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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Mar 2000 to 15 Mar 2000
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There are 11 messages totalling 720 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iraq Says it Shot Down Iran Plane
2. Clinton signs bill to punish Russia for Iran help
3. World Bank gets ready for talks on loans for Iran
4. Moscow Criticizes New U.S. Law
5. European rabbis urge fair trial for Jews in Iran
6. Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away
7. Russia blasts American law on Iran
8. Fwd: Khatami Administration Should Respond about Assassination
9. Fwd: Breaking Vows Made by Khatami
10. Fwd: Bombs raise tension in Tehran
11. PEN protests the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:23:03 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iraq Says it Shot Down Iran Plane

Iraq Says it Shot Down Iran Plane

.c The Associated Press


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi anti-aircraft defenses shot down an unmanned
Iranian plane Wednesday, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

INA said the drone was downed early Wednesday close to the borders with Iran,
but it did not specify the location.

``Our heroic air defenses and army units ... shot down the drone after
violating our national skies,'' the agency said.

Iran had no immediate reaction to the claim.

It came one day after an Iraqi-based opposition group claimed that Iranian
jets tried to bomb its military camp in Iraq but were driven off by air
defense units.

Iraq has declined comment on Tuesday's reported attack on the military camp
run by the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen Khalq.

Iran and Iraq fought an eight-year war that ended in 1988 with a
U.N.-brokered cease-fire. Relations, however, remain tense.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:25:27 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Clinton signs bill to punish Russia for Iran help

Clinton signs bill to punish Russia for Iran help


WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton on Tuesday signed
legislation designed to punish Russia and other countries if they help Iran
develop weapons of mass destruction.

The Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 handed Clinton's administration the
discretionary authority to impose sanctions on any country that supplies
nuclear, biological or chemical weapons equipment or technology to Tehran.

The U.S. Senate approved the bill on Feb. 24 after the House of
Representatives passed it last year. It is aimed at prodding the Clinton
administration to take a more aggressive stance on Russian weapons
proliferation to Iran.

``I fully share the Congress' objective of promoting nonproliferation and
combating Iran's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and missile
delivery systems,'' Clinton said in a statement.

``This issue remains at the top of the agenda with Russia as well as with
other countries whose companies may be providing such assistance to Iran.''

When the Senate approved the bill, the White House had said it thought the
new legislation was unnecessary, that there already existed sufficient tools
to impose penalties on Iran.

Bipartisan support for the legislation grew out of Republican criticism of
the administration's Russia policy and intelligence reports that Russian
firms, scientists and academics are top providers of sophisticated weapons
technology and materiel to Iran.

Yet the bill was passed amid hopeful signs of a possible easing of tensions
between Washington and Tehran after the Iranian reformists' election victory
last month.

Clinton said the bill as passed was less problematic than the version the
House approved and will not harm U.S. efforts to stop international
cooperation with Iran's missile programmes.

He also said he wanted to make it clear that Russia continued to be a valued
partner in efforts to build an International Space Station. The new
legislation has no impact on that, he said.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:26:00 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: World Bank gets ready for talks on loans for Iran

World Bank gets ready for talks on loans for Iran

By Janet Guttsman


WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - The World Bank is preparing to discuss loans
to Iran for the first time since 1994 and the controversial projects should
soon go to the World Bank's board, President James Wolfensohn said on
Tuesday.

Wolfensohn told a press luncheon that the two proposed loans, worth a total
of $231 million, would help Iran fund projects for sewerage and education.
But he admitted he did not know if the bank's 24-member board would approve
the credits, which the United States has already said it will vote against.

``There is a split of opinion on the board,'' Wolfensohn said at the National
Press Club. ``That split of opinion is (on the one hand) that the new regime
in Iran is one to whom we should reach out and there are others who have the
view that the new regime is one to whom we should not reach out.''

Iranian reformers won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections
last month, raising speculation that the country would be less hostile toward
the United States, which Tehran long condemned as the Great Satan.

Wolfensohn added: ``I am doing the only thing that an intelligent person who
wants to keep his job should do and that is to modestly move forward, see if
there are proposals and then take them to the wise counsels of our board. My
guess is that we will do that some time soon.''

Other bank officials said bank experts were discussing the projects with
Iranian officials at meetings in Paris later this month. If things went well,
the two projects could go to the bank's board in late April or early May.

The State Department has already said it will oppose any World Bank loans to
Iran, which is one of the countries on a Washington blacklist as ``state
sponsors of terrorism.''

The United States has only 18 percent of the votes at the World Bank and
loans need only a simple majority of votes.

But the bank, which traditionally operates by consensus, is often reluctant
to press ahead with loans if Washington has made its disapproval clear and if
Washington has won backing from other major shareholders.

