Date: Dec 16, 1998 [ 4: 9: 13]

Subject: memorial of Fruhars in London

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 14:24:38 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: fwd: iran beat china again, march into final

thr 025
iran-china-soccer
iran beat china again, march into final
tehran, dec. 16, irna -- iran's national soccer team beat china 1-0
wednesday to guarantee itself a place in the finals of the asian games
in thailand.
iran's forward ali moussavi scored a goal in the 55th minute to
give iran the lead for good, despite a ferocious chinese pressure on
iran's goal in the closing minutes of the game.
iran will next play the winner of thailand-kuwait to take place
later wednesday.
nb/ks
end
::irna 16/12/98 12:50

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 16:30:58 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: FYI:Radicals' Plan to Kill Khatami by Riyadh Alam-al-Din

Radicals' Plan to Kill Khatami by Riyadh Alam-al-Din
Al-Watan Al-Arabi (tr from Arabic)
30 Oct 98, pp 20- 21

London--
It seems that the hard-line current in Tehran will not suffice itself
with cutting President Mohammad Khatami short to prevent him from
turning into Iran's Gorbachev. What we fear today, after more than a
year of Khatami's presidency and after his defeat at the hands of
extremists, is the possible scenario that ends the life of the moderate
president the same way the life of one of his predecessors ended in 1981.
These fears were expressed last week by a Western security official in
the course of commenting on recent developments in the Iranian arena,
specifically the serial of defeat President Khatami's current has been
experiencing. The last such defeat was the exclusion of his group from
the Experts Council elections and Khatami's subsequent failure to control
that council, which is responsible for appointing and dismissing the
revolution guide and bringing him to account.

Before proceeding to current events in Iran, the Western security
official denounced what happened in 1981 and the conflict between the
reformative and a hard-line currents during the early years of the
Islamic revolution. He specifically referred to the post Abo al -Hasan
Bani-Sadr assumed at the time when Raja'i took over the presidency,
Bahonar the cabinet, and the Islamic Republican Party was formed.
Two serious developments took place in succession. The first was the
explosion that rocked the meeting hall of the party leaders and revolutionary
cadres 10 minutes after Khamene'i and Rafsanjani walked out. Some 73
persons were killed in that explosion. The second was the explosion
that destroyed the prime minister's headquarters, killing President Raja'i,
his prime minister, all the cabinet members, and the remaining cadres of the
revolution.

Opening a file he had in his hands, the security official said: We
have serious fears today that history might repeat itself and that
Raja'i's experience would be repeated with Khatami. The official revealed
that the file he held contained frightful details from the most updated
and most serious report coming from Tehran. Al-Watan Al-'Arabi has
read a summary of that report, copies of which were available to Western
and Gulf intelligence organs. The danger lies in the fact that the report
talks
of a conspiracy being hatched, or rather hatched already, by the more
radical quarters in the Iranian hard-line current to get rid of Khatami for
good and rescue the Islamic revolution of that internal threat to its
existence and future. According to the details of the conspiracy, a
clerical center hawzah 'ilmiyah in Qom, known for its absolute support
for the revolution guide and extremist Friday Imam Ayatollah Mushkini,
was the scene of several secret meetings held last September by a
10-man group representing the revolutionary guards, the intelligence,
Hezbollah, and representatives of the guide's office, among them
Ayatollah Mohammad Taskhiri.

The report editors noted that the meetings coincided with a historic
visit the Iranian president paid to New York in the context of
consolidating the moderate dialogue approach he adopts. The Qom meetings
focused specifically on a plan to liquidate President Khatami, as though
a decision to that effect had been taken earlier. The suggested scenario
of the plan leaked to Western capitals. It is identical to that applied in
the assassination of Raja'i and his government, with strong emphasis on
the need to divert suspicion from the internal conflict among the
revolutionary currents and wings and point accusations to Mojahedin-e-Khalq.

According to information available to Western intelligence agencies,
including the agency that prepared the report on Qom meetings, the
radical current, particularly the elements that are more stringent than
Khamen'i himself, has reached the final conviction that Khatami's
continuation in power was bound to pose a permanent threat to the
"Islamic revolution".

The wing is represented by the most extremist mullahs in the guide's
office, such as Mohammad 'Ali Taskhiri, head of international relations;
Mohammad Mohammadi Reshahr, former chief of intelligence; Ayatollah
Ahmad Jannati, member of the Constitution Trustees Council and the supreme
supervisor of "Ansar Hezbollah"; Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, head of the
judicial authority, and a number of clerics. All those believe they are
involved in a bone-breaking battle with the Khatami-led reform current;
a battle that could only end with a victor and vanquished and by one
current eliminating the other. It seems that the team did not suffice itself
with the numerous victories it has accomplished and still accomplishes
against the president's current, although many people believe that they were
about to settle the battle in favor of the radicals. They have so far
succeeded in besieging the president, aborting his opening-up and
reformative attempts, and eliminating his devotees.

From the outset, the hard-line current forced its positions by
tightening its domination on all sensitive decisionmaking centers, from
the army through the police and the judiciary. They forced on the
president an intelligence chief who is loyal to the revolution guide,
Qorban 'Ali Dorri Najaf Qabadi, [name as transliterated]. The hardliners
later succeeded in overthrowing Interior Minister 'Abdallah Nuri,
manhandling him together with Culture and Guidance Miister 'Ataollah
Mohajerani. They brought to trial Tehran Municipal Chief Hussein
Kerbasutshi and handed down a severe sentence against him.
They also dealt blows to the president in the media by closing down
the Jame'a and Tus newspapers.

