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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 19 Mar 2000 to 20 Mar 2000 - Special issue
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There are 14 messages totalling 1204 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. Khatami orders speedy probe of reformer's shooting
2. Iraqi paper warns Iran against attack on Iraq
3. Iran leaders ignore U.S. opening in new year calls
4. Khatami condemns terrorism
5. Coming year seen important for U.S.-Iran ties
6. Albright unfazed by tepid Iranian response to easing of US sanctions
7. Russia Blocks UN Warning To Iran On Iraqi Smuggling
8. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 1/2
9. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 2/2
10. IRNA: 6 people including main culprit in hajjarian's assassination
11. IRNA: president issues directive for speedy probe into terrorist acts
12. IRNA: leader urges president to speed up inquiry into recent terrorist act
13. Iran arrests six over reformer's shooting-IRNA
14. PUK assault on human and refugee rights in Northern Iraq
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 06:10:00 EST
Subject: Khatami orders speedy probe of reformer's shooting
Khatami orders speedy probe of reformer's shooting
TEHRAN, March 20 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Monday
ordered cabinet ministers to speed up the process of finding and arresting
those behind the recent shooting of reformist leader Saeed Hajjarian.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA said Khatami ``issued a directive'' to
the ministers of information and interior and officials of the Supreme
National Security Council, Iran's top security body, to ``speed up efforts to
probe'' the shooting.
Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had on Sunday demanded the
quick arrest of those behind the shooting of Hajjarian, who was gravely
wounded in the attack and remains unconscious in hospital.
Hajjarian, a close ally of Khatami and a key figure in the reformist victory
in last month's parliamentary elections, was shot a week ago by two
unidentified attackers who escaped on a high-powered motorcycle.
Such vehicles, used in past political killings, are restricted by law to
security personnel, which has heightened suspicions among reformists of a
link to security forces.
Rogue elements inside the secret service were implicated last year in a
string of murders of dissidents and intellectuals, cases which are not yet
The intelligence ministry has not ruled out a role in the latest attack by
the Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main armed opposition, and foreign agents.
Hajjarian, a member of Tehran city council and director of a leading
reformist newspaper, underwent surgery on Sunday to open his windpipe and
allow feeding by mouth. Doctors have postponed another operation to remove a
bullet lodged in his neck until he regains full consciousness.
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 06:12:56 EST
Subject: Iraqi paper warns Iran against attack on Iraq
Iraqi paper warns Iran against attack on Iraq
BAGHDAD, March 20 (Reuters) - Iraq's most influential newspaper on Monday
warned Iran against any attack on its territory and accused U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright of encouraging Tehran to commit ``aggression''
``Our advice to Tehran is that it should avoid playing with fire,'' said
Babel, newspaper of President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday.
Tension between the two neighbours, at war from 1980 to 1988, has escalated
in the last few weeks over cross-border attacks by the Iraq-based Mujahideen
Khalq, the main exiled Iranian opposition group.
Baghdad said last week that its air defences had shot down a Iranian
reconnaissance drone near the border with Iran. The next day, Iran said the
Mujahideen had killed two of its soldiers in a clash near the Iraqi border.
The Mujahideen said their anti-aircraft systems last week repulsed an air
attack by Iran which analysts said was in reprisal for the group's earlier
mortar assault on a Tehran residential district near a Revolutionary Guards
Tehran regularly slams Iraq for harbouring the Mujahideen rebels, while
Baghdad accuses Iran of backing Iraqi Shi'ite Moslem dissidents.
Babel also said a recent speech by Albright in Prague was meant to
``encourage Tehran to expand its aggression against Iraq.''
In a major overture to Iran, Albright said on Friday that Washington would
ease sanctions on non-oil Iranian exports and acknowledged
``short-sightedness'' in some previous U.S. policies towards Iran.
She praised the development of democratic trends in Iran, and the country's
movement towards a more open society and a more flexible approach to the
Babel accused the United States of backing Iran in its war with Iraq and
said: ``the American State Secretary's statement (on Iran) is silly and
Albright, in her speech on Friday, indicated U.S. regret at its support for
Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, saying that ``aspects of U.S. policy towards Iraq
during its conflict with Iran appear now to have been regrettably
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 06:15:04 EST
Subject: Iran leaders ignore U.S. opening in new year calls
Iran leaders ignore U.S. opening in new year calls
By Mehrdad Balali
TEHRAN, March 20 (Reuters) - Iranian leaders' new year messages on Monday
ignored the strong U.S. overture for improved ties and focused instead on
domestic issues, especially political violence and economic woes.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made an impassioned plea last week
for all-out efforts by the United States and Iran to put two decades of
animosity behind them.
In a practical gesture, she announced easing of sanctions on key Iranian
non-oil goods and pledged to accelerate efforts to resolve outstanding
financial claims between the two countries.
The initiative has drawn mixed reactions in Tehran, but the country's leaders
have yet to speak out.
In his address to the nation to mark the Iranian new year, supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not even mention the United States, which he often
says is mainly to blame for his country's troubles.
This time he blamed ``our own weaknesses and enemy plots.''
``We had bitter events last year, caused by our own weaknesses and enemy
plots. We all witnessed the threat to our national security.''
He was referring to a wave of factional quarrels and political violence which
led to student unrest and riots last July, the worst in Iran since the
aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In the latest act of violence earlier this month, unidentified gunmen tried
to kill Saeed Hajjarian, a close ally of President Mohammad Khatami and a key
figure behind reformists' victory in last month's parliamentary election.
Hajjarian is still fighting for survival with a bullet in his neck. Reformers
have linked the attack to hardliners in the system who oppose Khatami's
liberal social and political reforms.
There have also been other violent attacks, some on civilian targets claimed
by the Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main armed opposition group.
