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There are 15 messages totalling 1083 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. US blasts Israeli AWACS sale to China
2. Danes suspend talks on Iran South Pars oil field
5. Iranian teenager killed in suspected bomb blast
6. Iran's top court limits seizure of 'illicit' items
7. More Iraqi POWs registered in Iran by Red Cross
8. Anderson Ruling Criticized in Iran
9. Iran exiles in Iraq say they expect Iran attack
10. Iran offers to delay spying trial of Jews
11. Iran oil minister says US overture ``insignificant''
12. Accused Iranian Jews Get Lawyers
13. Iran court seeks custody of shooting suspects
14. Canada deports Iranian resistance woman
15. Iran's news agency chief summoned to court


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 10:18:21 EDT
Subject: US blasts Israeli AWACS sale to China

US blasts Israeli AWACS sale to China

"With tensions running as high as they are between China and Taiwan we see
this as being counterproductive," Cohen said at a news conference here with
Israeli PM.

April 03, 2000, 12:23 PM
JERUSALEM (AFP) - US Defense Secretary William Cohen told Israel Monday the
United States opposed the sale of Israeli AWACS radars to China, calling it
"counterproductive" at a time of rising tension over Taiwan.

"With tensions running as high as they are between China and Taiwan we see
this as being counterproductive," Cohen said at a news conference here with
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Barak, who hosts a visit here next week by Chinese President Jiang Zemin,
gave no sign that Israel intends to cancel the sale by state-owned Israel
Aircraft Industries of its Phalcon airborne warning radar to China.

"We are aware of the sensitivities in the United States with regard to
China," said Barak, who also holds the defense portfolio. "We are of course
aware of our commitments in contracts we have signed." Cohen, on a stopover
of less than 24 hours in Israel as part of a regional tour, said he raised US
objections to the radar sale in his talks with Barak and that they would
continue to discuss the matter.

"I have indicated before that the United States does not support the sale of
this type of technology because of the potential of changing the strategic
balance in that region," he said.

The Israeli system would give the Chinese air force its first airborne
command and control system, a significant leap in capability that poses a
greater threat to US forces in the Pacific as well as to Taiwan’s air force.

China last month wielded threats of war against Taipei coupled with warnings
to the United States in a unsuccessful bid to influence the outcome of
Taiwan’s presidential elections.

Taiwan in turn has asked the Pentagon to sell four Aegis destroyers with
sophisticated phased array radars to counter a growing Chinese threat to its
air defenses.

China and Israel only established diplomatic ties in 1992, although military
cooperation began secretly at least a decade earlier and is now valued at
hundreds of millions of dollars.

The AWACS deal followed a series of visits by senior Chinese officials late
last year, including the powerful parliamentary speaker and former premier Li
Peng and Defense Minister Chi Haotian.

Jiang is expected to visit Israel from April 12 to 16 as part of a tour that
will also take him to the Palestinian territories, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and
South Africa.

Israel Aircraft Industries has mated the Phalcon radar with a Russian-made
transport aircraft in the first model for sale to China. China is reported to
have an option to buy as many eight of the systems.

The system is capable of logging 60 targets simultaneously and can operate in
a range up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) in all weather conditions.

The radar sale was among the most contentious items on the agenda for Cohen’s
talks with prime minister, which included a review of US-Israeli anti-missile
programs and progress on the peace talks.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 10:23:53 EDT
Subject: Danes suspend talks on Iran South Pars oil field

Danes suspend talks on Iran South Pars oil field

Iran shares the massive South Pars field, estimated output capacity 100,000
barrels per day with Qatar.

April 03, 2000, 12:38 PM

Copenhagen (Reuters) - Danish oil and shipping group A.P. Moeller`s Maersk
Oil and Gas unit is no longer in talks with Iranian authorities on developing
the South Pars field, a Moeller executive said on Monday.

"Our negotiations with the Iranians have ground to a halt.
We are no longer in talks about the South Pars oil field," Maersk Oil and Gas
Deputy Director Bo Wildfang told Reuters by telephone.

Wildfang declined to say whether Maersk would pull out of the project
entirely. Iran shares the massive South Pars field - estimated output
capacity 100,000 barrels per day - with Qatar. Maersk Oil and Gas produced
5.4 million tonnes of crude in Qatar last year and it is also part of a
consortium pumping oil in Algeria.