``I do not have the privilege of making the political judgments,'' Wolfensohn
said. ``I have the responsibility of looking at the issues of poverty and
development and this thing has been dragging on for more than two years now
and the feeling is such that we should bring it to the board.''

The World Bank's last loan to Iran was in 1994, before the United States
accused Tehran of sponsoring state terrorism and imposed new sanctions. Iran
denies the charges and its ministers now want Washington to modify its
stance.

The larger of the two loans, for $145 million, would improve waste water
collection and distribution for some 2.1 million people in greater Tehran,
allowing private sector involvement in the sector.

The second loan, for $86 million, would improve the quality of primary health
care and family planning services in both rural and urban areas.

The World Bank's own figures say Iran's gross domestic product was $1,780 per
person in 1997, the last year for which figures are available. This puts
Iran's per capital income above Eastern European countries like Bulgaria or
Romania, but below that for diamond-rich Namibia.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 14:33:30 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Moscow Criticizes New U.S. Law

Moscow Criticizes New U.S. Law

.c The Associated Press


MOSCOW (AP) - Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of overstepping
its powers by adopting a bill that would cut U.S. payments to Russia's space
agency if Russian firms were found to have helped Iran develop nuclear arms.

President Clinton signed a bill Tuesday barring ``extraordinary payments'' to
the space agency for the International Space Station unless the United States
confirmed Russia did not transfer missile technology or nuclear, chemical or
biological weapons to Iran in the previous year.

Clinton said he wanted ``to make it clear that Russia continues to be a
valued partner in the International Space Station.'' Clinton vetoed a
stronger version of the bill in 1998.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that officials in Moscow
``have, of course, noted the comment by the U.S. President ... that the new
legislation will not block the continuation of Russian-American cooperation,
including in space.''

But the ministry said the new bill ``represented yet another attempt to give
internal U.S legislation an extraterritorial nature, which goes completely
against international law.''

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Khlebanov said he ``expressed Russia's
disagreement with this discriminatory law'' during a meeting with U.S. Vice
President Al Gore's security adviser Leon Fuerth, the Interfax news agency
reported.

The foreign ministry said Russia intended to continue arms-reduction
cooperation, but said bills such as the new Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000
could ``significantly undermine'' U.S-Russian arms reduction efforts.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 14:34:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: European rabbis urge fair trial for Jews in Iran

European rabbis urge fair trial for Jews in Iran


BRATISLAVA, March 15 (Reuters) - Leading European rabbis urged their
governments on Wednesday to push for a fair trial of Jews in Iran accused of
spying for Israel.

Thirteen Jews were arrested early last year and charged with passing secret
information to Israel, Iran's arch foe. Israel has denied any links to the
defendants, three of whom were freed on bail last month.

Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said at the end of a three-day meeting
of the Conference of European Rabbis that European governments should push to
ensure that Iran opens the trial to the public.

``We are urging European governments to take a strong stand ...that this
trial be fully open to the public, open to the press, so that justice could
be seen to be done,'' he said.

The case, which is scheduled to come to court in April, has caused an
international outcry and hampered Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's drive
for better ties with the West.

Organisers said nearly 200 rabbis from countries throughout Europe attended
the conference. It was originally due to be held in Vienna but was shifted to
Bratislava in protest at the inclusion of Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom
Party in Austria's new government.

Haider -- widely condemned for his remarks seen by many as attempts to play
down the crimes of the Nazis who ruled in Austria from 1938 to 1945 -- has
since resigned as leader of the party, but said he may seek to become
chancellor in the future.

Sacks said the conference looked beyond the Austrian developments to other
countries in Europe.

``We all know that there are countries in which far-right parties have been
making a reappearance in recent years, and we are concerned about it,'' he
said.

``I don't wish to identify these countries, we all know which they
are...we're concerned not only on behalf of the Jewish community, but on
behalf of every (minority) group in Europe.''

The meeting also honoured Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Simon
Wiesenthal for his work in tracking down the perpetrators of Nazi-era war
crimes.

12:32 03-15-00

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 14:36:05 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away

Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away

By Ali Raiss-Tousi


TEHRAN, March 15 (Reuters) - Thousands of Iranian youths jumped over bonfires
in Tehran into the early morning hours of Wednesday to celebrate a
pre-Islamic festival, which has been frowned on by officials since the 1979
Islamic revolution.

Residents said police kept a low profile and largely refrained from attempts
to break-up the festivities, as they have in past years.

Young men and women mixed and danced in the streets to Iranian and Western
music, flouting Iran's Islamic rules on public behaviour. Police, for the
most part, looked on.

Residents said the atmosphere at the festival, which dates back to Iran's
pre-Islamic Zoroastrian past, was much less tense than earlier years after
city officials asked police not to interfere. Other officials rejected any
such policy change.

