Date: Mar 26, 2000 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Mar 2000 to 25 Mar 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Mar 2000 to 25 Mar 2000
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There are 6 messages totalling 346 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran sees OPEC raising output by up to one mln bpd
2. Iranian Calls US Gesture Deceitful
3. Iraq says shoots down Iranian drone
4. Iraq Claims Shooting Down Iran Jet
5. Iran says hardliners behind reformist's shooting
6. Japan Charges Former Iranian Ambassador

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Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 13:26:30 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran sees OPEC raising output by up to one mln bpd

Iran sees OPEC raising output by up to one mln bpd


TEHRAN, March 25 (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it expected OPEC to
increase crude oil production by between 700,000 and one million barrels per
day at its meeting next week.

``We expect to have between 700,000 to one million barrels a day output
increase,'' said a senior oil ministry official, who asked not to be
identified.

``We have not agreed on more increases, and possibly we will not have more
than that,'' he told Reuters in Tehran.

Oil ministers of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
are to meet in Vienna on Monday to decide production from April 1.

It is widely expected to boost supplies from March 31, the expiry date of
year-long deep supply curbs which have trebled oil prices, in the face of
strong international pressure, mainly from the United States.

Iran, the second largest producer within OPEC, has strongly resisted a hefty
output increase sought by the United States, fearing that it may cause prices
to collapse.

The Iranian economy is just beginning to recover from a slump casused by low
prices of oil, the country's main source of hard cash.

``OPEC should not opt for a big increase under political pressure. This will
face its members with a catastrophy, after all the efforts taken to raise
prices,'' Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said on state radio on Saturday.

``We must move with the market and seek stability. We hope OPEC will make a
decision based on economic justifications, not political,'' he said.

Zangeneh, whose country is under U.S. energy sanctions, said Iran was
undaunted by U.S. pressures: ``American threats mean nothing to us. We have
no interests in the U.S. market.''

``We do not want consumers to face a shortage of supply, but at the same time
a collapse in prices threatens our national interests,'' he said.

Zangeneh said on Friday that a 20 percent decline in prices over the past two
weeks should make OPEC cautious about its approach to the second quarter of
this year.

Washington, alarmed by the soaring cost of gasoline, has said it wants OPEC
to push two million barrels per day of net new barrels into world oil markets
from April to fill up depleted tanks and cool down prices.

Leading producers, including OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia, are believed to
favour extra OPEC supply of about 1.5 million bpd from April 1.

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

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 13:26:58 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian Calls US Gesture Deceitful

Iranian Calls US Gesture Deceitful

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's hard-line supreme leader slammed a U.S. gesture
aimed at improving ties as ``deceitful,'' saying Saturday that Iranians could
never forget American injustices.

State-run radio reported the comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the first
reaction from Iran's top leader to a March 17 speech in which U.S. Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright announced the lifting of some sanctions against
Iran.

``The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be
their enemy because America's past behavior is full of acts of hostility and
treason,'' Khamenei was quoted as saying.

In her speech, Albright acknowledged Iran had genuine grievances against the
United States. She said that Washington wanted to start a new relationship.

``The Americans are presuming that such acknowledgments, which did not even
include an apology, will cause the Iranian nation to forget America's acts of
treason, hostilities and injustices,'' Khamenei was quoted as saying.

Iran is caught up in a power struggle between anti-American hard-liners led
by Khamenei, and reformers led by President Mohammad Khatami. The president's
faction wants better ties with the United States, and Albright's gesture
followed a resounding reformist victory in last month's legislative elections
in Iran.

Khamenei brushed off Albright's acknowledgment that the United States had
been shortsighted for its involvement in a 1953 coup, and its support for the
dictatorial shah, who was ousted in the 1979 revolution.

``The remarks by the U.S. secretary are deceitful. These late confessions are
of no use to the Iranian people,'' the radio quoted Khamenei as saying.

He said the United States had adopted a ``position of arrogance'' reflected
in Albright's speech.

``America can't do a damn thing,'' Khamenei said, repeating a once popular
slogan of the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman had earlier given a cautious welcome to
Albright's speech. But the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,
Iran's elite fighting force, had slammed the gesture, reflecting the
divisions inside Iran's Islamic government.

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

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 13:27:37 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iraq says shoots down Iranian drone

Iraq says shoots down Iranian drone


BAGHDAD, March 25 (Reuters) - Iraq said on Saturday its air defences had shot
down an Iranian pilotless plane over its territory for the second time in a
month.

Iraq, whose relations with Iran have become increasingly tense over its
support for Iranian guerrillas opposed to the Tehran government, said the
reconnaissance drone was downed in southern Iraq.

``Fighters of our air defence units and (ruling Baath) party cadres in Meisan
(Amarah) province shot down an Iranian reconnaissance plane at 1730 local
time (1400 GMT) on Friday,'' the Iraqi News Agency INA quoted the commander
of Iraqi air defences as saying.

INA said the plane was shot down near the Iraqi town of al- Azair near the
border with Iran after it violated Iraqi air space. The agency gave no
further details and there was no immediate comment from Iran.

Iraq and Iran fought a ruinous war from 1980 to 1988. Tension between the two
countries has escalated in recent 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 an Iranian
reconnaissance drone near the border with Iran. It also blamed Tehran on
Wednesday for a mortar attack in a residential district of Baghdad in which
six people died. Iran denied involvement in the assault.

The Mujahideen said their anti-aircraft systems earlier this month repulsed
an air attack by Iran against one of their military bases inside Iraq.

The last air attack by Iran against Mujahideen bases was in 1997 when eight
Iranian warplanes raided two of the group's camps inside Iraq.

