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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Mar 2000 to 27 Mar 2000 - Special issue
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There are 14 messages totalling 1328 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Khatami orders crusade against political violence
2. Iran Links Shooting of Reformer (2)
3. Twenty-nine die in crashes in Iran
4. Iraq denies U.S. charge it wastes money on base
5. Libya's Gaddafi, Iran's Khatami discuss oil
6. Iran's foreign minister to visit Bahrain
7. Iran Lawmaker Likes U.S. Gesture
8. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 1/2
9. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 2/2
10. FYI:(AFP)Day of hell for Danes dressed as Muslim women
11. IRNA:Abdollah Nouri: violence should be uprooted
12. Net is a vital weapon for free speech
13. Payvand:Who Should Be Protected the Most at This Point?

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 04:14:00 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Khatami orders crusade against political violence

Khatami orders crusade against political violence


TEHRAN, March 26 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami called on
security forces on Sunday to root out political violence following the recent
assassination attempt against a leader of Iran's pro-reform movement.

``The assassination attempt is a new act of sedition which, if not torn up at
the roots, could cause a lot of problems and damage for the country,'' state
television quoted Khatami as saying in a letter to Intelligence Minister Ali
Yunesi.

``We cannot hesitate. At this sensitive juncture when this society is blessed
with hope and greater happiness, if this sedition takes on a life of its own
it can close the path to freedom, prosperity and the rule of law,'' Khatami
said.

Yunesi said on Sunday that Islamic extremists were behind the March 12
shooting of Saeed Hajjarian -- an ally of Khatami and a key figure in the
reformists' victory in last month's parliamentary elections.

He said more than 10 people were in custody in connection with the shooting,
including a low-ranking officer in the Revolutionary Guards. But the minister
said the suspects did not have ties to any political group or official
institution inside Iran, as suggested by reformist goups.

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

Khatami said authorities should not to hesitate in taking action against
political violence because he said Iran's supreme leader Ayatolah Ali
Khamenei had urged quick action in the case.

``Terrorists are hiding their ugly faces under the beautiful cover of
religion...Our duty today is to protect the reality of religion,'' Khatami
said.

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.

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.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 04:14:37 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran Links Shooting of Reformer

Iran Links Shooting of Reformer

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The shooting of a leading reformer was related to the
1998 murders of five political dissidents by Intelligence Ministry agents, an
Iranian vice president said in comments published Sunday.

The remarks by Massoumeh Ebtekar echo the concern among many Iranians that
forces are at work within the Iranian government to thwart a movement headed
by President Mohammad Khatami to institute social and political reform.

Hard-liners who say the reforms betray the ideals of the 1979 Islamic
revolution are believed to use violence against opponents. But no senior
hard-line official has been directly implicated in any of the attacks.

Ebtekar said the March 12 shooting of Saeed Hajjarian was connected to a July
attack by police and hard-line vigilantes on a Tehran University dormitory
and the murders of five dissidents two years ago, the Bayan daily reported.

``A link connects'' the three events and ``the connection is very serious,''
the Farsi-language paper quoted her as saying Saturday after visiting
Hajjarian in the hospital. She did not elaborate.

Once a hard-liner himself, Hajjarian began to speak out for freedom of
expression and greater political plurality after being silenced for opposing
the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani, who stepped down in 1997. Hajjarian
later became an adviser to Khatami.

On Tuesday, the Sobh-e-Emrouz, a reform daily managed by Hajjarian, denounced
the existence of a murderous ``shadow government'' in Iran, a reference to
several unsolved attacks on reformers.

More than a year after the Intelligence Ministry disclosed that its own
``rogue'' agents had killed five dissidents in the fall of 1998, the case is
still shrouded in mystery. The main suspect in the case, Saeed Emami, died in
prison. Officials said he committed suicide, but reform newspapers have
suggested he was killed to cover up senior hard-liners who may have ordered
the murders.

Shortly after Hajjarian was shot, journalist Akbar Ganji said Hajjarian used
his contacts at the Intelligence Ministry, which he had helped found after
the 1979 Islamic revolution, to become the source for exposes that Ganji
wrote about the killings of the five dissidents. However, Hajjarian denied
that he had leaked the information.

A former Tehran police chief and other policemen are on trial for the
dormitory attack but many Iranians believe that the violence was ordered by
higher-ups in the hard-line echelon.

Hajjarian was shot outside the Tehran City Council building by a man who fled
with an accomplice on a type of motorcycle that is available only to security
forces. Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said Saturday that police have
arrested 10 suspects but that none was affiliated to any political faction.

Hajjarian suffered brain damage but his condition has reportedly improved in
recent days.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 04:15:11 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Twenty-nine die in crashes in Iran

Twenty-nine die in crashes in Iran


TEHRAN, March 26 (Reuters) - Twenty-nine people have died in two major road
accidents in Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Sixteen died and many more were wounded near Malayer in Western Iran when a
minibus was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry, IRNA said.

Another 13 people died and 10 others were injured when their bus collided
with a truck near Kashan in central Iran, it added.

Iran has one of highest road accident rates in the world.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 04:15:44 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iraq denies U.S. charge it wastes money on base

Iraq denies U.S. charge it wastes money on base


BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) - Iraq added its voice on Sunday to denials of a
U.S. accusation that it is wasting money on a military complex near Baghdad
for exiled Iranian opposition fighters.

The Baghdad press said the charge made on Friday by the U.S. State
Department, which said the money could have been used to improve the welfare
of the Iraqi people, was a lie.

``Such a big lie is part of the American dirty and mean role which aims at
inciting outbreaks of discord,'' newspapers quoted the Iraqi News Agency INA
as saying.

The Iranian opposition group Mujahideen Khalq, which is based in Iraq, denied
the U.S. accusation on Friday.

The group said that it alone had paid for the base near Baghdad and the State
Department charges were propaganda to justify retaining harsh U.N. sanctions
against Iraq.

The State Department, which released a photograph of the base on Friday,
linked its allegations to a U.N. Security Council debate on the same day on
humanitarian aspects of the sanctions.

Washington is under increasing international pressure to allow the easing of
the sanctions which according to U.N. officials are causing great distress to
the people of Iraq.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council during Friday's
debate that Iraq was apparently winning the propaganda war on sanctions.

