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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Mar 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Mar 2000
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There are 3 messages totalling 199 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. DNI news list archive is now on our homepage
2. Ball in Iran's court
3. Iranians mark new year as celebration of renewal


Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 20:30:21 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: DNI news list archive is now on our homepage

bA salAm,
I have compiled the DNI-NEWS list for January and February 2000 and put
them on our homepage.
Unfortunately, I lost almost all of the news list for the year 99 in a hard
disk crash at the end of last year, but I will put our news on the web in
the future so that you and other people can have access to it.

Please check our homepage, go to News and then you will see the archive of
the news for Jan and Feb 2000.

It is not as clean as I would like it to be, but it takes far too much to
make it "clean" and prepare it for the WEB, so I thought this would be
enough for now, and maybe I take care of it later when I find some more
free time to spend on DNI's homepage.

bA ehterAm,


Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 22:05:52 EST
Subject: Ball in Iran's court

Ball in Iran's court
Will Iran grasp the opening offered by the U.S.?

From Iranians for International Cooperation
March 20, 2000
The Iranian

This past Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright finally gave an
appropriate response (full text here) to President Khatami's address to the
American people two years ago, and by that, clearly put the ball in Iran's
court. In an impressive speech, she made it CLEAR once and for all, that any
concerns that the U.S. may have with Iran are best addressed through
dialogue, and not sanctions.

Secretary Albright addressed U.S. concerns, but also acknowledged Iran's
importance, its undeniable internal evolution, Iranian women's prominent role
in the country's political affairs and last but not least, its three
"increasingly democratic rounds of elections".She also mentioned the
similarities between Iranians and Americans, such as both people's fierce
opposition to foreign domination.

Her comments regarding the Iranian people's right to decide their own future
and SHAPE their own democracy's feature, consistent with its traditions and
culture, are sure to be welcomed by Tehran. As is Secretary Albright's
recognition of the U.S.'s role in the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime
Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, the reinstatement of the Shah and the comments
regarding frozen Iranian assets.

Iranians for International Cooperation (IIC) has for long called for
unconditional talks between the U.S. and Iran, and it welcomes Secretary
Albright's measures. The Iranian government has in the past made it that an
easing of sanctions should not only entail new business opportunities for
American firms, but also for Iranian firms. And this is exactly what
Secretary Albright delivered, an opportunity for Iranian carpet makers and
pistachio farmers to export their products to the U.S.

Although a full lifting of the sanctions would have been better for both
Iranian and American firms, this was nonetheless a step in the right
direction. And as Secretary Albright declared herself, the pace of this
process is secondary to its direction.

The next move is Iran's and Ambassador Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian's comments (part
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5) that these steps are "refreshing" but insufficient to
"make a quick and drastic change" in U.S.-Iran relations should be seen in
light of the new parliament's overcrowded domestic agenda and the high
expectations for domestic reforms that the new Majlis deputies have to live
up to.

Nonetheless, Iran should bear in mind that it is not the only country with a
domestic political scene and that with the presidential elections in the
U.S., this window of opportunity may disappear just as quickly as it emerged.
It should also be to all parties that demanding that all problems be solved
before talks can take place, will not only render the dialogue impossible, it
will also make it somewhat redundant. The dialogue is after all the
instrument to be used to solve the problems, it is not a goal in itself.

In light of this, the American position is refreshing and Iran should adopt a
similar attitude in order for both countries to be able to capitalize on this
opportunity. It is also very refreshing that Secretary Albright recognized
that "unnecessary impediments" to increased people-to-people contacts exist
and that ways to remove these obstacles should be examined.

IIC has at numerous occasions pointed out to State Department officials that
Iran's terrorist listing cannot be seen as an excuse to fingerprint Iranian
grandmothers and children. If the U.S. officials wish to increase
people-to-people exchanges, then they also have to find a way around these
discriminatory procedures. Fortunately, this message seems now to have
reached the decision makers. Ambassador Nejad-Hosseinian also noted this in
his address to the American-Iranian Council.

But Iran too bears guilt in these matters. Albeit not as humiliating as being
treated as a common criminal at U.S. airports, having to spend a week in
Turkey to obtain a visa to the U.S. should also be seen as an unnecessary
impediment to increased contacts. Just as the U.S. has allowed three Iranian
servicemen to be stationed in the embassy of Pakistan in Washington to handle
consular matters, the Iranian government should permit the stationing of a
few U.S. personnel in the Swiss embassy in Teheran. This in order to take
care of the necessary consular work that is associated with these
people-to-people exchanges.

The ball is now in Iran's court. Some of the sanctions have been lifted and a
promise to remove impediments to increased contacts as well as an admission
of the U.S.'s meddling in Iranian affairs have been made. The rest of the
problems should be taken care of at the negotiating table. Iran must now
grasp this opening before the winds of enmity shut this window of opportunity


Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 22:27:18 EST
Subject: Iranians mark new year as celebration of renewal

Iranians mark new year as celebration of renewal

The Toronto Star
By Mark Zwolinski

2,500-year-old holiday begins at vernal equinox

March 20, 2000

Affi Mardukhi and about 35 family members and friends were anticipating
the stroke of 2:35 a.m. this morning.

In their home in the Bayview and Eglinton Aves. area, Mardukhi and her
party were to join millions of Iranians around the world in celebration of
Nauruz, the start of the new year.

Dating back over 2,500 years, Persian new year is heralded at the arrival
of the vernal equinox, the exact moment the winter season changes over to
spring (2:35 a.m. today).

Mardukhi says Iranians believe the first day of spring is the best day to
celebrate the new year.

``It is a renewal of life, in nature and in our families,'' Mardukhi said.

Mardukhi spent most of the day yesterday decorating her home with tulips,
hyacinths and pansies, and preparing traditional and symbolic dishes.

At the centre of the celebration is a colourful table, usually readied
with coloured eggs, red fish, jasmine, mirrors, candles and a holy book.

Also on the table is the Haft Sin, which translates as the seven S's and
refers to seven food items beginning with the letter S: seeb (apple),
senjed (wild olive), sabzeh (a root vegetable), seer (garlic), serkeh
(vinegar), samanoo (juice of wheat or flour, mixed with flour) and somak

The seven items symbolize ``durability, revival, a coming back to nature,
a reunification of the family,'' Mardukhi said.

According to Iranian mythology, the seven S's also symbolize seven
guardian angels.

A main lunch or dinner meal completes the food preparations and features
rice mixed with herbs and white fish, usually from the Caspian Sea.

Afterward, there is song and dance, and family members pay homage to
elders with a gift.

``We give a token gift to our elders, usually money, to bless health and
income for the new year,'' Mardukhi said.

``My marriage is intercultural,'' she added, noting that her husband Jamil
is a Kurd.

``They (Kurds) celebrate with a lot of dance and music, so we bring that
part of it into our home as well.''

Mardukhi said Nauruz celebrations in Iran last 14 days, with businesses
closing and children excused from school.

``We do as much as we can here, and when people have children and families
here, it's important for them to identify with their roots and culture,''
she said.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Mar 2000