fake atrocities
7. (The Independent)State agents suspected of shooting Rafsanjani opponent in
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 19:33:25 EST
Subject: Exiled rebels claim mortar attack on Tehran
Exiled rebels claim mortar attack on Tehran
By Ali Raiss-Tousi
TEHRAN, March 13 (Reuters) - Mortar bombs slammed into a Tehran residential
district on Monday near a base of the elite Revolutionary Guards in Iran's
second act of political violence in as many days.
The Iraq-based Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main armed opposition, claimed
responsibility for the attack.
Witnesses said a row of cars took the brunt of the blasts, with shrapnel
radiating into the nearby Nour housing complex, whose residents include five
members of parliament.
A gardener at the guards' Sarallah base across the road had his legs blown
off, the witnesses said. A young woman was hit in the face by shrapnel, and
two others suffered minor injuries.
``It started about 1:30 (p.m.) and in a span of 10 minutes, five to seven
rounds were fired,'' Mohammad Mojarab, the caretaker at the residential
complex, told Reuters.
Mujahideen spokesman Ali Safavi, speaking to Reuters in Dubai by telephone
from Paris, said the group's forces inside Iran had attacked the guards'
IRAN APPEALS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman appealed to foreign countries to not allow
the Mujahideen ``to take refuge in their territories to freely propagate
their inhuman ideas and continue their heinous crimes,'' the Iranian news
agency IRNA said.
Iran often blasts neighbouring Iraq for hosting Mujahideen and accused
Western countries of harbouring the group.
A guards member said parliamentary deputies lived in the targeted building,
one of whom was home at the time. He later emerged unhurt.
The attack follows the attempted assassination in Tehran on Sunday of Saeed
Hajjarian, a leading reformer and close ally of President Mohammad Khatami.
Hajjarian had drawn the wrath of Iran's hardliners both for his central role
in last month's reformist victory at the polls and for revelations in his
newspaper that linked right-wing extremists to the serial murders of
He remains in a coma at a hospital, fighting for his life.
Friends said Hajjarian had received written threats but the shooting remains
a mystery, although some of Hajjarian's reformist allies pointed the finger
squarely at the conservatives, big losers in last month's parliamentary poll.
``The terrorist attack on Hajjarian is a declaration of war on the nation.
Why don't you try to accommodate the people, why don't you accept their
vote?'' said Ayatollah Yusef Sanei, a theologian close to the reformists.
The Mujahideen, which rejects the possibility of reform under Iran's Islamic
government, carried out a mortar assault on the presidential palace and
nearby state buildings last month. One man was killed and several people were
A guards officer at the scene of Monday's blasts told Reuters the weapon used
in the latest attack was a portable mortar similar to the one used against
the presidential office.
He said the guards' base was too large a target to miss and suggested the
attackers were instead seeking to sow panic among Tehran's civilian
Police and Revolutionary Guards cordoned off the area, backed by fire crews,
with investigators at the scene.
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 19:33:56 EST
Subject: Iran says pilgrims hold anti-U.S. protest at haj
Iran says pilgrims hold anti-U.S. protest at haj
TEHRAN, March 13 (Reuters) - Pilgrims preparing to celebrate the Moslem haj
in Saudi Arabia demonstrated against the United States and Israel although
Saudi officials say the event should not be politicised, Iranian television
reported on Monday.
Hundreds of pilgrims chanted in Arabic ``Death to America,'' ``Death to
Israel'' and the Islamic cry of ``Allahu Akbar'' (God is greatest) after
prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca at around midnight on Sunday, the
There was no independent confirmation of the report.
Saudi officials prohibit demonstrations at haj, saying the pilgrimage
attended by some two million Moslems each year should remain purely
Iranian officials say Moslems should hold ``disavowal of infidels'' rallies
at the haj against the United States and Israel, which Iran denounces as
hostile to Islam.
In 1987, 402 people, mostly Iranians, died in clashes with Saudi security
forces at an Iranian-led rally in Mecca. Iran then boycotted the haj for
Iranian-led rallies have been low-key in recent years and Saudi police have
Tehran and Riyadh have been pursuing a rapprochement after years of mutual
suspicion that followed the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. The
rapprochement has quickened since Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami
took office in 1997.
