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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 2000 to 14 Mar 2000
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There are 16 messages totalling 949 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Payvand: Satire?: The simple equation of violence
2. IRNA :Explanations by the officer charged with investigating Hajjarian
3. Saeed Hajjarian Is Fighting For His Life
4. Iranian plane lands in Pakistan after fault -TV
5. an reformers blame hardliners for violence
6. Iran's Zoroastrian high priest dies
7. U.S. could make Iran trade announcement this week
8. U.S. May Ease Iranian Sanctions
9. UNHCR says Iran deporting Afghans despite pact
10. Iranian exiles says foiled attacks
11. Iran Opposition Group Makes Claim
12. Iranians Urged To Pray for Reformer
13. IRNA: nelson mandela condemns attempt on hajjarian's life
14. IRNA: karroubi, tajzadeh on assassination attempt on hajjarian
15. Iranian judiciary says hopes for acquittal of Jews
16. Are hardliners taking aim at reformists?


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 09:48:06 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Payvand: Satire?: The simple equation of violence

Payvand's Iran News ...

03/13/00 Satire?: The simple equation of violence

By Ebrahim Nabavi Chehel Sotoon column, Asr-e Azadegan daily 13 March

The news bangs on the head like a hammer: Saeed Hajjarian is
assassinated. The heart and the hand have no motive to write anything
that makes you happy and hopeful. I have nothing more to say.

The time bomb of the gentlemen has started ticking. As expected, the
Iranian nation is again paying the penalty of its choice in the
election. Losing social basis and political power day by day, those who
praise violence have started their death game. But this game is
unquestionably their most dangerous risk. This time they will be
annihilated in the hurricane of public opinion. If they are lucky
enough, they will be eliminated only from the political history of Iran.

It is 20 days that Akbar Ganji and reformist journalists are talking
about assassinations that are expected to happen. The decision-making
center for the assassinations is the very place which has been
theorizing and managing violence against Khatami, reforms, intellectuals
and the whole nation for the past two years…The official publications of
the terrorists have openly announced that the only way to oppose public
opinion is promoting violence.

Theoreticians of violence and terror are still provoking, and the
simpletons or official and semi-official agents beat up and wound. The
knowledgeable, Moslem gentlemen officially and openly teach the theory
of violence in Friday prayers. In Tehran and Qom, they chant “Saeed
Hajjarian should be executed”. And in open daylight, in the middle of a
street, Saeed Hajjarian is assassinated by riders of a motorbike which
is only usable by the permit of particular organizations.

It is a simple equation: A group has announced that they will break the
major figures of the 2nd of Khordad. A group has said that they intend
to drag the country into violence. Certain individuals and media have
provided the theoretical basis for terror. One of the threatened ones
has been assassinated.

Again and as in the past, the gentlemen and the great ones who sharpen
the knives of political butchers and give firing order to
violence-loving dwarfs will shed crocodile’s tears as of tomorrow,
calling the assassination of Hajjarian the plot of foreigners.

Discovering a terrorist network in this country is not a difficult task;
bur courage is needed to at least announce which rogue elements have
bypassed which boss in which organization, and committed the
assassination this time.

Translated for by Kaveh Basmenji


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 09:57:59 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA :Explanations by the officer charged with investigating Hajjarian

Explanations by the officer charged with investigating Hajjarian
assassination Tehran, March 13, IRNA -- Colonel Hussein Mostofi, officer
chared with investigating the case of the assassination attempt against
Hajjarian, a member of the Tehran city council and managing director of
the daily Sobh-e Emrooz, commented on the terrorist act in detail.

He said according to the eye-witnesses, a dark-red cc 1000 or 1300 had
been rolling up and down behesht street just seconds before the
assassination bid against Hajjarian took place.

In an interview with IRNA Monday, colonel Mostofi said seconds before
the car carrying Hajjarian stopped outside the Tehran city hall, two
persons riding a powerful cc 1000-1300 had come to a halt near the
victim's car. Hajjarian was approaching the entrance of the Tehran city
council premises while one of the cyclists stepped toward him. He called
Hajjarian and upon the victim's turning his face, the cyclist targetted
his pistol toward him and shot him from a distance of 1-1.5 meter.

