Date: Dec 8, 1998 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Dec 1998 to 7 Dec 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Dec 1998 to 7 Dec 1998
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There are 8 messages totalling 421 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Mahammed Mokhtari has disappeared
2. US drops Iran, Malaysia from list of illegal drug producers
3. U.S. Removes Iran From Drug List
4. Clinton removes Iran from drug list
5. Reforms raise hopes of woman leading Iran's Islamic republic
6. Iran calls for reduction in OPEC oil output
7. Rafsanjani's daughter faces "falsehood" charges in press court
8. Khatami blasts opponents of reform in Iran

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Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 00:26:43 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Mahammed Mokhtari has disappeared

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- An Iranian writer left his home last week and has not
been heard from since, adding to a recent spate of mysterious
disappearances, a Tehran newspaper reported Monday.

Mohammed Mokhtari, a poet and member of the Association of Iranian writers,
left to go shopping Thursday in the residential suburb in northern Tehran,
the Zan newspaper said. It said Mokhtari's family searched hospitals,
morgues and police stations but could not find him.

Increasingly, hard-line rivals of President Mohammad Khatami are resorting to
violence to deal with opponents. Over the past year, vigilantes have attacked
dissidents, liberal newspapers and even a reformist Cabinet minister.

None of the incidents has resulted in arrests, leading to suspicions the
assailants are backed by powerful hard-line clerics like spiritual leader Ali
Khamenei and Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the judiciary.

Last month, the head of an Iranian opposition group, Dariush Foruhar, and his
wife Parvaneh were stabbed to death in their home.

Police said they've made several arrests in the murders of the Foruhars,
after President Mohammad Khatami condemned the killings and ordered an
investigation.
So far, the findings have not been made public.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:31:24 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: US drops Iran, Malaysia from list of illegal drug producers

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (AFP) - The United States dropped Iran and
Malaysia from its list of countries considered to be major drug
producers or transit nations, the White House said Monday.
President Bill Clinton made his decision known to the Congress
in a letter made public by the White House.
"This year I removed Iran and Malaysia from the list of major
drug producing countries and designated them as countries of
concern," the letter said.
Iran had been considered by the United States to be a major
producer of illegal drugs since 1987. Malaysia was on the list in
the category of transit nation.
"A US government review found no evidence of any significant
poppy cultivation in the traditional growing areas" in Iran,
according to the letter.
"While we cannot rule out some cultivation in remote parts of
the country, it is unlikely that there would be enough to meet the
threshold definition of a major drug producing country," the letter
said.
Regarding Malaysia, meanwhile, the president noted that its
geographic location has made it a feasible transit route in the past
for heroin destined for the United States.
But "we have no indication that drugs significantly affecting
the United States have transited the country in the past few years,"
the letter said.
The countries still on the list include: Afghanistan, Aruba,
Bahamas, Belize, Burma, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia,
Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic,
Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:31:34 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: U.S. Removes Iran From Drug List