The hardliners stood up last week to Khatami's new attempt to
open up to the West, particularly Europe, through resolving the
issue of "Salman Rushdie's fatwa." Two days after Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi announced that Tehran would cancel the
financial award on Rushdie's head, the "Khordad 15," supervised
by Ayatollah Hassan Sane'i, raised the award from $2.5 to $2.8.
In the meantime, a student society affiliated with Ansar
Hezbollah donated $330,000 and the inhabitants of an Iranian
village dedicated an additional award including money, a piece of
land, and Persian carpets to Rushdie's killer.

In the same week, the Iranian judiciary confirmed the sentence against
the German national accused of having a sexual affair with an Iranian
woman in a clear attempt to embarrass the president. At the time, the
Constitution Trustees Council was standing up to the pro-Khatami clerics,
depriving them of the right to run in the Experts Council elections on the
pretext that they were "inefficient jurists."

After 15 months of Khatami's ascent to power, the extremists succeeded
in placing obstacles in his way. The growing socioeconomic crisis came
to enhance the frustration of the Iranian masses, who defied the will of
the revolution guide in May 1997 and elected Khatami as president with
a 7 percent edge. From one defeat to another, the number of bettors on
Khatami diminished at both the domestic and international levels. It recently
became apparent to observers that the moderate president was about to
lose the bet to the radical current.

Why then did that current, or rather its most extremist wings, reach
the extent of devising a scheme to assassinate Khatami?
Western sources handling the report on Khatami's liquidation very
seriously refer in their explanation to a number of calculations and
elements that played a central role in conspiring against the Iranian
president to the extent of assassination.
According to information, the extreme hardliners are not comfortable
with the victories they achieved and still achieve. Those mullahs
believe that Khatami's tactic of avoiding a confrontation, failing to show a
response, and appearing submissive in many cases does not mean his
admission that he lost the battle. They believe that nothing
practically indicates that he would go back on his ideas or plans.
Members of this current are convinced that the president still has
an important card, represented in the people who elected him,
particularly young people and women. These people are still backing
him and are fully prepared to take to the streets to defend him.

According to the Western sources, the more serious motive that
prompted the radicals to devise a plan to get rid of Khatami is based on
information, calculations and developments that emerged in recent time.
It seems that the radical groups obtained information affirming that
Khatami was getting ready for a response. This information said that
he worked out a plan with his aides to use certain serious developments
and situations to control the situation and strike at Hezbollah and his
opponents in the revolutionary guard and do away with the hard-line
current.

It has been learned that the plan relies on the masses and on popular
demonstrations similar to those staged during the time of the shah. The
masses would stand up peacefully to the revolutionary guards, whose
majority might take the side of the people. It is known that many
revolutionary guards voted for Khatami in the last elections. Reports
indicate that the president's current obtained reassurances by
revolutionary guard officers that they would declare allegiance should
a popular uprising develop. With the heated competition in the Experts
Council elections, hardliners feared that Khatami might be chosen for
the zero hour at that "ideal" moment for standing up to the revolution
guide and his powers.

It was noticed that the secret meetings in Qom coincided with
intelligence reports indicating secret preparations in the president's
circles to confront the hardliners' scheme to preclude the moderates
domination of the Experts Council. This would open the way for
electing the revolution guide. Those acquainted with the scheme to
liquidate Khatami affirm that the hard-line current built its plan on the
ground. A confrontation was expected in the next few months, which
would see very serious developments that might pave the way for the
moderates to pounce on the radicals, take control of the country and
forge ahead with the "Second Islamic Republic" project. According to
informed sources, these developments would be associated with
Khamene'i's deteriorating health condition and his possible physical
disappearance from the arena because of his illness or death.

The radicals would in that case find extreme difficulty in preventing the
president from pursuing his plan. Informed circles affirm that
Khamene'i's health deteriorated noticeably in the past few months
because of a serious illness that causes exhaustion and fainting fits
and compels him to cut down his activity and keep a low profile.

Sources informed with the goings on in the revolution
guide's office noticed in the past few weeks that the extremist team
intensified its campaign against the president whenever the guide's
health deteriorated. It was noticed that the conflict piped down whenever
the guide was well enough to intervene. But the same sources affirm
that the guide's health is likely to deteriorate further in the coming stage,
something the radicals fear the most. They have, therefore, sought
to settle the issue in the guide's lifetime by taking Khatami's life before
illness takes the life of Khamene'i and his current. Hence, analysts in
security and political agencies are carefully monitoring every move the
guide takes and every report on his health in preparation for the
"Zero hour" for the huge explosion that would rock Tehran and do
away with Khatami and his government in the same way Raja'i and his
ministers were exterminated. Some of these people wager that 1998
will be a decisive year in Tehran.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:52:39 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Some 50 French writers ask for protection of Iranian writers