KHATAMI NEGATES VIOLENCE
Khatami, in his own message to the nation, vowed that such acts would not
undermine his drive toward an Islamic democracy.
``The cowardly acts of terror against our great children and the childish
attacks by rejected elements will not in the least breach the nation's drive
towards glory and progress,'' he said.
``We must be alert, to strengthen the country's security through all-out
``We must be tolerant and patient, to negate violence and instead opt for
wise criticism of the reforms in the context of religious and revolutionary
values,'' he said.
Both leaders also deplored the ailing economy, which has been in a slump for
years with little sign of recovery.
Unemployment runs at an official 16 percent and inflation at 22 percent, a
dreary prospect for a country with a booming young generation.
``Last year, our people had big difficulties earning a living. Efforts taken
have failed to produce expected results,'' Khamenei said.
Khatami echoed his concern, but said recovery was in sight. ``We have had
many problems on the economic front. But, thank God, there are signs of
recovery after a period of recession,'' he said.
March 20 marks the launch of Khatami's five-year economic and social
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 11:25:20 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Khatami condemns terrorism
Monday, 20 March, 2000, 15:57 GMT
Khatami condemns terrorism
The Iranian President, Mohammed Khatami, has condemned what he called
terrorism against the brave children of Iran.
Speaking on the eve of the Persian New Year, President Khatami said the
Iranian nation had many problems and enemies, which correspondents say is a
reference to the attempted killing of his ally, Saeed Hajjarian, in a gun
attack last week.
Mr Khatami's remarks come a day after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei,
wrote instructing him to ensure the early arrest and prosecution of those
behind the attack.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 12:35:32 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Coming year seen important for U.S.-Iran ties
WIRE:03/19/2000 14:18:00 ET
Coming year seen important for U.S.-Iran ties
TEHRAN, March 19 (Reuters) - An official of a powerful Iranian state body
welcomed U.S. diplomatic overtures towards Iran on Sunday and said the
coming year would be important for relations between the two countries.
Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of the Expediency Council, said the U.S.
acknowledgment of past mistakes in its policy towards Tehran and its
decision to ease sanctions against Iran signalled a new era in Washington's
attitude to the Islamic republic.
"The year 1379 will be an important year for relations between Iran and the
U.S.," The Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Rezaei as saying. He was
referring to the new Iranian year which begins on Monday.
"The introductory measures indicate (the) inauguration of a new chapter in
U.S. policies towards Iran," Rezaei added.
However, Washington's closely intertwined ties with Israel remained the main
obstacle to the successful restoration of relations U.S.-Iranian ties, he
The Expediency Council of which Rezaei is secretary has the final say in
disputes between parliament and the clergy-based Guardian Council. He is a
former chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Friday in her first
speech since reformists in Iran won parliamentary elections last month, she
wanted to tear down the "wall of distrust" dividing the two countries since
the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The centrepiece of the U.S. initiative that Albright announced was lifting
sanctions which dated back to 1987 on non-oil exports such as carpets,
caviar and pistachio nuts. Iran said it would respond by buying U.S. grain
Rezaei said the new U.S. stand could be successful only if Washington
changed its policy.
"The new strategy adopted by the U.S. can lead to restoration of relations
with Iran only under the condition of the country's success in removing
contradictions in its foreign policy," Rezaei said.
The most serious contradiction was that "its interests are intertwined with
Israel," he said.
"It is the biggest obstacle on the way to resumption of ties," he added.
Relations between Iran and the United States were broken in 1979 after
Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in the aftermath of the
overthrow of the pro-Western shah.
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 13:26:30 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Albright unfazed by tepid Iranian response to easing of US sanctions
Monday, March 20, 2000 - 3:38 AM SGT
Albright unfazed by tepid Iranian response to easing of US sanctions
NEW DELHI, March 19 (AFP) -
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday she was not surprised by
Iran's tepid response thus far to Washington's overtures to Tehran.
Albright, who on Friday announced an easing of sanctions against Iran and
acknowleged past US interference in the country's internal affairs in a
renewed bid for a dialogue, said Tehran's reaction was to be expected.
"I didn't expect anything different," the secretary said in an interview with
AFP, referring to comments from Iranian officials indicating the US measures
did not go far enough.
"They have a big situation going on there and also I didn't expect anything
to happen very quickly," Albright said, noting the overwhelming victory by
reformers in Irans' parliamentary elections last month.
The changes announced Friday include lifting import bans on Iranian carpets,
caviar, nuts and dried fruit as well an increased move toward unfreezing
billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets in the United States.
In announcing the changes, Albright also lamented past "shortsightedness" in
US policy, particularly during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war in which Washington
sided with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, now one of its leading foes, and
in supporting the shah whose repressive regime fostered the Islamic
Washington severed ties with Iran in 1980 after the hostage taking incident
at its embassy in Tehran and a littany of sanctions against the country's
hardline Islamic leaders ensued.
But since the election of moderate President Mohammad Khatami in 1997,
Washington has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried a course of enagagement.
Initial reaction to Friday's announcement from Tehran has not been
overwhelmingly positive, with officials saying that while the moves are
positive they are not enough to bring about a major change in policy.
"It's a positive step and a prelude to a new situation ... but it's not
sufficent to change the current state of relations rapidly or substantially,"
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations said Saturday.
Albright said, however, that the impact of the sanctions easing would take
time and were aimed at those Iranians who appeared most interested in
fostering democracy-the working class voters who opted for reformist
"These will effect the people who are most intrigued by is happening in terms
of essential changes there," Albright said.
"We don't expect the lifting of sanctions on these products to have great
effect in (markets in) the United States, but they will have considerable
effect in Iran.