The assailant keeping a 7.65 caliber pistol of the type generally made
in eastern countries targeted the forehead of Hajjarian and shot him.
The bullet hit Hajjarian's cheek and lodged in top of his spine, he

After shooting his victim in cold blood, the assailant joined his
companion on the motercycle and escaped the scene immediately.

Another member of the Tehran city council, the gate keeper of the
council building as well as a number of passer-bys who witnessed the
assassination attempt have helped the police with details of the
assailant's physical charactristics.

A foreign tv cameraman, who had arrived at the scene a few minutes after
the attack has managed to film the scene only after the accident.

As for the assailant's physical features, the colonel said based on the
information colllected, the assailant was a 26-28 year old man bearing a
light-colored beared and dressed in a leather coat with a medical
adhesive bond on his nose. He was smaller than Hajjarian in stature.

The colonel said a thing that can help the police recognize the
attackers is identifying the individuals who use these high-power
motorcycle. Currently the LEF personnals in charge of the case are
identifying those individuals or organanizaiton which are allowed to use
these types of motorcycles. Some of them were likely to have been
circulating on the capital streets on the day of the terrorist act, he

He said that the officers will also gather information from workshops
repairing these sorts of motorcycles. The colonel further mentioned the
police phone numbers though which the people could inform the police of
further information to help them in the case.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:22:31 EST
Subject: Saeed Hajjarian Is Fighting For His Life

Saeed Hajjarian Is Fighting For His Life
Tehran, March 14 (Par Monthly Journal) – Saeed Hajjarian is fighting for his
life in Sina hospital with a bullet lodged in his neck and Doctors treating
leading Iranian reformer Saeed Hajarian held out little hope for his recovery
following a gun attack on Sunday.
"The patient is in a coma and has suffered irreversible brain damage as the
blood vessels taking oxygen to his brain were cut for several minutes," Dr.
Mohammad Ghodsi (consultant neurologist) told reporters.

Hajarian "was not breathing" when he arrived at the capital's Sina hospital,
said Ghodsi, spokesman for the team treating the former Deputy intelligence

Earlier another doctor told state radio that Hajarian's condition Was stable.

His condition "has not changed much compared with last night and we Can say
that his state is stable," said Dr. Mohammad-Reza Zafar-Ghandi.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:52:02 EST
Subject: Iranian plane lands in Pakistan after fault -TV

Iranian plane lands in Pakistan after fault -TV

TEHRAN, March 14 (Reuters) - An Iranian passenger plane on a domestic flight
landed at Karachi airport in neighbouring Pakistan on Tuesday after
developing a technical fault, Iran's state television reported.

The plane, flying from the southeastern city of Kerman to Tehran, headed
instead for Karachi ``because of a technical fault and after losing radio
contact,'' the television quoted Behzad Mazaheri, head of Iran's civil
aviation agency, as saying.

``All passengers are in good health and...the plane is to fly to Tehran in
the next few hours,'' Mazaheri said without giving further details.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:55:41 EST
Subject: an reformers blame hardliners for violence

an reformers blame hardliners for violence

By Ali Raiss-Tousi

TEHRAN, March 14 (Reuters) - Iranian political factions closed ranks on
Tuesday to condemn the shooting of a prominent reformer but split over the
blame as reformists accused hardliners of prompting the attack with
inflammatory speeches.

Reformers close to President Mohammad Khatami singled out Ayatollah Mohammad
Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, a hardliner known for his virulent attacks on democracy
and attempts to justify violence to stop reforms which he sees as threats to
Islamic values.

``The venomous ideas Mesbah-Yazdi at Friday prayers have laid
the ground for acts of terrorism such as the assassination attempt on Saeed
Hajjarian,'' Mohsen Armin, a leftist Islamist leader recently elected to
parliament, told a student meeting at Tehran University.

