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There are 13 messages totalling 909 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Prospects for warmer US-Iran ties promising: IISS
2. Pakistan informed Iran of US views on Afghanistan
3. Iranian Armenians hold rally against Turkey on massacre anniversary
4. Iranian religious leader assassinated in Iraq
5. Iran warns Turkmenistan over US accord on Caspian pipeline
6. Iran summons Iraqi diplomat over assassination of religious leader
7. Iran slams UN resolution on human rights violations
8. Russian missile parts stopped on Azerbaijani-Iranian border
9. British secret services thwart Iranian efforts to get nuclear technology
10. Iranian Woman is Cannes Youngest-Ever Director
11. Iranian Press Finds New Freedom
12. Khatami Calls for Tolerance, Warns of Explosion
13. fwd: Justice or Injustice?

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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:22:09 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Prospects for warmer US-Iran ties promising: IISS


LONDON, April 23 (AFP) - Prospects are good for further reforms
in Iran's domestic policies and its relations with the West under
the new regime of President Mohammad Khatami, a London-based
think-tank said on Thursday.
"Unless serious domestic political problems emerge in Iran, the
prospects for a reduction of tensions between the United States and
Iran are more promising than they have been at any time since the
Shah was overthrown," the the International Institute for Strategic
Studies said in its annual report.
Washington severed diplomatic relations in April 1980 after
Iranian revolutionaries took 52 diplomats hostage in the US embassy
in Tehran following the Islamic revolution that ousted the pro-US
shah.
The United States, branded "the Great Satan" by Iran, maintains
an embargo on the Islamic republic, accusing it sponsoring terrorism
and developing weapons of mass destruction.
But the IISS report said the tone of these charges and
counter-charges has eased somewhat since Khatami's election in May.
"Although there has been no breakthrough, the US has made it
clear that it is hopeful the Khatami government can follow its more
moderate talk with more moderate policies," IISS said, adding that
minimal cultural exchanges are likely to be expanded.
IISS noted that Europe's policy of critical dialogue has not
resumed despite the partial settlement of some disputes, and said
the fatwa or death sentence against British author Salman Rushdie
remained a "major obstacel."
But it also highlighted significant economic contracts with
major European and Russian energy companies despite the US embargo.
Iran has also made a "serious and concerted" effort to patch up
differences with the Arab world, IISS said.
On the domestic front, IISS said political changes, particularly
Khatami's election against a conservative challenger have given
Iranians a "sense of empowerment" which they will not easily
relinquish.
"Although a tug-of-war between the reformers and the hardliners
can be expected, the prospects for further reform in Iranian
domestic politics are reasonably good," it said.
But "the fundamental test will be the extent to which Khatami is
able to gain control over vigilante activities by the Islamic
ideologues ... and other hardliners," IISS said.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:22:44 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Pakistan informed Iran of US views on Afghanistan


TEHRAN, April 23 (AFP) - Special Pakistani envoy for Afghanistan
Iftikhar Murshid, who visited here this week, briefed Iranian
officials on US efforts to end the civil war in Afghanistan, a
newspaper reported Thursday.
Murshid, who madea brief visit here on Tuesday, told the
English-language Iran News that "the purpose of my visit was to
inform Iranian officials of the US views on Afghanistan."
"We informed the Iranian government of every development in
Afghanistan because Iran and Pakistan work closely on the Afghan
situation," he said.
A visit to the region last week by the US ambassador to the
United Nations, Bill Richardson, was among the topics the Pakistani
envoy discussed with his Iranian counterpart, Alaeddin Borujerdi.
Richardson, the most senior Western official to visit
Afghanistan in 20 years, announced on Friday that he had secured a
10-day ceasefire and an agreement from Afghan opposition forces and
the Taliban to hold talks by April 27.
The talks would be held under the auspices of the United Nations
and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Iran hailed Saturday the Taliban commitment to a ceasefire as a
step toward ending the 18-year-long civil war.
Tehran and Islamabad support opposing sides in the Afghan
conflict, but they have launched joint efforts to end the war.
Pakistan is considered the chief backer of the Sunni Moslem
Taliban while Shiite Moslem Iran supports the anti-Taliban alliance
and still recognizes the ousted Burhanuddin Rabbani as Afghan
president.
The Taliban drove Rabbani from the capital Kabul in September
1996 and are pushing to seize the rest of the country and set up an
Islamic state.
UN envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi said in Tehran April 14
that a peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan will not be
possible without the cooperation of both Pakistan and Iran.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:20:42 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian Armenians hold rally against Turkey on massacre anniversary