PARIS, Dec 16 (AFP) - Some 50 French writers Wednesday sent a
petition to Tehran demanding protection for Iranian writers
following the deaths in the last weeks of three writers and
dissidents in the Islamic Republic.
"We solemnly call on President (Mohammad) Khatami to do
everything necessary to protect the lives of Iranian writers,
currently under threat, and we call on writers' organisations
worldwide to show solidarity with their Iranian colleagues," the
petition said.
Two Iranian writers, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh,
were found dead, apparently strangled, at a few days' interval in
early December.
Another writer, Majid Sharif was found dead after missing for a
few days. According to a coroner's report, he died of a heart
attack.
The recent wave of murders began last month with the stabbing to
death of nationalist opposition leader Dariush Foruhar and his wife,
Parvaneh, in their home in Tehran.
The French petition included the signatures of Dominque Desanti,
Claire Paulhan and Bernard Pingaud.
Earlier Wednesday, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar
Nateq-Nuri blamed "foreign mercenaries" for the murders.
"This is a new plot carried out by foreign mercenaries aimed at
sowing insecurity in the country and discord within the regime
between different factions," Nateq-Nuri said in parliament.
Iran's judiciary, which has already announced the arrests of a
number of unidentified suspects, also claimed Tuesday that the
killings were the work of a "murder network located abroad."
Iran's senior leaders, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khatami and
former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, have all denounced the
murders and pledged the government will find the culprits.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:52:50 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran rejects Azerbaijani objections to Caspian exploration

TEHRAN, Dec 16 (AFP) - Iran rejected Wednesday objections from
Azerbaijan concerning an oil exploration deal signed with
Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch/Shell and British energy company
Lasmo.
The Azerbaijani objections to the agreement to conduct oil
exploration in the Caspian sea region "have no legal basis," foreign
ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
"It is surprising that the Azeri authorities are unaware of the
1921 Russo-Iranian Friendship Treaty and the 1940 navigation treaty
between Iran and Russia," he added, quoted by the official news
agency IRNA.
"In these two documents, which are in force until the conclusion
of new treaties, there is no question of either dividing or
demarcating the Caspian sea, nor is there any document on the
subject," he added.
Under last Monday's agreement, Royal Dutch/Shell and Lasmo will
carry out oil exploration in the world's largest inland sea over 18
months.
According to IRNA, the agreement with the state-owned National
Iranian Oil Company involves an investment of 19.8 million dollars.
IRNA added that the project will involve a two-part seismic
study covering 10,000 square kilometres (4,000 square miles) of
unexplored waters in Iran's sector of the Caspian.
According to Lasmo, British Petroleum also had an option to join
the venture at a later date, should its directors approve.
Baku issued a statement last Thursday, before the deal was
sealed, saying that Iran had included portions of Azerbaijan's
sector in the Caspian sea, which the government considered
"unlawful" and "unjustified."
"Azerbaijan ... believes that the unilateral, unjustified act by
Iran undermines positive tendencies noted in talks over the
Caspian's status, and could negatively affect the spirit of
cooperation in the region," the Azeri foreign ministry said.
The five Caspian littoral states -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia,
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan -- have been locked in a dispute on how
to divide the sea's riches, including billions of tonnes of
estimated oil reserves.
Iran supports the division of resources within the framework of
a new legal regime for the sea, but maintains past treaties remain
in forces until this has been concluded.
The deal is important to Iran, a country deriving over 80
percent of its revenues from oil sales, which has condemned American
attempts to prevent foreign investment in its oil industry.
The United States, accusing Iran of sponsoring world terrorism,
imposed a unilateral economic embargo on the Islamic republic in
1995 and its Iran-Libya Sanctions Act threatens economic reprisals
against any company investing more than 20 million dollars in the
Iranian oil industry.
The investment by Shell and Lasmo is just below the threshold
set by the US sanctions regime.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:53:04 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian speaker accuses "foreign mercenaries" of murders

TEHRAN, Dec 16 (AFP) - Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar
Nateq-Nuri blamed "foreign mercenaries" Wednesday for a recent wave
of murders of writers and dissidents in the Islamic Republic.
"This is a new plot carried out by foreign mercenaries aimed at
sowing insecurity in the country and discord within the regime
between different factions," Nateq-Nuri said in parliament, in a
session broadcast on radio.
Parliament is "determined the follow up the matter" he said,
calling on the interior and intelligence ministries "to work to find
and arrest those responsible."
Two Iranian writers, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh,
were found dead, apparently strangled, at a few days' interval in
early December.
Another writer, Majid Sharif was found dead after missing for a
few days. According to a coroner's report, he died of a heart
attack.
The murders began last month with the stabbing to death of
nationalist opposition leader Dariush Foruhar and his wife,
Parvaneh, in their home in Tehran.
Claiming the wave of murders had been "organised from abroad,"
Nateq-Nuri called on the regime's political factions to be
"vigilant."
"It is a very dangerous plot that aims at our security and
national interests," he said, adding that it was designed to "show
the regime is incapable of ensuring the safety of its citizens and
providing an excuse for interference in our business."
Iran's judiciary, which has already announced the arrests of a
number of unidentified suspects, also claimed on Tuesday that the
killings were the work of a "murder network located abroad."
Judiciary spokesman Fotowat Nassiri Savadkuhi said Monday that
those arrested were also implicated in the August slaying of former
prison chief Assadollah Lajevardi.
That attack was claimed by the main armed Iranian opposition
group, the People's Mujahedeen, based in Iraq, but the group has
staunchly denied any link with the latest killings.
Iran's senior leaders, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President
Mohammad Khatami and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, have
all denounced the murders and pledged the government will find the
culprits.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:53:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran: Halt oil production

