Date: Apr 19, 2000 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Apr 2000 to 18 Apr 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Apr 2000 to 18 Apr 2000
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There are 7 messages totalling 372 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Check out The C.I.A. in Iran: Britain Fights Oil Nationalism
2. Iran blasts US over attempt to fingerprint fencers
3. China Rips Rights Record Criticism
4. Iran Hard-Liners Seek Paper Curb
5. Iran Claims Confession of Suspect
6. Iran conservatives rally against reform movement
7. Iran parliament passes restrictive press law


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 16:46:24 EDT
Subject: Check out The C.I.A. in Iran: Britain Fights Oil Nationalism

l">Click here: The C.I.A. in Iran: Britain Fights Oil Nationalism</A>


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:43:01 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran blasts US over attempt to fingerprint fencers

Iran blasts US over attempt to fingerprint fencers

TEHRAN, April 18 (Reuters) - Iran on Tuesday denounced the United States for
seeking to fingerprint visiting Iranian fencers, a move which prompted the
athletes to pull out of a tournament in the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said it was ``indecent'' of the
Chicago airport officials to demand the fingerprinting of Iran's junior
fencing team on their entry to the United States recently, the Iranian news
agency IRNA said.

The athletes decided to return home rather than undergo the procedure, part
of a U.S. policy towards citizens of Iran and other countries accused by
Washington of links to terrorism. Tehran denies having any such links.

``The indecent move by the Chicago airport officials total
contradiction to the recent claim by the American government that it
encourages academic, cultural and sports exchanges between the two
countries,'' Asefi said.

``This shows that America's policies are still not consistent in words and
deeds,'' he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said last month that Washington
would seek to remove ``unnecessary impediments'' to increase the exchanges.

Iran has strongly criticised the fingerprinting of Iranian scholars and
sports teams visiting the United States under a slight thaw in relations
since reformist President Mohammad Khatami took office in 1997.

A soccer match between the two countries was held in Pasadena, California, in
January after U.S. officials waived the fingerprinting.

The match, which followed the 1998 Iran-U.S. game in the World Cup in France,
marked the first time the United States had hosted the Iranian national
soccer team since the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:43:44 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: China Rips Rights Record Criticism

China Rips Rights Record Criticism

.c The Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) - The United States failed Tuesday in its latest bid to have
China's human rights record censured by the United Nations, but Cuba, Iran
and Iraq found themselves under scrutiny.

The 53-nation commission voted 22-18 for a ``no action'' motion proposed by
Beijing to block discussion of a U.S. resolution critical of the human rights
situation in China. Twelve nations abstained and one was absent.

Developing countries, many from Africa and Asia, rallied to Beijing's cause
as they did in eight previous years. But the United States insisted it
succeeded in drawing attention to China's record and said the margin of the
vote was the narrowest in five years.

``It pokes a hole in the aura of immunity that only China has enjoyed and
conveys a sense that all nations have to look to the commission before they
confront their own people,'' U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh

China applauded the U.N. decision. Attempts by the United States to censure
it ``can lead nowhere but self-isolation and self-defeat,'' Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said in remarks carried by China's official
Xinhua News Agency.

``The human rights situation in China is the best ever in the country's
history,'' Sun said.

The vote came after weeks of intense lobbying by both sides. The U.S. text
protested increased restrictions on Tibetans and the ``harsh crackdown'' on
political opposition. It noted repression of the Falun Gong spiritual

Xiao Qiang, executive director of Human Rights in China, said he was
``terribly disappointed'' and added that the European Union's failure to lend
strong backing to the U.S. efforts had been a key factor.

Meanwhile, the U.N. panel censured Cuba for the second consecutive year,
voting 21-18 to criticize it for ``the continued violation of human rights
and fundamental freedoms.'' Fourteen members abstained.

Cuba accused Washington of being the driving force behind the action.
Ambassador Carlos Amat said U.S. officials ``once again wielded the strings
of their occasional puppets,'' referring to the Czech Republic and Poland,
which proposed the motion.

