Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Feb 1998 to 12 Feb 1998

There are 18 messages totalling 982 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Press Group Urges Pardon for Firoozi
2. UK smears Iran to boost support for Iraq strikes
3. Khatami should ensure freedom of speech - Soroush
4. Paper criticized for ditching pomp
5. Plot thickens for German sentenced to death
6. Opposition activists comment on political situation in Iran
7. Journalist detained for writing the article "Fascism"
8. Three new parties to receive official permission
9. Interview with editor of new daily Jame'eh
10. Firoozi accused of moral crimes
11. We support a free press, says deputy minister
12. U.S. to act soon on companies in deal with Iran
13. Possible Iran-Iraq accord reported
14. War movie given top honors at Iran festival
15. Strict Islamic rules impede women's rights (2)
16. Mercy appeals for Iranian journalist sentenced to death
17. Keyhan Views Revolution Lessons, Impact

Press Group Urges Pardon for Firoozi


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Press Group Urges Pardon for Condemned Iranian Editor

Reuters 12-FEB-98

PARIS (Reuters) - The international press freedom group
Reporters Without Borders appealed to Iran's supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to pardon a prominent newspaper
editor condemned to death as a foreign spy at a secret
trial.

The Paris-based group said Morteza Firoozi, former
editor-in-chief of the English daily Iran News, had been
convicted ``without any regard for the most basic rights of
defense.''

Iranian officials had ignored repeated requests for
information about the case and the press only spoke vaguely
of charges of spying for the United States and unnamed East
European and Far Eastern countries, it said.

``Reporters Without Borders, an international organization
to defend press freedom, asks you to grant your pardon to
Morteza Firoozi,'' it said in a letter.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch sent a similar appeal on
Wednesday to the head of Iranian Judiciary, Ayatollah
Mohammed Yazdi.

Iranian news organizations have said Firoozi, held since
May on spying charges, had been condemned to death and that
the country's Supreme Court recently ratified the sentence
and handed it down to relevant authorities.

Iran News, which Firoozi helped establish in 1994, has been
attacked by hard-line newspapers as being too soft on the
United States.

Firoozi, a frequent commentator on Iranian politics, had
earlier served as editor-in-chief of the Tehran Times, a
major English language newspaper set up after the 1979
Islamic revolution.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.


UK smears Iran to boost support for Iraq strikes


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Thursday, February 12, 1998 Published at 16:00 GMT


BBC
World: Monitoring

Iranian agency says report of secret Iraq meeting "smear"

Iran's official news agency has dismissed a report that
senior officials from Iran and Iraq recently held a secret
meeting to forge a new alliance in the face of threatened
US military intervention against Baghdad.

The report, in the British newspaper The Times, said Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein sent his youngest son, Qusay, to
represent him at a clandestine meeting with Iran's
Intelligence Minister, Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, on the
Iraqi side of the joint border in early February.

Quoting Western intelligence sources, the report in The
Times said the meeting provided evidence that the two
former enemies are developing new contacts in spite of
unresolved issues between them after their war in the 1980s
and the 1991 Gulf War.

"Britain stooped to a new low in its campaign to boost
support to carry out military action against Iraq by trying
to orchestrate a link with its rhetoric against Iran," the
Iranian news agency IRNA report said. It's dispatch was
headed: "UK smears Iran to boost support for Iraq strikes".

The agency added that the author of the report, Michael
Evans, "is understood to have close contacts with British
government departments."

Tehran has repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to
the Iraqi weapons crisis and opposes the presence of US and
other foreign forces in the Gulf region.

Iran has urged Baghdad to comply with UN Security Council
resolutions on arms inspections, but has also been vocal in
its opposition to any US military action, which it fears
would destabilize the region.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in
Caversham in southern England, selects and translates
information from radio, television, press, news agencies
and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70
languages.


Khatami should ensure freedom of speech - Soroush


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 12, 1998


Press Watch


Aban quoted Dr. Abdulkarim Soroush as saying that President
Khatami should make public the names of those who support
violence and the people expect their chief executive to
safe-guard security of the society. People have chosen
Hojj. Khatami as president and expect him to do much for
them. President Khatami should ensure both economic
security and freedom of speech for the people," Soroush
noted. "An unknown group easily attacks a meeting in
Isfahan and Tabriz and no attempt is made to stop them.
Since peo-ple think of President Khatami as the defender of
their rights, he should tell them everything," Dr. Soroush
pointed out.


