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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 12 Dec 1998 to 13 Dec 1998
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There are 19 messages totalling 1075 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iranian writers appeal to Khatami for safety
2. Iran's national security body meets over spate of murders
3. Missing Iranian writer found dead
4. Iran to probe killings of dissidents
5. Iranian opposition says conservatives behind abductions, murders
6. Iraqi parliamentary delegation in Iran
7. Iran's caviar exports down 20 percent
8. Iran steps up criticism of "degrading" amendments to PLO Charter
9. Tremors shake Iran, no casualties
10. 140 Iranian MPs urge Khatami to investigate murders
11. Terrorism in Tehran
12. BBC: Iran steps up murder probe
13. fwd: The 1994 Declaration of 134 Iranian Writers
14. SLAYINGS OF IRANIAN DISSIDENTS TIED TO VIOLENT INSTINCTS OF RULING CLERICS
15. Tokyo embassy warns Iranians of dangers of Japanese drug gangs
16. Mystery Murders Shake Iran Reformers (Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh's body
identified)
17. Poet pays fatal price of Iran's power struggle
18. Iran blames killings on foreigners
19. Conservative-led judiciary pledges to probe Tehran murders

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:06:39 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian writers appeal to Khatami for safety

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - About 50 Iranian authors appealed to
President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday to ensure their safety after a
wave of murders of liberal writers and political dissidents in
Iran.
"We wish to call on the chief executive who is responsible for
the safety of citizens to put an end to this offensive situation by
any means possible," the writers said in a letter published in
newspapers.
"Disaster comes after disaster and there is no one to give an
answer," they added. "The heart-breaking murders of authors in
recent months are proof of unbridled violence which is out to
eradicate freedom, destroy public peace and disturb civil society."
They also asked for permission to form an independent writer's
union, the Iran Authors Association, which has until now been
refused to create.
The appeal came as the government paper Iran reported the death
of Iranian writer Mohammad Pouyandeh, who was found strangled to
death on the outskirts of Tehran.
Pouyandeh is the third Iranian writer to have died here in
mysterious and similar circumstances recently, following Mohammad
Mokhtari and Majid Sharif.
The deaths, along with the stabbing murder last month of
nationalist opposition leader Darioush Foruhar and his wife, have
provoked fear among the public.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:06:47 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran's national security body meets over spate of murders

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - Iran's National Security Council has held
an emergency meeting to discuss a spate of suspicious disappearances
and murders of liberal intellectuals in the Islamic republic, the
official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.
The council, Iran's highest political and military
decision-making body, met late Saturday, presided over by President
Mohammad Khatami, it said.
Intelligence Minister Ghorban-Ali Dorrie-Najafabadi and Interior
Minister Abdol-Vahed Musavi-Lari "provided reports on the recent
suspicious deaths and murders."
"The ministries were instructed to seriously and ceaselessly
pursue the issue until final results are achieved," IRNA said.
Three liberal writers and two political dissidents have been
found murdered or dead in mysterious circumstances in the past
month.
The latest Mohammad Pouyandeh, an art critic and translator
active in calls for freedom of expression, was found dead in the
town of Shahriar on the outskirts of Tehran, the government newpaper
Iran said Sunday.
Pouyandeh disappeared on Wednesday, the same day a fellow-member
of the Association of Iranian Writers, Mohammad Mokhtari, was
reported to have been murdered. He was found dead on Saturday.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:07:08 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Missing Iranian writer found dead

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - Iranian writer Mohammad Pouyandeh, an art
critic and translator active in calls for freedom of expression, has
been found dead in the town of Shahriar on the outskirts of Tehran,
the government newpaper Iran said Sunday.
Pouyandeh disappeared on Wednesday, the same day a fellow-member
of the Association of Iranian writers, Mohammad Mokhtari was
reported to have been murdered. He was found dead on Saturday.
The writer is said to have been taken to the morgue as an
unknown person, and his family was summoned to identify him.
Iran reported the victim had been "strangled by a person or
persons who did not remove his watch or gold ring," but took his
identity papers.
Pouyandeh is the third Iranian writer to have died in mysterious
circumstances recently in Tehran, following Mohammad Mokhtari and
Majid Sharif.
Pouyandeh's wife Sediqeh Sahebi had earlier written to President
Mohammad Khatami asking him to use all his resources to find him
"and do everything to help save his life."
Khatami had assured Thursday, "We are investigating to find out
who is trying to say there is no security in our society.
"The enemies of the regime want to show there is no security
here and we must resist this," he said, speaking to a group of
clerics from the Qom seminary.
He also called on the conservative-dominated judiciary and
parliament to help the government maintain security.
"The judiciary must establish the necessary security. The
legislature must adopt the necessary laws. We must all work to
ensure security in the country."
The deaths, along with the murders last month of Daryush and
Parvaneh Foruhar of the secular nationalist movement, have aroused
fears among opposition members that a death squad close to
conservative politicians is on the loose.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:07:26 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran to probe killings of dissidents