Wildfang also said Maersk Oil and Gas did not plan to bid for concessions in
the Ivory Coast.
2000 Reuters


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 20:35:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

Vol. 3, No. 14, 3 April 2000

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


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's 25 March comment that
"The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United
States to be their enemy" seemed to nip in the bud any
possibility of a U.S.-Iran dialog,in the bud any
possibility of a U.S.-Iran dialog, but if anything, his remarks
led to even more commentary on the subject. The most graphic
indication of this was a picture of the U.S. and Iranian flags,
side by side, on the front page of the 28 March "Ham-Mihan."
The accompanying article was titled "Relations with
America; Bright Spots and Dark Spots" and cited several
political commentators. Hussein Marashi of the Executives of
Construction Party said U.S. Secretary of State Madeline
Albright's acknowledgement of Iranian grievances opened the door
for a dialog. "If there is a dialog between our two countries it
will serve our national interests."
The Islamic Iran Participation Party's Mohsen Mirdamadi
advocated a united approach to the issue. He said that from the
Supreme National Security Council to the parliament, all
governmental bodies must follow the lead of the Foreign
Ministry, rather than their own initiatives. He added that the
Friday Prayers sermons are not the place for political
General Secretary of the Islamic Labor Party Abolqasem
Sarhadizadeh also advocated a united approach, saying that Iran
should follow the lead of the government and the Leadership.
Sarhadizadeh did not think American acknowledgement of Iranian
grievances was sufficient. He called for an outright apology and
said that the basic grievances persist. Sarhadizadeh added that
there are Americans who speak the truth and Iran must take
advantage of this.
The Islamic Engineers Society's Hassan Qafurifard
complained that while the U.S. calls for a dialog, it still
accuses Iran of supporting terrorism. He contended that the U.S.
supports the Mujahedin Khalq Organization and it has a $20
million budget for anti-Iranian activities.
Parliamentarian Hussein Ansari-Rad of the IIPP said that
Albright's speech "requires a positive response at the same
level," "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 27 March. He suggested that a
national referendum on relations with the U.S. would be
appropriate. The same day, "Kayhan" suggested that Iran should
bring a case against the U.S. before an international court,
"using the explicit confessions of American officials."
Speaking at the Tehran Friday prayers on 31 March (12
Farvardin, Islamic Republic Day), Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar
Hashemi-Rafsanjani said that Albright is trying to "deceive the
people and this country's youth." He added that "America should
definitely apologize to the Islamic Republic and the people of
Iran." Rafsanjani said Iran would welcome a goodwill gesture,
but "America is not showing any kind of goodwill and it has not
stopped its hostility. We cannot see any positive sign in its
deeds or words."
And commentator and satirist Said Ebrahim Nabavi had this
to say in the 29 March "Asr-i Azadegan." "Let me say a word
about this American woman who talked so much. If this Bill
[Clinton] is a man let him talk, why does he send a poor woman
that God has stricken? We don't accept his words, who is a man,
let alone this woman's. This woman, who is over fifty years old,
didn't she make that scandal with Bill? The scandal that raised
the protest of America's Guardians Council. It is unacceptable
that he sent her."
Nabavi goes on to say that if America is sincere, it should
reimburse Iran for all the cheap oil it purchased during the
monarchy. And why did Albright only mention the 1953 coup
against Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq, he asked rhetorically.
What about the mysterious death in 1947 of Jafar Pishevari, who
had established an autonomous Azerbaijan People's Government in
Tabriz with Soviet backing? (Bill Samii)

When Minister of Intelligence and Security Ali Yunesi
announced the arrest of 10 people in connection with the 12
March shooting of Tehran Council member Said Hajjarian, he said
that they were acting independently and that only one of them
was remotely connected with the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.
At a 29 March meeting with IRGC commanders, President Mohammad
Khatami thanked them for their cooperation with the MOIS and
Supreme National Security Council in the apprehension of the
would-be assassins, IRNA reported.
Khatami may be satisfied with the investigation, but others
are not. On 28 March, Emadedin Baqi of "Fath" was summoned to
appear before the Revolutionary Court for alleging that there is
a cover-up in the case. Baqi had given interviews in which he
said there is a shadow organization with agents throughout the
government, and it hatches plots, perpetrates violence, and is
responsible for the Hajjarian shooting. Baqi also alleged that
Yunesi is helping these plotters by cooperating in the cover-up.
"Asr-i Azadegan" columnist Mohammad Quchani was questioned for
two hours by the MOIS about his report of a cover-up, "Fath"
reported on 30 March.
Parliamentarian Kurosh Fuladi believes the case is
connected to the serial killings of 1998, which were linked to a
gang within the MOIS, and he believes that the assassins are
part of a wider network. Fuladi told the 27 March "Asr-i
Azadegan" that "Certain resources have been provided for the
terrorists ... It is not possible to act without moral and
material support." An editorial in the 28 March "Ham-Mihan" said
that if the vigilantes in civilian clothes who were mentioned in
official reports about the July 1999 assault on a Tehran
University dormitory were prosecuted, then Hajjarian might not
have been shot.
Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali told the 28 March "Fath" there
are many similarities between the Hajjarian case and the serial
murders. He said that "They [the shadow organization] number
between 80 to 100 people. They get together and make certain
decisions. They have an organizational structure and it is clear
that they are much more organized than ordinary people." He
called for prompt and decisive action: "These people must be
taught a lesson in keeping with the Koran. If we act leniently,
we will be defeated by a bunch of anarchists and a group of
willful and dissolute people."
Hajjarian, meanwhile, underwent surgery on 26 March, and
there are plans to send him to Germany for further treatment.
But it seems clear that murder and mayhem will not eliminate
Iranians' quest for change. The family of Piruz Davani, an
author who disappeared in 1998 and presumably was murdered by
the MOIS, released a statement that "Everyone knows it is not
very difficult to assassinate freedom-loving and popular
individuals, but thinking and ideas cannot be destroyed,"
according to the 28 March "Asr-i Azadegan." (Bill Samii)

