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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Mar 2000 to 16 Mar 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Mar 2000 to 16 Mar 2000
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There are 7 messages totalling 445 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. IPS: Ayatollah Montazeri warns Khamene'i with Jihad
2. AFP: Building destroyed, 40 hurt, clashes with police in Tehran fire
3. Reuters:Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away
4. IRNA --Rafsanjani: assassination, mortar attacks sign of a plot
5. Payvand-Satire: One problem and four solutions
6. Human Rights Watch write to Ayatollah Khamenei
7. UN rights envoy urges Iran to investigate deaths


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:17:45 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: Ayatollah Montazeri warns Khamene'i with Jihad

Ayatollah Montazeri warns Khamene'i with Jihad

Exclusive to Iran Press Service

TEHRAN 14TH March. (IPS) Dissident Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri
has warned Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i that he would not hesitate to proclaim
Jihad in case the leader decides to dismiss the President and impose
martial law, according to highly informed source.

The warning from Mr. Montazeri, the Shi'a Muslims highest clerical
authority followed information that hard line ayatollahs have put pressure
on Mr. Khameneh'i to place the revolutionary guards on state of alert,
remove President Mohammad Khatami from office, impose censorship on the
press, shut down some reformist publications, close the Majles
(parliament) and declare martial law, the source added.

He said the decision to call on Mr. Khameneh'i to declare martial law was
taken by the ultras (orthodox ayatollahs members of the Feda'iyan e Eslam)
during an "extraordinary emergency meeting" held after the assassination
attempt against Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian and the "explosive situation" the
attack has created in the country.

A senior political adviser and close ally of President Khatami, Mr.
Hajjarian, also publisher of the outspoken reformist daily "Sobhe Emrouz",
was shot at close range Sunday morning in front of the Tehran city Council
of which he is a member by an unidentified assassin who escaped on the
back of a powerful motorcycle of the type that is used only by Law
Enforcement Forces (LEF), Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) and Intelligence
Ministry agents.

Doctors of the medical team attending to Mr. Hajjarian, including two
eminent Iranian specialists who came from New York said Tuesday that the
patient's health was "stable".

Dr. Qahremani Qajar, a neurologist who came voluntarily from the US told
reporters that since the patient was still in coma, the physicians do not
really know whether the coma had been caused by the convulsion.

Confirming this diagnostic, Dr. Mohammad Reza Zafarqandi, the head of the
medical team that attends Mr. Hajjarian said the convulsion has been
brought under control and one should wait and see whether the patient
would regain consciousness or not because he responds to some stimulation.

"In the light of the landslide victory scored by the reformists in the
last Majles elections and in order to stop an irrevocable transfer of
powers from the conservatives to the reformists, the hard line clerics had
suggested that Ayatollah Khameneh'i, in his position of Tutor of the
nation and Guarantor of the Islamic revolution, should declare martial law
and suspend both the government and the Majles", the source told an Iran
Press Service correspondent in Tehran.

The news of the decision was "leaked" to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri after
it had been communicated to Ayatollah Khameneh'i, according to the same

"Immediately after hearing of the news, Grand Ayatollah telephoned Mr.
Khameneh'i and told him in case he yields, he would not hesitate to call
on the people, including all Armed Forces personnel to start a Jihad, or
Holly war", the source pointed out.

Placed under house arrest in October 1997 on the order of Ayatollah
Khameneh'i after a fiery speech delivered in Qom in which he publicly
criticised the leader for his lavish, "kingly" life-style, his daily
interfering with the running of the State's affairs and obstacles he
creates for the president, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri nevertheless continue
his remarks, reminding Mr. Khameneh'i that he too, should obey the laws of
the Constitution.

In a statement issued from his residence, Mr. Montazeri condemned the
attempt on the life of Mr. Hajjarian and called on the government to spare
no effort in identifying those who ordered the assassination, "regardless
of their rank or porsitions".