Paper criticized for ditching pomp


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 12, 1998


Press Watch


Jame'eh published the letter of Mohammad Javad Hojati
Kermani addressed to its editor-in-chief who said "I
appreciate Jame'eh for trying to convey the opinion of all
people. "What is really unknown to me is that whether the
managers of Jame'eh are from all walks of life or a
minority group of intellectuals and writers? What I am
trying to say is that the paper not repeat the common
mistake in trying to be the representative of the entire
society," Hojati said. "Your paper tried to eliminate the
important designations, for instance in the front page
there was only written Ayatollah Khamenei without referring
to his official designation, or instead of President
Khatami, he was called Mohammad Khatami!," he added.
"Jame'eh had previ-ously announced that all the articles
will bear the name of the writer, but there are some
exceptions including 'private correspondent' column."


Plot thickens for German sentenced to death


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 12, 1998


What's Up?


A German businessman sentenced to death for having an
illegal affair with an Iranian woman was not initially
arrested on those charges, the Cologne radio said Sunday.
Quoting unnamed sources, the radio said Helmut Hofer was
rounded up after Iranian authorities became suspicious of
his illegal activities that involved spy-ing and arms
deals. The Tehran-based morning daily Jameah (Society) has
related the verdict over Hofer to the ruling by the Mykonos
Court, which implied last April that the Islamic Republic
was behind the killing of four Iranian Kurd separatists in
Berlin, the radio said. Some circles talk of an exchange
between Hofer and Kazem Darabi, an Iranian serv-ing his
sentence following the German court's ruling, the daily was
quot-ed as saying. The Cologne radio went on to claim that
Hofer's death decree was also an outcome of a domestic
power struggle among the hardline religious powers in Iran.
Iran's Judiciary Chief said that Hofer has appealed the
verdict, but according to the German daily Berliner Morgen
Post, his lawyer does not follow up the case, said the
radio. Hofer's lawyer and his family, it added, have been
threatened with death and, hence, the lawyer has not
appealed.


Opposition activists comment on political situation in Iran


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 12, 1998


What's Up?


The new political atmosphere in Iran has led to the
emergence of pro-democracy Islamic intellectuals, Bijan
Hekmat, a member of the Paris-based group Iran's
Republicans told a round-table dis-cussion in the France
Radio Sunday. His view was challenged by a com-munist
activist present at the discussion who said that Iran has
not under-gone any fundamental changes because President
Mohammad Khatami himself is committed to the Velayat-e
Faqih (rule of supreme jurispru-dent) and the Islamic
regime. Abbas Tavakkol said that since President Khatami
and his followers do not accept the segregation between the
reli-gion and the state, they would fail in meeting the
democratic demands of the nation. The political life of the
society is not restricted to the remarks of the president,
Hekmat replied, adding that even if he withdraws his views
the political mainstream is irreversible. After President
Khatami stepped into office, the existing political forces
gained momentum to become organized and move within a
defined framework, the republican activist said.


Journalist detained for writing the article "Fascism"


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran News
February 10, 1998


Press Review


SALAAM * The paper said that the hearing for Akbar Ganji,
director of Raah-e Now publication has been postponed.
According to the latest report, the hearing would be held
in Bench 1 of the Revolution Court in the next few days.
His charges have not been reported yet after two months of
detention. The weekly Shoma said in its recent issue that
Ganji has been detained for writing the article "Fascism"
in the paper.


Three new parties to receive official permission


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 10, 1998

Press Watch


Farda wrote that three new parties will receive official
permis-sion in the near future. One of them is 'Defenders
of Civil Society'. Among the founders of this party are
President Khatami's advisor on women affairs, Zahra
Shojaei, vice-president for parliament & legal affairs,
Musavi Lari and cooperative minister, Morteza Haji and head
of the presidential inspectorate bureau, Ali Khatami. A
party called 'Iran's Religious Intellectuals Coalition' is
the second party. Among its founders are the
editor-in-chief of the Jame'eh daily, Mashallah
Shams-ul-Vaezin and the renowned Iranian thinker, Dr.
Abdulkarim Suroush. Another party is 'Iran's
Suroush-e-Bidari' (vigilant messenger), with Hassan
Sabkdoust, Mohammad Jafarzadeh, Ali Mohri and Rahim Hamzeh
as members. Farda had previously written about parties such
as 'Islamic Iran's Solidarity Party', 'Islamic Society of
the Workers of Khorasan', 'Pre-revolution Political
Prisoners Association', Islamic Iran's youth' party and
'The Western Azarbaijan's Graduates' Association'.