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Iran is no longer a significant producer of
opium poppies nor a major transit point for U.S.-bound illicit
drugs, President Clinton said Monday in announcing Iran's removal
from a list of drug problem countries.
While countries on the list can face U.S. economic penalties,
Iran -- subject to comprehensive sanctions for years for reasons
unrelated to drug trafficking -- will not officially benefit from
Clinton's decision.
The finding appears to reflect an energetic Iranian campaign to
rid the country of opium poppy, the raw material for heroin.
Officials said a 1992-93 aerial survey of Iran uncovered thousands
of acres of opium poppy. But a new survey carried out earlier this
year discovered no such cultivation in the traditional
poppy-growing areas.
The White House compiles a list of drug problem countries each
year. Over the next three months, each will be evaluated on the
basis of their cooperation with U.S. counter-narcotics efforts.
There were 30 countries on the list, but the removal of Iran,
and Malaysia, reduced the number this year to 28. In Malaysia's
case, the administration concluded that the amount of drugs passing
through that country that make their way to the United States was
found to be negligible.
Clinton announced his decision, which was recommended by
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in a letter to key members
of the House and Senate foreign relations and appropriations
committees.
Clinton has been attempting to reach out to Iran, hoping to
establish a government-to-government dialogue for the first time in
two decades. But Iran has shown little interest in such a dialogue.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said a month ago
that the United States is intent on ``total domination'' of Iran
and that severing relations with it was in Iran's interest.
Last week, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Benjamin
Gilman, R-N.Y., both key players on the drug issue, expressed
concern to Clinton after published reports said Iran was about to
be dropped from the list.
Grassley and Gilman wrote that any effort to remove Iran from
the list is not based on substantive grounds but on the
``speculative hope that such a unilateral gesture will win
diplomatic points in Iran for some anticipated rapprochement.''
White House spokesman David Leavy said Clinton's decision was
based on technical criteria, not political.
Large drug hauls are common in Iran, which lies on a route used
by smugglers to get drugs from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Europe
and the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
Iran has been cracking down on drug smugglers since 1988.
Hundreds of traffickers have been hanged under a law that mandates
the death penalty for anyone caught with more than a small quantity
of narcotics.
There is no evidence ``to support a judgment that significant
quantities of drugs are headed to the United States,'' Clinton
said.
The 28 countries or areas found by Clinton to be ``major illicit
drug transit or drug producing countries'': Afghanistan, Aruba, The
Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, China, Colombia,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India,
Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Of the 30 countries on the list last year, 22 were ``certified''
last February as having fully cooperated with U.S. counterdrug
efforts. Iran was one of eight countries ``decertified'' for a lack
of cooperation. With its removal from the list this year, no
evaluation will be made of Iranian cooperation with the United
States.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:31:41 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Clinton removes Iran from drug list

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Issuing his annual list of major drug
producing countries, President Clinton removed Iran for the first time
since 1987 because illegal opium cultivation has been virtually
eliminated.
In accepting Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's recommendation,
Clinton said today he took the action because of Iran's reported success
in recent years in eradicating opium poppy cultivation.
``We were unable to test these claims until this year when a United
States government review found no evidence of any significant poppy
cultivation in the traditional growing areas,'' Clinton said in a letter
sent to Capitol Hill. ``While we cannot rule out some cultivation in
remote parts of the country, it is unlikely that there would be enough
to meet the threshold definition of a major drug producing country.''
The White House must draw up a list annually of major drug-producing
or drug-transiting nations. The president then must certify for Congress
by March 1 which of those countries are cooperating with U.S. counter-
narcotics efforts.
Only Iran, Nigeria, Burma and Afghanistan were not certified last
year, a finding that requires the United States to cut most forms of
assistance and vote against financing through multilateral lending
institutions.
Clinton also removed Malaysia from the so-called majors list. Clinton
said though Malaysia is in a prime location to transit heroin to the
United States, officials found ``no indication that drugs significantly
affecting the United States have transited the country in the past few
years.''
Clinton also kept on the majors list Aruba, the Bahamas, Belize,
Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan,
Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnam.
Though Iran and Malaysia were removed from the list of worst-
offending nations, they still were designated ``of concern'' for the
purpose of U.S. counternarcotics efforts.
Also singled out for that category were Netherlands Antilles, Turkey
and other Balkan route countries, Syria, Lebanon, Cuba, major cannabis
producers such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, the Phillipines and
South Africa, and Central Asia.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:31:48 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Reforms raise hopes of woman leading Iran's Islamic republic