TEHRAN, April 23 (AFP) - Several thousand members of Tehran's
Armenian community took to the streets on Thursday to mark the
anniversary of the 1915 massacre of their compatriots in Ottoman
Turkey.
The crowd led by a number of Armenian bishops shouted slogans
against Turkey and its main ally the United States.
"Death to the fascist government of Turkey ... Death to
America," shouted the crowd, who also carried banners making
statements in Armenian.
They started from their main church in a central district of the
capital and marched toward the UN office several blocks to the
north.
It was the first street demonstration to be held by the Armenian
community here in years, and it came amid growing freedom of
expression allowed by the new government of President Mohammad
Khatami.
To avoid provoking Turkey, the previous government of President
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani forced the Armenians in the past several
years to keep their protests low-key and inside their church.
Armenians, backed by many historians, say as many as 1.5 million
of their compatriots were massacred during World War I or perished
in deportation marches from eastern Anatolia through the Syrian
desert.
Armenians throughout the world mark the event each year,
demanding that Ankara accept responsibility for the "genocide."
Turkey disputes the charges of genocide, arguing tthat here were
deaths on both sides, and says the Ottoman Armenians sided with the
enemy Russia.
Iran has an Armenian community of around 250,000.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:21:27 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian religious leader assassinated in Iraq


BAGHDAD, April 23 (AFP) - An Iranian religious leader was shot
dead Tuesday in the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq, the Iraqi
news agency reported.
Sheikh Ali Mohammad al-Barujurdi, 70, was returning to his
lodging with two companions after the evening prayer in a city
mosque when the unidentified attacker opened fire then fled.
Barujurdi, hit by several bullets, was killed while his .
His unidentified attacker fled ans, rentrait and his companions
wounded, the report said.
Iraq's ministry for religious affairs accused the intelligence
services of an unnamed foreign country of carrying out the attack
because of Barujurdi's religious ideas.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:23:40 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran warns Turkmenistan over US accord on Caspian pipeline


TEHRAN, April 23 (AFP) - Iran has warned Turkmenistan over a
tentative agreement with the United States to bypass Iranian
territory and ship oil and gas through the Caspian Sea, saying it
violated the rights of other Caspian littoral states.
"So far there has been no consensus among the littoral states
for a new legal regime for the sea. So no party can take a measure,
especially involving foreign companies, to exploit the sea's
resources," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said, newspapers reported
on Thursday.
"The possible contract between Turkmenistan and the US for
laying a pipeline on the Caspian seabed to transport oil and gas is
a violation of the rights of other littoral states," he said.
Kharazi said Iran and Russia were opposed to a seabed pipeline
"because of environmental considerations."
"We will not allow the others to make a one-sided decision," he
said. "The Caspian Sea belongs to all the littoral states and its
legal regime should be decided by all the states bordering the
sea."
Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov agreed to a US-funded
feasibility study on the pipeline and signed oil and gas exploration
agreements during a visit to Washington on Wednesday.
His Washington visit marks the latest bid by the US
administration to gain a foothold in the energy-rich Caspian region,
believed to contain the world's second largest oil reserves -- 200
billion barrels -- after the Gulf.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:24:08 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran summons Iraqi diplomat over assassination of religious leader


TEHRAN, April 23 (AFP) - Iran summoned the Iraqi charge
d'affaires here Thursday to protest the assassination of an Iranian
religious leader in the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq.
Iran's foreign ministry "strongly condemned the regrettable act"
and called on Baghdad to provide an explanation and track down the
culprits.
"We demand an explanation from the Iraqi government and the
arrest and punishment of those responsible for this horrible crime,"
said an unnamed ministry official quoted by state radio.
He also asked Iraq to "take appropriate measures to prevent a
recurrence of a similar incident."
The official Iraqi News Agency reported Thursday that Sheikh Ali
Mohammad al-Borujerdi, 70, was shot dead by an unidentified attacker
on Tuesday as he returned to his lodgings with two companions after
evening prayers in a city mosque.
Borujerdi's two companions were wounded in the attack, and the
assailant fled the scene.
Iraq's ministry for religious affairs accused the intelligence
services of an unnamed foreign country of carrying out the attack
because of Borujerdi's religious beliefs.
Borujerdi is the son of the late Ayatollah Ali Mohammad
Borujerdi, one of the most senior religious scholors and sources of
emulation for Shiite Moslems.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:28:19 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran slams UN resolution on human rights violations