Interview with editor of new daily Jame'eh


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 10, 1998

Press Watch


Iran interviewed the editor-in-chief of a new daily,
'Jame'eh', Mashallah Shams-ul-Vaezin and quoted him as
saying that Jame'eh is the first privately financed daily.
"We should prepare the ground for those who want to express
their ideas," he said. "Jame'eh respects all groups and no
group shall be deprived of its rights. We are really weak
at recruiting the required personnel and the status quo
doesn't respond to the needs of Iran's press. The
manage-ment of Jame'eh is trying to fill the gap by
employing educated peo-ple," he added. Shams-ul-Vaezin
criticized many publications and said the daily Iran had
initiated several changes in many different fields.


Firoozi accused of moral crimes


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 10, 1998


Firoozi reportedly accused of moral crimes


Tehran - Radio France in a report on Sunday evening quoted
informed sources in Tehran as saying Morteza Firoozi's
crime is not a violation of political or press law but of a
family and moral nature.

The radio added that according to these sources the silence
prevail-ing in the press and journalist syndicates is
mainly due to the nature of his crime.

The allegations are full of ambiguities, said the radio
adding that he was first charged with spying for an eastern
country, then acccused of being a spy for a far eastern
country and currently charged with spy-ing for three
different countries. The radio declared that no other
country except the US has been mentioned.

Certain informed circles in Iran claim that Firoozi's
political allies, who have control of many of the
decision-making organizations in this regard, have been
trying very hard to save his life. However, due to the
common nature of his crime and because of private and
influ-ential plaintiffs all their efforts have so far been
in vain.

The former chief editor of 'Iran News' is under detention
for the past eight months.


We support a free press, says deputy minister


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 9, 1998


Ahmad Bourghani: We support a free press


Journalism majors of Allameh-Tabatabaie University recently
interviewed the Press and Publicity Deputy of the Ministry
of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ahmad Bourghani. Questions
on policies related to the press and journalists were
posed. Excerpts:


*Is it true that you are planning to establish a "freelance
jour-nalists' syndicate"?


Bourghani: The phrase "syndicate of freelance journalists"
was spread among people as a result of a reporter's slip of
the tongue. We do not have anything called so and are not
obliged to found one. In the past, freelancers were
introduced by a publication or a news-paper in order to get
official practicing permits. But now, we issue professional
cards so they can actively pursue their profession.


*The professional card is not the sole problem faced by the
free-lancers; certain social obstacles also act as barriers
to their activities. Have you devised ways of facilitating
their participa-tion further?


Well, this is one of the current problems in Eastern
societies. We have discussed the matter with related
organizations for the protec-tion of the journalists'
status and dignity. The Press Syndicate can also play a
role in this regard. Meanwhile, we should do everything
possible to have freelancers welcomed by various
organizations as independent journalists.


*What are your plans for the Press Syndicate?


We believe the syndicate can be active in different areas
of press and journalism. Of course, the syndicate itself
should take the ini-tiative and we consider it our duty to
support them subsequently. In addition, we hope to witness
the establishment of professional syn-dicates related to
other aspects of the press.


*Many journalists who work in press institutions do not
have a stable employment status and often work on a
temporary or contract basis. What measures do you foresee
in this regard?


It is the duty of the Press Syndicate to defend the
journal-ists' rights. If the syndicate fulfills its
obligations then certainly no one can pressurize
journalists. Furthermore, it is our policy to support the
professional syndi-cates.


*Does this optimistic perspec-tive, which is shifting the
Iranian press laws from issuing professional permits to an
affi-davit- based system, actually exist?


Of course, we eventually plan to move towards this system.
However, it may not be possible to execute it currently.


*Has any legal action been taken against publications that
clearly violated the law during the sev-enth presidential
elections yet?


President Khatami and his cam-paign staff who were the
target of some accusations acted very gra-ciously towards
the violators, but the court of law and the public
prosecutor can follow up on the matter as they did so in
other cases.


*What measures have you taken for determining the extent of
press violations and the authori-ty of the Press
Supervising Council?