When it was reported in January 1999 that Ministry of
Intelligence and Security personnel were behind the serial
murders of Iranian intellectuals and dissidents, hardline
parliamentarians, in connivance with the Armed Forces Judicial
Organization, "planned to exploit the current climate and to
embark upon a psychological war against the MOIS," "Fath"
reported on 7 March. They recognized that the MOIS was in a
weakened position, and they sought to eliminate the agency
because it supported President Mohammad Khatami's reforms,
according to "Fath." The hardliners' failure at the polls in
February eliminated this threat, the daily reported.
It was not just hardliners who wanted changes within the
MOIS; the public at large wanted them too. "If this ministry
harmonizes itself with the aims of the government in an
appropriate manner, many of its defects and malfunctions will be
removed," "Neda-yi Yazd" editorialized last March. In a series
of interviews published in "Entekhab" in January 2000, MOIS
chief Hojatoleslam Ali Yunesi sought to describe some of the
structural reforms he has implemented, what he perceives as
continuing threats to national security, and the continuing
investigation of the serial murders which led to the resignation
of his predecessor.
The calls for reform arose when it was revealed that Said
Emami, an MOIS director, headed the gang of assassins. Yunesi
said that Emami had passed several security reviews, and "it is
not as though someone who has been selected will never, at a
later stage, be approached by our opponents and become
corrupted." But either way, we are obliged "to take the
structural reform of the [MOIS] seriously." To this end, Yunesi
created a "culture undersecretary." This is because "our young
generation is distancing itself from this culture; and we are
guiltier than anyone else for not having been able to offer our
genuine Islamic and national culture to the young generation."
Yunesi added that just arresting people and banning books was
not the solution.
Yunesi also said that the MOIS requires supervision and
greater accountability to the parliament and the government. "I
have created an inspection and supervision department ... If the
people have any complaints about the performance of the [MOIS]
or over power abuse by an individual and they complain to me, I
will immediately inform the inspection department." Yunesi added
that "I consider myself answerable to the parliament."
When Yunesi was asked about the lack of transparency and
delays in the prosecution of those guilty of the serial murders,
he said that broadcasting confessions or providing incomplete
statements to the media would only muddy the waters.
Broadcasting confessions, Yunesi added, "was an immoral practice
and we banned it ... it is against the law" (which does not
explain why the "confessions" of people arrested in connection
with the July 1999 riots were broadcast).
Yunesi rejected suggestions that the serial murders case
undermined public confidence in the MOIS. He said it is an
"immense organization" in which Said Emami's security department
played only a minor role. Yunesi complained that journalists
focus on this issue, while the activities of the foreign
analysis department, counter-intelligence/counter-espionage
department, and the technical procurement department remain
"Cultural degeneration is the most major threat" to
national security, Yunesi said. This is linked with "the
challenge of the new generation, the distancing of this new
generation from the revolution, cultural degeneration, economic
threats including unemployment and inflation, the differences
between the forces loyal to the revolution, and the breakup of
national unity."
Two months later, Yunesi again discussed structural changes
within the MOIS. He told the 8 March "Aftab-i Imruz" that he had
not encountered any problems so far and "the tumor in the [MOIS]
was ripped out with the President's determination and the
Leader's backing, and I promise you that nothing like that will
happen again."
Yunesi admitted, however, that there were problems with the
serial murders investigation. The original investigatory team,
of which he was a member, had been replaced, because "We thought
the investigations had strayed from their original aim of
dealing with the murders. In addition, we were not satisfied
about the way the people were being kept informed about the
case." (Bill Samii)

