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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Apr 2000 - Special issue
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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Apr 2000 - Special issue
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There are 16 messages totalling 1201 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. AFP-Trial of Hajarian attack suspects opens
2. IRNA: Grenade explosion injures five people in qom
3. NYT-Blundering Through History With the C.I.A.
4. IPS: As President criticises the TV, Popular journalist is jailed
5. Sobh-e Emruz: Suicide Is Not for Me -Ganji
6. AFP-International Press Rights group protests at Iranian curbs on press
7. AFP-Iran ex-police chief blames student unrest on higher authorities
8. WRAPUP 1-Iran's conservatives strike back
9. UPDATE 4-Scattered protest meets Iran's press ban
10. Hard-liners Boost Khatami Pressure
11. Closure of legitimate dailies will pave way for illegal nightly fliers:
12. Ayatollah Jannati rules out nullification of Tehran election
13. Army to stay neutral in Iran's political conflict: defence minister
14. How a martyr-breeding city (Ramsar) becomes a tourist one?
15. Iran Media Crackdown Condemned By Human Rights Watch
16. Iran says peaceful nuclear technology not shared
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:35:20 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP-Trial of Hajarian attack suspects opens
Trial of Hajarian attack suspects opens
Iran - Tuesday, 25 April 2000 - Agence France Presse
Self-confessed Iranian assailant Said Asqar (Left), his unidentified
lawyer (Center), and fellow defendant Mohsen Majidi (Right) attend 25
April 2000 the first hearing of their trial in Tehran on charges of
shooting leading Iranian reformist Said Hajarian. Asqar, who confessed
to the deed during the hearing, was arrested along with nine others
shortly after the shooting of Hajarian, a key figure in the main
reformist party and publisher of the daily Sobh-e-Emruz.
Self-confessed Iranian assailant Said Asqar laughing 25 April 2000
during the first hearing of his trial in Tehran on charges of shooting
leading Iranian reformist Said Hajarian. TEHRAN, April 25 (AFP) - The
trial of 10 defendants accused of planning the assassination of leading
Iranian reformist Said Hajarian last month opened here Tuesday amid
extreme political tension in the country.
Despite a statement by the judiciary last week that the hearings would
be in open court the foreign press was banned from the tribunal, with
only local journalists being admitted.
Court sources said all 10 of the accused, including student Said Asqar,
considered to be the main defendant, were present in the court.
Asqar and nine others were arrested soon after the March 12 shooting of
Hajarian, a key figure in the main reformist party, the Islamic Iran
Participation Front (IIPF) and publisher of the reformist daily
Asqar, a chemistry student at an Islamic university in Shahr-Rey, a
southern suburb of Tehran, has allegedly confessed to the shooting.
But reformists have claimed the whole case is a set-up and the real
culprits can be found among Iran's conservative establishment.
The IIPF said earlier this month that the despatch of the case to the
hardline revolutionary court was premature.
"Everything is being done to ensure a hasty trial of the accused, who in
fact are only pawns, and to wrap up the affair to prevent the real
guilty parties from being judged," the party said in a statement.
The IIFP, headed by Mohammad-Reza Khatami, brother of President Mohammad
Khatami, said that the rush to trial, before even preliminary
interrogations were over, demonstrated an intention to smother all
aspects of the case.
Sobh-e-Emruz was one of 14 pro-reform publications suspended Sunday and
Monday by the conservative press court, but the ban on the paper was
overruled almost immediately by the Tehran judidiary chief on the
grounds that Hajarian was still in hospital.
Under Iranian press law directors of publications are responsible for
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:41:58 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA: Grenade explosion injures five people in qom
Ghom, April 23, IRNA -- A grenade explosion injured five people, one of
them critically, in the Qa'em district of city of Qom Saturday afternoon.
Eye witnesses told IRNA that three unidentified people, aged about 18,
threw the grenade at several children who were playing at the time. The
perpetrators fled the scene immediately.
Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) rushed to the scene a short time after the
No arrest has been made yet.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:40:09 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: NYT-Blundering Through History With the C.I.A.
Blundering Through History With the C.I.A.
The New York Times
By Reuel Marc Gerecht
April 23, 2000
Page 11, Column 2
Secret Central Intelligence Agency histories can shed light on the past,
but if misinterpreted, they can also cloud our contemporary relations with
the countries involved.
The insider history of the 1953 coup d'etat in Iran, revealed last week in
The New York Times, is a perfect example. Though it may be painful for
some to accept, the C.I.A. hasn't been nearly as nefarious as many people
think. And it has been far less competent than many people want to
believe. This truth is as depressing to right-wing patriots, who want the
C.I.A. to be awe-inspiring, as it is for left-wing patriots, who have fed
guiltily for years on dark-force myths about clandestine operations.
