Date: Dec 12, 1998 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Dec 1998 to 11 Dec 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Dec 1998 to 11 Dec 1998
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There is one message totalling 130 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. BBC: Iran : Islamic Coalition Society attacks broadcast of Khatami remarks


Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 17:13:59 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: BBC: Iran : Islamic Coalition Society attacks broadcast of Khatami

Iran : Islamic Coalition Society attacks broadcast of Khatami remarks

BBC Worldwide Monitoring
Source: IRNA news agency, Tehran, in Persian 1900 gmt 9 Dec 98/BBC Worldwide
Monitoring/(c) BBC

Text of report by the Iranian news agency IRNA

Tehran , 9th December: The secretary-general of the Islamic Coalition Society
[ICS], Mr Habibollah Asgarowladi, has said: President Mohammad Khatami's
reaction in his response to the feeble [ Persian : vahnalud, presumably meant
as insulting] questions [put to him by students] on 17th Azar (7th December)
was inappropriate and the full broadcast of this by the Voice and Vision [
Iranian radio and TV], has caused some concern among religious scholars,
hezbollahis and, in particular, the press.

The ICS, in a communique, quoted Asgarowladi and added: Although the
president's replies seemed appropriate and adequate, they were silent
concerning certain insulting questions.

According to the communique, Asgarowladi, referring to the discussion about
liberalism and fascism in Khatami's statements, has said: Fascism, Marxism and
liberalism are all the outcome of the renaissance and belong to the family of
materialism. He added: To resort to materialism for fear of fascism is
tantamount to seeking help from the wolf against the dog. All the "isms" never
give salvation to human beings. Islam, he said, does not underwrite any "isms"
or tendencies, and has emerged from the test of history successfully.

Referring to civil society, Asgarowladi said: How much better it would have
been had Mr Khatami described the foundations of civil society as based on the
Prophet's city and offered an explanation about its distinguishing aspect
compared to Western civil society.

Asgarowladi, referring to a slogan chanted by a group at the meeting which
said "Hail to [former Prime Minister] Mosaddeq; hail to Khatami" said: This
slogan indicates that a number of nationalists are becoming active who were
spurned by the Imam [Khomeyni] and the nation at the beginning of the
revolution. To attach the name of the president to that of Mosaddeq is being
unkind to the president, who considers himself the Imam's spiritual son. The
Islamic Coalition seriously reproves those who set up the meeting for failing
to respect the position of the president in such programmes.

The communique further quotes the coalition secretary-general as saying: To
pose ambiguous question and the selective nature of those who posed the
questions demonstrate that the programme was being controlled by a particular
group and that it constituted a kind of censorship.

Asgarowladi then referred to the occasion of 16th Azar [7th December] and
said: It would have been better if Mr Khatami had addressed questions posed
in the community concerning the visit to Tehran by an American
political-economic delegation and eliminated the ambiguities [related to the
visit] while condemning American atrocities.

The secretary-general of the Islamic coalition pointed out the government's
economic difficulties and added: It would have been better for this
opportunity to have been used for calling on all students and the beloved
nation to show earnest determination and participate in [resolving] economic

Referring to the behaviour of a number of students during the meeting and
after it, he said: A number of participants reduced the meeting to the level
of a political gathering. Unfortunately, he said, this behaviour resulted in
disrespect towards Mr Khatami who is the president of all the nation.

He added: We say, out of our goodness of heart and our care, that Mr Khatami
is the president of all the nation, not that of only a number of abusers who
insult divine values!.

Asgarowladi said: When the president stresses the need for observing the law
and respecting the constitution as the national pledge, it is unfair that
following the meeting, a group of the invited audience should march in the
streets and chant slogans against the law and the state's lawful
establishments. The slogan "Dissolve the Majlis" smacks of fascism and
dictatorship not of lawfulness and respect for the law!

He added: There is a great deal of difference between conspiracy and scheming
and exchange of ideas and friendly dialogue. We have experienced this
difference once before at the beginning of the revolution. That bitter
experience resulted in the offer to the revolution and the ruling system of
thousands of martyrs.

Answering a question about the `Khordad'daily and the Islamic Iran
Participation Front [Party], he said: We congratulate the arrival of new
newspapers in the arena of the press and hope that they take up their role for
enhancing the culture of the community. It particularly behoves `Khordad' to
strengthen the bond between 2nd Khordad [the date when Khatami was elected
president] and its true root, that is 15th Khordad [5th June 1963, first
uprising during the Shah's rule] and earnestly avoid severing the branch from
its root.

He added: The arrival of the Islamic Iran Participation Front among the
parties can bring great enthusiasm to the country's political atmosphere.
What seems to be important in this issue is that the people expect the papers
and the parties not to use government resources for their expenses. The
respected president must note the point that the experience of government
parties has always been putting a distance between governments and the

Asgarowladi then said: There is this doubt that when 100 of the cabinet
members and their deputies, presidential advisers, governors-general, etc.,
found a party, in practice it means that a governmental party has announced
its formation. The history of Islamic Iran shows that governmental parties
have blocked people's participation.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Dec 1998 to 11 Dec 1998