Iranian justice, long criticized for its arbitrariness and
for the severity of sentences-- such as stoning, lashing, and
amputation of limbs -- started changing in summer 1999, when
Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Yazdi was succeeded by
Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi. During the ten-year tenure of
Yazdi, the Judiciary came to be seen as a political body that
used the law to close newspapers, silence dissenting voices, and
protect the powerful. So when Shahrudi took over, it was hoped
that the courts would resume their proper role in supporting the
law, thereby restoring public confidence and a sense of
The first step in achieving such reforms was to replace
some of the most politicized judicial officials. Presidential
chief of staff Mohammad-Ali Abtahi told "Neshat" in September
that "the Judiciary is expected to cleanse a powerful minority
in the country's legal system that is trying to politicize this
serious and important body away from the main body of the
Many of these hardline officials are graduates of the
Haqqani seminary. Hojatoleslam Ali Razini and Hojatoleslam
Gholamhussein Mohseni-Ejei -- both of whom now serve in the
Special Court for the Clergy as prosecutor and chief,
respectively -- served in the Judiciary and are Haqqani
graduates. Other graduates are Revolutionary Court Judge
Gholamhussein Rahbarpur, Documents Center chief and Special
Court member Ruhollah Husseinian, and former Minister of
Intelligence and Security Ali-Akbar Fallahian. Ayatollah
Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, the proponent of violence against
outsiders, is an official at Haqqani seminary.
Razini and Mohseni-Ejei were replaced in late 1999. More
Haqqani alumni will be replaced after the parliamentary
elections, "Iran" announced on 29 January. The Judiciary is
suffering quantitative personnel problems, too. Deputy Judiciary
head Ayatollah Hadi Marvi said that there are shortages of
administrative staff, which has resulted in court backlogs and a
shortage of branches, "Vilayat-i Qazvin" reported on 14
Judicial reform also requires changes in the current laws.
But on his departure from the Judiciary, Razini warned that "the
methods and procedures that are currently used in the Judiciary
would not change," according to a 28 August "Mobin" article.
Indeed, Forouzan Asaf-Nakhai wrote in "Mobin" that graduates of
the Haqqani seminary, and many others, believe that theological
writings on practical law are sufficient for running the state
and should not change. Such thought conflicts with the belief
that there must be new judgements in keeping with current
requirements of the age.
When Shahrudi took over the Judiciary, therefore, he faced
a difficult challenge. Those who wanted to reform the laws would
have to change attitudes on "the rights of children, the rights
of women, the rights of citizens, the rights of the accused, the
rights of convicts, people's rights vis--vis the ruling
establishment," according to "Mobin." Asaf-Nakhai wrote that

<< Continued to next message >>>


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 20:35:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

"The most important mission of the new head of the Judiciary
must be changing the judicial structure from a punitive form of
penal code -- which was common in the European system of law
during the Middle Ages and which is still true of our judicial
system -- to a system of legal correction and rehabilitation."
Others also believe that the laws and punishments must
change. Deputy Judiciary chief Marvi pointed out that some of
the sentencing regulations must be rewritten. Citing the number
of people serving prison sentences for writing bad checks, he
said that Ayatollah Shahrudi believes imprisonment will not
resolve the problem. The issue of "blood money" (diyeh) will
have to change, too. Lawyer Mehrangiz Kar complained to "Neshat"
in September that citizens' rights are based on their gender,
religion, and opinions. She called for a review of the Press Law
and suggested a restructuring of the Special Court for the
Clergy, "which considers itself the source of all religious
Efforts toward judicial reform required new legislation. In
September the parliament started reviewing a bill that would
give Shahrudi more sweeping powers. The law would permit more
senior judges to preside over the more complex cases. The new
law would also allow Shahrudi to bypass the presidential cabinet
when submitting legislation to the parliament. Finally, Shahrudi
would have the power to overturn judgements that he believed
violated the law.
The law was passed in December, but surprisingly, it
encountered opposition from the administration. Vice President
Mohammad Ali Saduqi said the government was "opposed to the
Judiciary having administrative independence," according to
"Hamshahri." "Entekhab" noted two weeks later that Shahrudi
needed such powers if legal revisions were to go ahead, and
"This goal is so broad, comprehensive, and laudable that it
seems to be unachievable except with the full cooperation of the
Legislative, Executive, and Judicial powers." The daily noted
that the Guardians Council, of which former Judiciary chief
Ayatollah Yazdi is a member, had returned the legislation to the
parliament for revision.
By January 2000, however, it was clear that Shahrudi was
serious about reforming the Judiciary. Hojatoleslam Izadpanah,
director-general of public relations for the Judiciary,
announced that anybody who opposed Shahrudi's reform program
would be dismissed, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported. And Shahrudi said
that "The whole structure of the legal formation is subject to
revision," "Entekhab" reported on 8 February.
In March, Izadpanah confirmed the replacement of several
judicial officials, and he said that judges would thereafter
outrank other officials in the Judiciary, "Tehran Times"
reported. In order to address the backlog of press-related
cases, a new branch of the Press Court was formed. Tehran
Justice department chief Abbas-Ali Alizadeh said they still
needed 1897 more judges to deal with the backlog. Judiciary
spokesman Hussein Sadeqi told Reuters that there are plans to
set up a specialized Judicial police force. And Seyyed Mahmud
Bakhtiari, head of the Prisons, Security, and Correction
Organization, said that a study to revise penal codes and
sentencing practices is underway, IRNA reported on 16 March.
(Bill Samii)