The auditorium was packed with students angry over Sunday's shooting of
Hajjarian, an architect of Iran's reforms, who was in a coma at a hospital
with a bullet lodged in his neck.

``Hajjarian's shooting is probably linked to the propagation of violence from
official podiums...I have often said that such words would lead to incidents
like this,'' said Mehdi Karrubi, a top clerical ally of Khatami, quoted by
Iran's news agency IRNA.

Conservatives blamed dissidents and foreign enemies.

``The cowardly attempt on Mr Hajjarian's life is among the crimes of the
revolution's enemies who depend on foreigners,'' IRNA quoted parliament
speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri as saying.


The intelligence ministry said it now had ``clearer leads'' in the hunt for
the gunmen after receiving numerous tips from the public, IRNA said. State
television has shown composite pictures of the two suspects, who appear to be
in their 20s.

``By terrorist acts..., enemies want to portray Iran as being in a political
convulsion,'' a ministry official said.

Hajjarian's colleagues at the Tehran city council have turned over to
authorities a tape containing threats against him, which he had received 20
days before the shooting, IRNA said. Hajjarian often angered Islamic
hardliners through his outspokenly reformist newspaper, Sobh-e Emrouz.

The lead investigator, Colonel Hossein Mostofi, said police were focusing on
the high-powered motorcycle used by the gunmen in their getaway. Such
vehicles are restricted by law to security personnel because they were often
used in political murders after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

That fact has heightened suspicions among Hajjarian's reformist allies that
the would-be assassins were linked to rogue elements inside the security
services, who are blamed for serial murders of dissidents in the past decade.

Hajjarian, a former deputy intelligence minister, remained unconscious in
intensive care as doctors scrambled to save him.

They said his prospects for recovery remained uncertain.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:56:20 EST
Subject: Iran's Zoroastrian high priest dies

Iran's Zoroastrian high priest dies

TEHRAN, March 14 (Reuters) - Rostam Shahzadi, the high priest of Iran's
Zoroastrian community, has died at the age of 89, his sister said on Tuesday.

She told Reuters that a funeral would be held on Wednesday for Shahzadi, who
died after a long illness on Monday.

The Zoroastrians, who number about 30,000 in Iran and about 300,000
worldwide, are one of the country's officially recognised minorities. They
elect one representative to the 290-seat parliament.

Zoroastrianism, one of the earliest monotheistic religions along with
Judaism, was the state religion of the ancient, pre-Islamic Persian empire.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 16:57:05 EST
Subject: U.S. could make Iran trade announcement this week

U.S. could make Iran trade announcement this week

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - The United States might make an announcement
this week on trade sanctions with Iran, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart
said on Tuesday.

``There may be an announcement later this week but I'm not going to announce
anything today,'' Lockhart said.

He was responding to a report in the newspaper USA Today that the United
States planned to announce on Friday that it is easing a ban on non-energy
imports from Iran.

USA Today said Washington would lift the ban on imports of Iran's three main
non-oil exports -- carpets, pistachios and caviar -- as a goodwill gesture to
the reformers who won last month's parliamentary elections in Iran.

The Los Angeles Times carried a similar report last week, without setting
Friday as the date for an announcement.

Lockhart refused to answer questions on what sort of announcement could be

``As we have said, obviously there are some positive results from the recent
elections there. We are looking and considering ways to encourage a
constructive dialogue,'' he said.

USA Today said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright or a senior State
Department official would announce the move at a meeting in Washington on
Friday sponsored by the American- Iranian Council. It said Iran's ambassador
to the United Nations had been invited to attend.

A State Department official said: ``A senior administration official will
address the conference (on Friday).'' She declined to say who it would be.

``There are important changes taking place in Iran. We are considering ways
to respond,'' the official added.

The United States has been trying for years to open a dialogue with the
Iranian government, which has repeatedly rebuffed U.S. overtures. The
reformist victory offers the best chance in years for better relations, U.S.
officials say.

