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There are 13 messages totalling 1217 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Iran Reformers Feeling Pressed by Hard-Liners
2. Students Protest Media Crackdown
3. Arrest warrant issued for reformist Iranian cleric
4. UPDATE 3-Iran waives ban on daily, protests mount
5. Iran watchdog council voids more election results
6. AP- In Iran, students cut classes to protest government media crackdown
7. IRNA-Ayatollah Jannati rules out nullification of Tehran election
8. Reuters-Iran's Conservatives Strike Back
9. AFP- Army to stay neutral in Iran's political conflict: defence minister
10. IRNA-Closure of legitimate dailies will pave way for illegal nightly
fliers:paper
11. BBC-Iranian students back banned newspapers
12. AP-Students Cut Class in Iran Protest
13. Fwd: Action by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Iran

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 05:39:16 EDT
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran Reformers Feeling Pressed by Hard-Liners

http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/042500iran-media.html

Iran Reformers Feeling Pressed by Hard-Liners

By SUSAN SACHS

TEHRAN, Iran, April 24 -- Two months after their triumph in parliamentary
elections, the reformers in Iran have come under fierce pressure from the
still powerful Islamic conservatives.


The hard-liners have jailed writers and annulled some election results. And
in the latest blow on Sunday, Tehran courts ordered eight dailies and four
weeklies to stop publishing immediately.

All of the banned newspapers supported President Mohammad Khatami, whose
calls for reform of the judiciary and for open political debate have won him
broad public support, but also fierce enemies in the clerical establishment.

Reform leaders appealed for calm. "We ask the Iranian nation to keep calm and
to be patient and careful about any action that could lead to any kind of
violence in society," pleaded one of the few surviving reformist newspapers,
Sobh-e-Emrouz.

The tone was far different from that after the first round of voting, when
many of the reformers who are now being hounded were exuberant about their
triumph and were predicting the start of an era of more openness and social
freedom.

But the more cautious among them also warned that conservative forces would
not passively relinquish their power over the daily lives of Iranians and
over government institutions like the courts.

And now, those reformers say they are not surprised at the moves against the
newspapers. Many conservatives blame their poor showing at the polls on the
energetic, outspoken press that has blossomed since Mr. Khatami's election in
1997.

"All this was predictable," said Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, a close associate of
President Khatami and governor of Kurdistan Province. "And we're expecting
things to get a little worse."

There is still no date set for a second round of voting for Parliament, which
is supposed to take office in just five weeks. Many reformers say they are
afraid that Mr. Khatami's opponents will try to set off a backlash that would
provide an excuse for greater repression.

They point to events in Tehran last summer, when university students who
protested the closing of a liberal newspaper were attacked by vigilantes,
sparking riots that President Khatami was able to check only with difficulty.

"In today's circumstances the reformers will be the ones to suffer from any
chaos in society," said Emadeddin Baghi, an editor of one of the 12 banned
newspapers, Fath. "So it's important for us to step back for the moment and
stay calm."

Mr. Baghi, 39, will soon face his own test of nerves. He has been summoned to
appear in a Tehran court next Monday to answer charges that he insulted
Islamic values in articles he wrote. He said he expects to be convicted and
sent to prison.

"It will take a few days," he said of his trial, "but the result is already
clear in my mind."

If he is convicted, Mr. Baghi would join two other Fath editors, Akbar Ganji
and Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, in prison, as well as Latif Safari, the
publisher of another newspaper, Neshat. The three were jailed in the last few
weeks after being accused of defaming Islam or the Iranian revolution of
1979, which overthrew the shah and brought the Shiite Muslim clergy to power.

Even President Khatami's brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, has been summoned to
court on charges of violating press guidelines at the newspaper he helps run.

The attack on the reform movement began shortly after elections on Feb. 18,
when pro-Khatami candidates won nearly 70 percent of the 290 parliamentary
seats. The reformers appeared poised to solidify their victory, and control
of Parliament, in a second round of voting, for constituencies where no
candidate won a sufficient percentage of votes. The second round was expected
to take place last month. But the conservative Council of Guardians, which
has final say over all legislation and many other matters, has methodically
undercut the first-round results.

The council voided the results in 10 provincial constituencies, saying some
victors had not campaigned fairly, and announced that it would re-examine the
ballots in Tehran. Most of the voided races were won by Khatami supporters.
There are fears that the hard-liners who control the old Parliament will not
release their grip on power and will disregard the vote entirely.

The first blow struck at the reformers after the elections came when Saeed
Hajjarian, a strategist for the movement and close ally of President Khatami,
was gunned down in a Tehran street. He survived, and the assassination
attempt was widely blamed on extremist groups within the security forces.

The accusations apparently angered Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, who immediately denounced as un-Islamic those who would besmirch
the name of the security forces.

His remarks set off a series of assaults, verbal and judicial, on the
reformers. Parliament approved a restrictive press law, as well as
legislation that removes institutions like the judiciary and military from
parliamentary monitoring. Last week, 140 members signed a petition that
called a group of reformers traitors for attending an academic conference
about Iran in Berlin.