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Under pressure to stop the violence
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has ordered police and intelligence
services to step up investigations into a spate of killings and
disappearances.
Four critics of the Iranian government have been found dead in the
past four weeks including two prominent writers. Two other writers,
Piruz Davani and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, are still missing, with
Davani having vanished on Wednesday.
Human rights organizations say the main suspects are Khatami's
hardline political opponents, who have been increasingly resorting to
violence to attack reformers and dissidents.
The body of dissident poet Mohammad Mokhtari was found on Wednesday
dumped on the outskirts of Tehran a week after he vanished. Marks on his
head and neck indicate he may have been strangled, according to the New
York-based organization Human Rights Watch.
Another writer Majid Sharif, who returned to Iran a few years ago,
has also died. Iranian officials said the cause was a heart attack but
dissidents say his death was suspicious.
And last month opposition leader, Dariush Foruhar, and his wife,
Parvaneh, were found stabbed to death in their Tehran home.
Nobody has been charged in any of the incidents, leading to
suspicions the campaign is being backed by powers in the ruling
hierarchy. Police say they have made several arrests in connection with
the killings, but their findings have not been made public.
Khatami gave orders to intensify inquiries into the deaths at a
meeting of Iran's National Security Council. Supporters of the president
fear his hard-line political opponents are launching a new wave of
terror against prominent dissidents in order to discredit the
government.
Human Rights Watch has demanded an investigation into the killings,
saying they are part of an ``increasingly sinister pattern of harassment
and persecution of government critics in Iran.''

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:07:41 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian opposition says conservatives behind abductions, murders

PARIS, Dec 13 (AFP) - Conservative hardliners in Iran are behind
the recent abductions and murders of liberal and left-wing
intellectuals, exiled opposition movements and human rights
activists allege.
Their fears for the safety of moderate proponents of free speech
were enhanced last week with the discovery of the body of writer
Mohammad Moktari and the disappearance of Mohammad Pouyandeh.
Both were active in resuscitating the Association of Iranian
Writers, which has a membership of 134 and has been campaigning for
freedom of expression for 20 years in the face of official
disapproval.
The Paris-based Iranian Committee against Repression and State
Terrorism said the two latest cases brought to five the number of
opposition activists who had died in mysterious circumstances or
been abducted.
Daryush and Parvaneh Foruhar of the secular nationalist movement
were murdered in their Tehran home on November 21 and Majid Sharif,
a sociologist, died on November 25.
Former Iranian president Abolhassan Banisadr, who lives near
Paris, said his personal protection had been stepped up since the
murder of the Foruhars.
"According to our intelligence from Iran there is a hit-list of
60 to 70 people targeted for assassination inside and outside the
country," he told Agence France-Presse.
The murders are the work of a "committee for special operations"
linked to Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with the
aim of smashing the pro-democracy movement, Banisadr alleged.
The targets include the secular left, left-wing Islamists and
nationalists, he said. The intention was also to cut the links
between internal opposition movements and those in exile.
"Inside the regime the hardliners are trying to prevent any move
towards change. At the same time, by isolating the country, they
impose their grip more easily," Banisadr said.
Nasser Etemadi of the Committee against Repression and State
Terrorism said the situation was now critical.
"In Iran those who think they are targetted no longer answer the
telephone, they are hiding," Etemadi said. "Since the murder of
Mokhtari intellectuals and opposition figures are increasingly
afraid."
Etemadi said that merely supporting freedom of expression was
enough. "Pouyandeh and Mokhtari had no political demands," he
added.
He agreed that death squads may have been formed with the
support of Khamenei, the interior ministry and other extreme
conservative elements.
Etemadi said there was an intense conflict between the
supporters of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, who controlled
little, and the conservatives who monopolised political, military
and economic power.
"Khatami has a vital asset, thanks to the popularity he enjoys
in a society which sees in him the guarantor of democracy, while the
extremists see their doom in the desire for liberalisation," he
added.
Etemadi said the blatant nature of the latest killings had
affected Kahtami's credibility, and it was difficult to say how long
he could continue to govern.
The main armed opposition movement, the National Resistance
Movement, has asserted that the recent murders proved the falsity of
recent statements by Khatami on the rule of law.
Khatami has pledged to investigate the incidents, saying, "The
enemies of the regime want to show there is no security here and we
must resist this."
He called on the conservative-dominated judiciary and parliament
to help the government maintain security.
Moderate newspapers on Saturday demanded more action from the
authorities to put an end to the "unsafe" atmosphere.
Senior left-wing cleric Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali branded the
murders "inhuman acts done for the sake of power and money."
Conservative officials and press also condemned the murders, but
blamed them on the enemies of the Islamic regime.
Intelligence Minister Ghorban-Ali Dorrie-Najafabadi accused
"American and Israeli spies of seeking to show Iran is unsafe to
make people pessimistic."