The State Department official: ``We believe that it is important to address
the issues of concern to Iran and the U.S., and we believe the best way to do
that is directly.''

She noted that President Bill Clinton on Monday extended a ban on U.S.
investment in Iranian energy projects but also referred to the U.S. decision
last year to allow sales of U.S. food and medical products to Iran.

``Sanctions can be modified at any time, as was the case last year when we
amended our global sanctions to exempt agricultural and medical supplies,''
she said.

Washington banned the non-oil imports from Iran after the seizure of the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

President Bill Clinton, explaining his decision to extend the ban on energy
investments in Iran, said on Monday that Tehran continued to support
``international terrorism'' and undermine Middle East peace talks.

``The actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to threaten the
national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States,'' he

The statement sparked sharp reaction from Tehran, which cited the move as an
example of double standards, given recent conciliatory remarks by U.S.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:01:49 EST
Subject: U.S. May Ease Iranian Sanctions

U.S. May Ease Iranian Sanctions

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Even as it extends sanctions against Iran, the Clinton
administration is moving to encourage reformists in that nation. ``Sanctions
can be modified at any time,'' a State Department spokesman said today.

Reports suggest the administration is considering easing a U.S. ban on
imports of carpets, caviar and pistachio nuts.

An announcement is expected Friday, when a senior U.S. official, possibly
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, addresses a meeting in Washington
sponsored by the American-Iranian Council, a private group based in
Princeton, N.J.

``We believe there are important changes in Iran, and we are considering ways
to respond to those changes,'' the deputy State Department spokesman, James
B. Foley, said today.

On Monday, President Clinton ordered sanctions on Iran extended for another
year. This includes a ban on oil contracts with Iran,

``The actions and the 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, continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy and
economy of the United States,'' Clinton said in a letter to Congress.

But Foley said ``sanctions can be modified at any time.''

Last April, for instance, the United States exempted agricultural and medical
products from sanctions on Iran and other countries.

``We are looking for ways to respond to changes in Iran, and to advance
prospects for a better relationship,'' Foley said. ``It is something that is
under internal consideration - how best to respond.''

At Iran's mission to the United Nations in New York, spokesman Hossein Nosrat
said his government had heard from press reports that some sanctions would be
lifted. ``We do not have any information on it,'' he said.

Similarly, Foley and other administration officials declined to say
specifically whether the ban on imports of Iranian carpets, caviar and
pistachio nuts would be lifted.

But he stressed that ``important changes are occurring in Iran and we are
considering ways to respond to those changes.''

The Clinton administration has offered a government-to-government dialogue
with Iran, but Tehran has not responded.

On Monday, Albright said again that at any meeting with Iranians the
administration would make a point of its finding that Iran sponsors
terrorism, is aiming for an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and is
trying to sabotage Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

The United States imposed an embargo on imports from Iran in 1987. Official
ties were broken after Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in
1979 and took Americans there captive, holding them as hostage until 1981.

In February, a large turnout of voters balloting for parliament
overwhelmingly chose candidates consider to be moderates and reformers.

Albright hailed the results as a message to the Iranian government that the
people ``want some change.''


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:02:23 EST
Subject: UNHCR says Iran deporting Afghans despite pact

UNHCR says Iran deporting Afghans despite pact

GENEVA, March 14 (Reuters) - The United Nations refugee agency said on
Tuesday that it had complained to President Mohammad Khatami that Iranian
officials were forcibly deporting Afghan refugees despite a voluntary
repatriation accord about to go into effect.

Spokesman Jacques Franquin said that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) had received reports that ``significant numbers'' of Afghans had been
arrested in the suburbs of Tehran and deported this month.

``We have reports that since the beginning of the month, Iranian authorities
have arrested and deported people back to Afghanistan -- men, women and
children,'' Franquin told Reuters.

``We have complained to the authorities, that is, expressed our concern, to
President Khatami and relevant authorities yesterday (Monday). We were hoping
for a positive answer, but it seems deportations are still going on,'' he

Iran is home to an estimated 1.4 million Afghan refugees who have fled
violence, a caseload originating in 1980.