More strident attacks have come from other quarters. Hard-line clerics have
publicly called for the killing of some reformers and accused the reform
press of destroying the values of the revolution. The Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps, a militia that does not answer to the president, threatened to
unleash what it called "Islamic violence" against reformers.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who controls the militias, courts and official news
media, tried to cool matters, cautioning against "illegal action" to silence
the reform movement. But he, too, has accused it of fomenting unrest.

Although the attacks have clearly shaken the reformers, President Khatami's
confidantes said they saw some positive aspects to the crackdown. And they
said the public's hunger for change could not be ignored or discounted for
long.

As an example, they said the order to close the newspapers was ostensibly
based on a rarely used 1957 statute that permits the government to arrest
people or suspend an activity to prevent a possible crime.

"Before Mr. Khatami's election in 1997, they would just go to an editor and
say, 'Close,' " said Mr. Ramezanzadeh, the confidant of the president. "This
time they closed the papers according to the law, even though the law is
questionable."

He said the Council of Guardians had even issued explanations -- vague, but
still explanations -- for voiding some of the recent parliamentary elections.
"We live in a third-world country, yet our opponents have dealt with us very
calmly compared to what happens in the countries around us," he added. "The
reform movement has actually forced the opposition to play by the same rules."

Although a small group of university students held a protest rally today, the
operative attitude in the reform camp is one of restraint. Journalists and
lawyers associated with the reformers said they would not react to the ban on
their newspapers in the same way they once did, by simply reopening a few
days later with the same staff but a different name.

At a newsstand on Vanak Square, one of the busiest intersections of Tehran,
crowds milled in front of the slim choice of newspapers today.

"Those papers all reported the reality of what's happening here," said a
woman in a black chador, or cloak, who gave her name as Khavar. "I don't
believe much is really hidden in our country. Even without the media, we can
see. But I am worried. This is the future of our country and whatever
happens, they are punishing us, too."

Another disappointed newspaper buyer, who also would give only his first
name, Mehrade, agreed.

"Nobody knows what will happen," he said. "There's a crisis, and it could be
anything."

He said he did not expect President Khatami to do much to overturn the
newspaper closings or the trials of his supporters. "He can't perform magic,"
Mehrade said. "You have to be able to move your hands to perform. He can
move, but very slowly."

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 07:59:33 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Students Protest Media Crackdown

Students Protest Media Crackdown

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hundreds of university students cut classes today to
rally behind Iran's president, whose reforms movement suffered a blow this
week when hard-line opponents closed down 13 pro-democracy newspapers and
magazines.

The press crackdown, which included the arrests of two leading journalists,
was an indication of the power that hard-liners in the ruling clergy wield
and are willing to use despite the unquestioned popularity of President
Mohammad Khatami and his allies.

Also today, a hard-line clerical court issued an arrest warrant for Hassan
Eshkevari, a pro-reform cleric who attended a recent conference in Berlin
where Iranian exiles criticized Iran's religious government.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency said charges against Eshkevari
include acting ``against national security, propaganda against the system,
and behavior not befitting the clergy.'' It said he is still out of Iran and
would be arrested when he returns.

At the Khajeh Naseer Technical University in Tehran, more than 300 students
cut classes and assembled on the lawn outside the main building to hear
speakers addressing them through loudspeakers.

``Stand firm Khatami, stand firm Khatami,'' chanted the young men and women,
sitting under a pleasant morning sun, many sipping tea and munching cookies.

``The hard-liners are desperate. They want to cling to power even if it means
pushing the country toward a crisis,'' said Hamid Khorsand, a student
protester. ``But no matter what the hard-liners do, reforms are
irrevocable.''

On the green iron fence around the university, hung the last issues of the 13
publications that were closed down Sunday and Monday by order of the
hard-line judiciary. The newspapers had turned Khatami, who speaks of
democracy and the rule of law, into a national hero.

Only two reformist newspapers - Mosharekat and Bayan - escaped the ban. It
was not clear why. The ban on a 14th newspaper, Sobh-e-Emrooz, was lifted
late Monday for reasons that remained unclear. The paper was in print today.

Sobh-e-Emrooz was managed by Saeed Hajjarian, who survived an assassination
attempt on March 12 that many have blamed on hard-liners. Today, a court
opened the trial of eight suspects charged with involvement in shooting
Hajjarian, who remains hospitalized.

The newspaper closures appear to be a backlash from the hard-liners after
their defeat at the hands of reformist candidates in legislative elections in
February. The outgoing hard-line dominated parliament passed new laws last
week, granting greater powers of prosecution against writers and publishers.

The developments are the latest twist in an intensifying power struggle
within the Islamic clergy, which has ruled Iran with an iron hand since
taking power in the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the pro-West shah.

Khatami, a moderate cleric, sought to loosen the restrictions after he took
office in 1997 but has been opposed by conservative clerics who derive their
strength from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate
constitutional authority.

