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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 19 Apr 2000 to 20 Apr 2000

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 19 Apr 2000 to 20 Apr 2000
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There are 6 messages totalling 362 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran's leader denounces West, warns domestic press
2. Date set for trial in Iran reformer's shooting
3. Iran court summons reformers after democracy meet
4. Iran Leader Warns Hard-Liners
5. U.S. worried about challenge to Iranian press
6. Khamenei Attacks Iran's Reformists

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:55:00 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran's leader denounces West, warns domestic press

Iran's leader denounces West, warns domestic press

By Jonathan Lyons


TEHRAN, April 20 (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader on Thursday vowed the
country would never submit to U.S. hegemony, denouncing domestic journalists
who he said were doing America's bidding to undermine the Islamic system.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his second major address in a week, lashed out at
globalisation as a pretext for domination by the West. On April 14, he warned
of the dangers of ``American-style'' reforms.

The looming threat of foreign domination, Khamenei said, was compounded by
the presence of ``domestic hypocrites,'' particularly the pro-reform press.

``There is a double threat that consists of direct penetration by America as
well as the new wave of globalisation,'' the leader told thousands of young
people gathered at a Tehran prayer hall.

``Globalisation means a group of powers increase their cultural and economic
influence throughout the world. It's like creating a joint stock company in
which they own 95 percent... They have full control.

``Most countries have accepted this. There is one country which has not. We
have said and we continue to say that we will not submit,'' Khamenei said, as
the crowd roared: ``Death to America.''

ROLE OF PRESS DECRIED

Washington is probing for an end to 20 years of estrangement between the
former allies, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last month offered
regret for past U.S. policy. She also waived import bans on Iranian luxury
goods.

Iranian officials have promised a comprehensive response but so far the U.S.
initiative has done little more than exacerbate factional tensions between
reformers grouped around President Mohammad Khatami and the conservative
establishment.

It also followed a strong showing by the reformist bloc in parliamentary
polls, prompting a conservative backlash that has seen aggressive prosecution
of pro-reform journalists by hardliners in the judiciary.

That campaign appeared to get a boost from the leader, who has the final word
in all matters of state.

``Unfortunately, today the enemy is taking roots inside Iran ...Some
newspapers have become bases for our enemies,'' he said.

``I am not against press freedom, but some newspapers have been created with
the aim of inciting public opinion and creating differences and mistrust
between the people and the system. It seems there are 10 or 15 that are
controlled from a single centre.''

Chants of ``Death to the mercenary pen-pushers'' and ``Shame on the
hypocrites, leave our newspapers alone,'' rippled through a crowd swelled by
members of the Islamic Basij militia and other activists, some bussed in from
city mosques.

EARLIER WARNING

Iran's independent press has flourished under President Khatami -- a former
newspaperman -- as part of his campaign to create a civil society within the
Islamic system. The result is one of the most lively public debates in the
entire Middle East.

But conservatives blame the press for their electoral defeat, and they say
unbridled press freedom is un-Islamic, something Khatami and his allies
reject.

``I have called on officials many times to take action. This is not
preventing the free flow of information, but it is ending the propaganda
plots of our enemies and their aim to penetrate our system,'' Khamenei said.

``This press movement is harmful to the future of our country, our youth and
the revolution. They are trying continually to attack the people's faith.''

Khamenei's remarks followed a stern warning by Iran's Revolutionary Guards,
who pride themselves on their loyalty to the leader, that they would not sit
by idly while the Islamic system came under attack.

``We will try at first to be tolerant with the duped elements and criminals.
But, when there is a need, we will descend upon them like lightening, without
hesitation or discrimination,'' the Guards said in a statement.

The tough talk prompted fears in some quarters of a possible coup d'etat,
rumours strenuously denied by the president's office, the Guards and other
state organs.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:55:33 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Date set for trial in Iran reformer's shooting

Date set for trial in Iran reformer's shooting


TEHRAN, April 20 (Reuters) - Suspects in the attempted assassination of
Iranian reformer and presidential ally Saeed Hajjarian are to go on trial in
open court on April 25, the official IRNA news agency said on Thursday.