With or without judicial reform, it appears that some
things may never change. Take the power of connections. Morteza
Rafiqdust will be released from prison soon, "Asr-i Azadegan"
reported on 28 March, although he received a life sentence for
embezzlement of 123 trillion rials (about $70 million). His
cohort, Fazel Khodadad, was executed (see RFE/RL Iran Report, 20
December 1999). Morteza is the brother of former Oppressed and
Disabled Foundation chief Mohsen Rafiqdust.
Transparency and accountability remain scarce, too. The
trial of security officials for raiding a Tehran University
dormitory last July is still going on, but most observers
believe that the real culprits, high-ranking and powerful
figures with governmental connections, should be in the dock
instead. The case of 13 Jews and several Muslims who were
arrested on espionage charges early last year still has not come
to trial, despite promises to the contrary from official
spokesmen. Ten of the 13, furthermore, have been denied access
to lawyers, Maurice Copithorne, Special Representative of the
Commission on Human Rights on the Islamic Republic of Iran, said
on 30 March. And the case of the 1998 (and possibly earlier)
serial murders seems no closer to coming to trial.
The press is not free from judicial interference. Mohammad
Reza Khatami was summoned by the Press Court on 30 March,
presumably in connection with allegations in "Mosharekat" about
a cover-up in the shooting of Said Hajjarian. And journalist
Emadedin Baqi was summoned by the Revolutionary Court in
relation to the same matter. (Bill Samii)

Until recently, many Iranians cited political reasons when
they fled their country and sought refuge abroad. A Western
immigration officer told RFE/RL that the top three reasons they
would give for suffering government harassment were engaging in
"un-Islamic activities," membership in the illegal Mujahedin
Khalq Organization, or "handing out leaflets." The refugees
would claim that they did not know what the leaflets were about,
they were "just helping a friend." The Western immigration
official speculated that Tehran must be full of leaflets because
he had heard this claim so often.
If an Iranian's application for refugee status is rejected,
he or she must return to his or her country of origin. This is
not so easy, because Tehran usually does not acknowledge their
nationality. A recent incident in France, however, indicates
that Tehran is facilitating the illegal entry to the West of
some Iranians. French police recently apprehended five Iranians
who entered illegally from Italy. They are part of an 18-member
group that arrived in Rome on 18 March. French police say that
they had official passports equipped with Schengen visas, but
with false names and numbers, according to RFE/RL's Persian
Service. Such passports are only available to personnel from
Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
Other who try to leave Iran must rely on smuggling bands
and illegal methods. Germany's Federal Border Police recently
arrested two Iranians who ran a refugee smuggling operation,
Munich's "Focus" reported on 27 March. The gang smuggled
Iranians to Frankfurt's Rhine-Main airport and provided them
with false documents, and many of them were provided with
tickets to the U.S. or Canada via another Iranian's travel
agency. Mahmud Reza Farzanehnia was arrested in Seoul for
entering the country on a false passport, "The Korea Times"
reported on 17 March. Farzanehnia fled Iran in 1996 to avoid
persecution for h fled Iran in 1996 to avoid
persecution for his political activities at Tehran University,
police said.
The Tanjung Ledong Marine Patrol Unit arrested 9 Iranians
who were attempting to illegally enter Indonesia on 15 March,
Medan's "Analisa" reported. A month earlier, Teluk Nibang police
arrested 16 Iranians for the same offense. Police in New Zealand
broke up a gang that specialized in smuggling Iranians, Iraqis,
Afghans, and Pakistanis, Radio Australia reported on 13 March.
Malaysian marine police detained five Iranians as they tried to
flee to Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur's "Utusan Malaysia" reported on
24 February. Two weeks earlier, 17 Iranians and Iraqis were
detained by the police. 19 Iranian illegal immigrants arrested
on 15 February while trying to enter Australia have requested
political asylum from Australia, the U.S. and the U.K.,
Jakarta's Antara" reported on 24 February.
Greek border guards arrested two Iranians as they tried to
cross the Turkish border with stolen Dutch passports on 5
January. The two admitted that they bought the passports for
$2500 dollars in Istanbul. And in December, Sweden's Immigration
Board said it is making it harder for Iranians to visit the
country because "a record number of Iranians have defected in
Sweden and want to stay here," Stockholm's "Svenska Dagbladet"
reported on 22 December.
Those who seek refugee status often cite religious or
political persecution as their reasons for fleeing. But many of
those who leave the country to study in foreign universities do
not want to return either. Reza Mansouri, a Tehran academic who
has studied Iran's brain-drain, estimates that 40 percent of
those who leave on government-funded scholarships refuse to come
home, "Business Week" reported on 28 February. Even Iranians
educated at home are eager to leave. 25 percent of Iranian
university graduates are working abroad. And their motivations
are basic: they want opportunities that are not available under
Iran's weak and state-dominated economy or in a workplace
dominated by cronyism and corruption. (Bill Samii)

St. Petersburg's Baltic State Technology University (BGTU)
rector Yuriy Savalyev was suspended on suspicion of having
allowed Iranian students to study "subjects with a bearing on
missile technology," Moscow's "Kommersant" reported on 30 March.
The order for Savalyev's dismissal, which was marked "secret,"
came from Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov after the
U.S. State Department accused BGTU of offering foreign students
instruction in building Weapons of Mass Destruction and
In 1998, the U.S. listed BGTU as an educational
establishment that might offer foreign students instruction in
the production of WMD, and 25 Iranian students were taken off
the university rolls. Subsequently, a new contract was signed
between BGTU and Tehran Technical University, in which 500
Iranians would be trained over a period of eight years.
According to the newspaper, the combined annual tuition fees
would total $2.5 million -- five times what the university
receives in state subsidies. About 100 Iranian students
commenced their studies at BGTU last autumn.
Savalyev contends that the charges against him are
"unfounded and baseless." He opined that "the Americans have
launched an attack on his establishment because they themselves
want to train the Iranians and sell them weapons." (Bill Samii)

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


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:35:27 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian teenager killed in suspected bomb blast

Iranian teenager killed in suspected bomb blast

TEHRAN, April 3 (Reuters) - A suspected bomb blast killed a 15-year-old girl
in the southern Iranian port city of Chabahar, according to state television.