The press crackdown was unleashed only days after Khamenei said 10 to 15
reformist newspapers were undermining Islamic and revolutionary principles,
insulting constitutional bodies and creating tension and discord in the
society.

Judiciary statements quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency said
the publications were closed for ``printing material against the lofty
Islamic principles and commands.''

The hard-liners control key institutions like the military, the broadcast
network and the judiciary, their most potent instrument in the power
struggle.

A pro-reforms group, the Militant Clerics Society, criticized the press
closure, saying it would not only ``fail to prevent development of thought
... but would rather make people more demanding,'' according to IRNA.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 08:00:00 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Arrest warrant issued for reformist Iranian cleric

Arrest warrant issued for reformist Iranian cleric


TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline clerical court has issued an
arrest warrant for an outspoken cleric who took part in a seminar in Berlin
on the reform movement, the official IRNA news agency said on Tuesday.

It quoted prosecutor Mohammad Ebrahim Nekounam of the Special Court for
Clergy as saying Hasan Yousefi-Ashkevari would be arrested on his return to
Iran.

Charges included acting against state interests, propaganda against the
Islamic system, insulting the faith and acting contrary to the status of the
clergy, Nekounam said.

``According to reports we have received, the suspect has not returned to Iran
after taking part in the Berlin conference,'' he said. ``Judicial action will
be taken against him as soon as returns from Germany.''

A prominent reformist ally, however, said Yousefi-Ashkevari's only crime was
upholding legitimate freedom.

``They are taking this action against him because of his support for
freedom,'' journalist Ahmad Zeidabodi told students at a Tehran University
rally in support of banned reformist newspapers.

The Berlin conference, which was disrupted by exiles opposed to Iran's
Islamic system, outraged conservatives, who said the Iranian delegation
failed to properly defend the system and the faith.

Other participants have been summoned to the Revolutionary Court for
interrogation and may also face prosecution.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 08:00:49 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: UPDATE 3-Iran waives ban on daily, protests mount

UPDATE 3-Iran waives ban on daily, protests mount

By Jonathan Lyons


TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline judiciary lifted a ban on a
popular pro-reform daily, allowing it to appear on newsstands on Tuesday, but
13 other publications remained closed.

Sobh-e Emrouz newspaper, whose publisher Saeed Hajjarian was gravely wounded
in an assassination bid last month, was ordered closed late on Monday
afternoon, journalists told Reuters.

But the ban was countermanded by the chief of the Tehran justice department
just before midnight, allowing the newspaper to publish, they said.

The newspaper took the opportunity to slam the conservative establishment for
resorting to force after its pale showing in February's parliamentary polls
boosted the reformers.

``The opponents of reforms know that they have no standing with the public
opinion, so they are trying to strengthen their own grounds through a public
and open crackdown,'' it said in an editorial.

President Mohammad Khatami, a former newspaperman, has encouraged a free
press as a key part of his campaign for a civil society within Iran's Islamic
system. On Saturday he reaffirmed his support for reform.

SHOOTING TRIAL STARTS, FIRST PROTESTS SURFACE

The lifting of the ban on Sobh-e Emrouz coincided with the start of the trial
in Tehran's Revolutionary Court of eight suspects in the attack on Hajjarian.
Some leading reformers have alleged high-level backing for the murder bid
from within the establishment and the security services.

The alleged triggerman admitted shooting Hajjarian but said had he really
been intent on killing him, he would have fired more than a single shot to
the head. Hajjarian's allies denounced the admission as a ploy to halt
further investigation.

The newspaper closures sparked the first public protest in the early hours of
Tuesday, when several thousand students rallied peacefully outside Tehran
University's hostels.

At one Tehran technical college, students displayed back issues of Fath daily
and its predecessor Khordad -- both banned -- and hung defiant posters
outside the campus. ``The people's silence is not a sign of their consent,''
read one.

A few thousand students later packed an auditorium on the main campus of
Tehran University, starting point for last summer's pro-democracy
demonstrations that spilled into the worst unrest since the aftermath of the
1979 Islamic revolution.

``You must not act independently, you must not take any risks until you have
well-organised support from the (reformist) front,'' pro-reform journalist
Ahmad Zeidabodi said.

Otherwise, he said, the students would wind up like those facing lengthy jail
terms or even execution after the July protests that began with the closure
of Salam daily, at the time the leading reformist voice.

Conservative newspapers, meanwhile, demanded further shutdowns of rival
publications and said the judiciary was only now catching up with a rash of
press violations that had gone unchecked since Khatami's election in May
1997.

``Increase the ban on newspapers,'' said a commentary in the hardline
Jomhuri-ye Eslami.

The state news agency IRNA said on Monday the publications were banned for
printing material that ``disparaged Islam and the religious elements of the
Islamic revolution.''

``The justice department said the tone of material in those papers had
brought smiles to the faces of the enemies of the Islamic Republic and hurt
the feelings of devout Moslems at home and even the leader of the Islamic
revolution,'' IRNA reported.