The agency quoted Tehran judicial officials as saying the case would be heard
in Branch 32 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

The judiciary also said the Ahmad Hakimipour, a reformist colleague of
Hajjarian on the Tehran city council, had been released on bail.

Hakimipour was arrested on April 16 in the city of Zanjan, northwest of
Tehran, on the orders of a special magistrate investigating the Hajjarian
case.

The judiciary has accused Hakimipour of writing a letter of introduction that
was later used by one of the attackers to distract Hajjarian seconds before
he was shot outside his city council office.

Hakimipour and his supporters, including Hajjarian, have denounced the arrest
as unwarranted. Many credit Hakimipour with saving his colleague's life by
rushing him to a hospital.

Hajjarian narrowly survived a single shot to the head and remains
hospitalised as he recovers. Doctors say they are optimistic that he will
regain normal motor function.

The authorities swiftly rounded up about 10 suspects in the shooting, all
identified as religious extremists. Authorities later said the triggerman had
confessed.

Hajjarian, a former top intelligence official, was a key strategist in the
1997 landslide election of President Mohammad Khatami and he helped
mastermind the strong showing by reformers in parliamentary polls last
February.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:56:26 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran court summons reformers after democracy meet

Iran court summons reformers after democracy meet


TEHRAN, April 20 (Reuters) - A Revolutionary Court has summoned over a dozen
Iranian reformers after they took part in a Western seminar on democratic
change, state radio said on Thursday.

It cited a Justice Department statement as saying that case files had been
opened and the activists had been ordered to appear for interrogation after
they returned this week from the meeting in Berlin.

The statement said the allegations involved ``speeches made against the holy
Islamic Republic system, religious values and Islamic principles.''

Iranian conservatives have blasted participants in the recent conference,
which was disrupted by exile opposition groups, for what they say were
insults against Iran's Islamic system.

The main target of the conservatives has been author and investigative
journalist Akbar Ganji, who was labelled an apostate by a leading hardline
ayatollah.

Theologian Hassan Yousefi-Ashkevari was also attacked for expressing liberal
social and political views at the seminar on democratic change in the Islamic
republic.

The state broadcasting service, controlled by hardliners, has shown footage
from the conference -- including a protest in which dissident women danced in
violation of strict Islamic mores -- in an apparent effort to discredit the
reformers.

That, in turn, outraged the reformist camp, including aides to President
Mohammad Khatami. Iran's leading dissident theologian issued a fatwa, or
religious decree, condemning the broadcast as religiously forbidden.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:57:31 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Leader Warns Hard-Liners

Iran Leader Warns Hard-Liners

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged
hard-liners today not to take any ``illegal action'' against reformers, but
he also lashed out at Iran's pro-reform newspapers, saying they undermined
Islamic and revolutionary principles.

``There are 10 to 15 (reformist) papers writing as if they are directed from
one center, undermining Islamic and revolutionary principles, insulting
constitutional bodies and creating tension and discord in society,'' Khamenei
told an estimated 100,000 youths in Tehran's Grand Mosque, the country's
largest religious complex.

``But I warn against any illegal action by any person due to emotion and
support for this or that person. I'll not allow this,'' he said.

Hard-liners who say the reforms betray the ideals of the 1979 Islamic
revolution are often accused of using heavy-handed measures against
opponents. They have used vigilante groups and members of the security forces
to attack or intimidate critics.

Khamenei said newspapers that accused the elite revolutionary forces of being
involved in the March 12 shooting of leading reformer Saeed Hajjarian harm
the state.

``A shooting happens. Investigations have not produced any results, and these
newspapers accuse the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ... of
involvement.'' Khamenei said. ``This trend is detrimental to the state,
revolution, the youth and the faith of the people.''

Khamenei said he has told President Mohammad Khatami, a reformer, about this
trend. ``He is also unhappy with this situation. It is unlikely that advice
will be effective for them,'' Khamenei said.