In another narrow vote, the commission kept Iran under scrutiny for human
rights abuses, even though it accepted that progress had been made. The
resolution passed 22-20, with 11 abstentions.

Delegates had less sympathy for neighboring Iraq, which they condemned for
its ``all-pervasive repression and oppression.'' No nation supported Baghdad,
although 21 abstained.

They agreed without a vote to condemn ``the continuing pattern of gross and
systematic violations of human rights in Myanmar,'' also known as Burma, and
expressed concern over abuses in Sudan.

With opposition only from Russia, the commission attacked Yugoslavia's
repression of the media and the political opposition, arbitrary
administration of justice and discrimination and violence against ethnic


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:44:17 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Hard-Liners Seek Paper Curb

Iran Hard-Liners Seek Paper Curb

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hard-liners who dominate Iran's outgoing parliament
passed legislation Tuesday to give the judiciary more teeth in curbing
outspoken newspapers, striking back yet again in their power struggle against

The legislation is part of an effort by hard-liners to cling to power and
contain a hugely popular movement for change that began after President
Mohammad Khatami's 1997 election.

One bill forbids banned newspapers from publishing under a different name, a
practice pro-reform papers resorted to in the past after being shut down by
the hard-line judiciary.

Lawmakers passed another bill allowing the courts to prosecute both the
director of a publication and the writer for any articles deemed offensive.
Under current law, only directors are held accountable.

Ali Movahedi Savoji, a hard-line legislator, told parliament that ``domestic
enemies'' were undermining the revolutionary principles in the name of

``I have strong criticism for the president's position and slogans ... the
president should clearly define what he means by a civil society and
freedom,'' he said in a speech broadcast live on state radio.

The bills must be approved by the Guardians Council to become law -
considered a formality, since the body is controlled by hard-liners.

Hard-liners have also used the council's powers to tamper with results of the
Feb. 18 legislative elections, which the reformists overwhelmingly won. The
new Majlis, or parliament, was supposed to convene May 27, but that looks
increasingly uncertain.

The elections, in which the reformists won 170 seats of the 290 seats, have
yet to be endorsed by the council - a necessary step before the new deputies
can take their seats.

Instead, the council - which has the constitutional power to declare election
results invalid - has ordered recounts in several constituencies, including
Tehran, where reformists won 29 of the 30 seats.

The council also annulled the election of 11 reformist candidates. Two of
those seats, in the towns of Khalkhal and Sarvestan, were given to hard-line
candidates. The nine others will be decided in a run-off, the council said.

``The council's behavior is an overt ... battle against the reformists,''
said Mahmoud Sadri, editor of the reformist Hammihan daily.

``There is no doubt that the council's motive is to weaken the reformist
majority in the parliament, and give a boost to the hard-liners,'' Sadri

Last week, the judiciary upheld the conviction of Mahmoud Shams,
editor-in-chief of the reformist Asr-e-Azadegan daily, giving him a 2
1/2-year jail term on charges of ``insulting religious sanctities.'' Shams
has been a leading voice for press freedom.

Nearly every leading reformist journalist, including Fereydoun Verdinejad,
head of the state news agency, has been summoned for questioning by the

Khatami wants to ease the political, cultural and social restrictions imposed
by the clergy's rule, but the hard-liners say that would dilute the ideals of
the 1979 Islamic revolution. The reformists have little power to stop the
conservative clergy, which control the judiciary, the military and the
broadcast networks.


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:44:39 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Claims Confession of Suspect

Iran Claims Confession of Suspect

.c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The main suspect in the attempted assassination of a
leading Iranian reformist has confessed to his crime, the Islamic Republic
News Agency reported Tuesday.

``I talked to the accused myself and he explicitly confessed to having
committed the crime and said he would repeat his confession in court,'' the
agency quoted deputy head of the judiciary, Hadi Marvi, as saying.

Marvi said the suspect, whom he did not name, confessed without being
pressured. Saeed Hajjarian, a city councilman and confidant of reformist
President Mohammad Khatami, was shot and gravely injured in the March 12
attack and remains in a Tehran hospital.