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Iran has called on Muslim member
countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, to
stop selling its oil products for one month in an attempt to halt the
fall of oil prices.
Iran's Minister of Industry and Trade Gholan Rida Shafei, who is
visiting Amman to attend the meetings of the Joint Jordanian-Iranian
Committee, said the oil countries are suffering from economic pressure
and budget problems due to the fall of the oil prices and decreased
revenues.
Shafei called for lifting the embargo imposed on Iraq by the United
Nations to punish it for its invasion of neighboring Kuwait on August
1990, saying the Iraqi people have turned into ``victims of
conspiracies.''


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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:54:00 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran Arms Dealer Sentenced 5 Years

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge sentenced an international
arms broker to five years in prison and fined him $125,000 for
developing a ``shameful'' scheme to sell F-14 jet parts to Iran.
Parviz Lavi, 62, threatened national security with his actions,
Judge Rebecca Beach Smith said Tuesday.
``You have been the architect of the majority of your problems
even after you pleaded guilty,'' the judge said, noting that Lavi
failed to fully cooperate with authorities investigating the
scheme.
Lavi, who received the maximum sentence, also will have three
years of probation after he leaves prison.
A New York-based Iranian native who became a U.S. citizen, Lavi
pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the federal Arms Export
Control Act. Authorities said he led a scheme to buy the
American-made parts and sell them for use in Iran's fleet of 79 of
the aging fighter jets.
Export of the parts requires a license, and the federal
government has not granted such licenses for sales to Iran since
that country's revolution in 1979. Iran bought the jets from the
United States before then.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors played excerpts from
recorded telephone conversations in which Lavi arranged to buy
samples of F-14 engine parts from a government informant.
Thomas Radermacher, a U.S. Customs agent, testified that
investigators found that Lavi intended to pay $25,000 for the parts
and sell them for $115,000.
Two other men also have been convicted in the scheme.
Tony Zar, a former Lavi employee who cooperated with
investigators, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in
October to three years probation.
Robert Cassidy, a Houston businessman who also used to work for
Lavi, was convicted of conspiracy and is to be sentenced Jan. 8.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:54:14 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: EU in guarded comment over deaths of Iranian writers

BRUSSELS, Dec 15 (AFP) - The European Union on Tuesday called on
Iran to guarantee the safety of writers and intellectuals following
a recent spate of killings.
In a carefully-worded communique issued by its Austrian
Presidency, the EU said it acknowledged that the Iranian authorities
were attempting to guarantee freedom of speech.
"Despite these improvements, the Union is concerned about recent
signs of intimidation of writers and intellectuals in Iran," the
statement said.
The EU was particularly concerned about the recent deaths of
three Iranian writers, Mohammad Mokthari, Majid Sharif and
Mohammed-Jafar Pouyandeh, the disappearance of Pirouz Davan and the
murder of secular opposition leader Daryush Foruhar and his wife
Parvaneh Eskandari.
While recognising the Iranian government's commitment to
investigating the killings, the EU also urged the authorities in
Tehran to "guarantee the freedom of speech and the safety of Iranian
writers and intellectuals."
Political moderates in Iran see the killings as an attempt to
destabilise the government of President Mohammad Khatami, who has
promoted greater openness in Iranian society and better relations
between the Islamic Republic and the west.
Iranian officials on Tuesday blamed a foreign network for the
murders and said a number of suspects have been arrested.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:05 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran, Iraq to exchange more prisoners from 1980-88 war

TEHRAN, Dec 15 (AFP) - Iran and Iraq will exchange an
unspecified number of prisoners on their border on Wednesday in the
presence of Red Cross representatives and military officials, Radio
Tehran said Tuesday.
The prisoner exchange is part of an agreement concluded during
bilateral talks last month in Tehran on prisoners from the 1980-1988
Iran-Iraq war.
The issue of POWs and missing in action is one of the main
impediments to the normalization of ties between Iran and Iraq,
which attacked its neighbor in 1980, triggering an eight-year war.
The two countries still have not signed a peace treaty but have
been trying to settle their differences over POWs.
Baghdad has said it has released all the Iranian prisoners it
held, but Tehran maintains that at least 5,000 of its troops are
still in Iraq.
According to Baghdad, 20,000 Iraqis are in Iranian prisons.
The two sides regularly exchange the remains of soldiers killed
during the war, and more than 40,000 corpses of fighters have been
found since the war ended.
Some 300,000 Iranians died and more than 500,000 others were
wounded in the war, of which 380,000 remain disabled, according to
Tehran.
Last April 13, General Abdollah Najafi, former Iranian infantry
commander and chief of the Iranian POWs committee, said the
prisoners problem "will be settled during the Iranian year 1377,"
which ends in March.
The file should be closed before Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharazi's visit to Iraq, for which a date has not yet been set,
observers in Iran said.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:54:58 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran police arrest "depraved" revellers in holy Shiite city

TEHRAN, Dec 15 (AFP) - Iranian police arrested a group of
revellers for "depraved" behaviour at a dance party in the holy
Shiite Moslem city of Mashhad, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The 24 young people, some of them women wearing make-up but not
the obligatory Islamic covering, faced a lashing after being
discovered drinking alcohol at the party, but the sentence was
suspended, according to conservative newspaper Qods.
Police also discovered playing cards, alcohol, musical
instruments and drugs in the apartment, whose owner has been
detained, it said.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, unmarried men and women
cannot have contact in public and alcohol is banned.