It said the girl was killed on Sunday by what it called ``the explosion of a
suspicious object'' in a city park. No other details were immediately

The television report said police were investigating the incident. Chabahar,
on the Sea of Oman, is one of Iran's free-trade zones.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:37:47 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran's top court limits seizure of 'illicit' items

Iran's top court limits seizure of 'illicit' items

TEHRAN, April 3 (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Court has barred the security
forces from seizing illicit materials from private homes, newspapers reported
on Monday.

Possession of ``illicit'' materials such as pictures, cassettes and
videotapes is not in itself a crime, according to the ruling issued on
Sunday, the daily Asr-e Azadegan said.

But distribution and trade in such materials will be punishable by law.

The ruling effectively makes private homes immune to raids by the security
forces in search of illicit tapes and CD's of Iranian and Western pop music
and videotapes of the latest Hollywood releases -- very popular in Iran
despite a ban.

The reformist Bamdad-e No daily quoted the court decision as saying:
``Possession of...any materials which conflicts with public decency is a
criminal offence if such possession is for the purposes of trade and

But lawyers said the ruling was a technical one and did not imply judicial
endorsement of President Mohammad Khatami's cultural liberalisation.

``This was just a statement of the law as it stands, it has nothing to do
with the judiciary loosening up to notions of Khatami's civil society,'' Ali
Khosravi, a private attorney, told Reuters.

``There have been no changes in the law. The courts had issued conflicting
judgements in the past, but now they are obliged to comply with this
ruling,'' he said.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:39:26 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: More Iraqi POWs registered in Iran by Red Cross

More Iraqi POWs registered in Iran by Red Cross

BAGHDAD, April 3 (Reuters) - The Red Cross has registered an additional 1,188
Iraqi prisoners captured by Iran during the 1980-88 war between the two
neighbours, an Iraqi newspaper said on Monday.

``Contacts between the Iranian side and the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) over the last two months have led to registering 1,188 new
Iraqi prisoners of war who were not registered before,'' the Nabdh al-Shabab
newspaper said.

The ICRC's representative in Baghdad, Beat Schweizer, confirmed there were
new names of Iraqi POWs but he declined to give a number.

``The process is ongoing, therefore I cannot give any number,'' he told

Iraq says Iran still holds 13,000 of its soldiers. Iran says several thousand
Iranian POWs are detained in Iraq. Baghdad denies holding any.

Schweizer said that some 424 messages had arrived recently from Iraqi POWs
detained in Iran and most of them were distributed to families.

``There will be more Red Cross messages and I hope these prisoners will come
home soon,'' he added.

Iraq and Iran often swap accusations over POW issue, one of several
disagreements hampering normalisation of relations between the two former

Iranian authorities say thousands of Iraqi prisoners have sought asylum in
Iran through the Red Cross.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:40:04 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Anderson Ruling Criticized in Iran

Anderson Ruling Criticized in Iran

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A ruling issued by a U.S. federal judge awarding former
hostage Terry Anderson $341 million from Iran was ``politically-motivated,''
a conservative newspaper said Monday.

The Tehran Times report was the first reaction from Iran to the Anderson
ruling. Iran's Foreign Ministry would not comment.

Anderson was held in Lebanon. He and his fellow captives claim their
kidnappings were engineered by Iran.

Anderson's case was the latest to come to trial under a 1996 law that allows
Americans who are victims of terrorism in foreign countries to sue in U.S.
courts if the State Department lists those nations as sponsors of terrorism.
Iran has been on the list since 1984.

``The offense was conducted in a foreign country by non-Iranian subjects
against an American citizen. The ruling is purely politically-motivated,''
the English-language Tehran Times quoted a legal expert, Morteza Najafi, as

The Washington D.C. court ordered Iran last month to pay $24.5 million to
Anderson, $10 million to his wife, Madeleine Bassil, and $6.7 million to
their daughter, Sulome. It also ordered the Iranian Ministry of Information
and Security to pay $300 million in punitive damages.

Anderson was held captive for 2,454 days, the longest of the captives in
Lebanon. He was abducted at gunpoint in March 1985 and released in December

Anderson, the former chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press
is now a journalism professor at Ohio University.

The Tehran Times quoted another legal expert, Naser Taheri, as saying that
``from the penal point of view, responsibility for any criminal act only
returns to the culprits, therefore, no state can be held accountable for a
criminal act conducted by individuals.''