He called for improvements in a U.N. oil-for-food programme allowing Iraq to
buy essential supplies with U.N. approval, saying they were especially needed
for children.

He said the suffering of ordinary Iraqis caused by the sanctions posed ``a
serious moral dilemma'' for the United Nations.

Baghdad newspapers also denied U.S. charges that the Mujahideen Khalq is a
terrorist group.

``We tell the U.S. State Department that it knows better than any one else
that Iraq is not among those supporting terrorism or dealing with it,'' INA
said. ``America is country number one in the world in supporting organised
terrorism.''

The Mujahideen use Iraq as a springboard for attacks into Iran and have
several bases equipped with tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships close to
the Iranian border.

Their bases have been the target of Iranian air and rocket attacks. Their
office in Baghdad, ringed by a concrete wall, has also weathered several
mortar and bomb attacks.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 04:17:04 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran Links Shooting of Reformer

Sunday March 26 10:32 AM ET
Iran Links Shooting of Reformer
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The shooting of a leading reformer was related to the
1998 murders of five political dissidents by Intelligence Ministry agents, an
Iranian vice president said in comments published Sunday.

The remarks by Massoumeh Ebtekar echo the concern among many Iranians that
forces are at work within the Iranian government to thwart a movement headed
by President Mohammad Khatami to institute social and political reform.

Hard-liners who say the reforms betray the ideals of the 1979 Islamic
revolution are believed to use violence against opponents. But no senior
hard-line official has been directly implicated in any of the attacks.

Speak your mind
Discuss this story with other people.
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Ebtekar said the March 12 shooting of Saeed Hajjarian was connected to a July
attack by police and hard-line vigilantes on a Tehran University dormitory
and the murders of five dissidents two years ago, the Bayan daily reported.

``A link connects'' the three events and ``the connection is very serious,''
the Farsi-language paper quoted her as saying Saturday after visiting
Hajjarian in the hospital. She did not elaborate.

Once a hard-liner himself, Hajjarian began to speak out for freedom of
expression and greater political plurality after being silenced for opposing
the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani, who stepped down in 1997. Hajjarian
later became an adviser to Khatami.

On Tuesday, the Sobh-e-Emrouz, a reform daily managed by Hajjarian, denounced
the existence of a murderous ``shadow government'' in Iran, a reference to
several unsolved attacks on reformers.

More than a year after the Intelligence Ministry disclosed that its own
``rogue'' agents had killed five dissidents in the fall of 1998, the case is
still shrouded in mystery. The main suspect in the case, Saeed Emami, died in
prison. Officials said he committed suicide, but reform newspapers have
suggested he was killed to cover up senior hard-liners who may have ordered
the murders.

Shortly after Hajjarian was shot, journalist Akbar Ganji said Hajjarian used
his contacts at the Intelligence Ministry, which he had helped found after
the 1979 Islamic revolution, to become the source for exposes that Ganji
wrote about the killings of the five dissidents. However, Hajjarian denied
that he had leaked the information.

A former Tehran police chief and other policemen are on trial for the
dormitory attack but many Iranians believe that the violence was ordered by
higher-ups in the hard-line echelon.

Hajjarian was shot outside the Tehran City Council building by a man who fled
with an accomplice on a type of motorcycle that is available only to security
forces. Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said Saturday that police have
arrested 10 suspects but that none was affiliated to any political faction.

Hajjarian suffered brain damage but his condition has reportedly improved in
recent days.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 07:04:40 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Libya's Gaddafi, Iran's Khatami discuss oil

Monday March 27, 3:55 am Eastern Time
Libya's Gaddafi, Iran's Khatami discuss oil
TUNIS, March 27 (Reuters) - Iran's President Mohammad Khatami discussed oil
issues with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi by telephone on Sunday, Libyan
state radio reported on Monday.

The radio, monitored in Tunis, said they consulted on several issues,
``particularly the oil affairs.''

Libya and Iran are members of OPEC which meets on Monday to seek to bridge a
gap between cartel members on how much extra oil can be sent into world
markets without prices crashing.

The head of Libya's OPEC delegation Abdullah al-Badri said on Sunday OPEC
should not increase output until September.

Fellow price-hawks Algeria and Iran who with Libya were previously reluctant
to ease output curbs, have since softened their stance.

Khatami on Sunday also discussed oil by telephone with Saudi Crown Prince
Abdullah and Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez. NNNN

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 10:45:30 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran's foreign minister to visit Bahrain

Iran's foreign minister to visit Bahrain


TEHRAN, March 27, (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is to
travel to Bahrain for a two day official visit, the official IRNA news agency
reported on Monday.

Kharrazi will meet his Bahraini counterpart, Sheikh Mohammad bin Mubarak
al-Khalifa, on Tuesday, IRNA said.

The two sides agreed to establish a political committee and a joint economic
commission when the Bahraini foreign minister visited Tehran last year.

Bilateral ties soured in 1996 after Bahrain accused Iran of training
``terrorists'' to overthrow its government, a charge strongly denied by
Tehran. But relations improved after Iran's moderate President Mohammad
Khatami came to office in 1997.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 10:46:55 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran Lawmaker Likes U.S. Gesture

Iran Lawmaker Likes U.S. Gesture

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran should have a ``positive and wise'' response to
American gestures for improving ties after more than two decades of
estrangement, an Iranian legislator said in remarks published today.

Hussein Ansari-Rad said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's March 17
speech was a ``wise and diplomatic show of respect'' that requires a positive
response from Iran, according to the daily Sobh-e-Emruz.

``Albright's acknowledgment requires a positive response at the same level.
Our foreign policy of detente requires that the response from the Iranian
authorities be in the same direction, containing positive aspects,''
Ansari-Rad said.

Although the right thing would have been for Albright to offer an apology,
Iran should adopt a ``realistic position'' in its relations with the United
States to safeguard its own interests, said Ansari-Rad, a reformist member of
Iran's Majlis, or Parliament.

In her March 17 speech, Albright acknowledged that the United States had been
shortsighted in its involvement in a 1953 coup, and its support for the
dictatorial shah, who was ousted in Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Saying that Washington sought a new relationship with Iran, she announced the
lifting of a ban on U.S. imports of Iranian rugs, pistachio nuts and caviar.

The Iranian legislator's comments come two days after Iran's supreme leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, slammed the gesture as ``deceitful.''