TEHRAN, April 23 (AFP) - Iran blasted on Thursday a UN Human
Rights Commission resolution accusing the Islamic republic of
violating basic human rights, saying it was politically motivated
and resulted from Western pressure.
"This resolution has nothing to do with the realities in the
Islamnic republic and is solely imposed on members of the commission
through political pressure from Western countries," said foreign
ministry spokesman Mahmud Mohammadi.
"It is more guided by political motivations than humanitarian
interests and we condemn it. This will further scar the commission's
reputation," he said.
The commission's resolution, backed by 23 states, voiced concern
over "continuing cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment, including amputation, stoning and public executions."
Iran was also criticized for continued harassment and
intimidation of journalists, writers, and political and religious
dissidents and for failing to grant equal rights to women.
The resolution called on Iran to refrain from violence against
members of the Iranian opposition living abroad and to cooperate
with authorities of other countires investigating and prosecuting
offenses.
Tehran was specifically censured for the 1989 death sentence
against British writer Salman Rushdie as well as individuals
associated with his work.
Mohammadi complained of "antagonism" towards Islamic values and
Islamic law in such resolutions.
"Instead of encouraging an exchange of values and cultural
diversity between civilizations, we see a kind of antagonism with
Islamic culture and civilization," he said.
Mohammadi also complained that the resolution was not in line
with a UN report issued earlier this month by special rapporteur
Maurice Copithorne.
Copithorne said although human rights abuses were still
widepread, there had been "incontestable" improvements since the
relatively moderate President Mohammad Khatami took office in
August.
Although Khatami's more tolerant views have influenced the
society at large, he does not directly control the police or the
courts, which are run by conservative forces.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:28:48 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Russian missile parts stopped on Azerbaijani-Iranian border


BAKU, April 23 (AFP) - Azerbaijani customs officials said
Thursday that they had stopped a shipment of Russian nuclear-capable
ballistic missile parts bound for Iran.
Some 22 tonnes of stainless steel plates to build ballistic
missiles were seized by customs officials in the town of Astara on
the Azerbaijani-Iranian border on March 26, a spokesman from the
customs press service said.
"It is true that on March 26 the Astara customs and border guard
stopped a shipment by the Russian company Evrapalace-2000 weighing
21 tonnes, 700 kilograms bound for Iran," the Azerbaijani customs
official said.
"The shipment was seized because it showed a high level of
radiation and the documents did not match the contents," he added.
"The material in the shipment was for the production of liquid-fuel
ballistic missiles."
The Russian embassy said Thursday that the Federal Security
Service (FSB) had foiled a plan to sell illegally alloyed steel to
Iran, though it was unclear if this was the same shipment that the
customs authority described.
The embassy re-issued an FSB statement that confirmed that an
illegal shipment of steel had been bound for Iran.
"As the result of operative investigative work, the FSB
uncovered a group of individuals, who were attempting to illegally
export alloyed steel to Iran," the statement read.
Representatives from the Azerbaijani Ministry of National
Security however said that the Russian statement did in fact refer
to the shipment seized by Azerbaijani customs.
"These individuals," the Russian statement said, "using the
requisites of Russian commercial organizations, intended to export
through Azerbaijan to Iran 21.7 tonnes of alloyed steel in the form
of zinc-covered steel plates."
"According to the explanation of workers at the warehouse where
the metal originated, the steel came from abroad."
The statement added that three non-Russian citizens had been
arrested in connection with the case. The plan's main organizer was
also non-Russian, it said.


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

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:29:14 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: British secret services thwart Iranian efforts to get nuclear
technology