The alleged arrests and deportations contravene an agreement signed on
February 14 between a senior UNHCR official and the head of Iran's Bureau for
Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, according to the Geneva-based agency.

Under the agreement, to come into force on April 1, Afghan refugees without
proper documents have six months to come forward and either apply for return
home or make a case for remaining in Iran.

UNHCR, which has said it will be given a say in determining the status of
those who come forward, maintains that all returns will be voluntary. It
hopes that some 100,000 will go home voluntarily under the six-month accord.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:05:12 EST
Subject: Iranian exiles says foiled attacks

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Iranian exiles says foiled attacks

BAGHDAD, March 14 (Reuters) - The Iraq-based Iranian opposition group
Mujahideen Khalq said Iran had attacked two of its bases inside the Iraqi
border on Tuesday but were beaten off.

``At about 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) this morning, the clerical regime launched an
air strike on Camp Anzali...near the city of Jalawla, but the attacking
fighter-bombers were fended off by the camp's air defence units and forced to
flee before they could carry out their mission,'' said a statement faxed to
Reuters in Baghdad.

Jalawla is 120 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad and about 60 km (35 miles)
from the border with Iran.

The Mujahideen, Iran's main armed opposition, had claimed responsibility for
a mortar attack on Monday on a Tehran residential district near a
Revolutionary Guards base.

The group's statement on Tuesday said that two Pilatus reconnaissance planes
had flown over its camp before the attack.

It said the leader of the group, Massoud Rajavi, urged ``the U.N.
Secretary-General and the Security Council to condemn this flagrant act of
aggression and outrageous violation of the council's resolutions.''

A later statement by the group said Mujahideen had foiled an attack by gunmen
at their camp west of Baghdad on Tuesday.

In a second faxed statement, the group said the attackers had driven to the
camp in a white automobile and fired at a security patrol.

``The terrorists opened fire indiscriminately, seriously wounding an Iraqi
civilian in the face,'' the statement said adding that the attackers fled
when the group returned fire.

There was no immediate confirmation of the Mujahideen reports from the Iraqi

The Mujahideen use Iraq as a springboard for attacks into Iran and have
several bases equipped with tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships close to
the Iranian border.

Their bases have been the target of air and rocket attacks from inside Iran.
Their office in Baghdad, ringed by a concrete wall, has weathered several
mortar and bomb attacks.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:05:49 EST
Subject: Iran Opposition Group Makes Claim

Iran Opposition Group Makes Claim

.c The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An Iranian opposition group in exile claimed that
Iranian jets tried to bomb its military camp in Iraq but were driven off by
the camp's air defense units.

The Mujahedeen Khalq said in a statement that the jets wanted to attack Camp
Anzali, 75 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The statement could not be independently confirmed.

``The attacking fighter-bombers were fended off ... and forced to flee before
they could carry out their mission,'' the group said in the statement.

The Khalq's statement came a day after it claimed responsibility for a mortar
attack on an apartment block in the Iranian capital of Tehran. The Khalq said
it was targeting a military base, but the mortars missed it by about 300 feet
and fell on the apartment complex, injuring at least four people and damaging
several cars.

The Mujahedeen Khalq seeks the violent overthrow of Iran's Islamic government
and frequently attacks military units near the border.

Anzali is one of several armed bases the group operates along the border with
Iran. The camps are equipped with tanks, armored personnel carriers and
helicopter gunships.

Mujahedeen bases and offices in Iraq have repeatedly been the target of air
and bomb attacks.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:06:49 EST
Subject: Iranians Urged To Pray for Reformer

Iranians Urged To Pray for Reformer

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Tehran's city council urged Iranians today to pray for a
reformer gravely wounded in an assassination attempt, an appeal that in this
country usually indicates little hope for recovery and imminent death.

Saeed Hajjarian, who is in his late 40s, has been in a coma with a bullet
lodged in the back of his neck since Sunday, when he was shot in the face by
an unknown assailant.