``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,'' he was quoted as saying Saturday.

Ansari-Rad, who won a seat in the Feb. 18 election on the ticket of the
Islamic Iran Participation Front - Iran's strongest political party -
supported holding a referendum to decide the future of Iran-U.S. relations.

Iran's Foreign Ministry had earlier given a cautious welcome to Albright's
speech.

The contradicting reactions from Iranian officials reflect differences
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.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 19:22:22 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. 13, 27 March 2000

A Review of Developments in Iran Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.

*******************************************************
HEADLINES
* HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH
* IRGC LINKED TO HAJJARIAN SHOOTING
* FURTHER IRGC SUPPORT FOR KHATAMI
* MILITARY CONTROL OF TEHRAN POLICE CONTINUES
* PROTESTS OVER POLL RESULTS
* ARMS PROCUREMENT MEETS SETBACKS
* IMPACT OF CZECH LEGISLATION ON BUSHEHR DEBATED
* RISKY BUSINESS, PART II
*******************************************************

HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH.
Foreign observers and the Western media have commented
extensively about the implications of U.S. Secretary of State
Madeline Albright's 17 March speech on Iran, but official
commentary from Tehran was fairly restrained initially.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response to the
speech on 25 March, however, was openly hostile and seemed to
dash hopes for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. in
the near future. President Mohammad Khatami has remained
silent on the subject thus far.
Albright's speech is seen by many in the West as an
important step in the restoration of relations between Iran
and the U.S. She announced that the U.S. will permit the
import of some Iranian goods, facilitate contacts between
Americans and Iranians, and increase efforts to settle
outstanding legal claims. Albright also acknowledged the
impact of the U.S. role in the 1953 ouster of Prime Minister
Mohammad Mussadiq, and she admitted that the U.S. supported
Iraq in its war with Iran.
Khamenei responded to Aaq in its war with Iran.
Khamenei responded to Albright during a speech in
Mashhad. He said that "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 added that "The U.S. proposal is deceiving
and aimed at continuing enmity with Iran." As for Albright's
statements about events in 1953 and 1980-1988, they "came too
late and can in no way compensate the damages caused to the
Iranian nation."
Khamenei's speech seems to put the stamp of finality on
the issue, but there were some positive responses from Tehran
beforehand. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza
Assefi said America can export grains and medicine to Iran
(which it has been doing anyway), IRNA reported. And
Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said the speech was
"a new chapter" in the two country's relations, and he
predicted major developments in the coming year, IRNA
reported.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, of the parliament's Foreign
Relations Committee, also welcomed aspects of the speech, but
then he complained that "America's acts...are all
negative...there has been no change in its policies."
Larijani also criticized Albright's statement that Iran's
last three elections (October 1998 Assembly of Experts
election, February 1999 council elections, and February 2000
parliamentary elections) were increasingly democratic,
because it implied that all the other elections were
undemocratic. Larijani also complained about Albright's
reference to the "Gulf," rather than the "Persian Gulf."
Supreme National Security Council secretary and deputy
parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani told state radio on 18
March that, "On the whole, [Albright] has repeated the same
old belligerent policies." Her comments about domestic
Iranian politics, he said, constituted "improper
interventions in Iran's internal affairs and system." Even
the removal of some trade sanctions, Rohani said, is "not at
all a positive [step]; it is a negative step, which smacks of
another act of intervention by America in the internal
affairs of Iran."
State radio said on 19 March that "Albright's speech
shows that the U.S.A. is still pursuing its expansionist
policies." And the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said that
Albright's comments "are indicative of an intensifying
conspiracy by the White House to create a series of crises in
Iran," according to state television.
Some of Iran's neighbors, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and
Armenia, welcomed the potential regional stability that
improved U.S.-Iran relations could bring. Cairo's state-owned
"al-Jumhuriyah," however, was less sanguine, warning on 19
March that "the Iranian desire to dominate the region has not
withered yet." The Egyptian daily also wondered if Iran's
attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process would change.
Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office also
questioned the wisdom of U.S. actions, telling the 20 March
"Jerusalem Post" that "giving the Iranians the carrot does
not work, and therefore by trying to encourage Iran with nice
words and actions, the U.S. is making a grave mistake." An
Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the other hand, said
U.S. actions are a good thing, but "there are many here who
do not understand it and are frightened that when dialogue
starts, issues we are concerned about will be left aside."
(Bill Samii)