The festival has often been the scene of clashes between youths keen to have
fun, and police, dominated by Islamic hardliners who see the popular
tradition as a pagan rite.

State radio said a 13-year-old youth died as a result of accidental injuries
sustained during the festival of fire. Another 40 were hurt.

Authorities in the capital reported more than 70 fires and an explosion at a
house, suspected to have been used as an unlicensed firecracker factory, the
official news agency IRNA reported.

The festival is held on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Iranian year,
which this year ends on Sunday.

Authorities have in the past few years tried, with little success, to curb
the festivities on grounds of safety, citing numerous fires and injuries.

Although formally led by a reformist interior minister, Iran's police are
commanded by hardliners who are close to powerful establishment conservatives
opposed to moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 14:37:23 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Russia blasts American law on Iran

Russia blasts American law on Iran


MOSCOW, March 15 (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday denounced U.S. legislation
aimed at punishing countries helping Iran to develop weapons of mass
destruction.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Iran Nonproliferation Act
of 2000 which allows him to impose sanctions on any country supplying
nuclear, biological or chemical weapons equipment or technology to Iran.

``The law is yet another attempt to extend domestic legislation beyond U.S.
borders, which is completely against international law,'' the Russian Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.

Russia is building the $800 million Bushehr nuclear station in Iran in a deal
which the United States fears may help Tehran acquire nuclear weapons. Moscow
has dismissed such suggestions, saying the project does not violate any
international norms.

Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov said Russia was more likely to suffer
from Iranian weapons than the distant United States.

``Why are they taking us for idiots?'' Adamov told Interfax news agency. ``It
is the same as giving your neighbour a hand grenade with the safety pin out.
He will throw it at no one else but you.''

He said the U.S. law was the product of political battles ahead of the
presidential election.

The Foreign Ministry said the new legislation was destroying the legal basis
for cooperation in nuclear non-proliferation and export control and said the
blame for any future unfavourable developments in the field would rest with
Washington.

But it said Moscow was ready to continue cooperating with the United States
on non-proliferation issues.

The ministry also welcomed Clinton's comments that Russia continued to be a
valued partner in efforts to build an International Space Station, and that
the new legislation had no impact on that.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 17:24:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Khatami Administration Should Respond about Assassination

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Subject: Khatami Administration Should Respond about Assassination

Iran National Salvation Front

Asr E Azadegan

The public opinion is now demanding the Khatami administration to
explain about Hajjarian's assassination.

"When the government cannot protect top figures of the reform movement,
how could the administration undertake reforms and make promises as far as
their implementations are concerned ".


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Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 17:24:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Breaking Vows Made by Khatami

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Subject: Breaking Vows Made by Khatami

Iran National Salvation Front

Breaking Vows Made by Khatami

Azad


Houshang Golshiri, a member of Writers' Association, said the President
had promised the journalists and writers that political murders would
not
happen again. Further incidences have proved this promise a lie as
always.

The dormitory incident, closing down the newspapers and serial
assassinations were all connected to each other. "I am worried about
Akbar Ganji [journalist], Mohammad Quchani [journalist] and Ibrahim Nabavi
[satirist] and myself.

Our death is not important, what is important is the country could fall
apart should such assassination plots continue."


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Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 17:25:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Bombs raise tension in Tehran

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Subject: Bombs raise tension in Tehran

Iran National Salvation Front

The Guardian
Geneive Abdo in Tehran

Violent attempt to destabilise reform regime as explosions follow
shooting


Tuesday March 14, 2000

Mortar bombs exploded in a Tehran residential district yesterday, one
day after the attempted assassination of a leading political strategist
and adviser to President Mohammed Khatami.
The two incidents, which appeared unrelated, heightened political
tensions between the factions vying for power in Iran. Reformers blamed
conservatives for the Sunday shooting of Saeed Hajjarian, and accused
them of trying to destabilise the country.

Half a dozen mortar bombs exploded at about 1:30pm in north Tehran,
next to a base of the revolutionary guards, the highest security force in
charge of protecting the capital. Several cars bore the brunt of the
explosion, and shrapnel tore into an apartment building, witnesses said.
The building is home to five MPs, one of whom was home at the time but
was unhurt.

Four people were injured, including a gardener at the guards' complex,
whose legs were blown off, and a young woman, Mehrnaz Foroughi-Shad,
who was hit in the face with shrapnel. The Mojahedin e-Khalq, an
opposition group which appears on the US state department's terrorist
list, claimed it was behind yesterday's explosions. It had also claimed
responsibility for explosions near the presidential palace and government
buildings last month.

But other elements are suspected of trying to kill Mr Hajjarian - the
mastermind behind the reformers' victory in Iran's parliamentary
election of February 18 - who was in a critical condition at a Tehran
hospital with a bullet lodged in his neck, doctors said.