"We've done what we had to do, and I feel very good about the review of
history that we did and about the thinking and rethinking of the steps we
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 13:27:18 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Russia Blocks UN Warning To Iran On Iraqi Smuggling
Monday, March 20, 2000 - 9:15 PM SGT
Russia Blocks UN Warning To Iran On Iraqi Smuggling
(This item was originally published Friday.)
By Jim Efstathiou
UNITED NATIONS (Dow Jones)--Russia Friday blocked the U.N. from asking
Iranian officials to clamp down on smugglers of Iraqi gasoil, despite U.S.
claims that such violations of sanctions are at an all-time high.
As much as 250,000 barrels of crude oil and refined products is now being
smuggled out of Iraq every day around sanctions that permit Iraqi exports
only under tight U.N. financial controls, State Department officials say.
About 95,000 barrels per day are smuggled through Iranian territorial waters
in the Persian Gulf, while another 150,000 b/d leaves the country overland
through Syria, Iran and Turkey, the U.S. claims.
Russia does not oppose efforts to cut off the smugglers's access in the Gulf,
but wants a comprehensive approach that does not overlook illegal exports to
other countries, according to a Russian official in New York.
Russia was embarrassed in February when the Multinational Interception Force
enforcing sanctions on Iraq intercepted a Russian tanker carrying about 4,000
tons of Iraqi oil.
Meanwhile, observers say the U.S. overlooks smuggling into Turkey, one of
Washington's strongest allies in the region.
Interception force coordinator U.S. Vice-Admiral Charles Moore is scheduled
to brief the U.N. Iraq Sanctions Committee Thursday on efforts to intercept
The recent surge in global crude oil prices has pushed up smuggling, official
say. A record 415,000 metric tons, or about 2.8 million barrels, of mostly
gasoil were smuggled through the Persian Gulf in January, the U.S. says, up
from 2 million barrels in November.
Proceeds from smuggled oil end up at the disposal of Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein, while legal exports through the U.N. "oil-for-food" program are used
to buy a range of badly needed humanitarian supplies and to compensate Gulf
War victims. Iraq is barred from freely exporting oil by U.N. sanctions
imposed in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait.
Legal Iraqi exports generated $7.4 billion in the six months ended Nov. 20
and are expected to top $6 billion in the current 180-day phase of the
Friday's debate at the sanctions committee focused on a February letter from
the U.S. highlighting the recent surge in smuggling, which Washington blames
on the smugglers' "ability to use Iranian waters as they make their way
through the Gulf."
The U.S. and U.K. want the committee to ask Iran's permanent representative
at the U.N. in writing to end any support the country may be offering
smugglers. The committee issued such a request in 1997, diplomats said.
But Russia wants a briefing on smuggling through northern Iraq before
agreeing to take Iran to task.
Meanwhile, Iran denies that it provides any help to smugglers.
"We have all along denied any allegations involving Iran in the smuggling of
Iraqi oil, or of being involved in the smuggling of Iraqi oil," said Mohammed
Hossein Nosrat, spokesman for the Iranian mission in New York.
U.S. officials say Iran offers smugglers cover in territorial waters, where
Multinational Inspection Force vessels can't operate, and provides phoney
documents indicating that Iraqi oil actually came from Iran.
Payoffs to Iranian officials of as much as $30 per metric ton enable
smugglers to proceed from Iraq through the entire Gulf in Iranian waters
without fear of harassment from Iranian authorities, according to a state
Sanctions committee members do not oppose the idea of a briefing on all
smuggling outlets, but were skeptical of whether U.N. officials who operate
in the north of the country would be in a position to provide it.
"My guess is (the U.N.) will not be prepared to do so, because it would
undermine the agencies in the north," said a Western diplomat speaking on
condition of anonymity. "It's not their mandate to check on violations of
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 22:20:14 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 1/2
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
RFE/RL IRAN REPORT
Vol. 3, No. 12, 20 March 2000
A Review of Developments in Iran Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.
* SOME STICK AND SOME CARROT
* DESPITE PROBLEMS, ANKARA AND BAKU KEEP TIES WITH IRAN
* TEHRAN'S OFFERS OF CHECHEN MEDIATION UNSATISFACTORY
* WIDE NET CAST FOR HAJJARIAN SHOOTERS
* FLIPPER WON'T KILL
* RISKY BUSINESS, I
SOME STICK AND SOME CARROT.
U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Iran Non-
Proliferation Act into law on 14 March. "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 stated, according to Reuters.
One day earlier, Clinton extended the national emergency
declared with respect to Iran on 15 March 1995 to continue
beyond 15 March 2000, per the International Emergency Economic
Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706).
In a 13 March letter to Speaker of the House of
Representatives J. Dennis Hastert and President of the Senate
(President pro tempore) Senator Strom Thurmond, Clinton wrote
that "The factors that led me to declare a national emergency
with respect to Iran on March 15, 1995, have not been resolved.
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, continue to
threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of
the United States."
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said
"the decision was in contradiction to recent remarks of those
officials and proved a lack of sincerity on the part of the U.S.
government towards Iran," IRNA reported on 14 March.
Iranian state radio reacted to the President's renewal of
sanctions on 14 March. It accused the administration and
Congress of supporting the Iraq-based Mujahedin Khalq
Organization, which had just launched a terrorist attack in
Tehran. State radio said that "Iran's moral support for Lebanese
and Palestinian Muslim combatants" is legitimate support for
organizations fighting occupation. Regarding Weapons of Mass
Destruction, Tehran claimed that "its defensive activities are
merely aimed at deterring [its enemies] and maintaining and
strengthening its peaceful relations" If the U.S. is concerned
about WMD, state radio asked, why was it silent about Israel's
possession of WMD? This is because, according to the broadcast,
"as President Khatami has stressed: America's real capital is
Tel Aviv, not Washington."