IRGC LINKED TO HAJJARIAN SHOOTING.
Tehran reported on 20 March that the would-be assassins
of Said Hajjarian, who was shot on 12 March, have been
captured. But the government then attempted to control all
commentary on the case, either to protect the Islamic
Revolution Guard Corps (with which the assassins are
supposedly linked) or to hide the system's shortcomings.
The secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council
announced on 20 March that "following extensive
investigations by intelligence, security, and law enforcement
services of the country to trace the perpetrators of the
cowardly assassination attempt on Mr. Said Hajjarian and as a
result of extensive cooperation of the citizens in this
regard, the real perpetrators of this crime have been
fortunately arrested and the attacker has confessed to this
criminal act."
An unnamed official from the Ministry of Intelligence
and Security announced on 21 March that the gunman was Said
Asqar, a chemistry student at Tehran's Islamic Azad
University. Five others were arrested, too, but their names
were not provided. The MOIS official said that efforts were
underway to make sure that all the confessions tallied. As
for the motorcycle used by the shooter--which is a class
available only to the security forces--"the culprit claimed
that the motorcycle he employed for the terrorist act had
been private."
The next day, "an official familiar with the
investigation" told state radio that Said Asqar had
previously assassinated Qasem Shafii, an official with the
Imam Khomeini Relief Committee. The motorcycle, furthermore,
belonged to somebody who did not have a license for it. And
on 23 March, an "informed source" told state television that
the accomplices were Mohammad Ali Moqaddami, Hussein
Moqaddami, Mohsen Majidi-Dorchei, Musa Jannesari and Mehdi
Rowghani.
Releasing information about the case bit by bit and
through unnamed sources is undermining public confidence in
the investigation. Furthermore, the government has attempted
to impose a news blackout on the case. The SNSC secretariat
urged "the managing directors and editors of the Iranian
media not to repeat any unsubstantiated report, rumors,
partisan analysis, biased and hostile commentaries which have
been reported by the foreign media, especially those items
pertaining to the arrest of the perpetrators of Hajjarian's
assassination attempt," IRNA reported on 21 March. An editor
of a reformist newspaper said that journalists Akbar Ganji,
Emadedin Baqi, and Abbas Abdi were pressured to abandon their
investigations of the assassins' connections with the IRGC,
London's "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 22 March.
But the attempt to stifle speculation on the case
failed, and Tehran is full of rumors. There are rumors to the
effect that Said Asqar is a member of the IRGC, the assassins
are linked with an IRGC unit in Shahr-i Rey, and an IRGC
commander has been relieved of his duties while his
involvement in several other assassinations is investigated,
according to "Al-Sharq al-Awsat." Furthermore, the Arabic
daily reported, the attack on Hajjarian was the 15th carried
out by the Islam Fighters Association (Hayat-i Ruzmandakan
Islam), which is led by Colonel Abolqasimi, who formerly led
the IRGC intelligence unit. Hojatoleslam Khaki is supposedly
the group's spiritual guide. This group cooperates with the
Prophet's Family Association (Hayat-i Karim Ahl al-Bayt), a
group led by Shahr-i Rey municipal officer Habibian, which is
also responsible for several political assassinations. When
members of these groups tried to flee to Karbala, they were
apprehended by the IRGC intelligence unit.
"Sobh-i Imruz" and Mosharekat" speculated that there
have been more arrests by the IRGC. But the IRGC is not
willing to turn the suspects over to other law enforcement
organizations, possibly because it is trying to protect its
own reputation. MOIS chief Ali Yunesi said that only one of
the 10 people arrested was in the IRGC, and he had been
tricked into joining the others.
This lack of transparency--most recently seen in the
investigation of the serial murders of dissidents and
journalists, the trial relating to the July attack on Tehran
University, and the frequent use of scapegoats for such
events--undermines trust in the government and the
leadership. A commentary in the 22 March "Mosharekat" pointed
out that whenever such cases occur, the first impulse is to
blame foreign conspiracies.
But if the system is so easily penetrated by foreign
agents then it must have some deep-rooted problems. By
attributing such events to foreigners, "Mosharekat" said,
"some of the officials want to shirk their responsibility
and, by giving misinformation, to prevent domestic problems
from becoming apparent. Although with good intentions, they
think that if domestic corruption is exposed the people would
no longer have faith in the system (and perhaps they,
themselves)." The daily suggested that the officials focus on
inner reform, rather than propaganda "which would not
convince even our primary school children." (Bill Samii)


FURTHER IRGC SUPPORT FOR KHATAMI.
83rd Brigade commander Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Danesh said
his troops love President Mohammad Khatami the same way they
love Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He went on to say
that anybody who opposes the president is an enemy of Vilayat-i
Faqih (Guardianship of the Supreme Jurisconsult), "Iran" reported
on 13 March. Meanwhile, the Iranian armed forces announced
plans to sell its city garrisons and build new facilities in
the suburbs, IRNA reported on 14 March. The first garrison to
be moved are Qaleh-Morqi in southern Tehran and Birjand in
the eastern part of the country. (Bill Samii)


MILITARY CONTROL OF TEHRAN POLICE CONTINUES.
General Ahmad Alireza Beighi, formerly of the Islamic
Revolution Guards Corps, was appointed deputy of the Law
Enforcement Forces on 11 March and given responsibility for
traffic control in Tehran, temporarily ending a debate that
started in August over who would control the Tehran traffic
police. Tehran Mayor Morteza Alviri threatened to resign in
December if the municipality could not control the traffic
police, according to "Iran," while LEF chief General Mohsen
Ansari said the military should run the traffic police
because it is both a security and a judicial organization,
according to "Sobh-i Imruz." Alviri said the municipality
must control the traffic police in an effort to reduce the
city's extreme pollution.
Parliamentary debate on a bill giving control of the
traffic police to the municipality did not get very far.
Conservatives opposed to the bill had it struck from the
agenda in early December. And in late December, when the
parliament was to debate the bill, there were not enough
parliamentarians present for a quorum.
While traffic control may seem unimportant, the issue
should be seen in the context of efforts to give President
Mohammad Khatami's administration some control over Iranian
security forces. Last December Interior Minister Abdolvahed
Musavi-Lari complained that he had trouble meeting his
responsibilities because of a lack of cooperation from the
LEF. Even now, during the trial of LEF officials for the July
attack on a Tehran student dormitory, there are complaints
that the individuals who are really responsible for the
violence are not being tried. (Bill Samii)


PROTESTS OVER POLL RESULTS.
Citizens from Minab, Jask, and Roudan staged a protest
at the Interior Ministry building in Tehran over the
annulment of election results in their Hormozgan Province
towns, IRNA reported on 15 March. The Guardians Council had
annulled results in these towns in the second week of March
(see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 13 March 2000), but one of the 200
protesters complained that no documentary evidence had been
provided. Another demonstrator told IRNA that he thought the
results were annulled because a candidate belonging to the
reformist 2nd of Khordad front was elected in the province.
The Guardians Council, meanwhile, confirmed the election
results in 11 consesults in 11 constituencies, IRNA reported on 15
March.
(Bill Samii)


ARMS PROCUREMENT MEETS SETBACKS.
Aspects of Iran's weapons procurement program have had
some legal problems recently. Japanese police accused Iran's
former ambassador to Japan, Hussein Kazempur-Ardabili
(currently a high-ranking adviser in the Foreign and
gh-ranking adviser in the Foreign and
Petroleum Ministries), and another Iranian diplomat of
illegal weapons exports to Japan, Kyodo news service reported
on 24 March. The Iranians are suspected of transferring 6.1
million yen (about $57,000) to the account of a Japanese
trading firm called Sun Beam, which is suspected of shipping
parts for anti-tank rocket launcher sights to Iran without
proper export permits. The Japanese police said that the
Iranian embassy has refused to cooperate with their
investigation, citing diplomatic immunity.
Two Sun Beam officials pleaded guilty to shipping rocket
launcher parts illegally, Kyodo news service and Tokyo's
"Sankei Shimbun" reported on 14 March. The parts were shipped
to an Iranian state enterprise called Iran Electronics
Industries in 1995. One of the plaintiffs, Ichiro Takahashi,
frequently traveled to Iran for direct negotiations. In 1996,
Takahashi looked into shipping Chinese C-801 and C-802 anti-
ship missiles to Iran at the request of Iranian businessman
Massoud Momtahan. An arrest warrant is outstanding for
Momtahan, Kyodo reported on 7 March.
The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office has launched an
investigation of Eisen and Metallgrosshandel Fink GmbH in
Boeblingen, Germany, according to the 13 March newsmagazine