LONDON, April 24 (AFP) - Britain's foreign espionage service,
MI6, has thwarted Iranian attempts to procure British nuclear
technology, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has revealed in an
unprecedented break with traditional secrecy.
In a speech late Thursday, Cook said that MI6 and the GCHQ
communications monitoring agency had "tracked Iran's nuclear weapons
programme, and have enabled us to disrupt Iranian attempts to
procure British technology."
He also told an audience in London that the two agencies had
played a "crucial role" in revealing Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein's biological and chemical weapons programmes and his
"continuing ambitions to stockpile these weapons of mass
destruction."
A security source told The Independent newspaper that Cook was
referring to successful counter-espionage work carried out by
British agents against Iranians attempting to obtain technology from
Britain in the past year.
The MI6 and GCHQ operations are understood also to include the
prevention of efforts to smuggle out materials used to build nuclear
weapons, the London daily said.
Although Cook's predecessors have spoken in parliament of the
work of the secret services, it is the first time a foreign
secretary has been so open about specific operations.
In his speech before businessmen in the City of London, Cook
also praised the work of the secret services in helping customs and
police to seize tonnes of drugs and make dozens of arrests, and in
countering money-laundering and fraud.
Cook said he had been impressed with the work of Britain's
security agencies during the Labour government's first year in
office.


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

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 16:35:24 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Iranian Woman is Cannes Youngest-Ever Director

Excerpt:

"Cannes will also welcome its youngest-ever director in the
official selection, as 18-year old Iranian Samirah Makhmalbaf,
daughter of celebrated helmer Mohsen Makhmalbaf, has her
debut picture ``The Apple'' in Un Certain Regard."



Hollywood Hot in 51st Cannes Lineup

Reuters
24-APR-98
By Michael Williams and Derek Elley

PARIS (Variety) - Hordes of stars like Sharon Stone, John Travolta
and Bruce Willis will descend on the 51st Cannes Film Festival
next month to promote a healthy number of U.S. films in
competition and in the sidebars.

Organizers unveiled the lineup Thursday, and festival chief Gilles
Jacob was clearly upbeat about the selection, admitting that he
would have liked this year's crop to have been available last year.
The festival runs May 13-24.

He said there had been a ``real explosion'' this year both in
terms of ``the remarkable increase in the number of films which
were proposed to us and in their quality.''

Referring to the annual debate about whether the Hollywood
studios are either snubbing or being snubbed by Cannes, he
noted, ``If there are few Hollywood films then we are being
snubbed. If there are many then it's a Hollywood invasion.'' He
said that this year's crop struck a healthy balance.

For the first time since 1994, the festival opens and closes with
U.S. studio productions: Universal's ``Primary Colors'' and Sony's
``Godzilla,'' both out of competition.

Otherwise, Britain has a quartet of official entries, Latin America
will be there in force, Denmark is sending a pair of cutting-edge
offerings, Iran is sending a picture from an 18-year-old helmer,
while Germany, despite its thriving film biz, will have a sparse
presence this year.

Officially flying the Stars and Stripes in competition are Terry
Gilliam's adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson druggie tome
``Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'' (Universal), starring Johnny
Depp and Benicio Del Toro; John Turturro's 19th century erotic
farce ``Illuminata'' starring Susan Sarandon, Christopher Walken,
Ben Gazzara and Turturro, and Hal Hartley's working class black
comedy ``Henry Fool.''

Star-gazers will have plenty to watch on the Croisette this year
with a combo of top local and international names already
signed up for the trip to the Cote d'Azur.

The U.S. contingent includes Travolta, Willis, Depp, Turturro,
Walken, Robert Duvall, Janet Leigh, Harvey Keitel, Matt Dillon,
Andie MacDowell, Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and Cameron
Diaz.

From the U.K., Ewan McGregor, John Hurt, Emma Thompson,
Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave and Kristin Scott-Thomas will be
among the attendees, while the Gallic presence will include
Gerard Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Jeanne Moreau, Carole
Bouquet, Fanny Ardant, Daniel Auteuil and Michel Blanc.

The sidebars and out-of-competition entries yield an equally
eclectic mix of U.S. offerings.

Fox Searchlight has Stanley Tucci's screwball comedy ``The
Impostors,'' featuring Tucci, Oliver Platt, Isabella Rossellini,
Campbell Scott, Tony Shalhoub, Lili Taylor and Steve Buscemi,
set for a Midnight Screening in Un Certain Regard.

MGM is linked to U.S. director Todd Haynes' competition runner,
the glam rock ``Velvet Goldmine,'' with McGregor, Jonathan
Rhys-Myers and Christian Bale, via its London-based Goldwyn
Films. (Miramax has U.S. rights.)

Warner Bros. has an out-of-competition entry with a special
screening of Roland Joffe's comic thriller ``Goodbye, Lover,''
with Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen DeGeneres, Mary
Louis Parker and Don Johnson.