But as both Mr. Khameneh'i and Mr. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the
Chairman of the Expediency Council who did very poorly in the Legislative
elections continued for the third straight day to ignore the shooting,
more fingers are pointing at them as possible "Red Eminencies" who ordered
the elimination of Mr. Hajjarian, considered by the defeated conservatives.

Speaking to IRNA after visiting Mr. Hajjarian in hospital, Hojatoleslam
Mehdi Karroubi, a former Majles Speaker who was elected as a reformist
candidate said the assassination attempt was the "outcome of the bitter
side of the issue (reformists' victory) in (the february 18 sixth majlis)
election that led to the victory of reformists".

Mr. Mostafa Tajzadeh, the deputy interior minister for political and
social affairs, a comrade-in-arm of Mr. Hajjarian during the attack on the
American Embassy in Tehran on November 1979 also expressed the opinion
that Mr. Hajjarian had been the target of assassination because of his
reformist ideas after nation's great victory in the february 18
parliamentary election.

"The sound and glorious holding of the parliamentary election marked a
great victory for the Iranian nation, prompting 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", Mr.
Tajzadeh said, adding that intelligence, security and disciplinary systems
have started a large manhunt for the agents responsible for the crime.

However, the conservatives, taking cue from the leader who always sees the
hand of foreigners in this kind of terrorist activities, are mounting a
vigorous campaign to blame both the reformists and foreign agents for the
assassination attempt.

For Majles Speaker Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, a faithful among
the faithfuls, such a "dastardly act had been pre-planned and its
connection to elements outside the country could not be ruled out".

Addressing Tuesday's open session of Majlis, Nateq Nouri said these days
enemies of the revolution and those who have placed their hopes in aliens
and are hoping in vain for the overthrow of the system are hatching plots
and committing crimes, IRNA reported.

"The near coincidence in Mr. Hajjarian's assassination attempt and the
attack on a residential quarter in Tehran with mortars on Monday by the
terrorist Mujahedeen Khalq Organisation, indicates the fact that such
vicious acts were masterminded by the enemy and led by global arrogance",
Mr. Nateq Nouri observed, in an indirect reference to the United States.

He also blamed such acts on "friendly forces within the revolution"
(reformists led by the president) who use unfounded pretexts to suppress
each other or push each other to the side, thereby paving the ground for
the enemy to take advantage of the situation to further weaken them.


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:12:29 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP: Building destroyed, 40 hurt,
clashes with police in Tehran fire festival

Building destroyed, 40 hurt, clashes with police in Tehran fire festival

TEHRAN, March 15 (AFP) - Police riot squads clashed with young Iranians
celebrating an age-old fire festival frowned on by the regime's
conservatives, local residents said Wednesday.

Groups of youths in the western Tehran suburb of Pars smashed shop and
bank windows when police tried to stop them lighting bonfires or throwing
firecrackers in the street. Before dispersing they shouted slogans hostile
to Iran's leaders.

Tehran residents let their hair down and the city flickered to the lights
of countless bonfires overnight as they celebrated the first festival of
since reformists won control of parliament in last month's elections.

With official curbs on the festival lifted for the first time since the
Islamic revolution of 1979, young people of both sexes defied a ban on
dancing together, performing both western and Iranian dances.

The head of the Tehran fire brigade, Ali Akbar Mohammadi, told the
official news agency IRNA that some 40 people, mainly young, had been
injured and most were hospitalised.

At least 140 fires broke out and one two-storey building housing firework
materials was destroyed by two explosions, injuring two people, he said.

Practically every street in the city had its own bonfires, all of them
different. People jumped over them, chanting the traditional formula:
"I'll give you my yellow, I'll take your red."

The festival, of Zoroastrian origin, is viewed as un-Islamic by Iran's
conservative Shiite Muslims. It comes the week before the Iranian new
year, Noruz, the country's most important holiday, marking the beginning
of spring.


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:12:07 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Reuters:Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away

Iranians mark ancient festival as police stay away

TEHRAN (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 behavior. 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 Sunday.