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:41:18 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran exiles in Iraq say they expect Iran attack

Iran exiles in Iraq say they expect Iran attack

BAGHDAD, April 3 (Reuters) - The main armed Iranian opposition group, the
Mujahideen Khaliq, said on Monday that Iran may be about to launch a ground
offensive or some other form of assault on its Iraqi bases.

``The mullahs' regime may be on the verge of carrying out a ground offensive
or missile attacks, air raids and terrorist assaults on the Iranian
Resistance's bases in Iraq,'' a statement faxed to Reuters in Baghdad said.

The statement, also sent to the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the
United Nations Security Council, said Iran's expected move was motivated by
U.S. accusations that the group was assisted by Baghdad.

The U.S. accused the Iraqi government on March 24 of wasting money that could
have improved the welfare of its people on a military complex near Baghdad
for the opposition movement.

The Baghdad-based opposition group, Mujahideen Khaliq, said it had paid for
the base and termed the U.S. accusations propaganda to justify retaining
sanctions against Iraq.

``But now the mullahs' regime has taken a step further, speaking brazenly
about a ground offensive directed against the Mojahedin deep inside Iraqi
territory,'' the statement said.

It also said that in the wake of the U.S. position, these attacks would
``enjoy the support of the international community.''

Last week, the group said it had foiled an Iranian mortar attack on their
office in Baghdad.

Iraq and the Mujahideen have blamed Iran for several recent attacks on the
Mujahideen in Iraq, including a mortar attack on a district of Baghdad
inhabited by Palestinian refugees which killed six people.

Iraq said last month that its air defences had shot down an Iranian pilotless
plane over its territory for the second time in a month. Tehran has blamed
the Mujahideen for several attacks inside Iran recently.

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


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:42:05 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran offers to delay spying trial of Jews

Iran offers to delay spying trial of Jews

TEHRAN, April 3 (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday it could delay next week's
trial of 13 Iranian Jews for spying if their defence lawyers ask for more
time to prepare.

The Jews are due to stand trial in the southern city of Shiraz on April 13.
They were arrested there last year with eight Moslems on charges of spying
for Israel, Iran's arch-foe.

``If lawyers of the defendants ask for a delay for more time to study the
cases, the court will heed the request based on legal norms,'' judiciary
spokesman Hossein Sadeqi said in a statement.

The case has triggered an international outcry and hampered reformist
President Mohammad Khatami's drive for better ties with the West. Israel has
denied any links to the defendants.

The United Nations human rights investigator for Iran last week said 10 of
the 13 had been denied access to the lawyers they wanted.

But Sadeqi said the accused had been appointed experienced lawyers by the
independent bar association. He said they could choose their own lawyers if
they wanted to.

France re-affirmed on Wednesday that it wanted to see a fair trial for the
Jews, who could face the death penalty.

``We have repeatedly told the Iranian authorities we are preoccupied and
worried about this case,'' foreign ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau

``France, in agreement with its European partners, is continuing to follow
the evolution of this case with the utmost care,'' he added.

Iran's Jewish community has shrunk to about 35,000 members from more than
80,000 before the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many have emigrated to the United
States and Israel.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:42:32 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran oil minister says US overture ``insignificant''

Iran oil minister says US overture ``insignificant''

TEHRAN, April 3 (Reuters) - Iran's oil minister said on Monday an easing of
U.S. trade restrictions against Tehran was ``insignificant'' as long as
Washington maintained its sanctions against the Islamic republic's vital oil

``The main sanctions are linked to oil and they are 100 percent intact,'' Oil
Minister Bijan Zanganeh told a news conference.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last month announced the United
States was lifting a ban against imports of key Iranian non-oil goods --
carpets, caviar and pistachios.

The move was seen as a goodwill gesture after the victory of reformers in
February's parliamentary elections in Iran.

``This announcement is insignificant,'' Zanganeh said, stressing that he was
speaking only as the official in charge of the oil industry.

Iran has welcomed the U.S. initiative, saying it would respond by importing
wheat and medicine from the United States.

Under a U.S. law passed in 1996, Washington seeks to punish non-U.S. firms
investing more than $20 million per year in Iran's oil and gas sector.Earlier
U.S. sanctions prohibit U.S. citizens from financing or carrying out Iranian
energy development projects.

The United States accuses Iran of backing terrorism and seeking to acquire
weapons of mass destruction. Tehran denies the accusations.

Zanganeh also said Iran had boosted oil production from April 1 to keep its
market share despite its opposition to a decision last week by the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase crude output to
push down prices.

He refused to say by how much Iran, OPEC's second largest exporter, had
increased output.

Iran has accused the United States of heavy-handed lobbying of OPEC members
for a production rise. Washington said it saw no reason to apologise for its


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 15:42:55 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Accused Iranian Jews Get Lawyers

Accused Iranian Jews Get Lawyers

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's judiciary has assigned lawyers to defend 13
Iranian Jews expected to go on trial this month on espionage charges, Iranian
radio reported Monday.

``The accused Jews refused to introduce lawyers and therefore lawyers have
been appointed for them,'' the state radio quoted judiciary spokesman Hossein
Mirmohammad Sadeqi as saying.