Universal is out of competition with John Landis' ``Blues Brothers
2000'' and, via its October Films subsidiary, in Un Certain Regard
sidebar with Duvall's ``The Apostle.'' In addition, Universal is
bringing the recently assembled director's cut of Orson Welles'
``Touch of Evil,'' which will be screened with stars Heston and
Leigh attending.

Meanwhile, the WB banner will fly in competition in the form of
the Warners co-financed ``La Classe de Neige,'' a mystery thriller
from French director Claude Miller.

The longest film in the official selection, and also the least
heralded, is the three-hour U.S. indie drama ``Island, Alicia,'' by
first-time New York director Ken Yunome.

French-funded films have historically been prominent among
competition entries from international directors such as Mike
Leigh, Nick Cassavetes, Robert Altman and Jane Campion, and
this year is no exception. Jacob described U.S. helmer Lodge
Kerrigan's ``Claire Dolan'' as an American film, although it was
entirely financed by Paris-based MK2.

More than last year, many Cannes favorites are back on the
Croisette, including Greek director Theo Angelopoulos with
``An Eternity and a Day,'' Ken Loach via the Glasgow-set
romancer ``My Name is Joe,'' Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-hsien with the
bordello-set costumer ``The Flowers of Shanghai,'' John
Boorman with his black-&-white biopic of Dublin outlaw Martin
Cahill, ``The General,'' Nanni Moretti with his political reverie
``Aprile,'' Lars Von Trier with ``Idiots,'' a black comedy about
intelligent people who pretend to be idiots, and Patrice Chereau
with ``Ceux qui M'aiment predront le Train,'' a
meeting-of-old-friends drama starring Jean-Hugues Anglade,
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Charles Berling
and Vincent Perez.

Although a sizable number of touted Brit pictures did not make
it into the official selection, the four chosen show a broad
diversity. Edgier fare is present in experimental director John
Maybury's portrait of late gay painter Francis Bacon, ``Love is
the Devil,'' while veteran producer Jeremy Thomas makes his
debut directing appearance with rural-set drama of a young
boy's emotional regeneration, ``All the Little Animals,'' starring
John Hurt.

While the U.S. presence in the official selection remains
numerically on a par with last year, edgy U.S. indie productions
are less in evidence this time around, particularly in sidebar Un
Certain Regard. The Out of Competition section, so often a
stalking ground for U.S. indie fare, is dominated by
tried-and-tested Cannes names such as Roland Joffe
(``Goodbye, Lover''), 1997 Palme d'Or co-winner Shohei
Imamura (the comedy ``Kanzo Sensei''), Carlos Saura (the dance
drama ``Tango'') and Portuguese nonagenarian Manoel de
Oliveira (``Inquietude'').

Also turning up as a midnighter is Aussie director Alex Proyas'
futuristic ``Dark City.''

Jacob said this year's selection begins to reflect the new
dynamism in Latin American production. In the competition,
Argentina and Brazil are represented by Hector Babenco's
autobiographical ``Foolish Heart'' and Colombia by poet-filmer
Victor Gaviria's 1996 production ``The Rose Seller.'' In Un Certain
Regard, Mexican veteran Arturo Ripstein weighs in with the
sex-and-religion shocker ``Divine.''

Considering its current renaissance, German cinema hardly made
the cut in the official selection, with Angela Schanelec's ``Places
in Cities,'' a drama about a pregnant 19-year-old, the sole
national representative. The only other movie with German
funding attached is the Latvian co-production ``The Shoe,'' a
first dramatic feature by Laila Pakalnina, whose shorts, ``The
Postwoman'' and ``The Ferry,'' were seen in Un Certain Regard
two years ago.

Asian directors continue to have their place at Cannes, although
their numbers are slightly down, due largely to the fact that they
have become much sought after by other festival programmers
around the world. With no films from China or Hong Kong,
Taiwan carries the burden of Chinese representation, with Hou's
``The Flowers of Shanghai'' and Tsai's semi-musical two-hander
``The Hole.'' Indonesian helmer Garin Nugroho (like Tsai, a
former Berlin favorite) makes the leap to the Riviera with ``Leaf
on a Pillow,'' as does South Korea's Hong Sang-soo, director of
last year's ``The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well,'' with ``The Power
of Kangwon Province.''

First-timers in competition include Italy's Roberto Benigni with
the Miramax re-edit of ``Life is Beautiful,'' a World War II
concentration camp drama, Gallic debut director Erick Zonca
with ``La Vie Revee des Anges,'' and Taiwan's Tsai.