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 20:53:13 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Toronto furor over Khomeini
Toronto furor over Khomeini
Birthday party sparks debate over legacy of late Iranian autocrat
By ANDREW CASH
Just as Iranians were gearing up for a reform victory at the polls, a
group of T.O. Muslims headed to Ottawa to celebrate Ayatollah
Khomeini's posthumous birthday. Then, as 200 supporters of the
authoritarian patriarch filed into the Iranian cultural centre on
Robinson, they were met by an angry crowd of Iranian refugees, victims
of the honoured former leader.
The protestors, furious that anyone would toast the dictator from whom
they fled, were also irritated that they can't get a rise out of
Canadian public opinion.
"If this were a celebration of Hitler or Pinochet's birth, would it be
allowed to proceed?"asks Homa Arjomand of the International Federation
of Iranian Refugees.
Arjomand was forced to flee Iran in 1989 after several of her
colleagues in a women's rights organization were arrested. Besides
being disappointed with Canadian lethargy on Iran, she's also bemused
that the press has put such a rosy spin on this week's election
From her point of view, little has changed in Iran despite the reform-
"There are new members of the government, but the basic Islamic rule
hasn't changed," she says.
Indeed, while newspapers extol the virtues of the new Iran as a model
for the Muslim world, journalists, intellectuals and activists are
still being rounded up and jailed.
Girls as young as nine can be married off, and wearing the veil, or
hajib, is strictly enforced. The death penalty is imposed extensively,
and there are continued reports of incidences of religious persecution.
"We still have very definite concerns about Iran," says Alex Neve of
Amnesty International. "We believe there are several hundred prisoners
But Khomeini's legacy is far from simple. According to computer
programmer Hicham Takache, a member of Al-Huda, a group that sent
delegates to the Khomeini celebration in Ottawa, the religious leader
was a "great man."
"Look," says Takache, a Muslim from Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon
who has lived in Toronto for 10 years, "the human rights record in Iran
was much worse during the shah's time."
He points to open elections in Iran as an indicator that the West has
inappropriately demonized Khomeini, who died in 1989.
"The vice-president of Iran is a woman," Takache says. "They haven't
been able to get that far in the U.S."
Strangely enough, I hear similar arguments from Tarek Fatah, a
journalist and NDPer.
"Khomeini represents everything Muslims accept -- he was against
colonization, dictatorship and the monarchy of the shah," he says.
Fatah, who produces Muslim Chronicle, a weekly one-hour current affairs
show on CTS Television in Burlington, says those in the Iranian
community who are critical of their homeland are just anti-Islam.
"Generally, they are privileged Iranians who because of the revolution
no longer have their privilege."
Fatah is himself from a privileged background in Pakistan, where he
worked as a television producer until he was jailed twice and finally
pulled off the air for good in 1978 by the country's military rulers.
While he's not a member of Al-Huda, he says it is one of this city's
most progressive Muslim organizations. "They are connected to the
community; they offer a lot of support. I don't see these Iranian
protestors involved. They're still pining for the days when they had
all the power in Iran."
But is this a fair estimation of all those Iranians who suffered under
the country's theocratic absolutism?
Certainly, some expatriate Iranians are critical of Islam. Take
Arjomand's comment that "there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.
How are Muslim girls in Toronto being treated? Many are treated the
same way as in Iran, but Canadians don't want to offend anyone."
But are local Muslims, anxious to protect their community, justified in
painting all critics of Iran with one brush? There is a range of
personalities who take issue with Iranian repression.
U of T assistant professor Shahrzad Mojab, who has written widely on
gender issues in Iran, disagrees with Fatah's claim that protestors are
all ruling-class backers of the old regime. "In the 80s," she says,
"political dissidents from all classes became refugees."
And it's all well and good for a Muslim living in Toronto to say that
Iran is becoming a progressive country. "But the progress is coming in
spite of the system of political Islam, not because of it," she says.
Legislation, she says, has to be approved by the guardian council of
six clerics and six non-clerics. "Candidates had to be scrutinized to
see if they were Muslim enough."