Last week, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said some reformist
newspapers had been turned into ``bases of the enemy,'' remarks widely seen
here as heralding a campaign against the independent press.

The anti-press campaign has turned up the pressure on President Khatami,
whose culture minister recently vowed he would resign rather than preside
over the banning of newspapers.

Many of the president's key supporters edit or publish newspapers, including
Hajjarian, who was the leading strategist of the reform movement at the time
he was gunned down.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 08:03:03 EDT
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran watchdog council voids more election results

Iran watchdog council voids more election results


TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran's Guardian Council, dominated by
conservative clerics, overturned more election results on Tuesday following
parliamentary polls that delivered gains to reformers.

State radio reported the 12-member Council, which reformers charge has used
its supervisory powers to whittle away at their solid electoral showing, had
nullified results in the southeastern town of Jiroft, in Kerman province.

It was the eleventh constituency to have the result of February's vote
overturned.

Iran's reform movement has been forced onto the defensive in recent months,
with the closure of a string of liberal publications and the prosecution of
several prominent journalists on charges of offending religious sanctities.

The radio said the latest rulings left only results from the capital Tehran,
with 30 seats in the 290-member expanded parliament, to be confirmed.

The Council's decisions, seen by many as heavy-handed partisanship toward the
conservatives, have led to violence in several towns, including the southern
city of Sarvestan.

Authorities there put the city under emergency rule, banning any gatherings
of three or more people after residents burned down a local asphalt plant and
set a police car on fire, injuring one officer.

Police arrested more than 150 people in the unrest, which flared late on
Thursday and early on Friday.

The new parliament is scheduled to convene on May 28, but the Guardians have
so far declined to set a date for a second round of balloting.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:38:26 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AP- In Iran, students cut classes to protest government media crackdown

In Iran, students cut classes to protest government media crackdown

Pro-reform cleric ordered arrested

April 25, 2000 Web posted at: 7:35 AM EDT (1135 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Hundreds of university students cut classes Tuesday
to rally behind Iran's president, whose reforms movement suffered a blow
this week when hard-line opponents closed down 13 pro-democracy
newspapers and magazines.

The press crackdown, which included the arrests of two leading
journalists, was an indication of the power that hard-liners in the
ruling clergy wield and are willing to use despite the unquestioned
popularity of President Mohammad Khatami and his allies.

Also Tuesday, a hard-line clerical court issued an arrest warrant for
Hassan Eshkevari, a pro-reform cleric who attended a recent conference
in Berlin where Iranian exiles criticized Iran's religious government.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency said charges against Eshkevari
include acting "against national security, propaganda against the
system, and behavior not befitting the clergy." It said he is still out
of Iran and would be arrested when he returns.

At the Khajeh Naseer Technical University in Tehran, more than 300
students cut classes and assembled on the lawn outside the main building
to hear speakers addressing them through loudspeakers.

"Stand firm Khatami, stand firm Khatami," chanted the young men and
women, sitting under a pleasant morning sun, many sipping tea and
munching cookies.

"The hard-liners are desperate. They want to cling to power even if it
means pushing the country toward a crisis," said Hamid Khorsand, a
student protester. "But no matter what the hard-liners do, reforms are
irrevocable."

On the green iron fence around the university, hung the last issues of
the 13 publications that were closed down Sunday and Monday by order of
the hard-line judiciary. The newspapers had turned Khatami, who speaks
of democracy and the rule of law, into a national hero.

Only two reformist newspapers -- Mosharekat and Bayan -- escaped the
ban. It was not clear why. The ban on a 14th newspaper, Sobh-e-Emrooz,
was lifted late Monday for reasons that remained unclear. The paper was
in print Tuesday.

Sobh-e-Emrooz was managed by Saeed Hajjarian, who survived an
assassination attempt on March 12 that many have blamed on hard-liners.
Tuesday, a court opened the trial of eight suspects charged with
involvement in shooting Hajjarian, who remains hospitalized.

The newspaper closures appear to be a backlash from the hard-liners
after their defeat at the hands of reformist candidates in legislative
elections in February. The outgoing hard-line dominated parliament
passed new laws last week, granting greater powers of prosecution
against writers and publishers.

The developments are the latest twist in an intensifying power struggle
within the Islamic clergy, which has ruled Iran with an iron hand since
taking power in the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the pro-West
shah.

Khatami, a moderate cleric, sought to loosen the restrictions after he
took office in 1997 but has been opposed by conservative clerics who
derive their strength from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the
ultimate constitutional authority.

The press crackdown was unleashed only days after Khamenei said 10 to 15
reformist newspapers were undermining Islamic and revolutionary
principles, insulting constitutional bodies and creating tension and
discord in the society.

Judiciary statements quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency
said the publications were closed for "printing material against the
lofty Islamic principles and commands."

The hard-liners control key institutions like the military, the
broadcast network and the judiciary, their most potent instrument in the
power struggle.