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

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: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:28:58 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA --Rafsanjani: assassination, mortar attacks sign of a plot

Rafsanjani: assassination, mortar attacks sign of a plot Tehran, March
15, IRNA -- Chairman of the expediency council akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
said here on Wednesday that abnormal behaviors such as assassination and
mortar attacks could be an indication of "a plot we have recently
witnessed its signs."

Speaking to reporters prior to inauguration of the second channel of
Jam-e Jam tv network, he said "we should not easily ignore the comments
made by U.S. Officials that next year would be the year of riots and
instability in Iran."

On recent assassination attempt on Saeed Hajjarian's life and mortar
attacks on some disctricts in Tehran, he said that targeting two
sensitive regions in central and northern Tehran with mortat shells
within a very short period of time is a noticeable point.

Assassination is among examples of extremism and as detested by history
assassination has never produced any results, nor could any terrorist
groups reach their goals via such acts, he said.

The wise and well-wishing people never resort to illegal methods to
reach their goals, he said.

" we should wait and see what measures security officials will take in
this regard and in order to get favorable results we should aim those
people who benefit from these acts", he said.

On recent order issued by a Belgium court, Rafsanjani said that the
action of the Belgium court should be regarded as being in the line of
the same plot and there should be a connection between all these events.

It is obvious that a scandalous move in a European country should not be
balemd on the naivety of the judge or the plaintiff, he said.

The enemy is trying hard to create instability, unrest and differences
in the country in a bid to hamper people's normal life, Rafsanjani said.


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:33:33 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Payvand-Satire: One problem and four solutions

Payvand's Iran News..... Satire: One problem and four solutions

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

Since the Radio-Television of the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the
media that are in need of some reforms, and since some people, sometimes
when they are bored with satellite programs or video tapes, may possibly
want to watch TV, we hereby a few fundamental solutions for the TV

1.Since the existing TV, in its six channels, is chiefly used by a
population of 1,000 to 2,000 people, and its attractive features which
is usable for a larger population are slammed by that 1,000 to 2,000
people, we suggest that to save people’s time and to create a calm
atmosphere and to reduce social and psychological crises, the existing
TV be broadcast through a cable TV for the authorities and friends of
Mr. Larijani, and the facilities and equipment of the Radio-TV, together
with its non-committed employees—who are definitely competent people—be
sold in cash to the Iranian nation. To choose a director for this real
TV, we can hold elections like presidential elections.

2.The officials of the Radio-TV and its director be gathered in a
training course to be taught the following: A. Iran’s population is 70
million, not 1,000. B. Assassination is a bad thing, and revolutionaries
are not necessarily terrorists. C. The Iranian people have brains. D.
Iran’s president is Mohammad Khatami. E. Representatives of people are
those who are elected, not those who are not elected. F. It is better to
sometimes support the murdered ones too. G. Lying is not absolutely
necessary; sometimes it is possible to tell the truth. F. The TV can
sometimes refrain from directly insulting people.

3.A nationwide election be held, with candidates for the directorship of
the radio-TV. If Mr. Larijani obtains more than 10 percent of the votes,
he be appointed the director. Otherwise, from among the first three
ones, the esteemed authorities chose any of them who like.

4.A definite way to solve the Radio-TV problem which will reform it is:
A. To dismiss Ali Larijani and appoint him at a higher post. B. To
choose a new director, a group should be assigned to be stationed
somewhere like Vanak square, and choose, say, the fifth person who
enters Molla Sadra Ave. after 8 a.m., as the Radio-TV director. We
should try that this person be in the over-5-years-old age group.

Managerial conclusion: Sometimes the absence of one director leads to
the better management of an organization.