Secretary of State Madeline Albright said that despite the
renewal of sanctions, the U.S. still wants to pursue a dialogue
with Iran. "We are interested in having a government-to-
government dialogue on issues of concern to us -- the
acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, support for
terrorism and lack of support for the Middle East peace
To this end, Albright announced on 17 March that the U.S.
will permit the import of Iranian carpets, caviar, nuts, and
dried fruits. More significantly, she announced that the U.S. is
"prepared to increase efforts" to settle "outstanding legal
claims between out two countries." This refers to claims before
the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal in the Hague that are estimated to
be worth several billion dollars.
Albright added that "we have no illusions that the United
States and Iran will be able to overcome decades of estrangement
overnight. We can't build a mature relationship on carpets and
grain alone. But the direction of our relations is more
important than the pace. The United States is willing either to
proceed patiently, on a step-by-step basis, or to move very
rapidly if Iran indicates a desire and commitment to do so."
DESPITE PROBLEMS, ANKARA BAKU KEEP TIES WITH IRAN.
The coincidence of claims by Ankara and Baku about Iranian
espionage, subversion, and repression of ethnic minorities,
coming almost at the same that these countries exchange high-
level official visits, demonstrates the complexities of
relations between neighboring states. But what they also
indicate is that both Turkey and Azerbaijan are willing to
overlook some of the more unpleasant aspects of Iranian behavior
to promote their longer-term economic and security interests.
Turkish State Minister Tunca Toskay was in Tehran to
address the first Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Trade
Ministers meeting on 6 March. ECO, the successor to the Regional
Cooperation for Development (RCD), was founded by Iran, Pakistan
and Turkey. In 1992, the organization was expanded to include
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In his speech, Toskay
urged all ECO members to have common customs and foreign trade
laws in order to facilitate the free flow of goods and services
between members, Anatolia news agency reported.
But only a few days earlier, an Istanbul daily cited
documents seized from Turkish Hizballah that connected the
organization with Iran. On 3 March, "Hurriyet" published
photographs of Hizballah leader Hussein Velioglu in Tehran
during a parade and meeting government officials, as well as a
copy of an Iranian identification card describing him as a
"foreign staff officer." The 160,000 pages of documents called
for Hizballah to start a holy war in October 2001. The next day,
"Hurriyet" cited documents from 1992-1998, which described the
organizational and military training Hizballah would receive in
Iran. Liaison officers were to be based in Tehran and Ankara.
Also, Hizballah was to provide Iran with maps and intelligence
on military deployments in eastern Turkey. Finally, Hizballah
was instructed to threaten journalists who criticized Iran.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliev arrived in
Tehran on 13 March. He met with President Mohammad Khatami,
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, and a number of other
officials. President Heidar Aliev and National Security Minister
Namig Abbasov of the Republic of Azerbaijan are scheduled to
visit Tehran in the near future, and the two countries are
working on improving their relationship (see "RFE/RL Iran
Report," 24 January 2000).
Baku and Tehran have continuing trade relations, and they
are trying to reach an agreement on division of the Caspian
Sea's resources, although Tehran is opposed to the Trans-Caspian
Pipeline. Furthermore, they started the exchange of prisoners,
per a December 1998 extradition agreement, when 59 Iranians and
18 Azerbaijanis were transferred at Astara on 6 March. Iranian
consul Mojtaba Vali said 61 more Iranians are in Azerbaijani
prisons, Xinhua reported. (A Foreign Ministry source said that
four Iranian prisoners had died "due tot he improper conditions
of Azerbaijan's jails," Tehran Times" reported on 8 March.)
But Iran is accused of anti-Azerbaijani subversion, too.
Four channels of Iranian state television can be seen in the
southern part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and some of the
programs are in the Azeri language. Azerbaijani broadcasts are
interfered with when Iran's Sahar-TV has its half-hour Azeri
news broadcast, according to Baku's "Zerkalo" on 29 February.
Sahar-TV's news tells Azerbaijanis to worry about their own
country, rather than the fate of Azeris living in Iran. And when
Azerbaijani parliamentarian Reza Ibadov toured the Middle East,
Sahar TV described it as "Ibadov's protection of Zionist
interests," according to "Zerkalo."
Azerbaijan's former ambassador in Tehran, Aliyar Safarli,
who is linked with the United Azerbaijan Movement, also
complained about Iranian subversion. He said that Persian-
language schools in Azerbaijan are increasing, with the aim of
"southerniz[ing] northern Azerbaijan," "Yeni Musavat" reported
on 14 February. A member of the 21 Azar separatist organization
told the 11 January Baku "Ekspress" that Ministry of
Intelligence and Security officers in Astara, Julfa, Rasht,
Tabriz, Maragheh, Urumiyeh, and Anzali are recruiting
Azerbaijani citizens to go home and act as spies. The unnamed
source added that Iranians in Baku were being recruited for the
Meanwhile, there is still concern in Azerbaijan about the
status of Tabriz nationalist figure Mahmudali Chehragani. His
attempt to register for the 18 February parliamentary election
allegedly was prevented by the authorities (see "RFE/RL Iran
Report," 10 January 2000 and 17 January 2000). He then was
imprisoned on smuggling charges, "Azadlyg" reported on 8
February. According to the National Liberation Movement of
Southern Azerbaijan, Chehragani was fined 220 million rials
(about $125,000 at the official rate) and is in solitary
confinement, "Yeni Musavat" reported on 14 February. Chehragani
is now on a hunger strike, ANS television reported on 7 March.
Also, 300 activists of the National Liberation Movement of
Southern Azerbaijan were tried by the Revolutionary Court in
Tabriz in the second week of March, Azernews-Azerkhabar
reported. Three of them received three-year sentences, two
received 3 1/2 year sentences, and one got a four-year sentence.