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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:29 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran arrests suspects over murders of writers and dissidents

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Iranian security forces have arrested
several suspects in connection with a wave of deadly attacks against
Iranian writers and political dissidents, a judicial spokesman said
on Monday.
The arrests follow pledges by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami that they would do
everything possible to halt the killing spree.
Judicial spokesman Nassiri Savadkuhi told state television that
those arrested "were part of a network involved in the recent
killings as well as the murder of (former prison chief Assadollah)
Lajevardi."
"More arrests will follow and the public will be informed soon,"
he said, but gave no details about the number of suspects or when
they were arrested.
Three secular Iranian writers who laboured for freedom of
expression under the Islamic regime have been kidnapped in the past
month and later turned up dead.
Two of them -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh -- were
confirmed to have been murdered, while the third, Majid Sharif, is
said to have died of a heart attack.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home.
The former prison chief Lajevardi was gunned down in Tehran in
August in an attack claimed by the country's leading armed
opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen.
In his first public comments on the attacks, Khamenei on Monday
blamed "enemy plots."
"The murder of citizens, whoever they might be, is a crime
against the country's national security," state television quoted
him as telling a group of clerics.
"The enemy wants to show this country is unsafe and that the
authorities are unable to deal with it," he said. "These murders are
complementing other plots against Iran by the great arrogance," a
name used here to describe the United States.
The violence is unprecedented since the early years following
the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and newspapers and political moderates
said it appeared to be part of a deliberate effort to destabilise
Khatami's reformist government.
Khatami himself said in a statement: "These horrible crimes have
targetted not only our citizens, but also the prestige and authority
of the Islamic regime."
The United States said the killings pointed to a campaign
intended to suppress freedom of expression and urged the Iranian
leadership to protect the lives of all Iranian citizens, including
writers and other voices of dissent.
"Forces in Iran are clearly attempting to stifle free expression
and undermine the rule of law by way of brutal killings," said State
Department deputy spokesman James Foley.
The Servants of Construction, a moderate group that backs the
president, issued a statement claiming that the murders "portend the
emergence of an organised establishment which aims to undermine
public trust in and weaken Khatami's government."
"Enough Talk, Arrest the Killers," said a headline in the
moderate Zan daily.
Pro-Khatami students plan to hold a gathering on Tuesday to
protest the failure of the security forces and the judiciary to
solve the case.
Conservative officials have also pressed for results, but have
already blamed foreign secret services and the armed Iranian
opposition for the wave of violence.
"The killings are plotted by the enemies to blame them on
domestic political groups," said MP Mohammad-Reza Bahonar.
But Jahan-e-Islami, a left-leaning pro-Khatami newspaper, said
intelligence officials had ruled out a foreign role in the rash of
killings.
The campaign of violence has received unprecedented press
coverage, which has led to enormous pressure on the authorities to
speed up the probe.
People in the street interviewed by Zan expressed dismay at the
slow pace of the investigation and voiced concern over their
safety.
"I don't see the government acting firmly. It is really
incapable of enforcing calm and security in the country," said one
Tehran resident.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:22 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Paper run by Rafsanjani's daughter fined, suspended for two weeks

TEHRAN, Dec 15 (AFP) - A newspaper run by the daughter of former
Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been fined and
suspended from publishing for two weeks for printing "defamatory"
material, newspapers said Tuesday.
Zan (Woman), an outspoken daily run by Faezeh Hashemi, was
convicted last week of printing "false and defamatory" information
concerning a senior police officer who it implicated in an assault
against government ministers.
Newspapers reported Tuesday that Zan had been suspended from
publishing for two weeks, ordered to pay a two million rial fine
(500 dollars at the official exchange rate), and print the court
verdict in full.
The paper had 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 are both noted supporters of reformist
president Mohammad Khatami and have aroused much hostility among
conservatives here. They were attacked by unknown assailants as they
left communal Friday prayers at Tehran University.
The court heard the paper's witness, who reaffirmed his claim to
have seen the officer involved in the scuffle, as well as four other
witnesses who insisted Naqdi was at home that day.
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: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Thousands attend funeral for slain Iranian writer