In dealing with Iran today, it is important that we not feel too guilty
about the American role in the 1953 coup. Yes, the newly released C.I.A.
information (which I first read in 1985, when I arrived on the Iran desk
in the directorate of operations) confirms the conventional wisdom that
the agency was deeply involved in planning the coup.
But contrary to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's statement that the
coup was a setback for Iran 's political development and that ''it is easy
to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by
America in their internal affairs,'' the events of 1953 have not scarred
the consciousness of three generations of Iranians. Nor is the coup a
major factor hampering the restoration of normal relations between Iran
and the United States.
As the C.I.A. report itself makes clear, one has to be generous to give
American operatives in Iran much credit for restoring the shah. Virtually
every detail of their plan went awry. The principal American operatives at
our embassy didn't speak Persian. When Tehran started to boil and it was
impossible to make contact with the usual English- and French-speaking
Iranian sources, the C.I.A. station went blind.
The coup succeeded only because Iranians who were neither on the American
or British payrolls nor under foreign control or guidance seized the
initiative to topple Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. In particular,
Ayatollahs Abo'l Qasem Kashani and Sayyed Mohammed Behbehani -- clerics
beholden to no foreigner -- made the coup a reality on the streets of
The events of 1953 have never been a major part of the Islamic
revolution's symbolism. The leader of the 1979 revolt, Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini, had always loathed Prime Minister Mossadegh, who represented
More ''progressive'' clerics now regard the Mossadegh government
approvingly, but they didn't do so for most of the past 20 revolutionary
Dr. Mossadegh has reemerged into the revolutionary pantheon largely
because today's Iranian left, which includes President Mohammad Khatami,
is desperately searching for a nationalist icon who isn't royal and has
both anti-American and democratic credentials.
Iran needs new heroes because the Islamic revolution, as a rallying point
for most Iranians, has simply run out of gas. The majority of Iranians,
especially the people in President Khatami's inner circles, realize that
their revolution has turned out dismally. The blame game is a national
pastime, and blaming the United States is the easy way out for a proud
people who can't believe how low their glorious country has fallen.
Thus the Clinton administration's foreign policy-as-apologia-approach
toward Iran is exactly the wrong one. Iranian clerics, who are experts at
realpolitik, don't need kind words and apologies to recognize and advance
their own national and religious interests. Incompatible ideas -- not
emotions and mistrust -- separate secular America from the Islamic
Speaking strongly on human rights and democratic reforms -- not fretting
about a complex history -- will further American interests.
None of this means we should ignore the C.I.A.'s actions -- we need to
review and debate the agency's effective role in covert operations and
espionage in Guatemala, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Greece, Vietnam and
elsewhere during the cold war, as well as its espionage worldwide today.
But as we go through that history, the truths of Tehran 1953 -- the first
''successful'' coup of the C.I.A.'s ''Golden Age'' -- will probably apply.
American operatives, usually much more comfortable in diplomatic cocktail
parties than in dark alleys, generally have had a hard time staying
afloat, let alone being on the cutting edge of history. For example, I met
''street case officers,'' the operatives who usually handle foreign
agents, who served in Chile in 1973. It beggars the imagination to believe
that General Augusto Pinochet needed, let alone wanted, these
well-mannered, striped-tie-wearing Yankees with so-so Spanish getting
involved in his business.
That the C.I.A. has been so unwilling to release more information about
its cold war activities is shameful. History and the agency's own would be
better for the effort. As the records trickle out, Americans and
foreigners stand to learn a good deal more about each other and
The truth won't be pretty -- but it is better than believing in myths, or
shaping foreign policy around them.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:41:30 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IPS: As President criticises the TV, Popular journalist is jailed
As President criticises the TV, Popular journalist is jailed
LONDON 22ND (IPS) President Mohammad Khatami Saturday broke out his
silence over the bitter controversy created by the leader-controlled
"Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic" (VVIR, or the Radio and
Television) for screening parts of a stormy seminar held early this month
in Berlin showing anti-Iranian theological regime activists blasting the
"I am totally opposed to the way the VVVIR raised the issue which provoked
the feelings and caused great concern among the committed sections of the
society and those who seek the country's dignity and honour," the
president said in his first reaction to the bitter controversy provoked by
the conservatives concerning the Berlin meeting.
Seventeen prominent Iranian reformist journalists, secularist and
dissident lawyers, scholars, intellectuals, experts as well as a
revisionist cleric attended the three-days conference to debate the
aftermath of the last Legislative elections that were swept by the
reformists supporting President Khatami.