Translated for by Kaveh Basmenji


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:48:40 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Human Rights Watch write to Ayatollah Khamenei

Human Rights Watch write to Ayatollah Khamenei

March 13, 2000


H.E. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Tehran, Iran

Your Excellency:

Human Rights Watch is greatly concerned about yesterday morning's
attempt on the life of Dr. Saeid Hajjarian, a publisher and political
advisor to President Mohammad Khatami, by an unidentified gunman using a
silenced pistol. We understand that the would-be assassin escaped from
the scene on the back of a 1000cc motor-cycle of the type normally
available only to the police or security services, raising suspicion
that this was a politically-motivated attack carried out with the
involvement or acquiescence of police or security services. We recall
too that a series of other killings of prominent opposition figures in
late 1998 was subsequently attributed to "rogue elements" in the
intelligence ministry, though to our knowledge those responsible for
these crimes have not, as yet, been held to account.

In light of these factors, Human Rights Watch fears that the attack on
Dr. Hajjarian may be part of a wider backlash against reformists,
following their convincing victory in recent parliamentary elections, by
elements within the security services or police who believe that they
can commit crimes with impunity. Although not a candidate himself, Dr.
Hajjarian was one of the leading organizers of the Islamic Participation
Party whose supporters are strongly represented in the new parliament.
Dr. Hajjarian's newspaper, Sobh-e Emrouz gave strong support to
reformists throughout the election campaign.

Your Excellency, as Leader of the Islamic Republic you have a special
responsibility to uphold the constitution and to ensure that the wishes
of the Iranian people, as clearly expressed in the recent parliamentary
elections, are fully respected and implemented, and not thwarted by acts
of political violence. To this end, we urge you to take all possible
steps to ensure that those responsible for the attempted assassination
of Dr. Hajjarian and any similar such attacks are identified and brought
to justice without delay, and to speak out publicly to denounce the
perpetrators and make it clear that any security or other officials who
commit crimes will be held fully to account. It is incumbent on you,
particularly, to speak out and act on this issue, given your
responsibility under the constitution for overseeing the functioning of
all branches of government.

Unless the institutions under your supervision comply with their
obligations under Iranian and international law, the executive branch of
government will be unable to fulfill its proper functions, so
undermining the constitution and denying the will of the people as it
was clearly expressed in the elections.


Kenneth Roth Executive Director


Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 10:01:35 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: UN rights envoy urges Iran to investigate deaths

UN rights envoy urges Iran to investigate deaths

GENEVA, March 16 (Reuters) - The United Nations investigator for human rights
in Iran on Thursday called on the government to probe some 50 suspicious
deaths of intellectuals and dissidents in recent years.

Maurice Copithorne, a Canadian jurist, also urged the government of moderate
President Mohammad Khatami to reform Iran's legal system and grant greater
freedom to the press.

In a report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which meets in Geneva on
Monday to examine violations worldwide, he condemned punishment by stoning
and amputation and said ``torture in all its forms is still not an unusual
event in Iran.''

Copithorne, whose report was written before a pro-reform coalition backing
Khatami won parliamentary polls last month, said human rights in Iran
remained a ``work in progress.''

He said promised investigations into the disappearances and suspicious deaths
of intellectuals and dissident political figures in late 1998 had stalled.
There were reports attributing responsibility to past and present security
officials, he added.

``The scandal has now raised such broad implications for the government as
well as such public scepticism that only the most thorough public inquiry and
purgative action is likely to restore the government's credibility in terms
not only of law and order but of its respect for the most fundamental human
rights,'' Copithorne said.

He accused law enforcement agencies and the judiciary of denying human rights
in student demonstrations in Tehran and Tabriz in July. No disciplinary
action had been taken against a uniformed group of some 400 men bussed to the
site who reportedly systematically ransacked dormitories, assaulted students
and took a number of them prisoner, he added. Reforming Iran's legal system
should be given top priority, according to Copithorne. He said reformist
newspapers were susceptible to ``arbitrary discipline'' by tribunals for acts
which did not appear to be contrary to any legal norm.

``The need for a free discourse is an integral component of the civil society
that the President seeks to build,'' he added.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Mar 2000 to 16 Mar 2000