The court of law determines what violations have been
committed and the press law has clearly defined these. The
Press Supervising Council as the licens-ing authority
should not have the status of closing down publica-tions
for minor offenses. Furthermore, the Administrative Justice
Tribunal has occasionally overruled the Press Supervising
Council's verdict and this is a nor-mal judicial practice.
We support the judiciary's measures taken on the matter,
but we also believe that misinterpretations of the press
law have led to misunderstandings.


*Are you planning to approve a new version of the press law
or amend the current one?


The current press law is certainly not perfect and the
ministry of cul-ture and Islamic guidance is fully aware of
it. We shall be looking closely into the matter on a
long-term basis so we may be able to obtain meaningful
results.


*Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ata'ollah
Mohajerani claimed that there is no censorship whatsoever
in the press. But don't you think some issues such as
governmental allocation of paper can be regarded as a means
of influenc-ing the press, which is a kind of
self-censorship?


We do not use paper allocation as a means of exerting
pressure. We believe in a free press. We stand against
pressure groups and there is no justification for
self-censor-ship.


*Four press festivals have been held so far and some
criticism has also been directed toward them. Now, the
press community is eagerly looking for a different fifth
festival as there are new officials in charge now. What
have you done in this regard?


We have begun our initiatives. The second seminar on
examina-tion of Iranian press problems will also be held
alongside the fifth press festival. We have talked to the
Press Syndicate officials to undertake certain
responsibilities during the festival. Actually it is their
duty to hold the festival while the ministry of culture
should only carry out supportive functions.


U.S. to act soon on companies in deal with Iran


WASHINGTON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright will soon decide whether sanctions should be
imposed against France's Total SA and two other foreign firms
for a natural gas deal with Iran, her spokesman said on
Wednesday.
"The secretary will be making a determination soon about the
sanctionability question," State Department spokesman James
Rubin said at the department's daily press briefing.
Rubin would not specify when a decision would be made and,
in reply to questions, would not rule out a decision being
announced this week.
Since last autumn, the State Department has been reviewing
whether a $2 billion deal entered into by Total, Russia's
Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas to develop a major Iranian gas
field violates a U.S. law that seeks to punish companies that
invest $20 million or more in the energy sector of Iran or Libya
over a twelve-month period.
If the deal is found to fall under the purview of the law,
Albright can impose sanctions immediately, waive sanctions for
reasons of national security, or enter into consultations with
the relevant foreign government to resolve the issue.
Rubin declined to answer reporters' questions on whether
consideration is being given to simultaneously offering a
presidential waiver for some or all of the companies if it is
determined that they violated U.S. law.
"I can't rule in or rule out anything until we get to a
point where decisions are made," Rubin said. "Soon, I think
there will be a decision," he reiterated.
If Albright chooses sanctions, she must impose at least two
of a menu of six sanctions that affect the U.S. operations of
the sanctioned company, including barring U.S. banks from
dealing in a significant way with it and withholding some
licenses and and other business.
If she decides to consult with the foreign government, she
has an initial 90-day period for talks and, if she decides that
the government shows signs of taking action, a further 90 days
for resolving the issue is allowed.
-=-=-
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free to <email us your comments>> <comments@clari.net>.


Possible Iran-Iraq accord reported


LONDON Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Senior Iranian and Iraqi intelligence
officials have reportedly conferred over forging an alliance as Iraq
faces the threat of military attack by the United States.
The London Times reported today that the two countries, longtime
enemies in the Gulf region, sent high-ranking representatives to a
meeting Feb. 5 near the Iran-Iraq border.
The report named President Saddam Hussein's youngest son, Qusay
Hussein, as representing Saddam at last week's clandestine get-together
on the Iraqi side of the border.
Qusay is responsible for security in Iraq and reportedly met with
Iranian Intelligence Minister Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi, and is said to
have pressed Iran to end ``rivalry'' between the two countries.
Both nations reportedly sought to cooperate against a ``common
enemy''.
The British newspaper, quoting Western intelligence sources, said
Qusay was accompanied by the head of Iraqi military intelligence, Rafia
Daham al-Takriti.
News reports say that meeting provides the most dramatic evidence yet
that the two enemies are setting aside, for now, bitter differences
which have blocked accord since the 1980 Iran-Iraq war.
It was also noted the meeting between Saddam's son and the Iranian
intelligence chief followed last month's visit to Tehran by Iraqi
Foreign Minister Muhammad al-Sahaf, when a memorandum of understanding
was reportedly signed.
Iraq is believed to have offered concessions to encourage Iran to
join Baghdad in developing an anti-American plan of action, and promised
to abandon its support of Iranian opposition groups.
In exchange, Tehran reportedly has suspended its claim for
compensation from Baghdad totalling about $100 billion for the damage
caused by the Iran-Iraq war.