TEHRAN'S OFFERS OF CHECHEN MEDIATION UNSATISFACTORY.
The conflict in Chechnya, while overshadowed by other
aspects of Iran's domestic and foreign affairs, continues to
attract attention in Tehran. And Tehran's relatively muted
stance on the conflict continues to receive some criticism at
home and abroad (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 7 February 2000).
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Qatar's Al-Jazeera
television on 10 March that Tehran expected that guerrilla
warfare would continue even after Grozny was recaptured by
Russian armed forces. If Russia permits it, Iran, through the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, is ready to broker a
peace agreement. Kharrazi said that "The OIC is ready to
continue its efforts and believes it is its duty to find a
political solution to this crisis. If the Russians accept, we
are ready to make moves toward that end."
Deputy Foreign Minister Sadeq Kharrazi told Russian
Federation Council vice-speaker Vladimir Platonov that Iran is
concerned about the fate of Chechen civilians, Interfax reported
on 17 February. He urged Moscow to take note of international
opinion and not to overlook Iran's potential as a mediator.
Moscow recognizes Iran's importance in Islamic public
opinion, but it is not interested in its offers to mediate.
Russian Minister for the Federation and Nationality Affairs
Alexander Blokhin went to Tehran in the third week of March to
meet with Foreign Minister Kharrazi, Deputy Foreign Minister
Morteza Sarmadi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari. In
a 14 March interview with RIA state news agency, Blokhin said
Iran's understanding of the Caucasus situation is "essential."
Iran's offer to mediate the conflict, however, never came up.
Blokhin said "Iran's mediation was not under review since it is
Tehran's firm position that the events in Chechnya is Russia's
Yet Tehran's approach is not satisfactory for other foreign
observers. Usamah al-Baz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's
political adviser, "emphasized that the method of deploring and
condemning aggression was not the ideal treatment of the tragedy
of the Chechen people," Cairo's "al-Ahram" reported on 7 March.
"Therefore," al-Baz said, "Egypt is conducting a serious
dialogue with Russia."
The Lahore High Court Bar Association urged Pakistan's
government to recognize Chechnya as an independent state,
Islamabad's "Pakistan" daily reported on 18 February. The daily
added that "It is not justifiable for the Islamic countries to
turn their back on the Chechen nation in the name of their
international expediencies. Ö Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates should launch a combined
campaign to convince other Muslim countries to recognize
Representatives of seven Muslim organizations in Azerbaijan
issued a statement on 13 March calling on progressive forces in
Russia and the international community to protest the genocide
of the Chechen people, Turan news agency reported. And
Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of
the Caucasus, complained to "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" that the
Russian government and media are equating Islam and the Chechen
nation to terrorism.
Some observers in Iran are also voicing dissatisfaction.
"Kayhan International" ñ an English-language daily connected
with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office ñ rejected
Moscow's pretext for the conflict ñ the bombings of several
Moscow apartment blocks last summer. The daily said on 20
February that "the United Nations and other world bodies,
including the Organization of the Islamic Conference, are being
questioned over their seemingly [sic] indifference on the human
catastrophe in Chechnya." "Moscow has to end the war. It should
realize the truth that the world, particularly the Muslim world,
cannot afford to remain indifferent to the atrocities of Russian
troops against the defenseless and innocent civilians in
Meanwhile, suspicions that some Iranians are trying to join
the Chechen combatants persist. An Iranian national (whose name
does not sound very Iranian), Badr Nejad Mahmud Safar-ogli, was
detained at the Yarag-Kazmalyar checkpoint for trying to leave
Russia with false documents, and "his possible affiliation to
Chechen rebels is now being checked up," ITAR-TASS reported on
12 March. And Tehran continues to provide humanitarian
assistance for Chechens displaced by the conflict. Trucks
carrying Iranian aid arrived in Tbilisi on 8 March, ITAR-TASS
reported. (Bill Samii)
WIDE NET CAST FOR HAJJARIAN SHOOTERS.
The 12 March shooting of Tehran City Council member Said
Hajjarian continues to reverberate in Iran. Hajjarian was shot
at close range in the face and shoulders. He was taken to the
hospital and placed on a respirator, with a bullet lodged near
his spinal cord. Dr. Zafarqandi, a member of the team treating
Hajjarian, said on 16 March that the patient's status was stable
but showed signs of improvement. Hajjarian's son, Mohsen, said
that his father opened his eyes briefly on 17 March and
responded to his relatives.
One of the "students" who occupied the U.S. Embassy and
held U.S. officials hostage, Hajjarian went on to serve in the
Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Now, he is considered a
leading reformist and is the editor of "Sobh-i Imruz" daily and
a leader in the pro-Khatami Islamic Iran Participation Party.
<< Continued to next message >>>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 22:21:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 2/2
<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>
The list of possible assassins, therefore, is not a short one.
Almost nobody has avoided suspicion in this incident, as the
authorities search for the culprits.
Colonel Hussein Mostofi, the lead investigator, said on 13
March that a profile of the assailant had been compiled, and
later, there were reports that a bystander had photographed the
incident. But because the assailant was riding a 1000-1300 cc
motorcycle -- a type only the police and security forces are
allowed to have -- the investigation focused on finding the
vehicle. Mostofi asked the public to call the police on a
special number if they had any information about the case. On 15
March the motorcycle was found, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported, and the
next day, Ahmadi, a man who had phoned a death threat to
Hajjarian, was arrested, according to "Kar va Kargar."
The hardline daily "Kayhan" blamed the U.S. for the
incident. Deputy Islamic Revolution Guard Corps commander
Brigadier General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr said the incident was
part of "Washington's scheme" to make Iran look "crisis-ridden,"
according to IRNA. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani said that
the incident was part of the "psychological war" against Iran
that is "orchestrated by the arrogant power and global Zionism,"
IRNA reported on 17 March.