Hajjarian, a city councilman and confidant of Khatami, was gravely injured in
the shooting attack and remains in a Tehran hospital.

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

Khamenei accused the pro-reform press of becoming the ``bases of the enemy''
in Iran and going along with ``American, British and Zionist media.''

``Unfortunately, some of the newspapers have become the bases of the enemy.
They are performing the same task that the BBC (British Broadcasting
Corporation) radio and Voice of America as well as the British and American
and Zionist television broadcasts intend to perform,'' Khamenei said.

The supreme leader's audience denounced the reformist media, chanting ``death
to mercenary writers'' and ``shame on you, hypocrites, leave the press.''

President Khatami and his allies want to loosen rigid Islamic laws and social
restrictions that have been in place since the 1979 Islamic revolution
brought the Shiite clergy to power.

The most visible sign of Khatami's reform program since his election in 1997
has been the emergence of an outspoken press that has questioned the actions
of the hard-liners, who control key institutions like the military, the
broadcast network and the judiciary.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:58:32 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. worried about challenge to Iranian press

U.S. worried about challenge to Iranian press


WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it was
worried about a threat to the freedom of the press in Iran, where Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced domestic journalists who favour
reform.

State Department spokesman James Rubin said the Iranian press had played an
important part in political developments and had contributed to a ``lively
political culture'' in Iran.

``Any time free press is challenged anywhere in the world or any statements
are made that question that fundamental right of free expression that we
believe in, we're worried,'' he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei, in his second major address in a week, lashed out on
Thursday at globalization as a pretext for domination by the West. On April
14, he warned of the dangers of ``American-style'' reforms.

The looming threat of foreign domination, Khamenei said, was compounded by
the presence of ``domestic hypocrites,'' particularly the pro-reform press.

Washington is seeking an end to 20 years of estrangement between the former
allies, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last month offered regret
for past U.S. policy. She also waived import bans on Iranian luxury goods.

Iranian officials have promised a comprehensive response but so far the U.S.
initiative has done little more than exacerbate tensions between the
conservative establishment and reformers grouped around President Mohammad
Khatami.

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

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 01:59:04 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Khamenei Attacks Iran's Reformists

Khamenei Attacks Iran's Reformists

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's supreme leader attacked the country's reformist
newspapers on Thursday, accusing them of undercutting the Islamic revolution.
He also warned hard-liners not to take the law into their own hands.

Speaking to an estimated 100,000 young people in Tehran's Grand Mosque,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there were 10 to 15 newspapers undermining
Islamic principles, ``insulting'' state bodies and creating social discord.

``Unfortunately, some of the newspapers have become the bases of the enemy.
They are performing the same task that the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.)
radio and Voice of America as well as the British and American and Zionist
television broadcasts intend to perform,'' Khamenei said.

Khamenei said the reports which accused the elite revolutionary forces of
being involved in the March 12 shooting of the leading reformist Saeed
Hajjarian had harmed Iran.

Pro-reform newspapers have blamed the attack on hard-liners. Hajjarian, a
city councilman, was gravely injured and remains in a Tehran hospital.

``A shooting happens. Investigations have not produced any results and these
newspapers accuse the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ... of
involvement,'' Khamenei said. ``This trend is detrimental to the state,
revolution, the youth and the faith of the people.''

Khamenei said he has told President Mohammad Khatami, a reformer, about this
trend. ``He is also unhappy with this situation,'' Khamenei said.

His speech was interrupted by chants of ``death to mercenary writers'' and
``shame on you, hypocrites, leave the press'' from apparent hard-liners in
the audience.

Khamenei, however, condemned ``any illegal action by any person due to
emotion and support for this or that person. I'll not allow this.''

Hard-liners, who oppose the reforms introduced by Khatami, have often been
accused of using force against opponents. They have employed vigilante groups
and security force members to attack or intimidate critics.

Since his election in 1997, Khatami has loosened the strict Islamic social
code and allowed greater press freedom. Hard-liners see such moves as a
betrayal of the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the clergy to power.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 19 Apr 2000 to 20 Apr 2000
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