Supervised by the German Foreign Ministry and organised by the
Greens-leading Heinrich-Boll Institute, the meeting was disrupted by noisy
groups of Iranians political dissidents and exiled led by the
Stockholm-based Iranian Communist-Workers Party (ICWP) who denounced the
participants as supporters of the Islamic Republic invited by Germany to
pave the way for the upcoming visit of the Iranian president to Berlin.
In a two-parts reporting of the conference, the State-run Television
showed only parts where a professional Iranian call girl taking off her
clothes except the scarf, as a protest against the suffering of Iranian
women under Islamic rules, a bare arms woman dancing sexy Iranian dances
and a man who stripped nude, exhibiting pictures of Iranian clerical
leaders, scenes considered in Iran as offending Islam and the Islamic
Most of these extravaganzas were arranged by some Iranian immigrants
seeking legal refugee status from German authorities by taking pictures of
themselves with the exhibitionists in order to justify their claims as
genuine opponents to the Iranian regime.
The footage also highlighted phrases from some speakers denouncing
anti-democratic aspects of the present theological regime that one of the
participants compared to a "mentally retarded child".
Chosen deliberately to provoke Muslim Shi'a zealots mourning the beheading
of Hossein, one of their most venerated imam, prompted mixed reactions
from the people, the clergy, political parties and government officials,
with some condemning the Television for screening the scenes and some
calling on the authorities to take stern action against all those who took
part at the conference, with a high ranking cleric terming it as "haram",
or religiously forbidden.
Most particularly singled by the conservatives-controlled hard line press
were Mr. Akbar Ganji and Hojatoleslam Hasan Yusefi-Eshkevari, a prominent
Islamic philosopher and reformist.
Addressing officials of the Higher Education Ministry, Mr. Khatami said
while what the VVIR did was "wrong" but also that what occurred in Berlin
too, was not "acceptable", the official news agency IRNA reported.
As he was speaking there, Mr. Ganji, the outspoken investigative
journalist, analyst and scholar who attended the Berlin conference was
arrested on orders of the Press Court and immediately hauled off to
Tehran's Evin prison after a hearing before the notorious tribunal.
Mr. Ganji is known for his investigations, published in articles and
books, exposing the role played by both former president Ayatollah Ali
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his Intelligence Minister, Hojatoleslam Ali
Fallahian in the assassination of more than eighty dissidents as well as
the murder of five politicians and intellectuals, including Mr. Dariush
foruhar, the leader of the secularist Iranian People Party and his wife
Parvaneh Eskandari in late November 1998 by senior officials of the
Because of this, he was the subject of a vicious campaign orchestrated by
Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani in the hard line press, particularly "Keyhan", the
mouthpiece of the Intelligence Ministry.
The reason behind Keyhan's vindication against Mr. Ganji is that the
Editor of the newspaper, Mr. Hossein Shariatmadari, who is appointed by
Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Iranian theological regime to
this job is himself an official of the Intelligence Ministry denounced by
Mr. Ganji for his role in conducting the interrogations of many dissidents.
A member of the editorial board of the reformist "Fath" daily Mr. Ganji
appeared Saturday at the press Court to defend himself against charges of
"violating press law and insulting Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in an
interview with a Berlin newspaper.
He blasted the VVIR for "providing the people with false information",
IRNA quoted him as saying to reporters before his arrest.
"These charges have nothing to do with the Berlin conference", Mr. Ganji
explained, pointing out that his at the meeting were against the ICWP and
the (Baghdad-based, Iraq supported and financed) Mojahedeen Khalq
"If the VVIR is really seeking the truth, it must broadcast the entire
text of my speech", he proposed, like the President did.
He promised that the full text of the Berlin meeting would be put at the
disposal of the people through the press very soon.
"I am prepared to participate in any debate and the script of the film
will make it clear to what extent they (Television's authorities) have
lied", he said, adding "Instead of arresting the key elements (behind the
serial killings) they are seeking to take us into jail" but they are
ignorant that these structural changes have not been created by
individuals so that a group or a wave could prevent them from continuing".
"Reforms will succeed and the future is bright," he said, stressing that
taking dozens of people to jail or assassinations would solve no problem.
Ganji's lawyer Gholamali Riahi said outside the courtroom that his client
was innocent of any offence.
The arrest comes just days after Iran's outgoing conservative parliament
approved tough new measures against the increasingly vocal and critical
In a veiled criticism to recent inflammatory declarations by Ayatollah Ali
Khameneh'i against the independent press, Mr. Khatami said Iran needed
"Debate and criticism are signs of vibrancy. The government, the nation
and the elite of the society are required to pay attention to the
necessity of peaceful atmosphere in the country", he said.