<< Continued to next message >>>

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 19:23:20 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 >>>

"Focus." The German firm allegedly bought more than 50 Lynx
reconnaissance tanks from the Canadian army in 1993 and
shipped them to Holland, from where they went to Iran.
Another 40 tanks were shipped to Iran via Singapore. Company
owner Gerhard Fink said that "I only found out later that the
tanks were exported to Iran."
Eight officials from Iran's Ministry of Defense and
Armed Forces Logistics are under a federal indictment in the
U.S. for trying to obtain and smuggle out military secrets,
AP reported on 11 March. The Iranian officials live in Tehran
and operate through the Engineering Consortium of Iran. One
of those under indictment, Houshang Amir Bagheri, will appear
on the U.S. Customs Service's "Ten Most Wanted" list. Bagheri
worked in the Iranian embassy in Washington during the 1970s.
But not all Iranian procurement--both official and
unofficial--efforts have ended so unsuccessfully. Russian
Security Council secretary Sergei Ivanov promised that Moscow
will fulfill all arms delivery contracts that were signed
before 1995, Interfax reported on 14 March. Ivanov said the
two largest agreements were signed in 1992 and 1993, and
Russia is about to sign another contract for a Tu-334
aircraft plant and aircraft shipments. Ivanov added that "we
have come to a full understanding with the Americans that we
will make no new arms deals with Iran at the present time,
but we will continue to fulfill the contracts concluded
before the signing of the appropriate Gore-Chernomyrdin
document in 1995."
A Spanish official brought 200 machine guns and 300
handguns, all of which are equipped with silencers, to
Tehran, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 16 March. The daily said
the weapons were put at the disposal of "an individual
suspected of leading [hardline] pressure groups." Such groups
have been linked with leading figures in the regime.
Finally, the case against Eli Kohen, an Israeli
suspected of selling military equipment to Iran, has been
closed, Tel Aviv's "Maariv" reported on 10 February. Kohen
had sold armored personnel carriers, engines, and spare parts
to a Dutch firm, which sold them to Iran. But according to a
1993 Canadian Army document, all the equipment was
demilitarized. (Bill Samii)


IMPACT OF CZECH LEGISLATION ON BUSHEHR DEBATED.
Regarding the Czech parliament's ban on the export of
goods or know-how for use in construction of Iran's Bushehr
nuclear project, U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright
said on 17 March: "it is a sign that the Czech Republic is
adopting a responsible approach to one of the major problems
of our time, which is the problem of proliferation."
Albright's statement notwithstanding, the Czech reaction to
this legislation is not altogether enthusiastic.
The Czech Senate returned the relevant bill to the lower
house on 16 March with a request that affected companies
receive compensation. Minister of Industry and Trade Miroslav
Gregr stated that the government will only compensate firms
that have suffered "concrete losses," Prague's "Radiozurnal"
reported on 17 March. ZVVZ Milevsko, the company that was
supposed to provide air conditioning equipment for Bushehr,
is not eligible for compensation because it had not signed a
deal with the Iranian government and therefore did not cancel
any deal, according to Gregr.
Bohuslav Sobotaka, deputy chairman of the Social
Democratic Party (CSSD) parliamentary group, told CTK on 17
March that the CSSD wants to convene the lower house in an
emergency session to debate the bill. Chamber of Deputies
Chairman and Civic Democratic Party leader Vaclav Klaus,
however, said he sees "no reason" to debate the bill in an
emergency session. He added that he does not believe the
house will discuss the draft law before April, according to
"RFE/RL Newsline."
Other Czech firms, such as Skoda Plzen, are concerned
about the impact of such legislation, directly or through a
general downturn in trade relations with Iran. Milan Sedlacek
of Prvni Brnenske Stojirny, however, expressed the opposite
view. Sedlacek said his firm is cooperating on construction
of the Iranshahr thermal power plant and has not encountered
any major problems, "Hospodarske Noviny" reported on 14
March.
The Czech Republic has "adopted a policy of following
America unreservedly," Tehran's reformist "Sobh-i Imruz"
daily complained on 8 March. The Czech ban against working on
the Bushehr nuclear reactor, the daily said, is "in line with
its policy of subordination." (Bill Samii)