Cannes will also welcome its youngest-ever director in the
official selection, as 18-year old Iranian Samirah Makhmalbaf,
daughter of celebrated helmer Mohsen Makhmalbaf, has her
debut picture ``The Apple'' in Un Certain Regard.

As usual in the run-up to the festival, a handful of expected
pictures failed to make the cut, largely because they weren't
finished in time. That was the case with Andre Techine's Juliette
Binoche-starrer ``Alice and Martin'' and Emir Kusturica's ``Black
Cat, White Cat.'' Jacob noted that Kusturica, who now enjoys
French citizenship, ``may well be a three-time Palme D'Or
winner, but not this year.''

Reuters/Variety

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.



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

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 15:00:47 PDT
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Iranian Press Finds New Freedom

Feature-Iranian Press Finds New Freedom

Reuters
22-APR-98
By Barry May

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Newspapers in Iran have emerged from
a political crisis over the jailing of the mayor of Tehran with their
editorial reputations enhanced.

Some Iranian print journalists lament that the same cannot be
said for the broadcast media: radio and television are closely
controlled by traditionalists and have been criticizedsharply in
the press over their minimal coverage of the story.

This has been in stark contrast to banner coverage in
newspapers, which have begun reporting political developments
with inquisitive vigor since the election last May of Shiite Muslim
cleric Mohammad Khatami as a reform-minded president.

``Since the election of President Khatami, we have seen more
openness in newspapers and magazines. No laws have changed
but the political climate is much different, which has
emboldened many of us to speak more freely,'' journalist Dariush
Sajjadi told Reuters.

``It's natural that when a new administration comes in we test
the waters. So far, we have seen that we can go deep into those
waters without much persecution from the top. Television hasn't
changed much, however. It is still conservative and state-owned.
Radio is a little better than television but still not up to the
freedom level of the printed word.''

SUPREME LEADER APPOINTS KEY BROADCAST OFFICIALS Key
officials at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting monopoly
are appointed directly by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei.

``We go through cycles of freedom and repression in Iran,'' said
Amid Naeini, editor of the magazine Payam-e Emrooz (Message
of Today). ``Now there is more freedom after the election of
Khatami. But even before Khatami's election Iranian newspapers
had more freedom than during the Shah's reign. You can't even
compare the two in terms of freedom.''

At the Iran Daily, an English-language paper launched last year by
the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), deputy chief editor
Amin Sabooni is one of many journalists in Tehran who believe
press coverage contributed to the early release from prison of
Mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, a close political ally of Khatami,
who could have been held for up to a month during an
investigation of alleged corruption.

Khamenei ordered his release after Khatami intervened, saying
the mayor's detention was harming national interests.

``The newspapers have opened up, the radio and television
have not,'' Sabooni said.

RED LINE MOVES AWAY Political editor Oliver Towfigh Nia said:
``There is still a red line, but at least we know now that the red
line is moving away from us instead of getting closer.''

Mehri Haqqani, a reporter on the Iran Daily's Persian-language
stablemate Iran, said: ``The political atmosphere has opened up
so the country is in a transitional phase, which accelerated after
the election of President Khatami, and as a result the press has
become braver.''

Nearly 1,000 newspapers, magazines and literary journals are
printed in Iran. The capital has 17 newspapers published each
morning and four more in the afternoon. But despite the new
freedoms there are still cases pending of several journalists who
have been jailed or silenced and intimidation can be used to try
to influence newspaper content.

At the height of political turmoil over the mayor's imprisonment,
law enforcement officers raided the lithography sections of Iran
and another Persian daily, Hamshahri, founded by Karbaschi and
published by the Tehran municipality. Minister of Culture and
Islamic Guidance Ayatollah Mohajerani objected to the
interference as illegal.

``UNWANTED GUESTS'' The Iran Daily commented afterward that
some political and interest groups were missing no opportunity
to discredit the main pillar of country's cultural revolution, the
press, ``in the most deplorable manner.'' It cited the presence
of ``unwanted guests'' at Iran newspaper who it said had come
to inspect and scrutinize the contents.

``It generated a kind of regret and pain in the press corps
especially at a time when the nation is in need of tolerance and
sincerity to strengthen and solidify its structures more than ever
before...'' the English-language paper said. ``Those who resort
to such (an) unlawful and outrageous attitude have certainly not
understood the Islamic Revolution and are not moving with the
times.''