But because access to such high-power motorcycles is fairly
limited, most assumed that hardliners with links to the security
forces were behind the assassination attempt. An editorial in
the 13 March "Iran Vij" argued that such an event demonstrates
why the security forces must be under the president's control.
An editorial in the 13 March "Bayan" argued that because
Hajjarian is so well-known, it was symbolically an attack on all
Iranian reformists, and another editorial in the same daily
wondered if the hardliners think there is only one Hajjarian.
The results of the 18 February parliamentary election made
it quite clear that the Iranian public's effort to reassert
control over its future will be reversed only with great
difficulty. But statements by senior figures like Ayatollah
Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, who last year advocated violence
against "outsiders," have helped create an atmosphere in which
some people see murder of their political opponents as
acceptable. The fact that Mesbah-Yazdi is a leading religious
official and can make such statements in official fora like the
Friday Prayers makes such violence seem even more tolerable.
President Mohammad Khatami's failure to vigorously protect
his allies in the past also may have emboldened the proponents
of violence. This may be the proverbial "crows coming home to
roost," since the president did not condemn the violent
suppression of student unrest last July, nor did he act on
behalf of individuals who ran into trouble with the courts, such
as Gholamhussein Karbaschi, Mohsen Kadivar, or Abdullah Nuri. An
editorial in "Asr-i Azadegan" asked, "When the government cannot
protect top figures of the reform movement, how could the
administration undertake reforms and make promises as far as
their implementation are concerned?"
Figures throughout the Iranian political establishment,
whether seen as reformists or hardliners, were very critical of
the assassination attempt. Khatami said on 12 March that
"terrorists resort to such acts because they have no place among
the people and because the people hate them," IRNA reported.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the "dastardly
assassination attempt" on 15 March. He added that "I express my
deepest regret over the assassination attempt against Mr.
Hajjarian; I pray for him and extend my sympathies to his
faithful and honorable family."
State radio called for unity to thwart the terrorists'
efforts. This is exactly what happened. The Interior Ministry,
the Tehran City Council, the Islamic Iran Solidarity Party, the
Executives of Construction Party, the Society of the Self-
Sacrificers of the Islamic Revolution, the Militant Clerics
Association, the Islamic Coalition Society, the Hizbullah
Council of the Islamic Republic, the Islamic Iran Partnership
Party, the University Basij, and the Ministry of Islamic Culture
and Guidance issued condemnatory statements, too. According to
state television, their statements said: "The enemies who are
against the resistance and glory of Islamic Iran have become
despondent because of the enthusiastic and massive participation
of the people in the various arenas of the Islamic revolution.
Once again, they resorted to terrorist acts in order to make
this country insecure."
This unity in the face of adversity is a common Iranian
feature, and one of Iran's strengths. But murders may lead to
the radicalization of reformists who, until now, have been
trying to operate within a legal framework and by adhering to
the rule of law. If that happens, there may be more violence.
FLIPPER WON'T KILL.
Iran has purchased the contents of the Sevastopol aquarium,
including a whale, dolphins, seals, walruses, and sea-lions,
raising concerns that they will be put to military use.
Statements by the Ukrainian navy and marine biologists, however,
make such concerns seem exaggerated.
Aquarium director Boris Zhuryd said the animals had to be
sold because he no longer had money to feed them. But these are
not average dolphins, Moscow's "Komsomolskaya Pravda" warned on
3 March, because they formerly served in the Soviet military.
And Zhuryd and his wife established the Soviet Ministry of
Defense's military dolphinarium, where the pinnepeds were
trained to guard military facilities and attach mines to ships
or submarines. Zhuryd said that Iran has constructed a "special
supermodern oceanarium" which is superior to the facilities he
has seen before.
But Captain Mykola Savchenko, Ukrainian naval spokesman in
Crimea, dismissed concerns that the dolphins are aquatic
warriors. He told RFE/RL that "These are dolphins that put on a
show, an attraction. There are no more naval dolphins and these
were not trained in military tasks. They were for a circus. It's
a circus on water." He added that the dolphins are retirees:
"They are not carrying out military tasks and have been
transferred to civilian duties."
The combative utility of dolphins is questionable, too.
Marine biologist Anatoly Bezushko, who works at the military
oceanarium in Crimea, told RFE/RL that the military researchers
did not have great success with dolphins. In his words,
"Kamikaze dolphins work in movies, but not in real life." This
is because dolphins do not like the shallow, murky water where
ships moor. On the other hand, dolphins have had some success
locating sunken ships or broken oil pipelines and have even
saved downed aviators. (Bill Samii)
RISKY BUSINESS, I.
Shakespeare warned in "Hamlet" that one should "Neither a
borrower nor a lender be," because it could discourage
industriousness and result in lost friends. The Bard of Avon
obviously did not have Iran in mind. Iran's borrowing practices
enabled its reconstruction after the Iran-Iraq War, and its
substantial debts have given it leverage over its creditors,
effectively forcing them into "friendship" and renegotiation of
repayment schedules. Iran's international borrowing will be
discussed in this week's "RFE/RL Iran Report," and credit risk
and foreign investment in Iran will be discussed in the 20 March
"RFE/RL Iran Report."
The Islamic Republic started to accumulate short-term loans
as it tried to rebuild after the eight year war with Iraq. As
oil prices dropped in the early-1990s, Iran found that it was
having trouble meeting its payment obligations, and some
analysts believe that by 1996 Iranian debt amounted to about $23
billion. Iran reached bilateral agreements with creditors,
outside the Paris Club framework, to restructure arrears on
short-term debt and maturing letters of credit in 1995-1996.
(The Paris Club is an ad hoc meeting of Western creditor
governments that renegotiates debt owed to official creditors or
guaranteed by them.) When oil prices dropped in 1998, Iran was
forced to renegotiate its debts again.