War movie given top honors at Iran festival


TEHRAN, Feb 11 (AFP) - A psychological war movie swept the top
awards at Iran's film festival on Wednesday amid a fierce debate
over the film's ideological orientation.
"The Glass Agency" by Ebrahim Hatami-Kia reaped eight prizes for
best film, director, leading actor, supporting actor and supporting
actress as well as script, editing and musical score.
It was competing with 21 other movies at the 16th International
Fajr Film Festival held each year to mark the anniversary of the
1979 Islamic revolution.
The movie has sparked enthusiasm among Iranian critics and
political circles as it deals with a highly sensitive issue -- the
plight of hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans from the
1980-1988 war against Iraq.
Although the story remains sympathetic to the conservative
ideology in the Islamic republic, it nevertheless marks a departure
from previous propaganda war movies in praise of "martyrdom" or
commercial ones in the mold of American action hits.
"The Glass Agency" deals with the social and psychological
predicament of the Basijis, revolutionary loyalists who fought for
Islam and revolution, but now find themselves abandoned.
The conflict comes from the Basijis' inability to reconcile
their extreme idealism marked by 'martyrdom' to the materialistic
culture and worship of money in the post-conflict era.
The story is about a war veteran who takes people hostage at a
travel agency to obtain a free plane ticket and money to take his
friend, a wounded war veteran, to London for surgery.
He resorts to crime only after being denied help from government
institutions dealing with war veterans' affairs.
The conservative Resalat newspaper described "Glass" as an
"artistic miracle likely to be targetted by the Western media and
those in Iran who desire a Western-style civil society."
"It is the story of victimized Basijis at odds with
West-toxication, capitalism and aggressive liberals," it said,
referring to a new mood of openness in Iran after the May election
of moderate President Mohammad Khatami.
Khatami has promised to try to create a "civil society"
characterized by the rule of law and greater political and personal
freedom.
But his pledges have prompted fears among conservative circles
that he may be departing from the orthodox revolutionary path
towards a Western-style democracy.
Groups of Islamic militants have tried to take the law into
their hand to fight manifestations of what they call "promiscuous
culture," including attacks on cinemas screening non-mainstream
movie.
But Hatami-Kia said in an interview that he does not take
political sides, and denied the movie was modelled after the 1970s
American movie "Dog Day Afternoon," directed by Sidney Lumet.
A foreign critic who requested anonymity gave the thumbs down to
"Glass," saying it was an "American-inspired action movie."
Hatami-Kia, a well-respected director in Iran, has made several
human-interest war movies, including the German-Iranian production
"From Karkheh to Rhine" but "Glass" represents his first
award-winning work.
Iranian cinema took off after the 1979 revolution, winning
laurels at many foreign festivals, although film-makers often
complain of restrictive government regulations.
The new moderate Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani appointed
a new cinema chief, Seifollah Dad, who has eased censorship and
lifted bans on several movies.
Hatami-Kia said his movie had not been censored "thanks to Mr.
Khatami." But he criticized the previous chief of the cinema
department, saying he was responsible for "two black years" in
Iran's movie history.
-=-=-
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free to <email us your comments>> <comments@clari.net>.


Strict Islamic rules impede women's rights


[This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]

Iran Daily (IRNA)
February 8, 1998


What's Up?


Although the government of President Mohammad Khatami has
initiated changes with regard to the situation of women,
strict Islamic rules still impede their freedom-seeking
movement, a Vienna-based publication wrote last Monday.
President Khatami's poli-cies on women are very liberal,
but even he cannot transform the Islamic decrees, an
article in the daily Salzburger Nachrichten said quoting an
unnamed Iranian woman sociologist at the University of
Tehran. When women divorce, she said, custody of the
children is given to men. The men can get divorce from
their wives at any time and any place, but women cannot
even leave the home without the permission of their
hus-bands, the unnamed sociologist was quoted as saying.
Those Iranian women who voted for President Khatami have
called for the continuation of the reform process, the
daily wrote. The Salzburger quoted Faezeh Hashemi as saying
that some of the rules on women have not originated from
the Holy Qur'an or Islam and that they have been drafted by
men to safegurad their own interests. According to the
daily, Hashemi along with other women deputies at the
parliament (Majlis) intend to establish a spe-cial
commission on women's affairs.