But concerns about Iran aren't refugees' only worries. They also wish
this country were more vigilant about anti-democratic forces. Many
believe organizations like Al-Huda ought to be scrutinized by the
Canadian government to see if they're taking money from the Iranian
consulate or raising money for the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
These charges are firmly refuted by Takache, who says his organization
offers its 300 members a typical program of religious services, Koranic
education and family support. "We also lobby local officials over such
things as school curriculum that tolerates homosexuality, and we lobby
the federal government about Lebanon," he says.
Some believe this is a soft-soaping of the group's mandate. Yanar
Hasan, an Iraqi artist and feminist who lived in Lebanon before
arriving in Canada four years ago, pulls a local Arabic newspaper,
Sadalel-Mashrek, out of her bag and points to an advertisement paid for
by Al-Huda celebrating Resistance Day in southern Lebanon.
Her English translation: "Resistance is the only answer. Convoys of
martyrs bring about victory." She uses this as an example of how Al-
Huda turns religion into politics. "One of their policies is to program
youths toward certain death in southern Lebanon," she says.
Al-Huda's Takache says the tone of the ad is lost in translation. "We
support Hezbollah's battle against Israel. We are not ashamed of that.
For us, they are freedom fighters. Our villages have lost thousands. My
father's business in Lebanon has been hit 17 times, and it's a clothing
But the supporter of guerrilla action and Khomeini's dictates also
supports reform in Iran. "This election proves just how healthy and
progressive the society really is."
I offer that in comparison to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, he might be
right. In the former, women can't even put the car keys into the
ignition, and in the latter the Taliban (armed, remember, by the good
old U.S. of A.) don't want girls to go to school.
Takache cautions me that some of these customs have nothing to do with
Islam. So, there are many interpretations. OK, what about cutting off
the hands of thieves?
He tells me this is consistent with Islam. "But it's not like there are
a bunch of people walking around Saudi Arabia with their hands cut
off," he says. "Countries that follow that rule generally have less
What about polygamy? Part of Islam or just a local custom? Happens from
time to time, even in Canada, he says. As I talk to him over the phone,
he senses my surprise at what he's saying. "You know, this isn't such a
strange practice. You tell me how many people you know with more than
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 20:53:43 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Reuters: Clinton extends 1995 sanctions against Iran oil
Monday March 13, 3:43 pm Eastern Time
Clinton extends 1995 sanctions against Iran oil
WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton on Monday
extended an executive order banning oil development contracts with Iran,
accusing Tehran of continuing to support ``international terrorism'' and
undermine the Middle East peace process.
Clinton said in a statement he was extending the ban he first signed in
``because the actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to
threaten the national security, foreign
policy, and economy of the United States''.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the United States was
considering scrapping trade sanctions on
Iran's three main non-energy exports -- caviar, carpets and pistachio
nuts -- in a bid to improve relations
The paper quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying the move was one of
several gestures of goodwill being
considered in light of progress toward economic and political reform in
Clinton, who must decide annually whether to extend the 1995 order or
have it automatically lapse, said the
factors that led him to sign the order had not been resolved.
In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican,
Clinton cited ``the actions and policies of
the government of Iran, including support for international terrorism,
its efforts to undermine the Middle East
peace process, and its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and
the means to deliver them''.
The 1995 measure prohibits U.S. citizens from entering into contracts
for the financing of or the overall
management or supervision of the development of petroleum resources in
Washington banned non-oil imports from Iran after the seizure of the
U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 20:59:46 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Sunday Times: Horrific film emerged yesterday of barbaric punishments
meted out in Iranian jails
........Readers may find bits disturbing.............
Please stop here!
Sunday Times Reporters, London
Horrific film emerged yesterday of barbaric punishments meted
out in Iranian jails. It shows one prisoner's eye being gouged out,
others having fingers chopped off and four men being stoned to
The film prompted questions about the ethics of Britain's rapprochement
with Tehran in the run-up to a visit by Robin Cook, the Foreign
Secretary, in May. Opponents of the islamic regime urged Cook
to postpone the trip.