The suspect ``followed certain objectives in the assassination attempt
against Hajjarian's life which he would reveal to the court,'' according to

Pro-reform newspapers and Hajjarian's allies have blamed the attack on
hard-liners who oppose Khatami's cultural, social and political reforms.

Hard-liners who say the reforms betray the ideals of the 1979 Islamic
revolution are believed to use tough measures against opponents. The
hard-liners have used vigilante groups and members of the security forces in
the past to attack or intimidate opponents.


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:45:17 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran conservatives rally against reform movement

Iran conservatives rally against reform movement

By Ali Raiss-Tousi

TEHRAN, April 18 (Reuters) - Several hundred Iranian hardliners, many of them
students, rallied outside Tehran University on Tuesday to protest against
Iran's reform movement.

``The train of reforms will be stopped forever in the station of our
religious convictions,'' one banner read. The protest was organised by the
university's Islamic Basij militia.

``American-style reform is a cause of indignity and humiliation,'' the crowd
chanted, a reference to charges the reform movement is directed from the

Protesters also chanted ``Down with America'' and ``Down with Israel,'' and
one speaker said restoration of ties between Iran and the United States was
impossible if Washington did not learn to act ``like a human being.''

The hardliners, opposed to the reforms introduced by President Mohammad
Khatami since his election in a 1997 landslide, saved their loudest outbursts
for pro-democracy activists and journalists promoting pluralism and

One such activist, Akbar Ganji, an outspoken author and newspaper editor, was
openly denounced as an Israeli stooge by members of the crowd.

``May the hands of the treacherous modern-day journalists, who are anarchists
and fascists posing as reformers, be cut,'' said a statement issued by the
organisers and read out over loudspeakers.

Ganji, a Moslem intellectual, has been labelled an apostate by Ayatollah
Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, a hardline cleric revered by religious
extremists. If proved, apostacy carries the death penalty under Iran's
Islamic laws.

Ganji was summoned by the special press court immediately after returning to
Tehran from Berlin, where he angered the establishment with his comments at a
seminar on Iran's reform movement.

Some members of the crowd carried colour posters of Mesbah- Yazdi, while
speakers called on Iran's judiciary, also dominated by hardliners, to take
action against ``mercenary pen-pushers and stooges of imperialism.''

The turnout was light compared to the thousands who routinely attend
pro-democracy rallies in Tehran.

A medical student, who asked not to be named, said a nearby hall was packed
by students to hear the views of two senior reformist journalists, at the
same time that hardliners were holding their rally outside the university


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:45:42 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran parliament passes restrictive press law

Iran parliament passes restrictive press law

TEHRAN, April 18 (Reuters) - Iran's conservative outgoing parliament approved
a new press law on Tuesday that critics say aims to rein in the outspoken
pro-reform press.

State television said deputies passed final articles of the law, including a
measure explicitly allowing hardline revolutionary courts to prosecute press

Under the current law, such offences are usually heard by a jury at a special
press court.

The new law also bans criticism of Iran's constitution, seen by some in the
liberal press as a hurdle to democratic reforms.

The law has to be approved by the conservative-led Guardian Council, which
vets parliamentary legislation, before it takes effect.

Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, an outspoken
liberal, and several reformist deputies have criticised the bill as a blow to
press freedoms, which have grown under reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

Conservatives have said the law would make the press more accountable and
stop what they see as attacks in newspapers against Islamic and revolutionary

Reformers have accused their conservative rivals of seeking to take revenge
for their poor showing in parliamentary polls.

The elections in February gave reformers a stronger position in the new
parliament, thanks largely to wide press publicity. The new parliament is
scheduled to convene in late May.

Parliamentary approval of a draft of the bill was among events that sparked
student unrest and street riots last summer.

Pro-reform newspapers have thrived under more liberal rules introduced by
President Khatami, who took office in 1997, even though conservative-led
courts have closed several dailies.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Apr 2000 to 18 Apr 2000