TEHRAN, Dec 7 (AFP) - The daughter of Iran's former president
believes a woman could one day head the Islamic republic, as the
strictures of its intensely religious society slowly yield to calls
for secular reform.
"People should be given posts according to their ability and
efficiency not because of their sex, so one day certainly a women
could fill the position of president, why not?" Fatemeh Hashemi, one
of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's two daughters, said in an
interview.
"But no, it's not for me. Political life is very difficult,"
said Hashemi, a leading activist as head of women's affairs at the
foreign ministry and involved in several international women's
movements.
"I believe that the family must still be important to women and
come before many things, but they can still play an important role
in our country besides being at home," says Hashemi, whose father
still carries great political clout as a key advisor to the regime's
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"Iranian women have always been religious and before the
revolution could not take part in many social activities. But the
ground is being prepared for them now," she said, shunning the
traditional black chador in favour of a blue pinstriped suit and
blue headscarf.
Under the religious law in force since the 1979 revolution that
toppled the pro-West shah, women still live under enormous
restrictions -- they face often insurmountable obstacles if they
want a divorce, for example, and cannot even ride a bike in a public
park.
But, with the backing of reformist President Mohammad Khatami
and despite frequent reproaches from Islamic hardliners, life is
slowly changing.
"The female population of the country is being deprived of
several basic rights," conceded the moderate cleric who appointed
two women vice presidents after his landslide election win in May
1997.
"Women should be given equal opportunity in the managerial,
cultural athletic and economic areas," Khatami said in a speech last
month.
The conservative-dominated parliament this month approved the
recruitment of women to the police force, provided they respect
dress codes and gender segregation in offices, for the first time
since the revolution.
Women now hold 14 seats in parliament and have also gained
ground in conservative bastions such as the judiciary, while media
reports suggest Iran will soon get its first female diplomat at the
United Nations.
But nine women who signed up recently to take part in
September's elections for the male-clergy controlled Assembly of
Experts -- which has the power to choose the supreme leader -- were
all rejected on the grounds they did not have sufficient knowledge
of religious matters.
"Each little step means a great deal and I hope it is not too
long before there is freedom to be ourselves, not to hide ourselves
and our personality behind the chador," said film director Ferial
Behzad.
"We women don't have many voices in our country, so for me,
film-making is one way to get our message across to many people,"
said Behzad, 43, who returned to Iran from the United States in 1980
just after the revolution, intrigued by the change in her country.
Behzad is one of a number of female Iranian film directors whose
work has been screened to critical acclaim abroad despite censorship
at home.
"You can't show people touching, showing their feelings. I
couldn't even show a father hugging his daugher," said the mother of
two.
"Before Khatami's election it was much more difficult to get a
film through, we needed approval for every step of the way. Now it's
much quicker."
But on other fronts, Islamic fundamentalists have come down hard
on several liberal campaigns including a push by Fatemeh's younger
sister Faezeh, a moderate MP and head of the women's Olympics
committee, for greater sports for women.
"Is wearing cosmetics and bicycling in public a dignified status
symbol for women and young girls? the student Islamic Association of
Shahid Beheshit Medical University said.
"Those who intend to turn women into toys are traitors," charged
the student body at Tarbiat Moallem University.
Nevertheless, teenagers gathered around the pizza parlours and
trendy shops at the Golestan Shopping Centre in an upmarket district
of Tehran, expressed desires for simple freedoms.
"There are so many problems in Iran, but for me one of the most
obvious is that a boy and a girl can't even walk down the street
together," said student Aysan, 18. "I hope women can play a role in
lifting such rules."

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:31:55 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran calls for reduction in OPEC oil output

TEHRAN, Dec 7 (AFP) - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar
Zanghaneh called Monday for a reduction in OPEC oil output, as oil
prices continue their downward slide.
"Iran produces according to its OPEC quota, and has respected
the cut in its output," the official news agency IRNA quoted the
minister as saying.
The agency said Zanghaneh wanted a cut of at least 1.5 million
barrels per day (bpd) in OPEC's total output of crude.
Last week's OPEC meeting in Vienna ended with no clear decision
on whether to deepen production cuts or extend existing cuts, which
are valid until June next year.
Respect for OPEC decisions has been uneven, and Gulf oil
producers have accused non-Gulf members of the cartel of exceeding
their agreed quotas.
Iran's call is in line with a demand for cuts made last week by
OPEC's new chairman Yousef Yousfi. But OPEC oil ministers have
postponed a decision until their meeting next March.
The price of benchmark Brent crude oil hit an all-time low last
Monday, tumbling to 10.08 dollars per barrel before making a slight
recovery. Producer countries have seen their stock markets fall, and
several have been obliged to cut budget spending.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:32:24 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Rafsanjani's daughter faces "falsehood" charges in press court