Mujahideen Khalq uses Iraq as a springboard for attacks inside Iran. It has
several camps, equipped with tanks, heavy artillery and helicopter gunships,
close to the borders with Iran.

The group's bases in Iraq have been the target of air and rocket attacks by
Tehran. Their offices in Baghdad, now ringed by a concrete wall, has
weathered mortar and bomb attacks.

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

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 13:28:48 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iraq Claims Shooting Down Iran Jet

Iraq Claims Shooting Down Iran Jet

.c The Associated Press


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq has shot down a second pilotless Iranian
reconnaissance plane this month, the official news agency reported Saturday.

The Iraqi News Agency said the plane was downed Friday in the southern
province of Missan, which borders Iran.

It was not clear whether it was downed near one of the military camps Iranian
dissidents have been allowed to set up in Iraq.

Iraq claimed its anti-aircraft defenses shot down another pilotless Iranian
reconnaissance plane March 13.

Iraqi-Iranian relations, never healed since their 1980-88 war, have been
particularly tense in recent weeks. Each harbors dissident groups fighting
the other's government.

Last week, Iraq blamed Iran for a mortar attack that hit a residential
apartment building in Baghdad, killing four. Iran denied responsibility.

Earlier this month, the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen Khalq, which has
guerrilla camps in Iraq, claimed its militants in Iran were responsible for a
mortar attack in Tehran.

The United States lifted some sanctions on Iran last week as a prelude to
improving relations. The Iraqi government is wary that the countries are
colluding against it.

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

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 17:15:20 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran says hardliners behind reformist's shooting

Iran says hardliners behind reformist's shooting


TEHRAN, March 26 (Reuters) - Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said on
Sunday that Islamic extremists were behind the recent assassination attempt
against a leader of Iran's pro-reform movement.

Yunesi told reporters more than 10 people were in custody in connection with
the shooting earlier this month of Saeed Hajjarian, an ally of President
Mohammad Khatami and a key figure in the reformists' victory in last month's
parliamentary elections.

Among those arrested was a low-ranking officer in the Revolutionary Guards,
Yunesi said at a news conference broadcast on state television.

``The suspects are a rogue element with private adventurist motives. It was
extremist elements who committed this act,'' he said.

Hajjarian, a member of Tehran city council and publisher of a leading
reformist daily newspaper, was gravely wounded in the attack.

Yunesi had earlier said his ministry was looking into a possible role by the
Iraq-based Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main armed opposition group, and foreign
agents.

But the minister told the news conference on Saturday the suspects had no
ties to any political group or official institution inside Iran, as suggested
by reformist groups.

Reformers had argued that elements in hardline security forces may have been
behind the attack, as part of their campaign to undermine Khatami's liberal
reforms.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front, run by one of Khatami's brothers, said
on Wednesday that hardliners in a security body were trying to cover up the
truth.

Yunesi denied the charges. ``The intelligence ministry is doing its job
without any obstacles. I assure you that we will firmly try to discover the
roots of this plot,'' he said.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sought last week to protect the
reputation of the Revolutionary Guards and its volunteer force, the Basij, by
demanding a quick probe into the assault.

All security organisations, including the Revolutionary Guards, have
condemned the attack on Hajjarian.

The television showed on Sunday, for the first time, pictures of three of the
main suspects, which it said were provided by the intelligence ministry.

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

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 19:23:56 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Japan Charges Former Iranian Ambassador

Under the Vienna convention, diplomats are exempted from arrest or
prosecution on criminal charges and this is the most popular international
convention among Islamic diplomats.


Tokyo, March 26 (Par Daily) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department filed
charges against Hossein Kazem-Pour Ardebili, former ambassador to Japan, and
another Iranian over alleged illegal exports of parts for RPG-7 anti-tank
rocket launchers to Iran.


The Tokyo Metropolitan Department said it had sent papers on the pair to the
District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of violating the law
regulating foreign exchange.


The 47-year-old former envoy, which served in Tokyo from 1990 to 1994, and a
49-year-old former clerical staff at the Iranian embassy, were suspected of
arranging payment for the exports, a police spokesman said.


Hossein Kazem-Pour Ardebili is advisor to Namdar Zangeneh, oil minister of
Islamic Republic.


Islamic News Agency (IRNA) said the Iranian embassy denied its "involvement
in any trading activity," and said: "Our embassy recognizes that the current
uproar has surfaced because a certain Japanese company violated a domestic
law a few years ago and that it is far from true to suggest it has any
relation with our embassy.”


Islamic embassy in Tokyo hoped that the incident, which impaired bilateral
relations, would be "brought to an end as promptly as possible."


Under the Vienna convention, diplomats are exempted from arrest or
prosecution on criminal charges and this is the most popular international
convention among Islamic diplomats. But they can still be questioned on a
voluntary basis and papers on their cases can be referred to public
prosecutors.


The Tokyo police department, knowing that the two would never be indicted,
was believed to be trying to set the record straight on the exports, which
flouted Japan's tight restrictions on arms exports.
The Tokyo police spokesman said "public security division had sought
cooperation from the Iranian embassy in the investigations through diplomatic
channels but the embassy had refused it."


The two Iranians were suspected of paying 3.05 million yen (28,500 dollars)
for reticules of sighting devices for RPG-7 rocket launchers, which were
exported to Iran by Japanese optical instrument firm Sunbeam Co. without
authorization, Tokyo police said.


Tokyo police department also placed Iranian businessman Masoud Momtahan, 38,
on the international wanted list last month for his involvement in the
shipments. Police said Masoud Momtahan was suspected of ordering the
critical weapon parts, which are banned for export to Iran without special
permission under Japanese law.

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Mar 2000 to 25 Mar 2000
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