Last month, Iran's only Jewish legislator said the families of the 13
suspects and Iran's Jewish Society had hired lawyers to defend them.

``We don't know exactly what happened. We would like them to enjoy access to
(any) lawyers,'' the legislator, Manouchehr Eliassi, said Monday.

It was not immediately clear whether the lawyers appointed by the families
were rejected. Judicial officials were not available for comment.

The trial is to begin April 13 in Shiraz, 550 miles south of the capital
Tehran. The suspects were arrested in Shiraz.

The suspects were arrested more than a year ago. They are accused of having
spied for the United States and Israel. Both countries deny the charges. If
convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty.

Iran has been under international pressure to free the Jews or ensure they
receive a fair trial. The government says their faith has no bearing on the
case and that some Muslims have also been arrested on the same charges.

There were once 100,000 Jews in Iran. There were 80,000 Jews in the country
just before the 1979 Islamic revolution, but the Jewish community has since
dwindled to about 25,000 members.

Iran's Jewish community remains the Middle East's largest outside Israel.
Iranian Jews are allowed to practice aspects of their religion, but are
forbidden to teach Hebrew.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 18:23:33 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran court seeks custody of shooting suspects

Iran court seeks custody of shooting suspects

TEHRAN, April 3 (Reuters) - A top Iranian court official called on the secret
police on Monday to hand over suspects held for the shooting of a top
reformer, to prevent possible mistreatment during questioning, Iran's news
agency IRNA said.

``To prevent any conceivable punishment, threats, pressure, or injury to the
accused, it is necessary that they be turned over to the justice ministry's
department in that interrogations are carried out under the
supervision of a judge,'' IRNA quoted department head Abbasali Alizadeh as

In a letter to the powerful intelligence ministry, Alizadeh also said any new
arrests should be ordered by the judge probing last month's assassination
attempt on Saeed Hajjarian, a close ally of President Mohammad Khatami.

Meanwhile, a judiciary spokesman said hearings in the case could begin within
two weeks, adding that it would be handled by the revolutionary courts
because of its national security character, state television reported.

The hardline revolutionary courts were set up after the 1979 Islamic
revolution to deal with security and political offences.

The intelligence ministry gave more details about the eight accused, saying
in a statement quoted by IRNA that the suspected driver of the motorcycle
used in the attack was a low-ranking member of the Revolutionary Guards,
while the man who allegedly supplied the pistol had a criminal record.

Reformers have suggested that the suspects may have ties to hardliners within
the security forces waging a campaign to undermine the liberal reforms of
President Mohammad Khatami.

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said last month the accused were ``extremist
elements,'' but added that they had acted on unspecified private motives.

Officials have said the man arrested for allegedly shooting Hajjarian is a

Hajjarian's doctors said the 47-year-old Tehran city council member, who is
in intensive care with a bullet lodged in his neck, had to be put on a
respirator again on Monday, IRNA reported.


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 21:30:14 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Canada deports Iranian resistance woman

Canada deports Iranian resistance woman

OTTAWA, April 3 (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Monday ordered the
deportation, probably to the United States, of an Iranian woman who was a
member of the armed opposition group Mujahideen Khalq.

Citizenship Minister Elinor Caplan told reporters that the woman, Mahnaz
Samadi, was ordered deported because the Mujahideen Khalq was deemed to be a
terrorist organisation.

``The individual is being deported, as that's in Canada's national interest.
As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of the story -- she's inadmissible to
Canada,'' Caplan said.

A spokeswoman for Caplan's department, Giovanna Gatti, said Samadi was the
leader of the Canadian faction of the Mujahideen Khalq, and that she was also
a member of the group's military wing, the National Liberation Army.

Gatti refused to say where Samadi was being sent -- despite the fact that
Samadi is not a resident or citizen -- but the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
reported on Monday she was headed for the United States, from where she had
entered Canada.

Samadi, believed to be in her 40s, was arrested in Canada in December. She is
a slight woman, wearing an Islamic-style kerchief on her head, despite the
fact that the Mujahideen Khalq is battling the Islamic government in Iran.


Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 02:11:54 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran's news agency chief summoned to court

Iran's news agency chief summoned to court

TEHRAN, April 4 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline press court has summoned the head
of the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, for the second time in as many
months, the agency reported on Tuesday.

Fereydoun Verdinejad had been ordered to appear in the court within three
days after a complaint lodged by the police, IRNA said. It gave no details of
the charges.

Iran's police force is dominated by hardline generals at loggerheads with the
social liberalisation policies of Iran's moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

The police have been frontrunners in the race to take action against
reformist media and newspapers -- which the Khatami administration has
nurtured -- IRNA said.

A number of pro-reform publications have been closed and their editors fined
or imprisoned as a result of such cases.

Verdinejad, closely linked to the reform-minded government was detained
briefly by the press court last year on complaints by the police, hardline
MPs and the state television organisation, also run by hardliners.

He was eventually acquitted on all charges.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 2 Apr 2000 to 3 Apr 2000