The outraging TV provocative reporting on the Berlin conference was also
criticised by the Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister Ata'ollah
Mohajerani who described the VVIR' move as "politically motivated and far
from being a just and fair action".
"If all the conference proceedings are shown and all the discussions at
the meeting were published correctly, it would shed light on efforts which
have been made to damage the personality and honour of the participants
and to the people would understand the realities of the conference", he
pointed out, expressing the views of the participants as well as
personalities and organisations that had been repulsed by the footage
attributed to the VVIR's leader-appointeed Ali Larijani.
To appease the wrath of Mr. Khameneh'i, the Islamic Culture and Guidance
Minister Ata'ollah Mohajerani promised Saturday "to do our utmost to
remove the preoccupations and concerns felt by the supreme leader about
the press", reminding that however "the main work has to be done by the
press corps itself".
In remarks made last week, the badly lamed Khameneh'i described the
Iranian independent press as "enemy" working hand in hand with foreign
Mr. Mohajerani termed as "false' rumours about the closure of a certain
number of newspapers, adding, "should a newspaper be closed, it has to be
done through legal procedures".
"If pressures are exerted to close down the newspapers, then I would be
forced into becoming an instrument for closing them or resigning, in that
case I would prefer to tender my resignation" Mr. Mohajerani warned
In order to justify the broadcast, Mr. Larijani, a former officer of the
Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Department had maintained that
'according to his queries from such religious authorities as head of the
judiciary system Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, broadcasting the
footage was permissible for showing the atmosphere of the conference''.
He was answering charges from senior clerical authorities like Grand
ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri who had condemned the screening of nude and
dance scenes as un-Islamic.
Mr. Larijani was barred from taking part at cabinet meetings in January
1999 after he allowed a hard line cleric to broadcast a documentary aimed
at proving that the "chain murders" of nationalist dissidents in November
1998 was the work of agents close President Khatami.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:40:21 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Sobh-e Emruz: Suicide Is Not for Me -Ganji
Suicide Is Not for Me -Ganji
Sobh E Emrooz
April 24, 2000
The jailed journalist Akbar Ganji says: "Let them discard the notion that
my imprisonment will relegate the `Serial Killings Case' to the
The evidence in the pending case is available and will definitely be
pursued by the press and the free-thinkers....
My safety was in the hands of the Iranian authorities and I warn that if
something happened to me, the authorities would be held responsible....
You can be sure that I am not about to swallow any suspect potion,"
Ganji was locked up on Saturday after a four-hour grilling on the
instructions of Judge Mortazavi.
Meanwhile, in a grisly spate of murders, Darioush Foruhar, a veteran
politician, his wife and as number of dissident writers were killed in the
Iranian year 1377 (ended March 20, 1999).
It was found that rogue agents of the Intelligence Ministry, headed by
former deputy minister Saeed Emami, were behind the murders.
Emami committed suicide in prison.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:37:15 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP-International Press Rights group protests at Iranian curbs on
International Press Rights group protests at Iranian curbs on press
NICOSIA, April 24 (AFP) - A Paris-based press freedom group has condemned
the arrest of two Iranian journalists and suspension of several reformist
titles in a statement received here Monday.
Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF) has sent a letter to Iran's judiciary
chief Ayatollah Mahmud Shahrudi calling on him to "use his influence to
get the journalists released and the suspensions of the papers lifted,"
the statement said.
Pro-reform journalist Latif Safari, of the banned Neshat daily, was
whisked off to prison Sunday after the conservative-run press court
rejected his appeal against a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence handed
down last year.
The same court remanded investigative journalist Akbar Ganji in custody
Saturday, when he appeared to face a host of complaints over his articles
in the Sobh-e-Emruz daily.
It also suspended a total of 12 newspapers and magazines Sunday and
Monday, although RSF named only four of them.
RSF quoted sources close to the reformers as fearing that other
journalists could be detained in the next few days.
Newspapers have flourished since reformist President Mohammad Khatami was
elected in 1997, injecting an increasingly vocal -- and often brazen --
presence into Iran's political life.
The new freedom has enraged conservatives, who put part of the blame for
their stinging defeat in February's parliamentary elections on the
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the traditional guardian of the
regime's Islamic values, has issued two ringing denunciations of the press
in recent days.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 12:36:17 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: AFP-Iran ex-police chief blames student unrest on higher authorities
TEHRAN, April 24 (AFP) - Tehran's former police chief on Monday rejected
all charges against him and his officers over their role in last year's
attack on student demonstrators, insisting that they were only acting on
"Regarding the attack against the university site, there is a chain of
command, which is why it is up to my superiors and politicians to respond"
to the charges, said Farhad Nazari during the eighth hearing at Tehran's
"We were given an order to disperse the crowd, and if that was a mistake,
then it's not up to me to reply," the former police chief said, once again
defending the police intervention against a student demonstration last
During the last hearing on Saturday, Nazari blamed the pro-reform press
for heightening tensions during the student protest, which erupted after a
conservative court closed down a popular reformist newspaper supporting
President Mohamad Khatami.