RISKY BUSINESS, PART II.
Iran's ability to meet some of its foreign debt
obligations increased as a result of the recent reversal of a
downturn in oil prices. Tehran's situation may gain even more
because more foreign firms are showing an interest in
investing in Iran. The poor risk status of Iran in the eyes
of foreign risk insurance agencies, however, hampers such
international investment efforts. This is caused by, first of
all, Iran's difficulty in meeting its debt obligations (see
"RFE/RL Iran Report," 20 March 2000), and secondly, the
country's own laws, which limit foreigners' ability to
participate fully in the economy.
Due to Iran's trouble with making timely debt payments,
from 1994-1996 many state credit agencies, such as Germany's
Hermes, France's COFACE, England's Export Credit Guarantee
Department, and Italy's SACE, withheld export credit
guarantees for firms that wanted to invest in Iran. As a
result, Tehran turned to private insurance firms. London's
Jardine Insolvency Insurance is one such firm, but an
official there told RFE/RL that guaranteeing projects in Iran
is "difficult" and that Jardine requires a "very firm
commitment that it's a government-backed project." And even
then, protection is provided only for short-term (less than
two-year) projects.
Raquel Ajona, the Deutsche Bank Research Unit's expert
on Iran and the Mideast, told RFE/RL that Iran "is regarded
as a high-risk country. Iran was not rated by international
trade agencies until very recently. Moody's has given Iran a
B-2 rating recently." (B-rated bonds lack the characteristics
of a desirable investment because assurance of timely
interest and principal payments over any long period may be
small. B-rated insurance companies offer poor financial
security and assurance of punctual payment of policyholder
obligations over any long period is small.)
Iran has aggressively encouraged other countries to
improve its credit-risk standing. Iranian Deputy Minister of
Industries Akbar Torkan urged the German government to push
the OECD to improve Iran's poor credit rating when he was in
Berlin in late-February. Soon thereafter, Dusseldorf's
"Handesblatt" (9 March) reported that Hermes will issue
export guarantees for deals up to 50 million marks (about
$24.8 million), and the ceiling may even be moved up to 200
million marks (about $99 million). Current Hermes coverage
for Iran totals 2.1 billion marks (about $1.04 billion),
which is less than guarantees for India or Turkey.
And on the last day of a visit to Tehran, Italian
Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said he had received "repeated
complaints from Iran" about Italian banks' failure to support
investment in Iran, ANSA news agency reported on 6 March.
Dini lambasted the banking system for "failing
to...adequately support Italian projects." On the eve of his
trip to Rome in February, Minister of Mines and Metals Eshaq
Jahangiri announced that he would "call on the Italian side
to the lower the risk ranking associated with trade in Iran,"
IRNA reported on 3 February. He added that he would make the
same demand of the EU.
The head of the Mines and Metals Ministry's economic and
international affairs department, Mohammad Taqizadeh,
announced that SACE agreed to consider reducing the insurance
premium from 30 percent to 15 percent, IRNA reported on 9
February. The same month, South Korea's state insurance
company announced that it "provided special facilities for
Iran," IRNA reported. (IRNA tends to exaggerate such claims;
for an example, see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 18 October 1999.)
Other countries also have increased their coverage for
business in Iran. Japan's Ministry of Trade and Industry
announced in January that it will reintroduce trade insurance
coverage for Iran after an eight-year hiatus. Coverage was
suspended in 1992 after Iran defaulted on some of its debts.
The first project to be covered is a 500 million yen (about
$4.7 million) fiber-optic communications system. That same
month, Switzerland extended $300 million in credits to Iran
for Iranian industries to import Swiss goods, according to
IRNA. And England's OEGD started a review of risk assessment
for Iran.
Even Deutsche Bank is showing greater confidence in
Iranian projects. The "Middle East Economic Digest" reported
on 17 March that the German firm is arranging a syndicated
$480 million medium-term finance line for Iran's National
Petrochemical Company. Other German banks have indicated
their interest, as has Hermes.
Tehran needs even more credit. Even though Washington
announced in 1999 that it would permit the sale of U.S. wheat
to Iran, it refused to provide export credits for such sales.
Tehran, therefore, refused to buy American wheat, but it
bought wheat from France and Canada, which did provide export
credits. Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari
summed this up when he said that "because American goods lack
export credit coverage, they do not stand a chance to compete
with other countries for our market."
Because of the state's dominant role in the economy and
high levels of protectionism, Iran is still seen as a high-
risk environment by potential investors. Article 44 of the
constitution, which defines the economy's sectors (state,
cooperative, and private), gives the state control over
foreign trade; exploitation of mineral resources; banking;
insurance; power generation; dams and irrigation;
broadcasting; post, telegraph, and telephone; aviation;
shipping; roads; and railroads.
The budget approved on 15 March makes some modifications
to such regulations, permitting the establishment of private
banks and the sale of up to 49 percent of state banks. Also,
private mining may be permitted. But other incentives for
privatization were blocked by the Guardians Council, which
must approve all legislation. Government control of banks and
insurance companies will continue, as will the state's
monopoly in the transportation sector. Privatization in the
telecommunications, power, and water industries was blocked,
too.
Former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani said in a
January speech that many of the legal blocks to investment
were imposed in the early days of the revolution by those who
were influenced by Marxism, and "Under such circumstances, it
was a difficult task to implement the economic readjustment
policy by involving the private sector in the economy." Now,
he said, the same individuals "have adopted Western and
nationalistic attitudes" towards the same issues.
The taxation system is a disincentive for foreign
investors. Deutsche Bank's Ajona said that "10 percent of the
total taxable income is deducted from any corporation, this
is a priori, then there is a tax of 12 to 54 percent in
addition to this on the taxable income." Then comes the
multiple-exchange rate system: "foreign investors--someone
operating in the economy...if they want to get foreign
exchange, if they are not allowed to get the official or
export rate, then they have to buy it on the black market.
But, at the same time, the official rate is applied when they
want to repatriate some income."
Commentator Mohsen Sazegara said in the 9 February
"Iran-i Farda" that President Khatami's government is
responsible for the failure to attract foreign investment. He
pointed out that many officials in the Khatami government
also served, in different posts, in previous governments. And
it was under them that Iran accumulated so much foreign debt,
"as a result of which the foreign credit rating and the
financial reputation of the Iranian banking system and the
Central Bank was completely lost." Sazegara rejected the
suggestion that a conservative parliament opposed the
government, because, he said, the government did not even try
to introduce legislation that would encourage imports or
exports. He added that there is no security for capital
because certain institutions and individuals are beyond the
law.
Even with a friendlier parliament, Sazegara predicted,
the situation will not improve, because "the same strange
rules and regulations that were imposed on industry are still
in force." (Bill Samii)

*************************************************
Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 11:21:37 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: FYI:(AFP)Day of hell for Danes dressed as Muslim women

Two young Danish women who spent a day out and about dressed as Iranian
Muslims were shocked by their compatriots' reactions.

March 26, 2000, 11:18 PM

Copenhagen (AFP) - Two young Danish women who spent a day out and about
dressed as Iranian Muslims were shocked by their compatriots' reactions
of hatred and contempt, the Politiken newspaper reported Wednesday.

The two women told the paper that they suffered a day of "hell" and "the
intolerable prejudice of the Danes" when they donned the Iranian chador,
a traditional black head-to-toe wrap, to go about their day in the
capital and its suburbs.

Dorte Magnussen and Lene Iwerse, both 26, undertook the experiment as
part of their studies on pedagogy and minorities at Copenhagen
University.

"I was shocked at the numerous disgraceful comments and the huge wall of
hostility we were confronted by when we were walking on the street.
People went beyond all the norms of respect and good behaviour," said
Magnussen.

The degree of tolerance, or rather the lack of it, and the hateful looks
of passers-by were overwhelming, the women said.

"It was shocking to see people behaving in such a shameful way. It was
worse than I had imagined. I wanted to go straight home and change.
Confronting so much hatred was unbearable." said Iwersen.