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:07:47 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iraqi parliamentary delegation in Iran

BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (AFP) - An Iraqi parliamentary delegation
arrived in Tehran on Saturday for the first meeting of the
federation of parliaments from Islamic countries, the official INA
news agency said.
The delegation is expected to examine the issue of Iraqi
prisoners of war Baghdad claims are still being held in Iran,
official sources said.
Normalisation of relations between the two nations has been
hampered by the fact that each nation reportedly still holds
prisoners of war from their 1980-1988 conflict.
While Iraq says it has released all Iranian POWs, Tehran says
Baghdad is still holding at least 5,000. Iraq meanwhile accuses Iran
of keeping 20,000 Iraqi troops captive.
Officials from both sides met in Tehran last month and Iranian
officials have pledged to settle the matter by the end of the
Iranian calendar year in March.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:07:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran's caviar exports down 20 percent

TEHRAN, Dec 12 (AFP) - Iran's caviar exports have dropped by 20
percent this year in yet another setback to the country's hard
currency revenues.
Revenues from caviar dropped from 52 million dollars last year
to 42 million dollars, said the head of the Shilat fishery
organisation Khoda-Karam Jalali.
Jalali, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, blamed
declining fish reserves in the Caspian Sea.
He said Shilat had been releasing around 20 million sturgeon fry
into the Caspian each year to replenish supplies.
Iran also plans to cooperate with other Caspian littoral states
to ensure an "organised and scientific" exploitation of fish
resources.
The government strictly regulates sturgeon fishing to protect
the species that provide it with one of its principal sources of
foreign exchange.
But caviar production has dropped consistently in the 1990s as
poaching and oil pollution have taken a toll on the Caspian's
sturgeon population.
Iran currently produces around 130 tonnes of caviar a year,
compared to an average 160 tonnes in 1989.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:08:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran steps up criticism of "degrading" amendments to PLO Charter

TEHRAN, Dec 12 (AFP) - Iran Saturday stepped up its criticism of
the PLO central council for confirming the cancellation of
anti-Israel clauses in the PLO charter, saying it would pave the way
for "Israeli expansionism."
"This will fail to solve the Palestinian question and only
highlights how alien such degrading moves are to the real
aspirations of the Palestinian nation," foreign ministry spokesman
Hamid-Reza Assefi said.
"It rather paves the way for Israel's policies of aggression and
expansionism," he told the official news agency IRNA.
"Israel is seeking to take advantage of the constant retreat by
the Palestinian leadership and solidify its illegitimate rule and
impose itself on the Palestinian scene and also the international
community," Asefi charged.
The PLO's second most senior body voted Thursday to confirm the
cancellation of anti-Israel clauses in the PLO charter, fulfilling
one its obligations under October's US-sponsored Wye River agreement
with Israel.
Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday
called the amendment a "humiliating" move.
"The Americans are pushing the Palestinians back step by step,"
said Rafsanjani, who is now a top adviser to supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. adv-mb/kir

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 14:08:27 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tremors shake Iran, no casualties

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Tremors jolted Iran's northern city of
Tabriz at dawn on Saturday, but there were no reports of casualties or
damage.
A spokesman for the city's geophysics center said the tremors,
ranging between 3.9 and 7.3 on the open-ended Richter scale, shook
different areas east of Tabriz.
Three more aftershocks hit the area later, but they were of lower
intensity, said the spokesman.
Earlier, an earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale shook
Pakistan's northern province of Peshawar, and the aftershocks were felt
in Baghlan, Takhar and Qandour areas in northern Afghanistan.


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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 15:14:27 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: 140 Iranian MPs urge Khatami to investigate murders

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - Around 140 members of Iran's parliament
called on President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday to ensure the arrest
of the killers of several liberal writers and dissidents.
"The cowardly murders, disappearances and suspicious deaths of
innocent citizens, political figures and writers within a short time
shows an extensive plot against the Islamic Republic," the MPs said
in a letter read out in parliament.
"Enemies want to show that insecurity is spreading across our
country," said the letter broadcast on radio.
They accused the People's Mujahedeen, the main armed opposition
group based in Iraq, and foreign intelligence services of "having a
hand" in the spate of murders in Tehran.
"This cowardly plot has been complemented by unprecedented
publicity by foreign media, seeking to undermine security in Iran
and create doubts in public opinion that the government is unable to
ensure the safety of its citizens."
Iranian authorities have come under tremendous pressure to solve
a rash of murders of liberal intellectuals and political dissidents
in the past month.
The government daily Iran said Sunday that the body of the
latest victim, Mohammad Pouyandeh, a writer and translator, had been
found in the southern outskirts of Tehran.
Iran's National Security Council, presided over by Khatami, held
an emergency meeting late Saturday to discuss the killings.
The ministries of intelligence and information have been ordered
to conduct a "ceaseless and serious" investigation into the matter
until final results are achieved."

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 15:59:45 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Terrorism in Tehran

Terrorism in Tehran

Saturday, December 12, 1998; Page A22

AABBAS AMIR-ENTEZAM, former minister and prisoner, arrested on Sept. 8
for denouncing atrocities witnessed during his previous detention.
Dariush Foruhar, prominent Iranian dissident for a half-century, and his
wife, Parvaneh, murdered in Tehran on Nov. 22. Ezzatollah Sahabi,
director of a monthly, condemned on Nov. 23 for "insulting the armed
forces" and publishing "lies about the clerical tribunals." Majid
Sharif, writer, found dead and possibly tortured in a Tehran street on
Nov. 26. Parviz Davani, publisher, vanished without trace in August,
reportedly later found killed. Mohammed Mokhtari, poet, missing since
Dec. 3, found dead in Tehran on Dec. 9. Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh,
dissident writer and campaigner against censorship, listed as
disappeared also on Dec. 9 -- just a few days ago.