Doctors have said that Hajjarian, a council member and the architect of
President Mohammad Khatami's reform movement, has suffered severe brain

``All of the people of Tehran are urged to pray for the well-being of Mr.
Saeed Hajjarian in the mosques after evening prayers today,'' the council
said in a statement read on state radio.

The head of the council said today that he has given a cassette tape
containing recorded death threats against Hajjarian to the country's highest
security body, the Supreme National Security Council.

``He had been receiving death threats for three weeks. If the council does
not do anything about the cassette we will release it to the press,''
Rahmatollah Khosravi told reporters. He didn't say if the threats were
delivered on the cassette or if they contained recordings of threats made on

Hajjarian angered powerful hard-liners by making what they considered to be
provocative statements during last month's parliamentary elections, which the
hard-liners lost for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution brought
the Shiite Muslim clergy to power.

No one claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt, but pro-reform
newspapers and Hajjarian's allies blamed hard-liners.

Hajjarian was shot once outside the council building by a gunman riding a
motorcycle driven by an accomplice. Both fled, and are still at large. Their
motorbike had a high-capacity engine used only by security forces and police.

Doctor told reporters that Hajjarian was in critical but stable condition.

``Fortunately, the bullet did not pass through the brain and the seizure is
under control and his blood pressure is under control,'' said Jamshid Ghajar,
a New York-based Iranian-American brain surgeon who arrived Monday to help
with Hajjarian's treatment.

A group of more than 100 people kept a vigil outside Sina Hospital, where
Hajjarian is being treated. The crowd, made up mainly of students, sat on
newspapers spread out on the street and waited for the hourly updates on
Hajjarian's health given by his family members.

Khatami stopped by Monday night, and his aides said he was overcome with
emotion after seeing Hajjarian's condition.

Once a hard-liner himself, Hajjarian began to speak out for freedom of
expression and greater political plurality after being silenced for opposing
the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani, who stepped down in 1997. Hajjarian
later became an adviser to Khatami.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:05:42 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: nelson mandela condemns attempt on hajjarian's life

thr 049
nelson mandela condemns attempt on hajjarian's life
tehran, march 14, irna -- former south african president nelson
mandela in a telephone conversation with president mohammad khatami
here tuesday congratulated him and the iranian people on the
successful parliamentary elections and expressed regret over the
assassination attempt on saeed hajjarian.
the information and news department of the president's office
reported that mandela also called iran a 'great civilization', adding
the recently concluded parliamentary election has brought iran to the
forefront of world public attention.
president khatami said that by conducting the parliamentary
elections, the iranian nation has achieved its goal of independence,
freedom and the islamic republic. he added that attempts by enemies to
create tensions is only a natural response to the country's events.
''these acts do not have any effect on us and we are even more
determined to achieve our goals,'' the president said.
''we desire a world in which humanity, rationality and justice
would replace injustice, terror and discrimination'', khatami
he further praised mandela's role in establishing democracy and
his defence of human rights.
mandela invited khatami to pay an official visit to south africa.
::irna 14/03/2000 18:49


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:08:15 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: karroubi, tajzadeh on assassination attempt on hajjarian