A pro-reforms group, the Militant Clerics Society, criticized the press
closure, saying it would not only "fail to prevent development of
thought ... but would rather make people more demanding," according to
IRNA.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:40:58 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA-Ayatollah Jannati rules out nullification of Tehran election

04/25/2000 Ayatollah Jannati rules out nullification of Tehran election

Tehran, April 25, IRNA -- Secretary of the Guardians Council ayatollah
Ahmad Jannati said on Tuesday the Guardians Council will announce a date
for the run-off election and ruled out the possibility of nullifying
election results in Tehran constituency.

"The issue of nullifying Tehran election results is out of question. The
recount is underway. we have faced problems in recounting. We are
studying the matter and the results will be announced soon," ayatollah
Jannati told IRNA.

The Guardians Council had said in a statement earlier today that some
drastic differences have emerged in recounting the votes which is
unprecedented.

Asked to comment on the statement, ayatollah Jannati said problems have
appeared in recounting and it is likely that the recount would lead to
different results compared with the results already announced.

Guardians Council confirms 185 MPs-elect for parliament

Tehran, April 25, IRNA -- The Guardians Council said on Tuesday the body
has confirmed the eligibility of 185 MPs-elect for the 290-seat
parliament except for the MPs-elect from Tehran whose confirmation
depends on the outcome of vote recount.

The run-off elections due to be held within two weeks will determine the
fate of the other seats.

The Guardians Council said in a statement that the body did not confirm
the eligibility of nine MPs-elect from seven constituencies.

The statement further said the result of ballot recounting in Tehran
constituency will be announced soon. It said, in some cases, ballot
recounts have shown major differences in results from what were
announced earlier.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:41:43 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Reuters-Iran's Conservatives Strike Back

Iran's Conservatives Strike Back

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's hard-line establishment struck back at its
reformist rivals Tuesday, completing the ban of 13 progressive
publications, ordering the arrest of an outspoken cleric and overturning
more election results from parliamentary polls in which reformers made
gains.

The three-pronged assault took aim at the heart of President Mohammad
Khatami's popular bid to create a civil society within Iran's Islamic
system.

Two pro-reform dailies failed to appear on newsstands Tuesday, raising
to 13 the number of publications closed this week by the judiciary
without trial for having ``disparaged Islam and the religious elements
of the Islamic revolution.''

The outspoken daily Sobh-e Emrouz, whose publisher Saeed Hajjarian was
gravely wounded in an assassination bid last month, was also banned but
then reinstated hours later, allowing it to publish on schedule.

Iran's hard-line clerical court issued an arrest warrant for an
outspoken cleric who took part in a seminar in Berlin on the reform
movement, the official IRNA news agency said Tuesday.

A prosecutor said the mid-ranking cleric, Hasan Yousefi-Ashkevari, had
used the seminar to act against state interests, conduct propaganda
against the Islamic system, and insult the faith and the standing of the
clergy.

And the conservative-led Guardian Council voided results in another
constituency -- the 11th so far -- after parliamentary polls in February
in which reformers allied with Khatami won a plurality of seats.

The Council has also challenged the results in Tehran, the nation's
political showcase, where the president's allies appeared to have won 29
of the 30 seats up for grabs.

Elected in a landslide in May 1997, Khatami -- a former newspaperman --
has made freedom of press, the rule of law and free and fair elections
his watchwords. Now all three are under attack, underscoring the
institutional weakness of his office.

Appeal For Calm

Reformist leaders, mindful of the July unrest that engulfed Tehran after
another progressive newspaper was closed by the courts, appealed for
calm. So far, there have been only scattered peaceful protests against
the press bans.

Sobh-e Emrouz, the loudest pro-reform voice still publishing, said the
hard-liners had acted out of weakness to try to reverse their election
defeat.

``The opponents of reforms know that they have no standing with the
public opinion, so they are trying to strengthen their own grounds
through a public and open crackdown,'' it said in an editorial.

``Based on this fact, they want to change the rules of the game from
respecting the vote of the people to using force in order to guarantee
their own illegitimate interests and to reach their own aims.''

The lifting of the ban on Sobh-e Emrouz coincided with the start of the
trial in Tehran's Revolutionary Court of eight suspects in the
gangland-style shooting of Hajjarian.

Some leading reformers have alleged high-level backing for the murder
bid from within the establishment and the security services.

The alleged triggerman admitted shooting Hajjarian but said that had he
really been intent on killing him, he would have fired more than a
single shot to the head. Hajjarian's allies denounced the admission as a
ploy to block further investigation.

Peaceful Protests

In the first public reaction to the newspaper closures, several thousand
students rallied peacefully outside Tehran University's hostels in the
early hours of Tuesday.

At one Tehran technical college, students displayed back issues of Fath
daily and its predecessor Khordad -- both banned -- and hung defiant
posters outside the campus. ``The people's silence is not a sign of
their consent,'' read one.

A few thousand students later packed an auditorium at Tehran University,
starting point for last summer's pro-democracy demonstrations that
spilled into the worst unrest since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic
revolution.