On Monday, Iran's press court suspended a dozen publications close to
reformist President Mohammad Khatami, including eight daily papers,
prompting appeals for calm from the president.
According to official figures, three people died in the worst unrest since
the foundation of the Islamic republic in 1979, sparked by the police
crackdown on the demonstration at Tehran university.
The trial of Nazari and 19 other officers began February 29, and the next
hearing has been set for April 29.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:34:43 EDT
Subject: WRAPUP 1-Iran's conservatives strike back
WRAPUP 1-Iran's conservatives strike back
By Jonathan Lyons
TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline establishment struck back at its
reformist rivals on Tuesday, completing the ban of 13 progressive
publications and ordering the arrest of an outspoken cleric.
The conservative-led Guardian Council meanwhile voided results in another
constituency -- the 11th so far -- after parliamentary polls in February in
which reformers allied with President Mohammad Khatami won a plurality of
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.
The three-pronged assault took aim at the heart of Khatami's popular bid to
create a civil society within Iran's Islamic system.
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.
Two pro-reform dailies failed to appear on newsstands on 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
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.
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
hardliners 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.
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,''
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-organised
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.
The special clerical court, which earlier banned two newspapers run by
clergy, issued a warrant for the arrest of Hasan Yousefi-Ashkevari on his
return from a seminar in Berlin on Iran's reforms.
It said the mid-ranking cleric 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.
Suggesting more to come, newly assertive conservative newspapers said the
crackdown had not yet gone far enough.
``Increase the ban on newspapers,'' demanded the hardline Jomhuri-ye Eslami.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:36:55 EDT
Subject: UPDATE 4-Scattered protest meets Iran's press ban
UPDATE 4-Scattered protest meets Iran's press ban
By Ali Raiss-Tousi
TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - Nine Iranian reformist newspapers and four
weeklies remained closed on Tuesday as hardliners in the establishment hit
out at the civic reforms of President Mohammad Khatami.
Sporadic student protests against the press bans imposed by the hardline
judiciary coincided with the start of the trial of eight suspects in the
attempted assassination of reformist activist and newspaper publisher Saeed
Hajjarian, a close aide to the moderate president and an architect of Iran's
reform movement, remains in hospital with a bullet in his neck after the
failed attempt on his life last month.
Reformers have alleged high-level backing for the murder bid from within the
establishment and the security services.
The two waves of newspaper closures, first announced late on Sunday, sparked
the first public protest in the early hours of Tuesday when several thousand
students rallied peacefully outside Tehran University's hostels.
At a 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,''
A few hundred 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 Zeidabadi said.
Otherwise, he said, the students would wind up like those facing torture,
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.
More protests followed at Tehran's teacher training college, where hundreds
of students invited to a silent vigil in support of pro-reform newspapers
voiced their demands for freedom under the watchful eyes of security police.
``We will not give up on our demand for freedom,'' one student said. ``The
reforms we demand do not stop where Khatami stops. We will continue to tread
the path of reforms.''
Hardline newspapers have demanded further shutdowns of rival publications and
said the judiciary was only now starting to carry out its duties. ``Increase
the ban on newspapers,'' said a commentary in Jomhuri-ye Eslami.
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 said he would resign rather than close down
the independent press.
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 15:37:51 EDT
Subject: Hard-liners Boost Khatami Pressure
Hard-liners Boost Khatami Pressure
By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's hard-liners have stepped up pressure on President
Mohammad Khatami, annulling another election result in a legislative district
won by a moderate Khatami ally.
Alarmed by the sound beating they took from reformists in February's
legislative elections, hard-liners are trying to roll back Khatami's reforms
in a bid to protect their own rule. In addition to annulling election results
in 12 seats won by Khatami allies, they have closed 13 pro-democracy
publications and jailed two journalists in recent weeks.
The crackdown reflects the considerable power hard-liners in the ruling
clergy still wield in Iran.
State-run radio said Tuesday that the Guardian Council had annulled the
election of reformist Mohammad Farrokhi to represent the town of Jiroft in
southern Kerman province. In addition, the radio quoted a statement from the
hard-line body as saying final results for Tehran, where the pro-Khatami
Interior Ministry says the reformists won 29 of 30 seats, have been delayed.