The 50-minute tape, filmed by official cameramen for government
archives, was smuggled out of Iran by the National Council of
Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main Iranian Opposition Group.
A spokeswoman said the film had been secretly passed on by
a member of the regime who was alarmed that the Iranian regime
still sanctioned such brutality.
The tape begins by showing a thin, pale man strapped to a bed
in a cell, apparently in Tehran's Qasr prison. A prison officer reads
out the sentence, imposed under koranic law "in the name of god-
and the honourable head of the department of prisons".
The prisoner, Seyyed Taqi tabataba'i, has been found guilty of
slashing the eyes of his victim, Maliheh Nazari, who is also present,
wearing dark glasses and a chador.
Tabataba'i begs her for mercy. "I am sorry for what I did to you, will
you forgive me?" he says. Nazari, who has the legal right to stop
the punishment, replies: "No, this is the word of god, and the koran".
The head of the prison clinic injects Tabataba'i's right eye, then
starts to cut at the left eye, which has supposedly already been
But as the doctor cuts, Tabataba'i screams in pain: "Oh god, oh god,
oh god, I plead with you to do something. Doctor please, leave
my eye as it is. My head is about to explode." The "operation"
continues for 15 relentless minutes until the doctor finally removes
the eye and the cameral focuses on the empty socket. The prisoner
is conscious and screaming or moaning throughout. The the Doctor
moves to start on the other eye. The observers watch expressionless.
The film is believed to be the first seen in the West of such a
punishment being carried out. The footage of the gouging is
reported to have been shot in 1985, BUT the regime makes no
attempt to hide the fact that the same punishment is being imposed
on Iran today.
On October 17 last year, the Tehran based Qods newspaper
said a court in the capital had ordered that the state gouge out the
eyes of Majid Mehrparvar, 30, the leader of a gang that had killed
three truck drivers. He was then sentenced to be hanged. The
rest of the tape shows equally gruesome punishments. Four
men sentenced to death for "moral crimes" ranging from rape
to adultery are shown being stoned to death in a sequence
dated 1991. A mulah in clerical robes throws the first stone.
A crowd joins in the stoning without hesitation.
The men are wrapped in white cloth and buried up to their
waists. As the crowd hurls stones, the cloth is battered
from their bodies and the rocks begin to draw blood.
One man struggles on for 15 minutes, hiding his head with
his arms and desperately trying to wrestle free. under islamic
law, if one of the condemned can free himself, he will be allowed
to live. None of the four escapes.
The regime acknowledges that the punishment of stoning
to death has been imposed recently. Since president khatami
came to power two years ago, 600 executions have been reported
in Iran, 11 of them by stoning.
Other footage on the tape shows young men at Tehran's Central
penitentiary for youth having their fingers amputated for theft by
a small, green painted guillotine machine. The maimings are
watched by a crowd of silent prisoners, but an audible collective
sigh and a few cries of "Allah" can be heard as the blade chops
off the fingers. In all four cases the thumb is left intact because
these are first time offenders.
The Iranian Opposition said it had released the film to show that
the human rights abuses were continuing in Iran despite the
rise of the reformist politicians in elections last month.
"This is the same system with a different mask that has been
put on mainly for foreign consumption.," said Dowlat Nowrouzi,
The British representative of the NCRI.
The Foreign Office said it was aware of punishments in Iran, but
their exposure would not change Cook's planned visit. " We
continue to raise human rights abuses with the Iranian government
at every opportunity and every level."
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 21:01:42 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran awarded $400,000 in damages over film showing fake atrocities
Iran awarded $400,000 in damages over film showing fake atrocities
01/31/1987 Orange County Register
An Italian film company has been ordered to pay $400,000 to the
government of Iran after a local court found that film sequences
showing atrocities allegedly committed by Iranian soldiers were fakes.
The ruling ended a three-year battle by the Iranian Embassy in Rome
against Racing Film and Titanus Film, producers and distributors of the
1983 documentary "Sweet and Barbaric."
Racing Film, the producer, was ordered to pay the damages within 60
The film was widely publicized for a scene in which Iranian soldiers
used two Jeeps to pull the arms off an Iraqi prisoner of war. Another
scene showed a close-up of an Iraqi prisoner being executed by an
Iranian soldier with a pistol shot in the neck.