Mercy appeals for Iranian journalist sentenced to death


TEHRAN, Feb 11 (AFP) - A human rights group and an international
press association urged Iranian President Mohammad Khatami Wednesday
to intervene to save an Iranian journalist sentenced to death for
alleged espionage.
The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said
Morteza Firuzi, a former editor-in-chief of the English-language
daily Iran News, could be hanged in the next few days, and feared he
had not been given a proper trial.
"IPI is concerned that due process of law was denied him, that
he is facing imminent execution on charges that have not been
substantiated in an open and fair legal process," IPI said in a
statement.
The Paris-based Human Rights League also demanded more
information about Firuzi's case.
"So far, no Iranian official or judicial authority has disclosed
any information on the charges made against the accused," it said in
a letter to Khatami, a copy of which was faxed to AFP.
It said that Khatami, elected in May, had promised to restore
human rights, adding that "silence and indifference could not serve
as a response when the world learns of constant violation of the law
in Iran."
IPI said it feared that Firuzi's conviction "may be an attempt
to silence both him and other members of Iran's press."
Firuzi was secretly arrested in May or June last year and held
incommunicado for several weeks. In October it was reported that he
was being held on charges of spying, and on January 28 this year the
official Iranian news agency IRNA announced he had been sentenced to
death, IPI said.
"IPI is now informed that Firuzi's appeal has been rejected by
the Supreme Court and that he may be hanged within the next few
days. We understand that only a commutation by Your Excellency may
save him," they wrote to Khatami.
The Human Rights League called on similar organisations in the
European Union and the United Nations to intervene on Firuzi's
behalf.
-=-=-
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Re: Strict Islamic rules impede women's rights


It seems that Iran Daily is trying to widen the agenda of debate in Iran
by drawing from ideas and concepts that have hitherto not been allowed
to become part of Iran's official public discourse. It does this
cleverly by allocating a relatively casual column to such discussions
perhaps to avoid liability. I think its a good start towards press
freedom and more audacity on the part of our country's journalists.
If this same relative freedom were reflected in the nation's broadcast
media througfh privatisation, which is an inevitibilaty, so that
everyone, including those who dont speak English, which is Iran Daily,
and those who cant afford to buy every single newspaper, we might see
some real and substantive changes.

Mehdi




On Thu, 12 Feb 1998, Arash Alavi wrote:

> [This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]
>
> Iran Daily (IRNA)
> February 8, 1998
>
>
> What's Up?
>
>
> Although the government of President Mohammad Khatami has
> initiated changes with regard to the situation of women,
> strict Islamic rules still impede their freedom-seeking
> movement, a Vienna-based publication wrote last Monday.
> President Khatami's poli-cies on women are very liberal,
> but even he cannot transform the Islamic decrees, an
> article in the daily Salzburger Nachrichten said quoting an
> unnamed Iranian woman sociologist at the University of
> Tehran. When women divorce, she said, custody of the
> children is given to men. The men can get divorce from
> their wives at any time and any place, but women cannot
> even leave the home without the permission of their
> hus-bands, the unnamed sociologist was quoted as saying.
> Those Iranian women who voted for President Khatami have
> called for the continuation of the reform process, the
> daily wrote. The Salzburger quoted Faezeh Hashemi as saying
> that some of the rules on women have not originated from
> the Holy Qur'an or Islam and that they have been drafted by
> men to safegurad their own interests. According to the
> daily, Hashemi along with other women deputies at the
> parliament (Majlis) intend to establish a spe-cial
> commission on women's affairs.
>
> -------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
> http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Post to Usenet
>

Keyhan Views Revolution Lessons, Impact


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26 Jan 98 p 2
Commentary by Mohammad Mohajeri: "Those Who Got Stranded on
the Way"