After Tuesday's statement was broadcast on radio, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati,
head of the Guardian Council, denied there was any plan to annul results in
Tehran. But he added that ``there are irregularities which may lead to minor
changes,'' the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Of 12 districts where reformists' victories have been annulled, two of the
seats have been given to hard-liners. The rest are to be contested in a new
At several universities around Iran, students spent the day protesting the
newspaper closures and expressing support for Khatami.
In the southern city of Shiraz, more than 3,000 students rallied at the
Medical Science University, according to journalists in the city.
At the Khajeh Naseer Technical University in Tehran, more than 300 students
cut classes and assembled outside the main building. Speakers addressed the
demonstrators through loudspeakers.
``Stand firm Khatami, stand firm Khatami,'' chanted the young men and women
as they sat under the 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
On the green iron fence around the university in Tehran hung the last issues
of the 13 publications shut 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, but the reason was unclear.
Since his 1997 election, Khatami has sought to loosen Islamic restrictions
that have been in place since Islamic hard-liners seized power in Iran in the
1979 revolution. He has been opposed by conservative clerics who derive their
strength from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's ultimate
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:43:03 EDT
Subject: Closure of legitimate dailies will pave way for illegal nightly
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
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
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:45:47 EDT
Subject: Ayatollah Jannati rules out nullification of Tehran election
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
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
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 15:48:23 EDT
Subject: 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 15:53:00 EDT
Subject: How a martyr-breeding city (Ramsar) becomes a tourist one?
How a martyr-breeding city (Ramsar) becomes a tourist one?
By Soheil Karimi
The city of Ramsar shines like a gem on the Caspian coast. A few years ago,
upon entering the city, a sign caught the eye which said: "Welcome to the
martyr-breeding city of Ramsar", followed by portraits of martyrs and
excerpts from their wills, which made the city fragrant with the sweet smell
of martyrdom. But today, when one passes by the grave of the martyred pilot
Shirudi, a flamboyant sign catches the eye, which says: "Welcome to the
tourist city of Ramsar". On a corner of the sign is a picture of the old
Ramsar hotel-casino, built by the powerful hand of Reza Khan! for the
gambling and drinking and enjoying of British and American advisers.
It can be said that this sign has replaced the symbols of values. The rust
sign that says "Welcome to the martyr-breeding city of Ramsar" has become a
place to stick advertisements. When you enter the city, the isolation of
revolutionary ideals is more obvious. Girls with heavy makeup, tight blouses
and trousers! are riding bicycles together with their boyfriends. A little
farther, in a quiet road along the beach, two frivolous girls with heavy
makeup and scarves at the back of their heads are laughing in joy. Every now
and then, a foreign-made fancy car stops for them, inviting them to...
Finally, the two girls (or maybe women!) surrender to the passengers of a car
and leave with them!
Somewhere else, you see girls and women riding rented horses, and in order to
mount the animals, they have entirely unbuttoned their gowns! Which reminds
you of a saying by Imam Sadegh about the signs of apocalypse: "...These women
wear the clothes of pagans, their appearance is like that of tyrants, they
mount saddles and do not abide by their husbands, and do not confine
themselves to their husband's house." To change your mood, you go to take a
walk on the beach. Music emitting from huts attracts you. You desire to give
your heart to the waves in order to get away from satanic scenes. But on a
part of the beech you see a boy cuddling his dog and drinking tea!... You see
a few naked youngsters swimming in the chill air, shameless of the presence
of women and kids. Then your heart smolders when you see that they have been
drinking Tuborg Turkish beer...
A martyr's father says: "By God I do not agree with such things. Of course
our people are renowned for their hospitality, but someone the sound of whose
stereo reaches four blocks farther, or the newly-wed bride who dances without
any hejab on the beech of forest parks, or the girl who rides bicycle against
the edict of religious leaders... They are more like aggressors than
"Ramsar's Friday prayers leader says: "The situation is beyond preaching...
The moral security is endangered... If we want to act according to the Imam's
will, we will be accused of having acted against the law... If a gardener
finds out that some branches of a tree are infested and cuts those branches
to prevent other parts being inflicted, should it be called violence or
justice? Is it not justice if an offender is flogged so that both he is
punished and others learn a lesson?...
On the beach you see a youngster with a full beard and Chafieh round his
neck. He says: "I volunteered to serve my national service here in order to
get away from the City of Great Sins, not knowing that hooligans from Valiahd
(ex-Valiasr) square, Jordan (ex-Africa) street, and Shahrak-e Gharb (ex-Qods)
have come here for hedonic acts... Therefore during times of leave, other
Basijis and I come to places like this to guide people to the right path and
to announce our presence. "When you see a number of Basijis in a distance,
your hopes are revived that this night will have a morning, this sea will
have calm and the tar-like sky will have dawn.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 15:55:17 EDT
Subject: Iran Media Crackdown Condemned By Human Rights Watch
Payvand's Iran News ...