TEHRAN, Dec 15 (AFP) - About 5,000 people attended the funeral
Tuesday of Iranian writer and poet Mohammad Mokhtari, one of several
dissidents and authors slain in a suspicious killing spree that has
alarmed the nation.
Mokhtari's coffin, covered in red flowers, was carried through
crowds of relatives, friends, artists and writers that joined the
funeral procession in the capital.
Mourners gathered outside the Al Nabi mosque near Tehran
university, where a service was held in memory of Mokhtari before
his body was taken for burial to Mehrshahr, near the town of Karaj
west of Tehran.
Placing a pen in his coffin as it was being put in the funeral
car, Mokhtari's widow, Maryam said: "I always told him not to go out
without his weapon."
The family of Mohammad Pouyandeh, a writer and translator who
was also found dead last week in similar suspicious circumstances,
were among the mourners.
Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were among three secular Iranian writers
who battled for freedom of expression under the Islamic regime and
had been kidnapped in the past month and later turned up dead.
Iranian officials on Tuesday blamed a foreign network for
murders and said a number of suspects have been arrested.
"The murder network is located abroad," judicial spokesman
Fotowat Nassiri Savadkuhi told the official IRNA news agency.
This was echoed by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who
described the murders as "a plot by the enemies of the Islamic
regime."
"The enemy is aiming at our security," said the current head of
the powerful State Expediency Council. "These murders will have a
negative effect on our image and security."
Savadkuhi told state television on Monday that Iranian security
forces had arrested a number of people in connection with the
murders who were also implicated in the August slaying of former
prison chief Assadollah Lajevardi.
That attack was claimed by the the main Iranian armed opposition
group, the People's Mujahedeen, which is based in Iraq. The People's
Mujahedeen has strongly denied any link to the latest killings.
"More arrests will follow and the public will be informed soon,"
Savadkuhi said, but gave no details about the number of suspects or
when they were arrested.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home.
According to Iranian newspapers, Pouyandeh and Mokhtari had
planned along with several other writers to form a writer's
association. But they were recently summoned to the justice ministry
and informed their venture was illegal.
Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were confirmed to have been murdered,
while a third author who had been abducted in mysterious
circumstances, Majid Sharif, died of a heart attack, according to
the coroner's report.
The arrest announcement followed pledges by Iran's supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami that
they would do everything possible to halt the murders.
In his first public comments on the attacks on Monday, Khamenei
blamed "enemy plots."
"These murders are complementing other plots against Iran by the
great arrogance," Khamenei said, using a term used to describe the
United States.
The violence is unprecedented since the early years following
the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and newspapers and political moderates
say it appears to be part of a deliberate effort to destabilise
Khatami's reformist government.
The killings come amid a fierce campaign by hardline
conservatives to halt the process of political openness launched by
Khatami after his election in 1997.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: US condemns murders of Iranian writers

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (AFP) - The United States condemned Monday
the murders of three dissident writers in Iran, saying that the
killings pointed to a campaign intended to stifle freedom of
expression.
The State Department noted that the Iranian government has a
responsiblity to protect those who peacefully express their views,
but said it had no information suggesting that the authorities were
behind the murders.
"Forces in Iran are clearly attempting to stifle free expression
and undermine the rule of law by way of brutal killings," said State
Department deputy spokesman James Foley.
The violence targeted "those who perhaps differ from the views
of the authorities or those who merely express themselves, be they
poets or intellectuals or political figures," he added.
The three secular Iranian writers who laboured for freedom of
expression in the Islamic regime were kidnapped in the past month
and later turned up dead.
Two of them -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh -- were
confirmed to have been murdered, while the third, Majid Sharif, is
said to have died of a heart attack.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home by unidentified intruders.
"The United States strongly condemns these killings," said
Foley.
"We urge the Iranian leadership to protect the lives of all
Iranian citizens, including writers and other voices of dissent, and
to preserve the rule of law," he added.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:40 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran arrests suspects over dissident killings

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Iran has arrested a number of people
suspected of involvement in the recent killings of Iranian writers
and political dissidents, a spokesman for the judiciary said on
Monday.
"They were part of a network involved in the recent killings as
well as the murder of (former prison chief Assadollah) Lajevardi,"
spokesman Nassiri Savadkuhi said on state television.
"More arrests will follow and the public will be informed soon,"
he said, but gave no further details about the number of suspects or
when they were arrested.
Three secular Iranian writers who laboured for freedom of
expression in the Islamic regime have been kidnapped in the past
month and later turned up dead.
Two of them -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh -- were
confirmed to have been murdered, while the third, Majid Sharif, is
said to have died of a heart attack.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home by unidentified intruders.
Lajevardi was gunned down in Tehran in August in an attack
claimed by the country's leading armed opposition group, the
People's Mujahedeen.
Earlier Monday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
blamed "enemy plots" and vowed to do everything possible to halt the
wave of deadly attacks.
The violence is unprecedented since the early years after the
1979 Islamic Revolution, and newspapers and political moderates said
Monday the killings appeared to be part of a deliberate effort to
destabilise the government of reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:55:06 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran denies sheltering Kurdish rebels

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman
has denied claims by Kurdish leader Abdallah Ocalan (``oh-shah-lahn''),
who is under house arrest in Italy, that his Kurdish Workers Party has
moved its bases from Turkey to Iran.
Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters that Ocalan's claims are ``baseless''
and affirmed that the Kurdish Workers Party, which is waging a
separatist war against Turkey, ``has never had any bases inside the
Iranian territories even in the past.''
Ocalan said in an interview with the Arabic-language London-based Al
Hayat newspaper on Monday that his group has ``bases in northern Iraq
and in Iran after our camps were closed in Syria and Lebanon.''
Last November, Iran and Turkey signed a cooperation accord to combat
terrorism. They pledged not to provide launching bases for ``enemy
terrorists'' targeting both countries.
Iran has earlier also denied accusations that it has given shelter to
Ocalan's brother, Othman Ocalan.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:56:26 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: US claims pattern in killings