This is a short list and does not include the other Iranians whose lives
have been decimated or ended by the heavy hand of the Islamic
revolutionary regime in Iran. Still, the list gives a certain sense of
the real political climate at a moment when many foreigners are
otherwise cautiously but hopefully looking to the effort of Iranian
"moderates," led by the elected president Mohammed Khatemi, to move the
country into reform. It is evident that the forces of the old regime
retain a powerful place and are in a position to use an experienced and
ruthless secret service to wreak vengeance on Iranian citizens who dare
try to exploit the new opening.

Better, the new semi-opening. The elections of spring 1997 made possible
what many found to be an encouraging debate about the direction of
society. A struggle to define the shape and the legacy of the Iranian
revolution has since moved to the center of contemporary politics in
Iran. But what is on the surface an increasingly candid public debate is
below the surface a one-sided contest in which the old guard wields the
physical and bureaucratic instruments of terrorism and control and the
alternative official forces are constrained. As long as the detentions
and murders and disappearances continue, Iran cannot reasonably expect
to find a fair place in the contemporary world.

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 15:52:52 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: BBC: Iran steps up murder probe

Sunday, December 13, 1998 Published at 09:47 GMT

World: Middle East

Iran steps up murder probe

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has ordered the police and
intelligence services to step up investigations into a spate of killings
and disappearances.

Five prominent dissidents have been found dead in the past four weeks -
three of them writers.

The latest body to be found was that of Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh who
vanished on Wednesday. His daughter said he was found strangled on
Thursday near the capital, Tehran.

"None of his belongings had been taken. He still had his watch on," she
said.

Another writer, Piruz Davani, is still missing.

Correspondents say the main suspects are Mr Khatami's hardline political
opponents, who have been increasingly resorting to violence to attack
reformers and dissidents.

The body of dissident poet Mohammad Mokhtari was found on Wednesday
dumped on the outskirts of Tehran a week after he vanished.

Marks on his head and neck indicate he may have been strangled,
according to the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch.

Another writer Majid Sharif, who returned to Iran a few years ago, has
also died. Iranian officials said the cause was a heart attack, but
dissidents say his death is suspicious.

And last month opposition leader, Dariush Foruhar, and his wife,
Parvaneh, were found stabbed to death in their Tehran home.

Sinister pattern

Nobody has been charged in any of the incidents, leading to suspicions
the campaign is being backed by powers in the ruling hierarchy.

Police say they have made several arrests in connection with the
killings, but the findings have not been made public.

Mr Khatami gave orders to intensify inquiries into the deaths at a
meeting of Iran's National Security Council.

Our Iranian affairs analyst Sadeq Sabah says supporters fear his
hard-line political opponents are launching a new wave of terror against
prominent dissidents in order to discredit the government.

Human Rights Watch has demanded an investigation into the killings,
saying they are part of an "increasingly sinister pattern of harassment
and persecution of government critics in Iran''.

Mr Mokhtari and Mr Pouyandeh were among six prominent writers and
secular intellectuals questioned in October by an Islamic revolutionary
court for their activities.

They were resuscitating a writers' association, which has been
campaigning for freedom of expression for 20 years.

Former Iranian president Abolhassan Banisadr, who lives in Paris, told
the AFP news agency the murders were the work of people supportive of
Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"According to our intelligence from Iran there is a hit-list of 60 to 70
people targeted for assassination inside and outside the country," he
said.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 16:04:29 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: fwd: The 1994 Declaration of 134 Iranian Writers

This is how all started 4 years ago /Farhad A.
-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.
The 1994 Declaration of 134 Iranian Writers

October 15, 1994 Tehran, Iran

We are writers...

But problems which have arisen in the contemporary history of our
society as well as other societies have distorted the image of the
writer in the eyes of the state, certain sectors of society and even in
the eyes of the writers themselves. Consequently, the identity of the
writer, the nature of his/her work, and even the collective presence of
writers have all been subjected to undue attack.

It is our duty, therefore, as writes of Iran, to explain the nature of
writing as a cultural enterprise, and the reason for our collective
presence.

We are writers. By this we mean that we write our feelings, imagination,
thoughts and scholarship in various forms and publish them. It is our
natural, social and civil right to see that our writing -- be it poetry
or fiction, drama or film-script, research or criticism, or the
translation of works written by other writers of the world -- reach the
public in a free and unhampered manner. It is not within the capacity of
any person or organization to create obstacles for the publication of
these works, under whatever pretext these may be. Free judgment and
criticism, however, are open for all, after the publication of such
works.

When the struggle against the obstacles of writing and publishing
exceeds our individual power and capacity, there remains no other
alternative for us except to encounter these difficulties in a
collective-professional manner. In other words, in order to achieve
freedom of thought, expression and publication, and in order to campaign
[against] censorship, we have to exert our efforts together. We believe,
therefore, that:

Our collective presence with the aim of creating a professional writers
association in Iran is the guarantee of our individual independence,
because a writer should be free in the creation of his/her work, the
criticism and analysis of works by other writers, and in the expression
of his/her beliefs. His/her cooperation and agreement with the common
problems of all writers do not mean that s/he should be held responsible
for the individual problems of other writers. Similarly, the
responsibility of personal, political and social thoughts and actions of
each writer belong only to that particular writer.