TEHRAN, Dec 7 (AFP) - Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, appeared in court on Monday,
accused of publishing "falsehoods" against a senior police officer
in her women's newspaper.
Hashemi, whose outspoken paper Zan (Woman) has faced a number of
complaints since it began publication, has been accused of printing
lies by implicating the officer of involvement in an attack against
government ministers.
The paper effectively accused police intelligence chief Colonel
Mohammad Naqdi of assaulting government ministers when it quoted
witnesses in September who claimed to have seen him dressed in
plainclothes actively participating in a physical attack on
ministers Abdullah Nouri and Ataollah Mohajerani.
The two ministers, both noted supporters of reformist president
Mohammad Khatami who have aroused much hostility among religious
conservatives here, were attacked by unknown assailants as they left
communal Friday prayers at Tehran university.
Monday's court session first heard the witness mentioned in the
paper, who repeated his claim to have seen the senior officer in the
scuffle.
Naqdi's lawyer in turn presented the court with four witnesses
who insisted the colonel was at home during the incident.
The court may give its verdict as soon as Monday, according to
colleagues of Hashemi.
Faezeh Hashemi, whose father served twice as Iran's
middle-of-the-road president in the 1980s, has increasingly become
associated with reformists backing Khatami.
Her paper Zan is one of the country's more outspoken
publications, criticising policies and social customs discriminating
against women.

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

Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 23:32:31 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khatami blasts opponents of reform in Iran

TEHRAN, Dec 7 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami,
elected last year on promises of ushering in political reforms,
accused "conservative and traditionalist forces" on Monday of
blocking reforms in the Islamic Republic.
"We are facing the three currents of counter-revolution,
traditionalists hostile to progressive religion and revisionists,"
he told an assembly hall packed with some 10,000 student supporters
at Tehran's Sharif University.
"We must try and understand the true face of liberalism, one
that insures social and political liberties, as well as the West and
all its positive values," he said.
"We cannot simply bury our head in the sand," Khatami added as
students applauded enthusiastically.
Khatami vowed that his government was determined to "reestablish
respect for the law" and defend public liberties.
Iran's conservative clerics have repeatedly denounced liberalism
and what they have termed the Western cultural onslaught, considered
a threat to religious values here.
But young people, and students in particular, whose vote along
with that of women was considered crucial to Khatami's landslide
victory in May 1997, are becoming increasingly impatient at the slow
pace of reforms.
"Sixteen months after your election, repression and insecurity
continue, the latest example being the murder of Dariush Foruhar and
his wife," said a student in the question and answer session that
followed the presidential speech, referring to the stabbing murder
of a prominent nationalist opponent and his wife in Tehran
recently.
"For how long are you going to tolerate pressure and
interference from conservatives and pressure groups," asked another,
who said students need "but a signal" to act against "pressure
groups."
There have been a number of clashes here over the past year
between student Khatami supporters and armed groups, sometimes
identified as hardline Islamic militants.
Khatami said he understood "young people's concerns" but asked
them "not to inflate problems."
"We must be realistic and appreciate that there are those who
have sacrificed much for the revolution and during the war with
Iraq.
"Naturally they are quite sensitive today," he said, referring
to thousands of injured war veterans or families of "martyrs" of the
1980-88 war with Iraq.
Sitting on the floor, with girls and boys segregated in
accordance with the country's Islamic laws, students chanted
"Khatami, we love you" and called on the president to assert his
authority at every mention of the world "liberty."
Students also shouted slogans in favour of Iran's popular late
prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq, toppled by a military coup in
1953, and since then the symbol of liberal-democratic aspirations in
Iran.
Islamic authorities here usually ignore Mossadeq, a secular
figure who enjoys great popularity among Iran's middle classes.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Dec 1998 to 7 Dec 1998
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