karroubi, tajzadeh on assassination attempt on hajjarian
tehran, march 14, irna -- mp-elect from tehran, mehdi karroubi said
here on tuesday that the attempt on the life of saeed hajjarian had
probably been connected to the spread of violence through public fora.
karroubi told irna after visiting hajjarian, the tehran city
council (tcc) vice-chairman and managing editor of daily 'sobh-e
emruz', that he had repeatedly given warnings, both in public and
private, of the adverse consequences of such (violent) discussions.
hajjarian, who was shot by two yet unidentified gunmen outside the
city council office in central tehran early sunday, is being
hospitalized at tehran's sina hospital.
karroubi said (the february 18 sixth majlis) election led to the
victory of reformists and the move (the assassination attempt) was the
outcome of the bitter side of the issue (reformists' victory).
he said it is not a complicated job for the security officials to
track down those responsible and called on the security and
disciplinary officials to identify which group had taken such a move
and with what motive.
he said that those responsible should be identified as soon as
possible and the public should be kept informed of the process.
meanwhile, mostafa tajzadeh, the deputy interior minister for
political and social affairs, told irna that hajjarian had been the
target of assassination because of his reformist ideas after nation's
great victory in the february 18 parliamentary election.
tajzadeh said both hajjarian and late martyr motahhari faced
similar fate, i.e. bullets had been fired on their brain. this can be
interpreted that their thought had been the main reason for the
attempts on their lives, he added.
the sound and glorious holding of the parliamentary election
marked a great victory for the iranian nation in the year of the late
imam khomeini, said tajzadeh, adding that it has prompted ill-wishers
of iran's prosperity to create crisis and tension and resort to guns
and violence so as to intimidate the vigilant and freedom loving
iranian nation.
virtually, those responsible for the criminal move have resorted
to violence in order to prevent this great nation from realizing its
will and the right to choose, notwithstanding the fact that they would
not attain their goals due to the awareness and vigilance of iranian
citizens in deciding their fate.
he said intelligence, security and disciplinary systems have
started a large manhunt for the agents responsible for the crime.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:09:21 EST
Subject: Iranian judiciary says hopes for acquittal of Jews

Iranian judiciary says hopes for acquittal of Jews

TEHRAN, March 14 (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday he
hoped 13 Iranian Jews awaiting trial for alleged spying for Israel will be
acquitted and freed.
"We all hope and desire that none of them is convicted, and hope that they
are all innocent and will be acquitted," Hossein Sadeqi told Reuters.

"The scale of justice should weigh heavier towards leniency and compassion.
The interpretation of the law should be in favour of the accused," he added.

"This means that we should convict them only if the charges against them are
clearly proven. If there are any doubts, they should be acquitted."

But Sadeqi said it was up to the court to decide the fate of the Jews,
arrested along with eight Moslems last year and charged with passing secret
information to Israel, Iran's arch-foe.

Three of the accused, who face lighter charges, were freed on bail last
month. All 13 are to stand trial in the southern city of Shiraz on April 13.

Israel has denied any links to the defendants. The case has caused an
international outcry and hampered reformist President Mohammad Khatami's
drive for better ties with the West.

Sadeqi's remarks reflect a more moderate shift in judicial policies since
the appointment last year of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi as head of
the judiciary.

The ayatollah, an Islamic scholar, has promised sweeping reforms in the
judiciary, traditionally controlled by hardline conservatives.

Hashemi-Shahroudi's predecessor had called for the Jews to be executed if
they were found guilty of spying. But Khatami has promised a fair trial for
the suspects in an apparent attempt to deflect international criticism.

Sadeqi said he doubted the case would be influenced by political
considerations, insisting that Iran's judiciary acted independently.

"We hope the judge will be immune to all the pressures and publicity
campaigns and only pay attention to the law to make sure justice is done,"
he said.

Sadeqi said the families of three of the jailed suspects had decided to
appoint their own lawyer, but the rest were non-committal.

He said the bar association, which is independent of the judiciary, would
assign public defendants for the others if they failed to name their own
defence lawyers.

The court is yet to announce whether the trial will be held in public.

Iran's Jewish community has shrunk to some 35,000 members from more than
80,000 before the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many have emigrated to the United
States and Israel.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 17:11:06 EST
Subject: Are hardliners taking aim at reformists?

Are hardliners taking aim at reformists?

Yesterday's shooting of Iranian reformist follows conservatives' big loss in

Scott Peterson
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor


Amid increasing warnings in Iran that hardline elements could react violently
to conservative defeat in elections last month, a daylight assassination
attempt yesterday in a Tehran street left one of Iran's leading reformers
seriously wounded.

No one claimed responsibility for the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian, a close
ally of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, and managing editor of the
cutting-edge reformist newspaper Sobh-e-Emrouz.