Nevertheless, the writer here is looked upon not because of his
profession as a writer, but because of his alleged association or
assumed connection with parties, groupings, or factions; judgment is
passed upon him/her on the basis of these assumptions. As a result, it
seems that the collective presence of writers in a cultural-professional
organization will be seen as equivalent to membership in a political
party or advocacy of a particular political agenda.

Governments and their dependent institutions and groupings customarily
evaluate a writer's work on the basis of their own bureaucratic
mechanisms and policies. Relying upon these arbitrary tools, they
attribute the collective presence of writers to certain political
tendencies or to internal and external conspiracies. Certain
individuals, institutions and groups related to the government even
exploit these arbitrary interpretations in order to vilify, humiliate,
and threaten writers.

We hereby emphasize that our principal goal is the removal of all
obstacles on the road to freedom of thought, freedom of expression and
freedom of publication; we emphasize that any other interpretations of
our aim would be incorrect and stress that the responsibility for these
misinterpretations lies with those who have wrongly identified our
goals.

The responsibility of any text lies with the person who writes and signs
it freely. Therefore, the responsibility of whatever is written and
signed and published inside or outside Iran, in agreement or
disagreement with us -- the writers of Iran -- lies only with those who
have signed such a writing.

There is no doubt that the right to analyze and evaluate all works of
literature and scholarship is one that all should enjoy; the critical
analysis of works by writers is the prerequisite for the promotion of
national culture. Spying into the private life of a writer as
justification for the criticism of his/her works is tantamount to
intrusion into his/her privacy; condemning a writer on the basis of
their moral and ideological convictions is contrary to the principles of
democracy and the ethics of wri ting. Defending the human and civil
rights of every writer is, under all circumstances, the professional
duty of all writers.

To sum:

Our collective presence is the guarantee of our individual independence;
the private thought and action of one writer has nothing to do with the
assembly of writers: this is what we mean by the democratic outlook of
an independent, professional organizati on.

Although it may seem a tautology, we reiterate: We are writers; look
upon us as writers; consider our collectively as the professional
presence of Iranian writers.

Signed:

Jahangir Afkari, Masood Ahmadi, Shahim Ahmadi, Mashiyyat laiee, Ghazaleh
Alizadeh, Maftoon Amini, Seyyed-Abdollah Anwar, Shiva Arastooee,
Amir-Hossein Aryanpour, Hassan Asghari, Dariush Ashoori, Hooshang
Ashourzadeh, Mohammad Baharloo, Mihan Bahrami, Rez a Baraheni,
Mohammad-Reza Bateni, Simin Behbahani, Bahram Beyzaiee, Bizhan Bijari,
Mohammad Biyabani, Shapour Bonyad, Reza Chaychi, Amir-Hassah Cheheltan,
Simin Daneshvar, Ali-Ashraf Darvishiyan, Khashayar Deyhimi, Mahmoud
Dowlatabadi, Shirin Ebadi, Asgha r Elahi, Soodabeh Fazaeli, Hadi
Ghebraiee, Mehdi Ghebraiee, Koorosh Hamekhani, Khosrow Hamzavi-Tehrani,
Esmail Hemmati, Hooshang Hessami, Ghaffar Hosseini, Ali-Reza Jabbari,
Jahed Jahanshahi, Kamran Jamali, Hashem Javadzadeh, Mohammad
Javaherkalam, Reza J oolaiee, Shapour Jorkesh, Mehrangiz Kar, Manouchehr
Karimzadeh, Medya Kashigar, Bizhan Kelki, Ziyaeddin Khaleqi, Azim
Khalili, Mohammad Khalili, Mohammad-Taqi Khavari, Ali-Asghar
Khobrezadeh, Abootorab Khosravi, Mohammad-Reza Khosravi, Lili Golestan,
Hoos hang Golshiri, Sima Kooban, Jafar Kooshabadi, Mansour Kooshan,
Abdollah Kosari, Shahla Lahiji, Shams Langaroudi, Ahmad Mahmoud, Elham
Mahvizani, Shahriyar Mandanipour, Ali Masoumi, Mohsen Mihandoost, Ahmad
Miralaiee, Jamal Mirsadeqi, Abbas Mokhber, Mohammad Mokhtari, Kiyoumars
Monshizadeh, Shahin Moqarrabin, Hamid Mossadeq, Javad Mojabi, Mohammad
Mohammad-Ali, Mahmou Motaqedi,Keyvan Narimani, Gholam-Hossein
Nasiripour, Jamshid Navaiee, Saroora Nayyeri, Nazenin Nezam-Shahidi,
Siroos Niroo, Mansour Ojie, A zita Qahraman, Mehdi Qarib, Mohammad Qazi,
Changiz Pahlavan, Rooieen Pakbaz, Ali-Reza Panjaiee, Baqer Parham,
Shahrnoush Parsipour, Hassan Pasta, Ahmad Pouri, Hassan Pouyan, Mohammad
Pourandeh, Akbar Radi, Esmail Raha, Ebrahim Rahbar, Nosrat Rahmani, Fari
borz Raiesdana, Morteza Ravandi, Moniroo Ravanipour, Qasem Roubin, Kazem
Sadat-Eskkavari, Abdurrahman Sadriyyeh, Mohammad-Taqi Salehpour, Emran
Salahi, Gholam-Hossein Salemi, Fereshteh Sari, Faraj Sarkuhi, Jalal
Sattari, Sanaz Sehhati, Mohammad-Ali Sepanl ou, Ali-Reza Seyfaddini,
Admad Shamloo, Mohammad Sharifi, Behrouz Tajvar, Admad Tadayyon,
Farzaneh Taheri, Farrokh Tamimi, Goli Taraqqi, Masood Toofan, Mohammad
Vejdani, Hamid Yazdanpanah, Ebrahim Younesi, Abbas Zaryab-Kheiee.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 16:04:20 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: SLAYINGS OF IRANIAN DISSIDENTS TIED TO VIOLENT INSTINCTS OF RULING
CLERICS