Pro-reform journalist Ahmad Zeidabodi told the crowd: ``You must not act
independently, you must not take any risks until you have well-organized
support from the (reformist) front.''

Otherwise, he said, the students would wind up like those facing lengthy
jail terms or even execution after the July protests that began with the
closure of Salam daily -- at the time the leading reformist voice.

Suggesting more to come, newly assertive conservative newspapers said
the crackdown had not yet gone far enough.

``Increase the ban on newspapers,'' demanded the hard-line Jomhuri-ye
Eslami.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:39:46 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP- Army to stay neutral in Iran's political conflict: defence
minister

Army to stay neutral in Iran's political conflict: defence minister

Saudi Arabia - Tuesday, 25 April 2000 - Agence France Presse

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, April 25 (AFP) - Iranian Defence Minister Ali
Shamkhani said Tuesday that the army will not interfere in the political
conflict between the Islamic republic's conservatives and its reformist
camp.

"The army will remain strictly neutral regarding the domestic political
situation in Iran," he said after talks with his Saudi counterpart
Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, quoted by the kingdom's official news
agency SPA.

A political crisis has escalated in Iran this week following the
suspension of 13 reformist newspapers which support the policies of
President Mohammad Khatami, and rumours have circulated that the army
could step in.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:40:28 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA-Closure of legitimate dailies will pave way for illegal nightly
fliers:paper

Closure of legitimate dailies will pave way for illegal nightly fliers:
paper

Tehran, April 25, IRNA -- 'Iran News' Tuesday criticized the muzzling of
some Persian dailies by the justice department of Tehran province and
suggested that the judiciary ponder over the fact that the closing down
of such legitimate dailies and magazines will only pave way for
publication and distribution of illegal and uncontrollable nightly
fliers.

Opposition newspapers not only repeatedly quoted Mohajerani's statement
since he said that he would rather resign than allow himself to be used
as an instrument for newspaper closures by his opponents, they even
boycotted a meeting chaired by the minister aimed at discussing the
press following the leader's speech last Thursday in which he set some
guidelines for newspaper, criticized the daily.

In light of these facts therefore, "it seems that Mohajerani is the real
target of the opposition's assault on the press," believed the daily.

The arrests of journalists like "Mashaallah Shamsolvaezin, Akbar Ganji
and Latif Safari and with the wholesale closure of 12 publications in
one night, a new precedence has been established in the 165-year history
of Iranian journalism," regretted the daily.

"The conservatives' actions are in fact a challenge to their reformist
rivals, in particular to Mohajerani, whom they consider to be the main
protector and supporter of the reformists and their newspapers," it
said.

Therefore, "reviewing the recent events, one cannot help but to remember
that Mohammad Khatami, who served as culture minister from 1982 to 1992
before being forced to resign under the pressure of the opponents of his
policies, made a triumphant return to politics in his 1997 landslide
victory," recalled the daily.

Another interesting point to note in the judiciary's statement regarding
the closures is the fact that it "referred to a law that supposedly
permits the closure of the press in order to prevent them from breaking
the law."

This attitude of the judiciary sounds as though punishment has already
be given before the crime has actually been committed, hit out Iran News
in conclusion.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:44:21 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: BBC-Iranian students back banned newspapers

Tuesday, 25 April, 2000, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Iranian students back banned newspapers

Students protest against the closures Students in the Iranian capital,
Tehran, have boycotted classes to protest against the suspension of 13
pro-reform newspapers.

Students burst out of one university in the north of Tehran saying they
had abandoned classes to protest at the "coup against the reformist
press".

They hung copies of the banned newspapers at the entrance to the
university. Some students shouted, "Freedom is my heart and my heart is
a prisoner".

At least 1,000 students were reported to have held protests. There were
no reports of clashes with security forces.

Later a pro-reform journalist, Ahmad Zeidabodi, told several thousand
students not to take risks as he addressed them in an auditorium on the
main campus of Tehran University.

"You must not act independently, you must not take any risks until you
have well-organised support from the reformist front," he said.

A student demonstration last July against the closure of the pro-reform
daily Salam sparked off the worst unrest in the country since the 1979
Islamic Revolution, when it was broken up by police and Islamic
vigilantes.

Fourteen publications were suspended by the Tehran Justice Department on
Monday, but the ban against one of them, Sobh-e Emrouz, was immediately
overturned.

The newspaper took the opportunity to criticise the conservative
establishment for resorting to force after its poor showing in
February's parliamentary election boosted the reformers.

"The opponents of reform know that they have no standing with public
opinion, so they are [resorting to] an open and public crackdown," the
newspaper said in an editorial.

Editors immediately denounced the newspaper ban as unlawful, but said
they had little choice but to comply.

They said the suspension appeared to be indefinite.

On Sunday, a court sentenced Latif Safari, a prominent reformist
journalist, to two-and-a-half years in prison for publishing articles
deemed offensive to Islam.

Mr Safari, publisher of the banned newspaper Neshat, had printed an
article questioning capital punishment - challenging the Islamic
principle of retribution.