By February 1999, 40 German banks had renegotiated $1
billion in financing, and Japanese businesses and the Japan
Export Import Bank rescheduled all of Iran's debt of almost $500
million. Repayment on these debts must start in Spring 2000. In
March 1999, the Italian export credit agency (SACE) agreed to
reschedule $370 million in Iranian debt, and Japan agreed to
provide approximately $820 million in low-interest loans to
finance the construction of a hydro-electric power station. The
Islamic Development Bank lent Iran $105 million to finance
several industrial projects in September 1999. And the EU
reported that Iran rescheduled a further $2-3 billion in loans
and secured an equivalent amount in refinancing.
Determining precise figures on Iranian debt is problematic.
Both Iran and its creditors have been close-mouthed on this
issue. The Central Bank (Bank Markazi), furthermore, regularly
publishes figures that represent its intentions, rather than the
minimum expectations of creditors, according to the Economist
Intelligence Unit. One should bear this caveat in mind when
hearing the Central Bank's December 1999 announcement that total
foreign debts and commitments, excluding conditional debts like
Letters of Credit and future interest payments, amounted to $22
Iranian officials also play down Iran's foreign debt
situation. President Mohammad Khatami said in an 11 February
speech that "Despite the alarming fall in the oil prices, we
have paid our scheduled foreign debts in time, Ö our foreign
debt has reached its lowest level in the last 10 years." Former
president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani said in a January speech
that during the period following the Iran-Iraq War ("the
reconstruction era") Iran's foreign debt was only $12 billion.
Allegations that foreign debt amounts to $30 billion are, he
said, "a big lie."
Be that as it may, the recent increase in oil prices has
strengthened Iran's position. Barring fluctuations in oil
prices, Iran is expected to make principal repayments of "some
$4 billion over the current fiscal year, $3.5 billion in 2000/01
and $2 billion in the following year," the Economist
Intelligence Unit reported in February 2000.
Iran's reliance on such a volatile commodity, however,
makes lenders hesitant. Raquel Ajona, the Deutsche Bank Research
Unit's expert on Iran and the Mideast, told RFE/RL that "If we
were to see more stability in oil prices then [Iran] could have
access to medium to long-term loans but not right now [when oil
prices are considered to be volatile]."
Still, these factors, combined with positive expectations
about Iran's Third Five Year Development Plan, which calls for
greater privatization and reduced state involvement in the
economy, have led international lenders to take a more positive
view towards Iran. In January 2000 it was reported that the
World Bank was reconsidering loans to Iran of $86 million for
primary health care and $145 for a sewage treatment project.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn said on 14 March that such
loans are under discussion, but "There is a split of opinion on
the board... That split of opinion is 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. I am getting pressure from both sides"
The U.S. has opposed such World Bank loans. Therefore,
Simon Williams, the Middle East expert at the Economist
Intelligence Unit, told RFE/RL, "I tend to think [the World
Bank] won't do it this year. The [Iranians] seem to have a
couple of bids in but really the World Bank is always quite keen
to avoid political controversy where it can and I can't imagine
them pushing the US on it at the moment."
In theory, Iran can get loans from the International
Monetary Fund, where its Special Drawing Rights quota is 1.5
billion (about $1.95 billion), but this amount has remained
untouched. There is speculation that Iran is unwilling to accept
the IMF's structural-adjustment requirements, but it is also
possible that Washington, which holds about an 18 percent stake
in the IMF, would not permit loans to Iran. (Bill Samii)
Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 14:42:10 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: 6 people including main culprit in hajjarian's assassination
6 people including main culprit in hajjarian's assassination
tehran, march 20, irna -- the main culprit in the ssassination attempt
against deputy head of tehran city council saeed hajjarian along with
five others have been arrested, announced the head of tehran province
courts hojjatoleslam abbasali alizadeh mondy evening.
calling it a valuble gift at the beginning of the new year, he
said the arrest has been done through cooperation of the people and
efforts made by security and law enforcement forces, tehran's
judiciary branch and the interior ministry.
he said that the person who has shot hajjarian and also the other
one accompanying him riding a motorcycle on the scene of the shooting
as well as others who have been covering the killing attempt have been
arrested, adding that the culprits are now in the hands of the
ministry of information.
he also noted that the information ministry is also in possession
of a letter presented to hajjarian on the scene of the assassination
in a bid to stop him while walking into the city council building and
also the motorcycle used in the assassination attempt.
meanwhile, the secretariat of iran's national security council
in a communique issued monday evening said that the main culprit has
admitted to the murder attempt.
hajjarian has been seriously wounded by a bullet lodged in his
neck in the terrorist attempt.
::irna 20/03/2000 21:45
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 14:43:03 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: president issues directive for speedy probe into terrorist acts
president issues directive for speedy probe into terrorist acts
tehran, march 20, irna -- president mohammad khatami issued a
directive to ministers of information ali younesi and of the interior
abdolvahed musavi lari and head of the secretariat of national
security council mr. ebad to speed up efforts to probe the recent
terrorist acts in the country.
president khatami sent the directive following a call from the
supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei to the president urging him to
speed up the inquiry into the terrorist act against member of
tehran city council saeed hajjarian.
the president assigned younesi, lari and ebad to work hard to
ease the supreme leader's anxiety.
"in pursuant of the leader's verbal notifications, it is
necessary to stress speedy measures to be taken to trace the
origins of the catastrophe and to confront it", said khatami, adding
that moreover, mr. ebad should give necessary notices to the mass
media in this regard.