SLAYINGS OF IRANIAN DISSIDENTS TIED TO VIOLENT INSTINCTS OF RULING
CLERICS

Associated Press

December 10, 1998

TEHRAN After Dariush Foruhar and his wife were found stabbed to death
under mysterious circumstances, dissidents began to question more openly
a string of slayings of critics of the Iranian government.

A friend found the couple's bloody bodies in their home last month.
Foruhar had been stabbed 15 times in the heart. His wife, Parvaneh, also
was stabbed to death.

There was no sign of burglary, and it appeared to be a professional
killing. Both had been sprayed with an unknown substance, knocking them
out so they couldn't scream for help.

The slayings were chilling in their familiarity: At least nine political
activists whose actions angered Iran's clerical rulers have been killed
over the past decade, many stabbed to death like the Foruhars.

Dissidents and newspapers are beginning to question the spate of
slayings, emboldened by the promise of political freedoms offered by
President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric elected last year.

Others killed include a Tehran University professor, a magazine editor,
a publisher, three Christian priests and two Sunni Muslim preachers who
spoke out against Iran's Shiite Muslim leaders.

The day the Foruhars were buried marked the 10th anniversary of another
killing. Kazem Sami, leader of a liberal Islamic movement, was stabbed
to death at his Tehran office Nov. 26, 1988.

In none of the earlier slayings are the perpetrators known to have been
found or brought to justice.

The latest dissident to disappear is poet and writer Mohammed Mokhtari,
who hasn't been seen since leaving his home last week, the Zan newspaper
of Tehran reported Monday.

Police said they have made several arrests in the slaying of the
Foruhars, after Khatami condemned the killings and ordered an
investigation. But no findings have been made public.

The National Front, an umbrella group that included Foruhar's Iran
Nation Party, noted that the couple's every movement was closely watched
by the intelligence and security agencies.

"Everyone is asking, `How could one or more persons have gone through
this permanent intelligence watch and murdered the Foruhars in cold
blood?"' the group said in a statement.

New York-based Human Rights Watch expressed concern "that the killing of
the Foruhars is part of a longstanding pattern of harassment and
persecution of government critics in Iran."

Parvaneh Foruhar had told Human Rights Watch that she and her husband
feared for their lives.

The political killings have not been limited by Iran's borders. More
than 60 Iranian exiles have been slain while abroad since 1979.

Last year, a German court convicted an Iranian secret agent and three
other men of murdering a dissident in 1992 and said the men carried out
the slayings on orders from Iran's top leaders. The ruling soured
relations between Germany and Iran.

When Khatami was elected, many hoped he would bring genuine change to
Iran, ending the heavy-handed rule of the past 20 years since the
revolution.

But his efforts have been frustrated by powerful conservatives such as
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. As supreme leader, Khamenei has the last word on
all matters.

More and more, Khatami's rivals are using violence to deal with
opponents. Over the past year, vigilantes have attacked dissidents,
liberal newspapers and even a reformist Cabinet minister. They also have
broken up pro-democracy rallies.

None have been arrested, leading to suspicions that they are backed by
powerful clerics like Khamenei and Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of
the judiciary.

Despite Khatami's promises, prominent dissidents continue to be
subjected to arbitrary detention and restrictions on their freedom of
expression.

In November, four journalists from the Tous newspaper, which was ordered
closed for its outspoken views, were freed after a month in jail.

In July, during the corruption scandal surrounding Tehran Mayor
Gholamhossein Karbaschi --a close ally of Khatami--officials who were
arrested along with the mayor said they were tortured at secret prisons
run by the Intelligence Ministry.

Moderates have said that the arrest of Karbaschi, who is appealing his
corruption conviction, was meant to undermine Khatami.

In September, former Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Amir-Entezam was
detained after his public criticism of the treatment of political
prisoners.

Amir-Entezam had been freed in 1996 after 17 years in prison on charges
of spying for the United States.

A year ago, attackers targeted the home of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali
Montazeri, a senior cleric, after he publicly questioned the rule of the
clerics.

