Date: Mar 27, 2000 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Mar 2000 to 26 Mar 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Mar 2000 to 26 Mar 2000
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There are 3 messages totalling 181 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. AP: Official: Shooting of reformer, 1998 dissident murders are linked
2. AFP: Reformers say conservatives blocking inquiry into shooting
3. Business Week - THE U.S. AND IRAN : FIRST AN IMPORT THAW, THEN INVESTMENT

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Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 23:01:46 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AP: Official: Shooting of reformer, 1998 dissident murders are linked

Official: Shooting of reformer, 1998 dissident murders are linked

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Mar. 26 - 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: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 23:01:49 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP: Reformers say conservatives blocking inquiry into shooting

Reformers say conservatives blocking inquiry into shooting

TEHRAN, March 26 (AFP) - Iranian reformers on Sunday renewed accusations
that the regime's conservatives are trying to cover up the investigation
into the assassination attempt on a leading pro-reform activist.
Mohammad-Reza Khatami, head of the largest reform party and brother of
President Mohammad Khatami, also rejected charges that reformers were
linked to the shooting of Said Hajarian, still fighting for his life in a
Tehran hospital.

"Several conservatives are trying to heighten political tensions in an
effort to bury the inquiry into the attack and prevent the identification
of those responsible," he said in Sunday's press.

He was reacting in part to charges by a top conservative MP in the
outgoing parliament that Khatami's Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF)
-- which ousted conservatives in last month's legislative elections -- was
linked to the killing.

Several pro-reform papers, including Hajarian's Sobh-e-Emruz daily, have
charged there is a media blackout on anything but the official version of
the events surrounding the March 12 shooting.

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said Saturday that more than 10 people
have been arrested so far for the attempt on the life of Hajarian,
considered one of the architects of the sweeping reform victory in last
month's polls.

Yunesi said those responsible for the shooting did not belong to any
political group.

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

Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 23:03:36 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Business Week - THE U.S. AND IRAN : FIRST AN IMPORT THAW,
THEN INVESTMENT

THE U.S. AND IRAN : FIRST AN IMPORT THAW, THEN INVESTMENT By Stanley
Reed in London


Business Week - 3/27/2000

Are 20 years of antagonism between the U.S. and Iran coming to an end?
It is certainly true that following the recent victory by reformers in
parliamentary elections, the Clinton Administration has sought to open
a dialogue with Tehran. Clinton has praised Iran as ``one of the most
wonderful places in all of human history.'' Now the Administration
plans to lift import bans on some Iranian goods, including pistachios,
carpets, and caviar. And in what could prove a more important move,
World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn says the agency's board, which
does little without U.S. approval, will consider $230 million in loans
for Iranian projects--the first since 1994.

The U.S. isn't just trying to be nice. It is recognizing reality. Under
President Mohammad Khatami, Iran is mending fences with Europe and
becoming a key player in the Gulf region. No longer a pariah state, it
is a country that neighboring Arab nations are watching for clues to
reforming their own authoritarian systems. That's true despite such
troubles as the recent shooting of a Khatami aide in Tehran.

The latest indication of the change in Iran's status has been Saudi
Arabia's approach to the oil-supply crunch. Instead of giving in to
U.S. pressure and agreeing to a production increase, the Saudis have
insisted on forging a consensus with the Iranians. That has left the
U.S. in the uncomfortable position of relying on a deal with Iran to
ease high oil prices. With sanctions on most forms of trade with Iran
and American investment in the Islamic republic banned, the U.S. has
little leverage over Iran. In fact, by banning American oil companies
from working in Iran, the U.S. has been trying to curb Iranian oil
production. That has contributed to the current market tightness.

Whether the entry of rugs and pistachios to the U.S. and help from the
World Bank are the quid pro quo for Iran's cooperation remains to be
seen. What seems likely is that there will be a gradual thaw between
Washington and Tehran, with economic matters playing a key role.
Although high oil prices will give Iran a respite, the country's
struggling economy badly needs additional capital and knowhow. And U.S.
business is attracted to Iran's market of 70 million consumers, as well
as its oil and gas reserves, which are among the world's largest. There
have already been private sales of corn, and Iran could become a major
importer of U.S. wheat.

The biggest deals are likely to be in oil. With their existing fields
aging, the Iranians are increasingly seeking foreign investment to
boost their production. France's TotalFina has two projects under way
in Iran, and Royal Dutch Shell recently signed an $800 million deal.
Most other European oil companies have representatives in Tehran. OIL
RUB. It's hard to see how Washington will be able to keep U.S.
companies out of Iran for much longer. For political reasons, U.S. oil
companies cannot invest in the world's most promising oil regions,
including Iran, Iraq, and Libya. This threatens to damage the U.S.
industry, and American executives are seething. The Iranians say they
would welcome U.S. investment in the oil sector because it would make
bidding on projects more competitive.

Don't expect a huge breakthrough before the U.S. Presidential election.
The Administration probably wants to avoid having Iran become an issue
that could hurt Vice-President Al Gore. The Iranians, too, have their
bugaboos about dealing with the U.S. But the lame-duck period between
the election and the inauguration of the new President could provide a
window, notes Vahan Zanoyan, president of Petroleum Finance Co., a
Washington-based consultant. Both sides have a growing interest in
ending the 20-year deep freeze.

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Mar 2000 to 26 Mar 2000
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