He was shot in the face at close range on Sunday morning by one gunman
and an accomplice. Witnesses and police said the attackers fled on a
1000cc motorcycle; motor bikes of this power are banned for general use
but licensed to security personnel in the intelligence ministry and the
police force.

Thge people saw the motorbike as evidence that the attackers were
hardliners in law enforcement who wanted to kill Mr Hajjarian in revenge
for the conservatives' defeat in the polls. Reformers won 29 of 30 seats
in Tehran and an esti mated 100 seats elsewhere, of 290 up for election.
Some 65
seats are at stake in a second round of voting.

Friends of Mr Hajjarian said he had received written death threats in
connection with material published by the progressive newspaper he
edits.
It has accused rightwing extremists of murdering several intellectuals in
1998.

"The terrorist attack on Mr Hajjarian is a declaration of war on the
nation," said Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, a reformist cleric in the
religious centre of Qom. "Why don't you hardliners try to accommodate the
people, why don't you accept their vote?"

President Khatami's chief of staff said the assault on Mr Hajjarian was
politically motivated. "The calamity of the assassination attempt on our
in tellectual brother Hajjarian was one of the prices that the
reformist current must pay," newspapers quoted Mohammed Ali Abtahi as
saying.

"If the government cannot stop such terrorist acts and barbaric attacks
by pressure groups, it is only contributing to its own decline and
demise,"
said Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a leading dissident who is under
house arrest.

======================================================


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------------------------------

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 21:46:57 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: PEN protests the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian

PEN AMERICAN CENTER
FREEDOM-TO-WRITE COMMITTEE
568 Broadway, Ste. 401
New York, NY 10012
Tel.: (212)334-1660, ext. 105
e-mail: diana@pen.org

His Excellency
Hojatoleslam val-moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 011-9821-673-177 (via foreign affairs)

March 15, 2000


Your Excellency,

As a worldwide organization of writers dedicated to protecting the
freedom of expression, we write with great concern to protest the
shooting of political activist and publisher, Saeed Hajjarian. Mr.
Hajjarian, former deputy Information minister and current member of
Tehran city council, was shot in the face in broad daylight on March 13
by two unidentified assailants who fled immediately after the shooting.
The perpetrators' vehicle, a motorcycle, was of a particular type
authorized for use only by government security personnel and the police.

As you know, Saeed Hajjarian, managing editor of the reformist newspaper,
Sobh-e Emrouz, is the author of a number of articles published last year
which were deemed by the Justice Department in Tehran to be insulting to
Islam.

The Tehran court summoned him at that time and he was released after
questioning. In those articles, he wrote about a series of murders of
writers and intellectuals in November 1998 which remain unsolved. In
recent months he had apparently received written death threats from
extremists reportedly linked to those killings.

The English daily, Iran News, in an editorial yesterday responding to the
shooting of Mr. Hajjarian, reminded its readers of the ominous list
compiled by reputedly rogue individuals within the Intelligence Ministry.
This list allegedly contains the names of many cultural, artistic and
media figures to be murdered "over a period of time". PEN
is profoundly concerned for the fate of Mr. Hajjarian, writers and
journalists and for all those-whether they be writers and journalists or
not-who speak out for reform in Iran. We fear that this latest
assassination attempt following the victory of the reformers in the sixth
Majlis elections may signal the launch of systematic attacks on
intellectuals and reformers in Iran-especially those on the death list.

We applaud your Excellency's swift mobilization of Law Enforcement Forces
to find the murderers and ask that you ensure a thorough investigation
into this horrendous crime. But we believe that the principles that have
led you to this decision require you to go further. Rogue elements of the
state security apparatus have admitted before to killing dissidents and
as yet the Iranian government has not held them accountable for the
deaths of the five intellectuals murdered almost a year and a half ago.
To allow crimes such as these to occur with impunity serves to create a
dangerous precedent and blatant disregard for the rule of law. And
because we are aware of your Excellency's concern to establish the rule
of law on a secure foundation
in Iran, we have confidence that you will not let that happen.

We ask that your government should give assurances-not so much to us as
to the Iranian people-that the basic right to free expression will be
respected, even with those who express controversial or dissenting views.
The first step in guaranteeing this right will be to bring to justice
both the perpetrators of this violent crime against Saeed Hajjarian and
those responsible for the killings of Darioush Forouhar and Parvaneh
Eskandari-Forouhar, Mohammad Mokhtari, Ahmad Mirallai, and Mohammad Jafar
Pouyandeh. We hope that your personal intervention will effect the safety
and security of all who practice their inalienable right to freedom of
expression.

We look forward to your response.

Anthony Appiah
Chair, PEN Freedom-to-Write Committee

Diana Ayton-Shenker
Director, PEN Freedom-to-Write Program

________________________________________________________________
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