The remembrance of those days 19 years ago and an analysis of the
events in those days is fraught with many lessons. The seething wave of
humanity under the unique leadership of Imam Khomeyni--may his soul
sanctified--pulverized every obstacle in the path of this movement's
victory.
The political factions and established groups were also carried along
in this turbulent wave and lost their individuality. The groups that had
endeavored to propound their names and past records in order to acquire a
share and role for themselves encountered the indifference of the nation.
The people had respect and regard for their distinctive role in the
struggle against the idolatrous [shah's] regime, but in general it was
accepted that they were all striving ahead on the path of the revolution.
One must remember that the suffering Muslim combatants had undergone
severe tribulations in their incarceration in the black dungeons of the
tyrannical monarchy for Iran's liberation. They had no aspirations for
recognition, but were drops in the turbulent deluge of people and did not
even think of themselves. In any case, there were a chosen few who were
assigned the mandate by the people to lead the movement and theirs was the
final word for the combatant masses.
In any case, some groups--who were perhaps striving for personal gain,
and to reap political capital in their approach to these issues--preferred
to abstain from direct involvement and postponed their demands and claims
to be raised at the time of the distribution of the spoils!
Thus, even though the emergence of the revolution is to a certain
extent due to the efforts of the political currents active during the era
of the idolatrous regime, and their efforts have been recognized by the
conscientious and fair-minded people, they cannot lay the slightest claim
to the directing and leading of the revolution. This is solely the
prerogative of the extensive clerical faction, not as a political party,
but in its capacity of the mentor, leader, and cohort of the people.
Naturally, in the aftermath of the collapse of the 2,500-year old
monarchical regime and the subsiding of the excitement of the month of
Bahman [21 January-19 February] in 1357 [year beginning 21 March 1978],
some of the groups that were involved in the struggle proclaimed their
presence one after another. Each sought a share in the government
commensurate with the position that they had attained.
Amid this crisis, some nascent maverick groups also announced their
existence in a way that, within the first year or two of the victory of the
revolution, the emergence of splinter groups and factions became a matter
of jest in our society. This was especially since leftist grouplets at
that time inclined toward the Eastern bloc--namely the Soviet Union, the
PRC, Cuba, Albania, North Korea, and so forth--were mushrooming all around.
It was humorously stated that if one communist could agree with
himself, he would form a party; and if he could find one more member, he
would form a branch of that party! Citing such jokes to let off steam was
common among those who are familiar with the political events of that time.
The hottest revolutionary slogans of the groups at that time, which
had been raised merely with the aim of perpetuating their own existence,
continued to proliferate, at times merely to convey the impression that
society is still furlongs away from catching up with the rapidly moving
caravan! These slogans were: Struggle against imperialism, defense of the
proletariat, emphasis on food and shelter, vindication of the people's
rights, and hundreds of similar slogans. Each batch of slogans carried
tidings of the spawning of a new group with its placards, tracts [preceding
two words in English transliterated in Persian], and walls blackened with
graffiti!
The laborious efforts of these grouplets--which later revealed the
involvement of the foreign powers in their formation and consolidation--did
not deceive anyone, except for a few of the simpleminded ones and hardly
any person was willing to leave the revolution's bandwagon and join them.
Not much time elapsed before these so-called popular groups opened fire on
the people! They perpetrated heinous atrocities and revealed their true
faces and fled with such animosity that even now after many years, they
continue their malevolence wherever they are.
In truth, those who got off the train of the revolution at the first
station were those who had climbed on by mistake in the first place.
Perhaps they imagined that they would be able to change the path and they
mingled with the people on false pretexts. However, the swift pace of the
revolution also made some others regret the course of action they had
chosen, of going along with the others!
The elements in the interim government who had been in the forefront
of the struggle earlier with their slogans of Islam and religion also
reached an impasse very quickly with their concept of emulating the models
of government prevailing in the world. They thought that Islam was merely
to be used to denote orientation or at the most, as an instrument. They
realized that they should move away and not accompany the people's masses
in traversing the remaining path.
In addition to these, there were other groups that, with regard to
their beliefs and nature, bore a great resemblance to the people and were
even their favorites for many years. However, with the passage of the
early years of the victory of the revolution, they distanced themselves
from its values as well and refrained from concurrence with the Muslim
nation.
Some of them even fabricated different connotations for the lexicon of
the revolution's values, which they interpreted by applying foreign and
Western terminology to the people's political culture. They propounded new
interpretations to the terms such as: Independence, freedom, government,
the Velayat-e Faqih [rule by the supreme jurisconsult], and so on.
Even today, instead of drawing people toward those values, they invite
them toward themselves and others. In fact, they project themselves as the
criteria. It is not too farfetched that this tactic may succeed
eventually, but there is no doubt it will result in their separation from
the Muslim masses. There is a danger that they may lag behind instead of
being alongside the people.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Feb 1998 to 12 Feb 1998
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