Press freedom is enshrined in the Islamic republic's constitution,
Article 24 of which states ``the press is free to express its views
unless they run contrary to the interests of Islamic ideals and the
common laws of the nation.''

IRNA has broadened its activities. The official news agency has
embraced the Internet with imagination and flair: visitors to its
site can hear excerpts from speeches by the country's leaders,
send colorful greeting cards by e-mail and play popular Persian
melodies. It has also launched a publishing company with Arabic,
English and Persian titles and, unique in the Middle East, a Braille
newspaper for the blind.

White Iran, so-called because its eight pages carry only Braille's
embossed dots, is mailed three times a week to 1,500 people
throughout the country, where 140,000 are totally blind and half
a million suffer impaired vision.

Soheil Moeini, its blind executive editor, said the role of the
media on Iran's political stage was growing. ``It is a process
without any turning back. It's a real growth in Iranian society
compared with before the revolution. People for the first time
can understand their democracy,'' he told Reuters.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.



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Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 15:02:46 PDT
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Khatami Calls for Tolerance, Warns of Explosion

Iranian President Calls for Tolerance, Warns of Explosion

AP
22-APR-98

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) A week after a political crisis erupted into
violence, Iran's president warned in remarks relayed on state-run
radio today that the country could explode unless it learns
tolerance.

President Mohammad Khatami, a cleric who is preaching
moderation to an Islamic government still largely controlled by
hard-liners, said no single group could claim to speak for Islam.

He said the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed
government and installed the clerical regime "transcends the
different opinions and preferences."

His remarks came Tuesday during a meeting with officials in
southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, Tehran radio said.

Since his landslide victory against a hard-line opponent in last
May's elections, Khatami has won public support with his efforts
to relax Iran's strict Islamic code.

But apparently upset by this popularity, the hard-line faction
recently began targeting his supporters. One of them, Tehran
mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, was arrested April 4 on the
orders of hard-line officials who control the judiciary.

This sparked street protests and violence by Khatami's
supporters, and Karbaschi was freed on bail April 15, a day after
thousands of his supporters clashed with police in Tehran.

In a veiled warning to hard-liners resisting change, Khatami said:
"It may be possible to silence all voices for a while; however,
these silent voices will eventually emerge in the form of an
explosion."

Copyright 1998& The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 02:01:57 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: fwd: Justice or Injustice?

Source: http://www.tvs.se/womensvoice/interview.html

Justice or Injustice?

A man killed his wife and three children.
An Iranian man abducted his two children.
The cunning plot of a husband to obtain separation from his wife.
A woman buried alive and burnt by her husband.
A man burnt his wife and his four sister in law’s children.
A man murdered his wife and two daughters with a hammer.Such painful news
items have been appearing in news paper continuously in Iran. The readers
turn the pages with sighs and tears angry at the reaction by and responses
from the authorities, but there is silence and only silence. This bitter
silence has brought about the hostility and the hatred of Iranian women
vis-à-vis the justice system in Iran.
Iranian women are being punished and condemned to silence and subordination
because of their sex. This gender prejudice is imposed and inculcated into
Iranian society by social institutions including the media, schools,
families as well as civil law, traditions and above all religion. The
bitter reality is that women are alienated in their homeland. They are
denied the most basic human rights in all areas of life.
Discrimination and hostility towards women is written into the law. In the
case of divorce, a right bestowed on men only, women lose the custody of
their children. Men are actively encouraged by the state to marry several
women on both permanent and temporary bases. While women, according to the
law, can be stoned to death if they commit adultery. In this situation how
can women trust the state institutions and familys? There is no justice and
equality, the implementation of the law means injustice in this situation.
What is going on in the courts and how are they dealing with women’s problems?
In the corridor of the court, one can hear the uproar of women, men and
children. Some of them rushing from one room to another, others waiting
patiently for the result of their cases, sitting on the stairs or standing
leaning against the wall. Some faces seem exhausted by the wait.
Walk down the corridor, you see a young woan, starig at a distant point.
Her eyes are swollen. Another woman sits on chair and bursts into tears: ‘
I want my kids back, I have right over them, I carried them nine months in
my womb, I nourished them, gave my love to them, they took my dears, why
can I not have the right to look after them when their father , grandfather
and uncle have the right’. Her painful voice calm down gradually. A woman
who is holding her two children’s hands is yelling: ‘He has left me without
any subsistence and remarried a young girl in another city.’ A man coming
from the other end of the hall shots at his wife: ‘ I will finally divorce
you, taking the children from you, you are not able to do anything, because
you have no right except crying until your hair grows grey.
A terrified woman with a pale face goes towards the court-room asking for
help: ‘My husband has threatened me with death, I have escaped. If he finds
me he will chop me into pieces, please help me.’
I arranged conversations with some of these women outside the court room:
Q : Why are you here?
A : I have applied for divorce.
Q : Have you started any legal process?
A : The law denies our rights and gives all the rights to men. The law says
men are always right and women wrong. Even if they investigate my case it
is futile because it will prolong my case and I will have passed away by then.