Stills from the film were widely used by newspapers and magazines
around the world. Iraqi officials produced them on many occasions as
evidence that the Iranians were maltreating their prisoners of war.
But six court experts, aided by blow-ups of the crucial scenes, found
that the filmmakers had used actors who not only staged the atrocities
but reappeared in different roles, both in Iraqi and Iranian uniforms.
The film director, who had previously gained some success with second-
rate horror movies, made some basic mistakes. For example, he mixed
genuine 16mm newsreel film with staged scenes on 35mm film.
Still photographs from the film shown in court clearly revealed the
weapons held by the actors were made by an Italian manufacturer, of a
type not issued by the Iranian army. And the actor whose arms were torn
away could be clearly seen with his arms strapped to his body beneath
his uniform in the courtroom blow-ups.
It was pointed out in court that while "blood" -- probably colored
water -- spurted from his shoulder, no blood was dripping from the
severed arm shown in one sequence.
In 1984, soon after the false documentary was screened in Italy, Judge
Roberto Preden of Rome, acting on a complaint by the Iranian
ambassador, prohibited showings of the film.
"After the film was shown in Iraq , angry Iraqi soldiers maltreated
Iranian prisoners of war in retaliation, according to information we
received from our prisoners," Mahmood Mohammadi, a senior diplomat at
the Iranian Embassy in Rome said.
The Iranian Embassy had asked the court for $800,000 in damages.
The companies argued they had been duped by the film director into
believing the sequences were genuine and had been shot secretly at two
prisoner-of-war camps in Iran .
The companies still face criminal proceedings for fraud.
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 00:29:51 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: (The Independent)State agents suspected of shooting Rafsanjani
opponent in street
(The Independent)State agents suspected of shooting Rafsanjani opponent in
By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent
13 March 2000
Is the "Dungeon of Ghosts" still in existence? Yesterday morning, two
men on a 1,000cc motorbike - beloved by the security services in Iran -
tried to murder the editor-in-chief of Sob e-Emrous newspaper, which has
repeatedly questioned the activities of the former president Ali Akbar
Saeed Hajjarian, a member of Tehran's municipal council, was shot in the
face and shoulder - one of the assailants got off his motorbike to shoot
the editor again on the pavement - outside his office but the bullet,
lodged in the back of his neck, did not kill him.
Last week The Independent disclosed the existence of a "death list"
compiled by senior clerics and intelligence ministry officials during Mr
Rafsanjani's presidency, which resulted in the murder of up to 100
intellectuals, journalists and petty criminals in Iran.
Tehran newspapers have reprinted a garbled version of The Independent's
report as it appeared in Turkish newspapers but have otherwise
suppressed details of the dispatch, which included the names of
intelligence officers on the "death" committee.
Mr Hajjarian is a close friend and adviser of the reformist President,
Mohamed Khatami, whose rule was endorsed in last month's parliamentary
elections, and Mr Khatami condemned the attempted assassination
yesterday as the work of "terrorists".
Mr Hajjarian's columnist Akbar Gangi was quoted in this newspaper last
week as asking why Mr Rafsanjani claimed he did not know about the
killings during his presidency. Mr Gangi referred to the "death list"
officials as the "Dungeon of Ghosts" upon whom light should be thrown to
establish their identities. In Iran, 1,000cc motorcycles can only be
used - by law - by members of the security forces.
Like the president's brother Mohamed-Reza - now the leader of the
largest reformist party in parliament - Mr Hajjarian was one of the
students who took over the United States embassy in Tehran in 1980. He
was one of the founders of the Intelligence Ministry.
Although breathing with the help of a respirator and initially in a
coma, Mr Hajjarian was last night said to be improving but still in
danger. The Iranian Ministry of Culture, which is in the hands of Mr
Khatami's supporters, said yesterday that Mr Hajjarian's would-be
assassins were "opponents of freedom" but that "bullets cannot halt the
establishment of democracy in Iran". President Khatami said that the
gunmen had "no place among the people".
The "Dungeon of Ghosts", it seems, is still in being.
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 2000