The most venomous and degrading comments came from elderly people, the
two women found.

Magnussen said she had been terrified by the fact that adults could
react so violently.

"Our theory is that they are frightened by things which are unknown to
them. Surveys show that 80 percent of Danes have had no personal contact
with ethnic minorities," she said.

"Ninjas"

The only highpoint of their day as Iranians was on a bus in the
Copenhagen suburbs, when a group of children called their friends to
come and have a look at the "two Ninjas" after the popular cartoon
characters.

The children looked at them but returned to their seats without
reacting.

"The experience on the bus shows that hostility and the creation of
enemies are things which learned, not something people are born with,"
the two women said.

Hostility towards immigrants, and especially towards those from Muslim
countries who make up nearly half of Denmark's immigrant population, is
actively encouraged by extreme rightwing organisations such as the
Danish People's Party and the Progress Party.

In their campaigns, they have accused Muslims of invading the country
and threatening its culture and religion.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 11:23:18 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA:Abdollah Nouri: violence should be uprooted

Abdollah Nouri: violence should be uprooted
Tehran, March 27, IRNA -- Former minister of the interior and head of
Tehran's City Council hojjatoleslam Abdollah Nouri said here Sunday
evening that advocates of violence in the country should be identified
and such incidents be rooted out.

Commenting on the crime committed by certain culprits involved in the
assassination attempt on the life of managing director of Sobh-e Emrouz
daily Saeed Hajjarian, the imprisoned former interior minister said that
measures should be taken to stop the repetition of such acts of
violence.

He added that in addition to bringing to justice the culprits directly
involved in the assassination attempt, it should also be investigated
why certain people have been persuaded to embark on such criminal acts.

Nouri also said that motives of the culprits and factors paving the way
for commitment of such criminal acts should be investigated as well.

The former managing director of the banned daily Khordad commented: "if
we happened to nurture pro-violence groups due to our cultural
treatment, we should reconsider our behavior in order to prevent the
recurrence of these incidents which could bring about sharp and
dangerous differences in the country."

The trial of certain culprits alone is not sufficient and the roots of
such tragic incidents should be dried-out, hojjatoleslam Nouri pointed
out.

He also expressed hope that the assassination attempt on the life of
Hajjarian, who is also a presidential advisor and vice-chairman of
Tehran's city council, would put an end to the inclination towards
violence in the country.

Nouri who is serving a prison term imposed by the special clerical court
(SCC), visited Saeed Hajjarian at Sina hospital in central Tehran Sunday
evening. He was returning to Evin prison after visiting the presidential
advisor.

Hajjarian was severely wounded in the neck by two motorcyclist
assailants on March 12 and presently is recovering well at the hospital.

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 11:15:02 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Net is a vital weapon for free speech

Last Updated: Thursday 23 March 2000 NETWORKS

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

Derek Moscato:
Net is a vital weapon for free speech

The Vancouver Sun

Derek Moscato Vancouver Sun
Life is easy in the new world, as evidenced by how most folks here spend
their time online. Ask your average Vancouverite what he or she is tuning
into on the Web these days, and chances are the answer you'll get will
revolve around the gratuitous: stocks, sex, sports and soap opera updates.
Perhaps some online gaming or a software download.

Chances are you won't hear of a battle against government censorship, or a
search for family and friends lost in one of the wars being waged around the
globe.

But don't be fooled.

Much more than just a convenience or a toy, the Internet is easily the most
important communications breakthrough of our time. For those who've escaped
from -- or are caught in the middle of -- one of the world's political
powderkegs, the Net has become a vital component in the quest for peace,
progress and democracy.

Take the Web portal Iran Online (www.iranonline.

com), for example. Born of a need to connect the millions of Iranian citizens
living worldwide, the site is blazing new trails for that culture, by
allowing its users to indulge in something we Canadians take for granted:
freedom of speech. Nearly 20 years of strict Islamic rule in Iran have been
marked by censorship and militant enforcement of a harsh national law.

That situation makes the job of Iran Online that much trickier. The portal is
an easy target for extremists who'd like to parlay the site into a vehicle
for political sloganeering. But CEO Davoud Manouchehri has been adamant that
the site remain non-religious and non-political.

"Most Iranian sites tend to go that way: pro-party or pro-organization or
anti-organization," he says. "Our first ground rule was not to do that. We
provide a forum for people to come and voice their opinion."

Manouchehri has cited Iran Online's chatrooms as being one of the real
breakthroughs for his company.

For the first time, he says, his ethnic brethren can engage in open
discussion without being scrutinized by the watchful eye of big government.

"They can't use their censorship machinery to ban everything," says Manou-
chehri.

And while the site, launched in 1996, was originally aimed at Iranian
ex-pats, Iran Online is one of the many Internet sites now being viewed
within the country's national borders. That alone is an event once considered
unthinkable.

Closer to home is the story of Balkanika.com (www. balkanika.com), a portal
dedicated to uniting the various conflicting factions within the war-torn
Balkan region. The site was founded in 1997 by Abbotsford resident Almir
Ramic, a Bosnian refugee who fled to Canada in 1995.

Ramic has watched his hometown of Sarajevo go from the status of a vibrant
European city (culminating in its hosting of the Winter Olympics during 1984)
to its current, Beirut-like condition.

Ramic's original aim was to relay breaking news about the war in the Balkans
to other folks who'd escaped the region, as well as to people within those
countries where news agencies were stifled by, again, government censorship
and propaganda. After the NATO intervention of last year, however, media
outlets like CNN rose to the fore with premier coverage of the war.

But Balkanika.com would become anything but obsolete. Ramic discovered that
the site was attracting Serbs, Muslims and Croatians -- who were willing to
put aside their differences to search collectively for a solution to the
tragedy of war. Instead of exchanging gunfire, his site's visitors were
sharing cultural similarities and new hope for their devastated homeland.

There's a sombre side to this free flow of information, however. One of
Balkanika's sections, called Broken Links, allows displaced relatives and
friends to track down one another. Ramic admits that some of the folks being
searched for -- fatal victims of ethnic wars and military conquests -- will
never be found.

But if Balkanika is anything, it is a beacon of hope for those who've lost
everything but. "The rebuilding process is underway," says Ramic. "Younger
generations don't want to think about the war. For them, the war is boring
and bothersome. And the Internet is bringing them closer together."