Speaking to another woman

Q : What is your problem?
A : My husband has burnt all my body with cigarettes. She showed me legal
medical certificates as evidence.
Q : Well, you have to leave home immediately.
A : Where will I go?
Q : You can go to your friends, relatives, acquaintances.
A : I can’t, they are scared of his reaction. The hotels would not accept a
single woman without a man in charge of her, like father, husband. He has
kidnapped our children.
A : You have to find some place to go to?
A : I have decided to leave the country and take refuge abroad. I paid
money to a dealer.
Q : Can you afford to have a separate home and an independent life?
A : I need to find a safe place. If he decides to kill me no one would
protect me. Besides my family would have to pay half of Dieh( blood money
for Ghesas(retribution).[Zanan Magazine No. 29]
Q : A woman stands against the wall. I asked her why she had come there?
A : My husband is a cruel drug addict. I lost 15 years of my life living
with him. I have applied for divorce and have come to get my
Naphagheg(living expense).
Q : When did you apply for divorce?
A : In 1994. Neighbours have testified how cruelly he had beaten me. I have
disclosed his addiction but they have not believed me and asked for
evidence. How can I prove it?
Q : Are you living apart from each other?
A : My husband has thrown my children and me out three times in the middle
of the night, but I went back, he stabbed me and kicked me out without
clothes last time.(ZanRoz magazine No. 1561)
These are example of oppressed women complaining that they have not
obtained justice. Defenceless, they are exposed to injustice and have no
where to go but the hell of the “home”. Therefore they will share the same
terrible fate as Mehrnosh. Mehrnosh’s husband had intended to marry another
woman(as second wife). He threatened her to make give him permission for
his marriage, but she did not . Her husband made plotted to bury her alive,
however she managed to escape and ask for divorce.
The above story was the complaint that Merosh had made in the court. How
did the law back her? The judge ordered her husband to be arrested and left
the defenceless woman without any support. The police could not find and
arrest him or didn’t try hard enough. The defenceless woman had to take
refuge in her sister’s home, but by this time Mehrnosh’s husband had easily
found her. Mehrnosh and her four sister’s kids were brutally set on fire by
the cruel husband.
These are example of the patriarchal Islamic ”justice”! in Iran. The
Islamic Republic of Iran has become the champion of the violation of human
rights.
This is the question. Why do social, cultural, traditional institutions,
families make obstacles to prevent these women from obtaining the most
basic natural right a human being could ask for in the 20th century? These
women would only demand to be protected from physical, sexual and
psychological abuse at home. They are determined to be treated as human
beings. They are half of the population and must have the same rights as
the other half. Because the Koran demands complete subjugation of women by
the name of the chastity, dignity and they must submit to any pleasure her
husband may desire. Men are excluded from being punished in the patriarchal
Islamic justice!
What is important in the struggle of the Iranian women against oppression?
The oppressive system of male supremacy has classified women as the
“inferior sex” and “second class citizens”. Speaking of their pains,
defencelessness increasing awareness and alert, however the main part of
the struggle is that how and in which way should they overcome oppression?
Lack of awareness of their rights among women as well as traditional and
religious ties are obstacles that nourish the male dominated regime of Iran.
Although at first sight liberation of women in Iran is only possible under
a democratic government and overthrowing the Islamic republic of Iran, this
doesn’t mean that women should stay quiet until the fall of this regime.
They have to increase their awareness, learn from the women’s liberation
movement in other countries, enlighten other women that poverty and
illiteracy prevent them from knowing about the situation of women in other
countries. Gaining awareness is the first and important step which in
clarifying the women’s struggle against the oppressive system of patriarchy.



Neda Agah

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Apr 1998 to 24 Apr 1998
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