Yazdi, the judicial chief, insists there are no political prisoners in
the Islamic republic.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 17:51:02 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tokyo embassy warns Iranians of dangers of Japanese drug gangs

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - Iran's ambassador in Japan warned illegal
Iranian immigrants in Japan Sunday against "falling victim" to
Japanese drug gangs, who may use them to extend their activities
abroad.
"Certain foreigners staying illegally fall victim to these gangs
which use them. Unfortunately this includes young Iranians who come
to Japan for work," ambassador Manuchehr Mottaqi told the official
news agency IRNA in Tokyo.
He said up to 251 Iranians were among hundreds arrested in the
past four years in connection with these gangs.
Thousands of Iranians have emigrated to Japan in recent years,
many illegally, to look for jobs and escape Iran's tough economic
conditions. Many are known to have become involved in criminal
activities, and others have been deported for not having residence
permits.
"We are concerned about unsuitable prison conditions and
mistreatment of prisoners by some of the wardens," Motaqqi said,
adding that Iran has suggested cooperation between Iranian and
Japanese police and Interpol to prevent young Iranians joining mafia
gangs.
International human rights groups such as Amnesty International
have in the past expressed concern over detention conditions for
foreigners in Japan.
An Amnesty report last February said foreigners awaiting
deportation "have suffered arbitrary punishments, humiliation and
beatings at the hands of immigration bureau officials," while at
least two Iranians are said to have died in custody here in the past
five years.
The diplomat warned "addiction, suicide, mental illnesses and
depression caused by long periods in exile are rising among young
people who have come to look for work," and urged Iranians not to
come to Japan unless they have been sent a visa by a reputable
Japanese company assuring their employment.
He urged Iranian families to contact the foreign ministry if
they lose touch with their emigrant relatives for longer than two
months.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 17:49:33 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Mystery Murders Shake Iran Reformers (Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh's body
identified)

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The body of a third Iranian secularist intellectual was
found at the weekend, the latest in a string of mystery deaths that has
exposed President Mohammed Khatami's lack of control over security and law
enforcement.

Family members told Reuters they had identified the body of Mohammad Jafar
Pouyandeh, saying it showed signs he had been strangled. Pouyandeh, a writer
and translator, had been last seen alive leaving his office on December 9.

That same day the body of dissident poet Mohammad Mokhtari was discovered,
and local press reports quoted a relative as saying he, too, had been
strangled.

Dissident Javad Sharif was found dead last week in what friends say were
suspicious circumstances. A fourth intellectual, Pirouz Davani, is missing
and feared dead.

No one has been charged in any of the deaths.

``Last night we got a call from the police station...When we got there the
body had been taken to a morgue in Tehran, but his ring and watch were
there,'' said Pouyandeh's daughter Nazanin.

Family members said the writer had been strangled and dumped by a railway
bridge in a Tehran suburb.

The killings have outraged secularists and prompted western literary
societies, human rights groups and the U.S. State Department to call for
government action.

They have also exposed the relative weakness of the president under Iran's
Islamic system, which gives him little control over law enforcement, and
raised doubts over his ability to protect his supporters from hard-line
forces.

Sunday, 140 Iranian MPs demanded the arrest of the murderers and the
conservative-led judiciary met to discuss the case.

``The kidnapping and murders in recent weeks are obviously aimed at opposing
the realization of a civil society...and defeating the political development
project of Khatami,'' said the pro-reform daily Khordad.

Despite his overwhelming election victory in May, 1997, on promises to
construct a ``civil society,'' Khatami has little real executive power to
back up his reform push against an entrenched opposition.

The intelligence service, police and armed forces report to Iran's supreme
leader, who is generally seen as closer to the president's conservative
critics.

Iranian officials have so far proved powerless to halt the killings. Many
have blamed outside forces and foreign enemies for what they say is a terror
campaign designed to destabilize Iran in general and Khatami's reforms in
particular.

``Behind this saga we can see there are plots and anti-revolutionary
subversive acts and their purpose is nothing but to discourage people and
weaken the regime and strike a blow at the new atmosphere in the Islamic
Republic,'' said the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, run by a
Khatami ally.

In an interview with the reformist Zan newspaper, Deputy Interior Minister
Mostafa Tajzadeh said whatever the source of the killings the danger for
Khatami's liberalization of Iranian society was very real:

``In every society, first priority goes to security. Between security and
any other values, people will definitely choose security.

``That is why they say that after anarchy there must come dictatorship,
because anarchy will make society thirsty for security and people will pay
any price to get that security, even if they lose their legitimate rights
and freedoms.''

In an open letter to the president, a group of Iranian intellectuals
appealed to the president for protection: ``We writers wish to call on the
chief executive, who is in charge of ensuring the safety of all citizens, to
end this horrible situation by any means.''

They also sought permission to resurrect an independent writers'
association, a step viewed as counter-revolutionary by the clerical
establishment. Mokhtari and Pouyandeh had been among six writers summoned in
October to a revolutionary court to answer for such activities.

The writers' appeal mirrored similar pleas last week from pro-reform
students, who used a question-and-answer session with the president to seek
his protection from the bare-knuckle tactics of hard-line pressure groups,
who often disrupt university rallies and meetings.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 20:54:04 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Poet pays fatal price of Iran's power struggle

Poet pays fatal price of Iran's power struggle

By Peter Beaumont Sunday December 13, 1998

No one in Iran will officially acknowledge how or why Mohamed Mokhtari
died. But the family of the leading Iranian poet, who found his body in
a Tehran morgue last week, are certain. The marks on his face suggested
a beating, the marks on his throat strangulation.

His friends and family believe they know why he was killed. He was
caught, they say, in the increasingly vicious feud between President
Khatami's liberalising faction and the Islamic hardliners who oppose
him.