But reformist politicians, editors, and intellectuals have been targeted many
times since Mr. Khatami was elected in a landslide in May 1997, promising the
"rule of law" and social reform of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Hardline elements have used militant thugs knows as Ansar e-Hizbullah and
Basiji groups in the past to violently counter reformists in the streets, and
rogue security elements have admitted before to killing dissidents.

"This is a very important event, because it is a major, politically inspired
terrorist action," says a senior Western diplomat in Tehran. "This figure was
very important in the political landscape of the country. This man is not a

Witnesses described how two assailants wearing motorcycle helmets approached
Hajjarian outside the Tehran municipal offices, where he holds a seat on the
City Council, then shot him twice before escaping on a high-powered

Speculation was rife in Tehran yesterday as to the identity of the culprits.
Motorcycles of the size used in the shooting can only be used by police -
because in the past they had been used as getaway vehicles in political

Armed guards at the municipal offices also did not chase after the assailants.

"Historically, this is the way the right reacts when it loses," says Shirzad
Bozorgmehr, the deputy editor of the English-language Iran News, in Tehran.
"There are two possibilities: It could be the MKO (the Iranian opposition
Mujahideen e-Khalq Organization) or rogue elements allied to extremists."

But speculation focused on the hardliners, he said, whose track record in
this regard is long proven: "People are drawing their own conclusions."

SOMBER MOMENT: A special edition of the newspaper Sobh-e Emrouz pays tribute
to leading reformist, Saeed Hajjarian, who was seriously wounded in an
assassination attempt blamed on hardliners.

Parliamentary elections last month were swept by reform candidates,
confirming - with 83 percent of eligible voters turning out - the popular
mandate for Khatami's reform agenda. Scores of big-name conservative
politicians were ousted and humiliated by poor showings, and analysts then
predicted a violent backlash.

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Calling the perpetrators "terrorists," President Khatami said of the attack:
"The enemies of freedom wrongly believe that they can attain their goals by
assassinating a pious intellectual who was serving the nation."

The Ministry of Culture, controlled by reformists, declared: "Bullets cannot
halt the trend of the establishment of democracy in Iran."

Iran's Supreme National Security Council [SNSC], the Islamic Republic's top
security body, called an emergency session within hours and set up a special
operations center.

"Those who chose Hajjarian to be their assassination target knew they would
create a crisis in the country by doing so," said Ali Rabiei, secretary of
the SNSC.

In the all-out battle between the factions, few methods have remained
off-limits. Conservatives until last month used control of the parliament and
the judiciary to imprison popular reform politicians - even such figures as
cleric and former Interior Minister Abdullah Nouri, whose revolutionary
credentials are ironclad.

Student protests and peaceful lectures by reformist professors have in the
past been broken up by chain and truncheon wielding militants, and
heavy-handed police brutality against students protesting the closure of a
newspaper led to days of street rioting last July.

A flood of new reform newspapers like Mr. Hajjarian's have been a special
source of vilification for conservatives. Hajjarian himself - a former
hardliner credited with founding Iran's notorious intelligence ministry -
wrote some of the boldest criticisms of the "rogue" death squad that was
found responsible for a series of murders of intellectuals in 1998.

REFORMIST: Saeed Hajjarian. a leading voice for freedom.

That event - and Khatami's ability to force the intelligence ministry into an
unprecedented admission of guilt by its own people - shook some of the
pillars of unaccountable rule that have dominated Iran's political life for
much of a generation.

Since the election, Hajjarian has made what were considered to be provocative
statements about the reformist victory, and has received numerous written
death threats - some from extremists reportedly linked to the previous
killings of intellectuals.

By coincidence, the Iran News published an editorial yesterday morning -
which hit the streets just hours before the 8:35 a.m. shooting - warning the
intelligence and security services to take precautions "before the actions of
some extremist and prejudiced individuals threaten the security of the
country once again and endanger the lives of our cultural architects."

The editorial reminded readers that the arrest of an intelligence-agency
death squad a year ago yielded a list of names of 200 cultural, artistic and
media figures to be murdered "over a period of time


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 2000 to 14 Mar 2000