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The recent killings of five Iranian
dissidents indicates a power struggle between moderates in the
government of President Mohammad Khatami and those who want to limit the
free expression that has been encouraged by his reform-minded policies,
U.S. officials say.
State Department spokesman James Foley declined to outright accuse
any element of the Iranian government, in which power over security,
foreign affairs and intelligence is the sole domain of the
fundamentalist mullahs who sit on the Revolutionary Command Council.
But he praised Khatami, who was elected this year on promises of
greater personal freedoms for the average Iranian, for condemning the
grisly killings and vowing to apprehend the culprits.
``These incidents have begun to add up, and point to a pattern of
violence and intimidation against those who perhaps differ from the
views of the authorities or those who merely express themselves, be they
poets or intellectuals or political figures,'' Foley said. ``This trend
certainly goes counter to the promise and the opening that was evoked
upon the election of President Khatami.''
The bodies of dissident literary figures Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh,
Javad Sharif and Mohammad Mokhtari were discovered over the past month
with signs they had been strangled. The mangled corpses of opposition
figures Dariush Forouhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were found during late
November.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused unnamed
``enemies'' today of engineering unrest that led to the killings and
hinted that the United States may have been indirectly involved, a
charge Foley labeled as ``patently absurd.''
Foley said the United States, which cut diplomatic relations with
Iran after the Islamic revolution of 1979 resulted in the sacking of the
American Embassy and subsequent 444-day hostage crisis, has no firm
information on who may be responsible for the killings.
But other American officials involved in the analysis of events in
Iran, speaking under conditions of anonymity, told United Press
International the killings appeared to be an effort to undermine the
rule of Khatami. The president might lose support if those who elected
him felt less secure under his rule, they said.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:57:01 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian president vows to halt wave of death against writers,
dissidents

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami vowed
on Monday to halt a "horrible" wave of deadly attacks against
writers and dissidents amid mounting public pressure to solve the
crimes.
"These horrible crimes have targetted not only our citizens, but
also the prestige and authority of the Islamic regime," Khatami said
in a statement issued by his office.
"The president is obsessed with the recent murders and he has
taken many steps to identify and eradicate these organized crimes,"
the statement added.
"The president reaffirms his commitment to defend the legitimate
rights of citizens and protect their lives," it said.
"Using all his powers and showing no laxity, he will continue on
this path until the goal is achieved."
Three secular writers have been kidnapped in the past month and
later turned up dead.
Two of them -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh -- were
confirmed to have been murdered, while the third, Majid Sharif, is
said to have died of a heart attack.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home by unidentified intruders.
Khatami, who also heads the National Security Council -- Iran's
highest political, security and military decision-making body --
said he had set up a special security-judicial committee to
"seriously pursue the matter."
"This committee is cooperating and coordinating with all
security and police organs and it will soon inform the public on the
results of the investigations," the statement added.
The president gave his condolences to the families of the
victims and urged people to be "present and alert on the political
scene, repudiate violence and help the strenghten the rule of law."
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is in command
of the armed forces, issued a stern order to the security forces on
Monday to arrest those behind a recent wave of killings.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:57:10 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian supreme leader orders arrest of killers of writers

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei issued a stern order to the security forces on Monday to
arrest those behind a recent wave of killings of Iranian writers and
political dissidents.
"The murder of citizens, whoever they might be, is a crime
against the country's national security," Khamenei told a group of
clerics.
"The ministers of intelligence and interior as well as the
judiciary must seriously pursue the case. There is no doubt that the
role of the enemy will be exposed in the recent events," state
television quoted him as saying.
Three secular writers have been kidnapped in the past month and
have turned up dead.
Two of them -- Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh -- were
confirmed to have been murdered, while the third, Majid Sharif, is
said to have died of a heart attack.
Last month, secular nationalist opposition leader Daryush
Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, were stabbed to death at their
Tehran home by unidentified intruders.
Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran and the commander of the
armed forces, blamed "enemy plots" for the recent wave of killings.
"The enemy wants to show this country is unsafe and that the
authorities are unable to deal with it," he said. "These murders are
complementing other plots against Iran by the great arrogance," a
name used here to describe the United States.
The authorities have come under growing public pressure to
produce results in their investigation into the wave of violence,
unprecedented since the early years after the 1979 Islamic
Revolution.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:56:36 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran signs deal with Shell, Lasmo on Caspian oil exploration

TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Iran clinched a deal on Monday with two
international oil companies to explore the Caspian Sea despite US
efforts to block the Islamic republic's involvement in tapping the
sea's vast energy resources.
Under the agreement, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell and
British energy company Lasmo will carry out oil exploration in the
world's largest inland sea over 18 months, the official Iranian news
agency IRNA reported.
It said the agreement with the state-owned National Iranian Oil
Company involves an investment of 19.8 million dollars.
"The figure is just below the threshold set by the US under its
extra-territorial sanctions regime, even though it is not expected
to be implemented following the granting of previous waivers," IRNA
said.
The United States, accusing Iran of sponsoring world terrorism,
imposed a unilateral economic embargo on the republic in 1995 and
its Iran-Libya Sanctions Act threatens economic reprisals against
any company investing more than 20 million dollars in those
countries' oil industries.
However, French energy giant Total escaped punitive US action
after it signed a two billion dollar deal last year to develop the
South Pars field in the Gulf.
The United States has also infuriated Iran by trying to exclude
it from international deals to develop the Caspian region's
hydro-carbon reserves and to bypass exports of oil and gas to the
world market.
The energy reserves of the Caspian of between 12 and 15 billion
tonnes are considered to be the third largest in the world after
those of the Gulf and Siberia.
Iran, which earns 80 percent of its hard currency from oil,
shares the Caspian resources with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and
Turkmenistan, but they are locked in a dispute on how to divide the
sea's riches.
And on Thursday, Azerbaijan protested at the deal even before it
had been signed, saying it covered exploration in waters Baku
considers part of its territory.
"Azerbaijan ... believes that the unilateral, unjustified act by
Iran undermines positive tendencies noted in talks over the
Caspian's status, and could negatively affect the spirit of
cooperation in the region," the foreign ministry said.
While modest, the deal is symbolic in that it marks the return
by British companies to Iran's oil industry after a near-absence of
almost 20 years.
"The study programme represents a major strategic entry into the
Iranian Caspian for Lasmo," the company's new business director
Chris Wright said in a statement issued in London.
"We will be looking at this agreement as a base on which to
build further interests in the Iranian upstream sector," he said.
A Shell spokesman said that it had a representive bureau in
Tehran since 1993 with activities in the chemicals sector, adding
that the company expects to join the next stages of the South Pars
field.
Each company currently has a 25 percent stake in the Caspian
project although the Iranian side's costs are being borne by its
partners.
IRNA said the project will involve a two-part seismic study
covering 10,000 square kilometres (4,000 square miles) of unexplored
waters in Iran's sector of the Caspian.
Lasmo said British Petroleum also had an option to join the
venture at a later date but that its board still had to approve the
deal.
A BP spokesman said the company was studying the deal, adding:
"US sanctions are not an issue here."
The specialist oil newsletter Middle East Economic Survey said
Monday that BP has been given until January 15 to decide whether to
join the project.
It also said that the Iranian side reserves the right to
introduce a fourth partner into the consortium, while IRNA reported
that France's Elf Aquitaine and Italy's Agip had been mentioned as
possible contenders.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 23:57:24 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Kurds also have bases in Iran, Ocalan says

DUBAI, Dec 14 (AFP) - The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has
bases in Iran as well as in northern Iraq, party leader Abdullah
Ocalan said in an interview published Monday.
"We have bases in northern Iraq and in Iran after the closure of
our bases in Syria and Lebanon," Ocalan told the al-Hayat
newspaper.
"We have relations with the Iraqi government but not at the
level of political and military cooperation," he said from Rome
where he is under house arrest.
Ocalan co-founded the PKK in 1978 and has led the organisation's
armed struggle for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey ever
since.
Turkish troops regularly invade Kurdish areas of northern Iraq
outside Baghdad's rule in pursuit of PKK fighters.
Ocalan urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the
Organisation of the Islamic Conference to launch an initiative to
reach a just settlement of the Kurdish question.
He said he would like to submit himself to an international
tribunal.
"I am in favour of an international tribunal. It would be able
to define if there is a state of war in Turkey between the
government and the Kurds and if international law applies," he told
the London-based Arabic daily.
"I oppose a trial directed against me, as Turkey seeks," he
added.
Ocalan denied any Italian government complicity in his arrival
in Rome after being ejected from Syria and Russia.
He accused Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov of "giving
into Turkish pressure" by refusing him asylum.
The PKK leader called for political dialogue with Ankara under
UN and EU supervision.
The PKK would agree to Kurdish autonomy "without prejudice to
the territorial unity and integrity of Turkey", he reiterated.
"We hope one day to see emerge a Turkish general of the calibre
of (Charles) de Gaulle who recognised the rights of the Algerian
people."

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

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 00:59:07 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Mojahedin deny lies by mullahs' Intelligence Minister, Judiciary

In a radio and television interview this afternoon, Ghorban-Ali Dorri
Najafabadi, Khatami's Minister of Intelligence, implicitly attributed the
recent heinous murders in Tehran to the Mojahedin. He claimed "this kind of
crimes are rooted abroad" and "the enemies" want to create "turmoil" and
"unrest" in the country and portray it as "crisis-riddled." Simultaneously,
the Agence France Presse quoted a spokesman for the Judiciary and wrote that
those arrested in connection with the recent killings have been also
"implicated in the August murder of former Prison Chief Assadollah
Lajevardi," Iran's Eichemann. By churning out such lies and attributing these
heinous murders to the Mojahedin and elements abroad, the mullahs'
Intelligence Ministry and the Judiciary seek to conceal the true identity of
the perpetrators and masterminds of these crimes who are none other than the
leaders and agents of this regime. The clerical regime's leaders thus are
trying to evade the domestic and international repercussions of these crimes
and at the same time prepare the grounds for the military and terrorist
attacks against the bases of the Iranian Resistance in Iraqi territory and
other countries. The bogus claims of the regime's Intelligence Minister, the
Judiciary and other officials reveal the mullahs' fear of the escalation of
the activities and operations of the Mojahedin inside Iran and the public's
overwhelming support for them as the greatest and the most serious threat to
their existence. People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. December 15, 1998

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Dec 1998 to 16 Dec 1998
***************************************************