His death has caused international outrage, prompting an open letter
from the novelist Gunter Grass and other German writers. Mokhtari is the
latest casualty of a feud being fought at second hand, its victims those
who have been encouraged by the Khatami faction to campaign for wider
freedoms in a state that next year celebrates the twentieth anniversary
of the Iranian revolution.

Mokhtari was a member of the dissident Writers' Association that was
officially encouraged earlier this year to set up a 'legal'
organisation. Those efforts, however, brought it into conflict in
October with the state prosecutor's office - aligned with hardliners in
Khatami's regime who believe liberal reforms have already gone far
enough. Mokhtari and five other members were called in and told to stop
their campaign.

Since then Mokhtari and Majid Sharif have died in suspicious
circumstances, while a third writer, Jafar Pouyandeh, has disappeared.

Pouyandeh, a 45-year-old author and translator, disappeared after he
left his Tehran office on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the body of
Mokhtari was identified. Another member of the group, Houshang Golshiri,
told the New York Times last week: "We feel this is being done by those
who have information. They have our address, and they know where and
when we leave the house."

Golshiri compared last week's events to what occurred in 1994 after he
and more than 130 members of the writers' association signed a letter
that called for an end to censorship in Iran. Five signatories were
killed or died soon afterward in circumstances that have never been
fully explained.

The apparent attacks on writers are following a pattern set by the
murders of Parvaneh and Darius Forouhar, two leading human rights
campaigners, stabbed to death last month. All can be linked to a feud
between Khatami and hardliners that has turned from farce to violence
after exploding into the open earlier this year when Tehran's popular
mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi - a key ally of Khatami - was arraigned on
corruption charges by the conservative-led judiciary.

Khatami's opponents enjoy a majority in parliament and still control
many centres of power - including the security forces and judiciary -
but they feel increasingly marginalised and are desperate to claw back
lost authority.

The murderous turn of the feud has been observed with horror by human
rights activists in Britain and the United States, including Amnesty
International. "It is a very worrying development and one we are
monitoring with considerable concern," said a spokesman for Amnesty.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 22:49:24 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran blames killings on foreigners

TEHRAN, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A spokesman for Iran's judiciary has blamed
unnamed ``foreigners'' for a recent spate of kidnappings and killings of
prominent Iranian writers that has moved the Iranian President Mohammed
Khatami to order a police investigation.
``There is an organized movement which relies on elements on the
inside to harm the country's security,'' the spokesman, Ali Abbas Fard
(``UH-lee uh-BAHS FAHRD''), told journalists today.
He said every effort would be made by what he called a special
apparatus of the judiciary to restore security.
Four critics of President Khatami's government have been found dead
over the past four weeks, including two prominent writers, Piruz Davani
and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh. They went missing on Wednesday.
Davani is still missing, but Pouyandeh's body was found late Saturday
near Sharyar city, 19 miles (30 km) southwest of the Iranian capital. It
appeared that he had been strangled.
Human rights organizations say the main suspects are Khatami's hard-
line political opponents, who have been increasingly resorting to
violence to attack reformers and dissidents.
The body of dissident poet Mohammad Mokhtari was found Wednesday,
dumped on the outskirts of Tehran a week after he vanished. Marks on his
head and neck indicate he may have been strangled, the New York-based
organization Human Rights Watch reported.
Another writer, Majid Sharif, who returned to Iran a few years ago,
has also died. Iranian officials said the cause was a heart attack, but
dissidents say his death was suspicious.
And last month, opposition leader Dariush Foruhar, and his wife,
Parvaneh, were found stabbed to death in their Tehran home.
Nobody has been charged in any of the incidents, leading to
suspicions the campaign is being backed by powers in the ruling
hierarchy. Police say they have made several arrests in connection with
the killings, but their findings have not been made public.
Earlier today, Khatami ordered police and intelligence officials to
step up their inquiries into the deaths at a meeting of Iran's National
Security Council.

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

Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 22:51:11 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Conservative-led judiciary pledges to probe Tehran murders

TEHRAN, Dec 13 (AFP) - Iran's conservative-led judiciary vowed
on Sunday to fully cooperate with the government of President
Mohammad Khatami to stop the murder of dissident intellectuals.
"Evidence shows that there is a mysterious and organised move
inspired by foreign elements to undermine security and cause anxiety
in the society," judiciary spokesman Ali Abbasifard said.
"The judiciary will fully cooperate with the government and
intelligence, police and security forces to fight this sinister
phenomenon," he told the official news agency IRNA.
Abbasifard said judicial officials held a meeting on Sunday to
discuss the "mysterious murders in Tehran and other issues related
to public security."
Iranian authorities have come under enormous pressure to solve a
spate of kidnappings and killings of dissident intellectuals in
recent months.
On Thursday, Khatami urged the country's parliament and the
judiciary -- both led by his conservative opponents -- to help the
government in putting an end to the violence.
Iranian newspapers reported Sunday that the body of the latest
victim, Mohammad Pouyandeh, a writer and translator, had been found
in the southern outskirts of the capital.
Iran's National Security Council, presided over by Khatami, held
an emergency meeting late Saturday to discuss the killings.
The ministries of intelligence and information have been ordered
to conduct a "ceaseless and serious" investigation into the matter
until final results are achieved."

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 12 Dec 1998 to 13 Dec 1998
***************************************************