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 14:42:37 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: leader urges president to speed up inquiry into recent terrorist
leader urges president to speed up inquiry into recent terrorist
tehran, march 20, irna -- the leader of the islamic revolution
ayatollah seyed ali khamenei urged president mohammad khatami to
speed up inquiry into the case of the chain-murders in tehran last
year and the latest assassination bid against member of tehran city
council saeed hajjarian.
in a letter to the president khatami, the leader expressed concern
about the prospect of national security and called for serious
investigation of serial murders case as well as recent terrorist
ayatollah khamenei said in the letter that last week's
assassination bid and certain peripheral issues had made him worry
about future of national security.
the supreme leader told the president to instruct the
authoritative organs such as ministries of information and the
interior as well as national security council to expedite efforts
with more seriousness to follow up the case and bring those involved
ayatollah khamenei said the issue is likely to turn into an
ambiguous and scandalous issue like the case of chain murders.
in the case of (chain) murders, although his excellency
commissioned delegations one after the other to follow up the case
but failure to close the case led to rumors and created atmosphere
of suspicion and ambiguity, regretted the leader.
ayatollah khamenei said that in that (chain murders') case,
unfortunately, certain tongues and pens are seriously busy spreading
rumors and escalating tension. they are not confined to the extent
alone but besides naming persons and individuals, they targeted
even authoritative and reliable organs, even the islamic revolution
guards corps (irgc) and basij (volunteer forces), which are the most
reliable bastions of national security, with false accusations.
the leader questioned, ''under such a tumultuous atmosphere, how
the judicial and security organs can carry out their responsibilities
with care and tranquil mood?'' such ballyhoos have resulted in
criminals' occultation from the law with peace of mind, ayatollah
ayatollah khamenei said that he was not optimistic about the
statements of those provoking such an atmosphere.
''you had better commission officials to reach convincing
result on case of the event (the attempted assassination) in a
definite time; in that case my anxiety and concern would subside,''
the leader said.
::irna 20/03/2000 11:32
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 15:13:39 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran arrests six over reformer's shooting-IRNA
Iran arrests six over reformer's shooting-IRNA
TEHRAN, March 20 (Reuters) - Six people have been arrested in Iran in
connection with the shooting of reformist leader Saeed Hajjarian, the
official Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Monday. ``The arrested people
included the person who has shot Hajjarian on March 12,'' the
English-language report said quoting ``informed sources.'' It did not give
further details. Hajjarian, a close ally of President Mohammad Khatami and
key figure in the reformists' victory in last month's parliamentary
elections, was shot a week ago by two unidentified attackers who escaped on a
He was a member of Tehran city council and director of a leading reformist
On Sunday, Hajjarian underwent surgery to open his windpipe and allow feeding
by mouth. Doctors have postponed another operation to remove a bullet lodged
in his neck until he regains full consciousness.
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 15:42:10 EST
Subject: PUK assault on human and refugee rights in Northern Iraq
International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR)
CONDEMN THE PATRIOTIC UNION OF KURDISTAN'S SUPPRESSION OF POLITICAL FREEDOMS
IN NORTHERN IRAQ
March 20, 2000
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's (PUK) recent arrests and banning of
organizations and a threat to ban a party, which defend the rights of
women, children, the aged and Iranian refugees are violations of human
rights and in contravention of political freedoms in Northern Iraq.
On February 16, 2000, the PUK's security forces raided several
homes, arrested, and imprisoned Socialists Mohammad Nasser,
Omar Sharif, and Yusef Mohammad. On February 17, the Office
of the Aged, organized by the Union of Construction Workers, was
shut down and Ostad Saber, its representative, was imprisoned.
The Center for the Defense of Children's Rights has also been closed.
Moreover, on March 5, the Deputy Interior Minister issued a
grievance against the Worker Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI)
demanding that the Party's activities be banned. In the grievance
filed, the Deputy Interior Minister has claimed that the WCPI's
defense of women's rights is in contradiction to the PUK's Islamic
laws, and that the Party has helped organize illegal demonstrations
in defense of refugees. An April 4 court date has been set to
prosecute the WCPI.
The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) strongly
condemns the policies of the PUK, which are opposed to political
freedoms in Iraqi Kurdistan. These policies support Islamic
terrorism and political reaction in Kurdistan and promote an
environment in which the rights of women, children, refugees and
the aged can more easily be violated. An attack on the
progressive segments of society is an all out attack on those
IFIR calls on groups and individuals to demand that the PUK
immediately and unconditionally release those imprisoned
and recognize political freedoms for all people as well as parties
and organizations, including the WCPI, the Center for the Defense
of Children's Rights, the Office of the Aged, and the International
Federation of Iranian Refugees - Soleymanieh Branch office.
Protest letters, faxes and e-mails to the PUK can be sent to:
5 Glasshouse Walk, London SE1, England;
fax: 011-44-171-840-0630 and 444 North Capitol Street, NW,
Suite 837, Washington, DC 20001; fax: 202-637-2723. The
PUK's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Glasshouse Walk
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
To Whom It May Concern:
I / my organization am / is writing to condemn the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan's (PUK) arrest and imprisonment of activists defending
the rights of women, children, the aged, people in general and Iranian
refugees living in Northern Iraq.
I demand that the PUK immediately and unconditionally release
those individuals who have been imprisoned, including Mohammad
Nasser, Omar Sharif, Yusef Mohammad, and Ostad Saber. I further
demand that the PUK respect political freedoms and the right to
organize for all individuals and groups including the Worker Communist
Party of Iraq, the Center for the Defense of Children's Rights, the Office
of the Aged, and the International Federation of Iranian Refugees -
Soleymanieh Branch office.
I look forward to the immediate resolution of this urgent matter.
CC: International Federation of Iranian Refugees, email@example.com
For more information, contact: Maryam Namazie
P. O. Box 7051
New York, NY 10116, USA
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 19 Mar 2000 to 20 Mar 2000 - Special issue