Iran Media Crackdown Condemned By Human Rights Watch
Top Official Urged to End Punitive Detentions, Publication Bans
(New York, April 25, 2000) -- In a letter sent last night to Iran's top
judicial authority, Human Rights Watch condemned the escalating harassment,
intimidation and punishment of the country's independent journalists and
"Just in the last few days, the Iranian authorities have closed down another
dozen reformist publications, and thrown more writers and publishers into
prison for criticizing the government," said Hanny Megally, executive
director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
In April, writer Akbar Ganji and publishers Mashallah Shamsol-Vaezin and
Latif Safari have been imprisoned for articles they wrote or published. The
Human Rights Watch letter lists the names of numerous others who have been
summoned to appear before the press court and other official bodies,
beginning with Mohamed Reza Khatami, brother of Iran's president, on March
Megally noted that the crackdown may be related to upcoming run-off elections
for those parliamentary seats that were not decided in February. "This
crackdown appears to be an effort to punish the vast majority who voted in
February for political reform," he said.
The letter was addresed to Sayyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the Head of the
Judiciary. The courts and officials which have ordered the closures and
prison terms come under his authority.
A copy of the letter is attached.
April 24, 2000
His Excellency Sayyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
Ministry of Justice
Park-e shahr, Tehran
Human Rights Watch is writing to express grave concern about the escalating
harassment and intimidation of independent journalists and publishers in
Iran. We are particularly alarmed at the rising number of judicial
proceedings since the beginning of Iran's new year just one month ago.
Speaking publicly last Thursday, April 20, the Islamic Republic's Supreme
Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, harshly criticized some publications, which
he did not name, but endorsed "the free flow of information" and the
principle of press diversity. The events of the past few days, however, with
the government closure of twelve additional publications and the jailing of
another prominent journalist, have worsened an already very bad situation.
These closures and prosecutions, undertaken by officials and offices falling
under your authority, appear to be politically motivated rather than stemming
from legitimate concern to enforce the law impartially. They clearly violate
Iran's legal obligation to uphold international freedom of expression and
fair trial standards. In some cases they appear to be in violation of the
laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well.
In the latest developments, Akbar Ganji, a staff writer for the daily Fath,
appeared before the Tehran Press Court on Saturday, April 22. At the hearing,
the head of the court, Said Mortazavi, disclosed ten charges, mostly based on
complaints from the joint chiefs of staff of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards
Corps (IRGC) and other security agencies following articles Ganji wrote about
possible official involvement in the murders of several leading dissidents
and writers in late 1998 and in the March 12 attempted assassination of Said
Hajjarian, a writer and key adviser to President Mohamed Khatami. Following
several hours of interrogation, Ganji was ordered detained "temporarily" and
is now believed to be in Evin prison.
The following day, April 23, Latif Safari, publisher of the banned daily
Neshat, was imprisoned for two-and-a-half years despite his appeal to the
Supreme Court to void his press court conviction of last September. On April
10, Mashallah Shamsol-Vaezin, former chief editor of the banned daily Neshat,
also began a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for publishing an article
criticizing the death penalty. Shamsol-Vaezin was apprehended without being
informed that his appeal had been turned down.
Today, April 24, the Tehran Justice Department, which comes under your
authority, ordered the closure of Akbar-e Iktisad, a Tehran daily. This
followed yesterday's closure orders against eight daily and three weekly
newspapers and one monthly journal, Iran-e Farda. The banned dailies are
Asr-e Azadegan, Bamdad-e Now, Aftab-e Emruz, Payam-e Azadi, Fath, Arya, Azad,
and Gozaresh-e Rouz. The banned weeklies are Payam-e Hajar, Aban, and Arzesh.
These developments are all the more alarming in light of earlier steps to
intimidate and silence critical and dissenting voices. On April 11, Emadeddin
Baqi, also a Fath staff writer, had been indicted on charges similar to those
brought against Ganji following complaints by the intelligence ministry, the
Revolutionary Guards, and the state broadcasting organization. Baqi, like
Ganji, had also criticized the house arrest of Ayatollah Hossein Ali
Montazeri, the country's foremost senior dissident cleric, and the
imprisonment of a number of Ayatollah Montazeri's followers.