He had first been sentenced late last year, but had been at liberty
while appeals were heard.

Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, senior editor on the same newspaper, was jailed
earlier this month on a similar sentence.

And on Saturday, leading campaign journalist Akbar Ganji was arrested
following complaints brought by right-wing institutions.

Many other reformist figures have either been imprisoned, or face
actions in the courts that are generally seen as operating in favour of
the conservatives.

The reformists, who won a sweeping victory in a general election in
February, plan to change the way the laws work when the new parliament
meets at the end of May.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:44:54 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AP-Students Cut Class in Iran Protest

Students Cut Class in Iran Protest

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hundreds of university students cut classes today to
rally behind Iran's president, whose reforms movement suffered a blow
this week when hard-line opponents closed down 13 pro-democracy
newspapers and magazines.

The press crackdown, which included the arrests of two leading
journalists, was an indication of the power that hard-liners in the
ruling clergy wield and are willing to use despite the unquestioned
popularity of President Mohammad Khatami and his allies.

Also today, a hard-line clerical court issued an arrest warrant for
Hassan Eshkevari, a pro-reform cleric who attended a recent conference
in Berlin where Iranian exiles criticized Iran's religious government.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency said charges against Eshkevari
include acting ``against national security, propaganda against the
system, and behavior not befitting the clergy.'' It said he is still out
of Iran and would be arrested when he returns.

At the Khajeh Naseer Technical University in Tehran, more than 300
students cut classes and assembled on the lawn outside the main building
to hear speakers addressing them through loudspeakers.

``Stand firm Khatami, stand firm Khatami,'' chanted the young men and
women, sitting under a pleasant morning sun, many sipping tea and
munching cookies.

``The hard-liners are desperate. They want to cling to power even if it
means pushing the country toward a crisis,'' said Hamid Khorsand, a
student protester. ``But no matter what the hard-liners do, reforms are
irrevocable.''

On the green iron fence around the university, hung the last issues of
the 13 publications that were closed down Sunday and Monday by order of
the hard-line judiciary. The newspapers had turned Khatami, who speaks
of democracy and the rule of law, into a national hero.

Only two reformist newspapers - Mosharekat and Bayan - escaped the ban.
It was not clear why. The ban on a 14th newspaper, Sobh-e-Emrooz, was
lifted late Monday for reasons that remained unclear. The paper was in
print today.

Sobh-e-Emrooz was managed by Saeed Hajjarian, who survived an
assassination attempt on March 12 that many have blamed on hard-liners.
Today, a court opened the trial of eight suspects charged with
involvement in shooting Hajjarian, who remains hospitalized.

The newspaper closures appear to be a backlash from the hard-liners
after their defeat at the hands of reformist candidates, who won control
of parliament in February elections.

A hard-line election supervisory body, the Guardians Council, has
canceled the results of 12 seats won by reformists, including one
overturned today in the southern town of Jiroft.

The council has also ordered a recount in Tehran, where reformists won
29 of the 30 seats. Today, the council said in a statement broadcast in
state-run radio that final results for the capital had been delayed. The
new parliament was scheduled to take office in June but that appears
unlikely now.

The hard-liners who dominate the outgoing parliament passed new laws
last week, granting greater powers of prosecution against writers and
publishers.

The developments are the latest twist in an intensifying power struggle
within the Islamic clergy, which has ruled Iran with an iron hand since
taking power in the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the pro-West
shah.

Khatami, a moderate cleric, sought to loosen the restrictions after he
took office in 1997 but has been opposed by conservative clerics who
derive their strength from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the
ultimate constitutional authority.

The press crackdown was unleashed only days after Khamenei said 10 to 15
reformist newspapers were undermining Islamic and revolutionary
principles, insulting constitutional bodies and creating tension and
discord in the society.

Judiciary statements quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency
said the publications were closed for ``printing material against the
lofty Islamic principles and commands.''

The hard-liners control key institutions like the military, the
broadcast network and the judiciary, their most potent instrument in the
power struggle.

A pro-reforms group, the Militant Clerics Society, criticized the press
closure, saying it would not only ``fail to prevent development of
thought ... but would rather make people more demanding,'' according to
IRNA.

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

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:31:13 EDT
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Action by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Iran

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Subj: Iran alert (newspapers closed, two js imprisoned)
Date: 00-04-25 11:41:44 EDT
From: alerts@ifex.org (IFEX Action Alert Network)
Sender: ifexmideast@lists.ifex.org
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IFEX- News from the international freedom of expression community
_________________________________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE/ACTION ALERT - IRAN

25 April 2000

Press crackdown intensifies, fourteen newspapers closed, two journalists
imprisoned

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

**For further information on recent attacks against the reformist press, see
IFEX alerts of 24 and 20 April 2000**

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 24 April 2000 CPJ news alert:

Iran Press Crackdown Intensifies
14 Newspapers are Closed, Two More Journalists Imprisoned

New York, N.Y., April 24, 2000 - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
today expressed outrage over the closure of 14 Iranian newspapers and the
imprisonment of journalists Akbar Ganji and Latif Safari, by hard-line
political forces trying to muzzle the country's vocal pro-reform press.