That theme of youth is being carried out south of the border by a professor
at San Francisco State University. Gary Selnow's non-profit initiative, the
Global Learning Center, installs computer networks for schools in the remote
villages of Croatia, many of which are at war with one another.

By giving Serb and Croatian kids the opportunity to surf the Web and send
e-mail, Selnow hopes to use technology as a catalyst for peace.

After all, what better medium than the Net to break down old grudges and show
these children that they have so much in common.

Already, the Global Learning Center has provided computer access to over
1,000 kids in the area, while new cyber-labs are being introduced to youth in
Montenegro.

The aforementioned ventures in the Middle East and the Balkans go a long way
in putting our connected globe in perspective.

In the Western world, the Net is a boon to consumers, media-addicts and
telecommuters.

But in the world's hotbeds of political tension and strife, it represents a
foundation for eventual peace and prosperity.

For a new breed of politically aware webmasters, the possibilities online are
endless.

Derek Moscato is a Canadian correspondent for TheStreet.com. He can be
reached at moscato@direct.ca

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

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 11:25:17 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Payvand:Who Should Be Protected the Most at This Point?

Iran News

Sports
Iran Sports News

Business
Iran Business
Source

Web Sites
Intersting Sites

Yellow
Pages
Payvand's Iran News ...
03/27/00 Who Should Be Protected the Most at This Point?

By: Dr. Susan Arefi

During the twenty year history of Iranian Revolution, hundreds of
important figures in Islamic Republic have been assailed or
assassinated, and quite obviously, not all of them by Mojahedin. Among
the most notable of these assassinations is the killing of about eighty
important dignitaries, including such key figures as Mohammad Beheshti
and Ayatollah Montazeri’s son, by blowing up the building where they had
convened. The other was Mr. Rajaii, the second president of Iran, whose
office was also blown up. Both were blamed on Mojahedin; and in both
cases Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani escaped death narrowly, even though
there was an attempt on his life later on. There have also been the
suspicious deaths of many, among them, Ayatollah Eshraqi, Ayatollah
Khomeini’s son-in-law- and of course Ahmad Khomeini. The chain murders,
followed by Mr. Hajjarian’s shooting, and The fact that almost no one
has been punished yet in relation with these conspiracies leaves no
doubt that some government agents are behind these events.

But who is next likely target? In my opinion, Ayatollah Khamenei. This
might sound strange, for many believe that the group behind the
assassinations and murders is supported—or at least not discouraged—by
Ayatollah Khamenei. Yet, there seem to be enough reasons to validate the
speculation that Ayatollah Khamenei to be the next target:

1. The relative lawfulness of elections, which led to landslide victory
of the reformist, was, in the most part, by Ayatollah Khamenei’s
approval. Therefore, he must be held responsible, by the hardliners, for
the reformists’ victory.

2. He, especially after the April 18th election, has shown more
flexibility toward reforms; one decree or fatva from him could have
sufficed to remove Mohajerani, the Minister of Islamic Guidance and shut
down the reformist press, which are responsible to get the reformist
candidates’ messages to people in the face of the inaccessibility of
Iranian Radio and Television.

3. He has condemned the attempt on Mr. Hajjarian’s life, while some
hardliners have implicitly approved it.

All these must have angered the hardliners so much as to ignore
Ayatollah Khamenei’s order through a written letter to investigate Mr.
Hajjarian’s shooting thoroughly.

But what could happen if Ayatollah Khamenei is assassinated? I think it
would be too short-sightedness on the part of those reformists if they
might think that the conservatives and hardliners would be the worst
losers in case of an unrest in Iran. We have a saying in Azarbayjan, “He
who can steal the spear, knows how to hide it.” The hardliners could
carry out their plot through a very well planned enterprise without any
major disruption by:

1. Convincing the commander and the important figures of Revolutionary
Guards to cooperate with them by reminding them that their power would
be diminished or taken away altogether if the reformists take the
control of the Majlis and the country (The Revolutionary Guards have not
been very popular among people from the very beginning of the
Revolution.) The hardliners might also draw the support of some army
commanders many of whom were low-ranked officers before Revolution, and
got promotion to high ranks overnight after the Islamic Revolution.

2. Immediately after the successful assassination of Ayatollah Khamenei,
the pre-elected leader, blaming the heinous act on the reformists and
pretending that it was in retaliation for Hajjarian’s shooting, will
order the closure of all reformist press in the name of national
security in a critical period. Of course, the killers will be handled
like any other political assassins.

3. In this scenario, the unarmed people won’t dare to raise the least
objection against the heavily-armed Guardians and other supporters of
the hardliners.

4. There would be no blaming on the Arch-Fiend (or what is loosely
translated from Persian as Great Satan), for the assassination. The
reformists will be solely held responsible for the act.

5. Probably in a short time, they will start sending the green light to
U.S., signaling overtures to resume relations with the Arch-Enemy. With
Ayatollah Khamenei’s adamant anti-American rhetoric silenced, the term
Great Satan gradually might fade from the vocabulary of Revolution. It
goes without saying that the reopening of Majlis will be postponed
indefinitely.

It would be absolute naiveté on the part of those who might believe U.S.
will care much for human rights, the condition of political prisoners or
women in Iran, the freedom of expression and such like (Look at Saudi
Arabia), as long as her vital interests are secured in the Middle East.
Thus the economy, which has been in shambles since the Revolution, will
start to improve and relieve the people from the economic strain they
have suffered for a long, long time.

However, as history has attested, in a non-democratic society, no reform
or prosperity will last long. For the power struggle among the elite,
the will to accumulate wealth and the subsequent corruption will
undermine the foundations of the edifice built on dictatorship. As an
Iranian poet said, “The heartbeats gradually turned into moaning./ If
the lament gets louder, it will become an outcry.” The outcries will
eventually rise; and the long-suffering Iranians will be blighted by
another turmoil, another confusion, and maybe another bloody war waged
from the old enemy. At this point, should the reformists carry out their
enterprise, and the dawn of democracy, hopefully, be followed by bright
daylight, Ayatollah Khamenei should be protected by all means, even much
more than Hajjarian or Ganji

----- Dr. Susan Arefi is a retired professor of literature and a vteran
political activist. SusanArefi@excite.com

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Mar 2000 to 27 Mar 2000 - Special issue
*******************************************************************