Your excellency, speaking last week to a group of high judiciary officials,
you addressed the critical responsibility of the judiciary "to protect and
implement the law. It is our legal obligation to do this." We strongly urge
you, in the spirit of these remarks, to take all steps within your power to
bring an end to the unjust detention of Akbar Ganji, Latif Safari, Mashallah
Shamsol-Vaezin, and other wrongfully imprisoned writers, to terminate the
closure orders against all banned publications, and to insure that the bodies
operating under your authority are no longer used to harass, intimidate, or
punish individuals for attempting to exercise their right to freedom of
Human Rights Watch ^Qs October 1999 report, "As Fragile as a Crystal Glass:
Press Freedom in Iran," detailed the background to these developments. This
latest crackdown against Iranian writers, editors, and publishers dates from
March 30, when Mohamed Reza Khatami, managing director of Mosharekat and
recipient of the highest number of votes in Tehran in the February
parliamentary elections, was summoned to a press court for questioning.
Khatami is currently awaiting trial in a closed court on charges that have
not been made public. On April 9, Fereidoun Verdinejad, managing director of
the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), was summoned to the press
court for a second time on the basis of complaints from the security forces
and others regarding IRNA's news coverage.
Your excellency, numerous other writers, editors, and publishers have
recently been summoned to appear before the Press Court or other official
bodies solely in connection with their attempts to exercise their right to
freedom of expression. These include: Reza Ansarirad, a young clergyman who
wrote about Ayatollah Montazeri in Aftab-e Emrouz; Nikeahang Kossar, a
cartoonist for Azad; Fatemeh Govarei, a writer who faces a court hearing
after attending a gathering involving Ebrahim Yazdi; Mujtaba Badei, writer
and professor; Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, former minister of interior
and now publisher of Ayyam; Hojatoleslam Hadi Khamene'i, publisher of Hayat-e
Noh and brother of Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i; Morteza Alviri, publisher of
mayor of Tehran municipality; Yadollah Eslami, publisher of Fath; and Mohamed
Reza Yazdanpanah, publisher of Azad. Mohamed Ghouchani was summoned to the
Ministry of Information following his article about the Hajjarian attack in
Asr-e Azadegan; and Mahdavi Khorami, publisher of Gozaresh-e Rouz, received a
warning from the Ministry of Culture.
Human Rights Watch strongly protests the steps taken against these
individuals whose sole offense has been to exercise their right to freedom of
expression. We ask that you use your office as Head of the Judiciary to
ensure that judicial bodies, such as the Press Court as well as other courts,
are no longer complicit in this process, and that the judges and other
officials working under your direction be instructed to exercise their
responsibilities in a manner consistent with Iran's obligation as a state
party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which
guarantees the right to freedom of expression and to fair and impartial
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to
your early response.
Middle East and North Africa Division
Human Rights Watch
For more information, please contact:
In Washington, Joe Stork, (202) 612-4327
In New York, Hanny Megally, (212) 216-1230
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 23:18:51 EDT
Subject: Iran says peaceful nuclear technology not shared
Iran says peaceful nuclear technology not shared
UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Reuters) - Iran charged on Tuesday that
industrialised nations are denying peaceful nuclear technology to developing
countries in order to secure dominance in the field.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamel Kharrazi was addressing a conference reviewing
implementation of the 30-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),
aimed at barring the spread of nuclear weapons while assuring access to
peaceful nuclear technology.
``One cannot but express dismay over the systematic denial of transfer of
technology to developing non-nuclear weapon states ... and restrictive export
control policies exercised by the nuclear suppliers,'' Kharrazi said.
Such control regimes, ``acting in defiance of the letter and spirit of the
treaty, continued to pursue subjective, arbitrary and discriminatory
policies,'' he said.
Kharrazi, whose country is the target of restrictions by the United States
and others aimed at preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons technology,
said: ``The main objective of these regimes, disguised under the pretext of
non-proliferation, is to secure the dominance and exclusive possession of
nuclear technology by developed countries.''
Calling for this situation to be rectified, he said: ``The existence of these
regimes undermines the credibility and integrity of the NPT and the IAEA
(International Atomic Energy Agency).''
He criticised the ``unilateralist approach of certain states, with a less
than desirable record on non-proliferation, who have arrogated to themselves
the right to determine compliance by others and to take interventionist and
extra-territorial measures to prevent access to peaceful nuclear technology''
by signatories of the non-proliferation treaty.
Washington has imposed sanctions on a number of Russian government agencies
it has accused of supplying Iran with weapons technology. Russia is building
a nuclear power station in Iran which it says has no connection with weapons
The U.S. Congress recently approved legislation giving the White House
discretionary authority to impose sanctions on any country that supplies Iran
with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons equipment or technology.
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Apr 2000 - Special issue