In a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the New York-based
press-freedom watchdog called for the immediate release of Ganji, Safari and
three other imprisoned journalists and urged that the sweeping judicial ban
against the newspapers be reversed.

"The decision to ban the 14 newspapers amounts to state censorship on a
massive scale," said CPJ executive director Ann K. Cooper. "It is even more
outrageous that Akbar Ganji and Latif Safari have actually been deprived of
their liberty for the 'crime' of publishing opinions with which judicial
authorities happened to disagree."

A copy of the letter to Ayatollah Khamenei follows.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit
organization that works to safeguard press freedom around the world.

April 24, 2000

His Excellency Sayed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 3rd Ave, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017

BY FACSIMILE: 212-867-7086

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is outraged about the recent
closure of 14 Iranian newspapers and the imprisonment of journalists Akbar
Ganji and Latif Safari.

On April 23 and 24, Iranian judicial authorities ordered the indefinite
closure of 14 newspapers and magazines for "continuing to publish articles
against the bases of the luminous ordinances of Islam and the religious
sanctities of the noble people of Iran and the pillars of the sacred regime
of the Islamic Republic." A communiqué issued by the authorities on April 23
and published in the local press added that the newspapers had been closed
in order to "prevent them from committing new offenses, from affecting
society's opinions, and arousing concern among the people."

The first wave of closures coincided with the April 23 jailing of Latif
Safari, director of the banned daily Neshat, which was closed by court order
in September, 1999. Safari was taken to Evin prison after an appellate court
upheld a 30-month jail sentence that the court had imposed on September 20,
1999. Safari was convicted on several charges, including defamation,
inciting unrest, and "insulting the sanctity and tenets of Islam." These
charges stem from articles published in Neshat during Safari's tenure as
director, including an opinion piece that challenged the use of capital
punishment in Iran.

The banned publications are: Asr-e-Azadegan, Fat'h, Aftab-e-Emrooz, Arya,
Gozaresh-e-Ruz, Bamdad-e-No, Payam-e-Azadi, Azad, Payam-e-Hajar, Aban,
Arzesh, Iran-e-Farda, Sobh-e-Emrooz, and Akhbar Eqtesad.

One day before Safari's imprisonment, journalist Akbar Ganji, who writes for
the daily Sobh-e-Emrooz, was arrested after being summoned by a
Revolutionary Court to hear a number of complaints filed against him
concerning articles that he had published in Iranian newspapers. The
official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), citing Ganji's attorney,
reported on Saturday that a total of ten complaints had been filed against
the journalist by government institutions that included the Revolutionary
Guards, an elite military unit under Your Excellency's direct control, and
the Intelligence Ministry.

At least three other Iranian journalists are currently in prison as a result
of their journalistic work and in clear violation of their internationally
guaranteed right to free expression. We note with grave concern that this
recent wave of attacks against the Iranian press follows public statements
Your Excellency made last week in which you said that "there are 10 to 15
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."

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press
freedom worldwide, CPJ views the imprisonment of Akbar Ganji and Latif
Safari and the banning of 14 newspapers as a flagrant violation of their
right to free expression, as guaranteed under international law. Article 19
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights grants all people, including
journalists, the right to "seek, receive, and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers."

CPJ urges Your Excellency to exert your influence to ensure that all five
journalists imprisoned in Iran are freed immediately. In addition to Ganji
and Safari, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, Mohsen Kadivar, and Abdullah Nouri are
also serving lengthy prison sentences for journalism-related offenses. We
also call on you to ensure that judicial authorities immediately reverse
Sunday's decision to close the 14 newspapers.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to your
timely response.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director

cc:
American Society of Newspaper Editors
Amnesty International
Article 19
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists
Freedom Forum
Freedom House
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
International Association of Broadcasting
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Newspaper Publishers
International Journalism Institute
International PEN
International Press Institute
National Association of Black Journalists
National Press Club
Newspaper Association of America
The Newspaper Guild
North American Broadcasters Association
Overseas Press Club
Reporters Sans Frontières
Society of Professional Journalists
South Asian Journalists Association
World Press Freedom Committee

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Similar appeals can be sent to:

His Excellency Sayed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
c/o Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 3rd Ave, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: +212 867 7086

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information, contact Joel Campagna (x 105) at CPJ, 330 Seventh
Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465
9568, e-mail: mideast@cpj.org, jcampagna@cpj.org, Internet:
http://www.cpj.org/

The information contained in this press release/action alert is the sole
responsibility of CPJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication,
please credit CPJ.
_________________________________________________________________
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
489 College Street, Suite 403, Toronto (ON) M6G 1A5 CANADA
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
alerts e-mail: alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org
Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/
_________________________________________________________________





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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Apr 2000 to 25 Apr 2000 - Special issue
*******************************************************************