Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 12 Feb 1998 to 13 Feb 1998

There are 7 messages totalling 805 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Soccer:E.Bazeek with National Team while Ivic Observes Bundesliga
2. Sports: Iran Gives US Wrestlers Entry Visas
3. fwd: The oldest story ( why jews do what they do? )
4. Edward Said on the US-Iraq War, The Real Reasons Behind The War
5. fwd: Iran's Second Sex

Soccer:E.Bazeek with National Team while Ivic Observes Bundesliga

February 12, 1998 from PGS

The Iranian National Team continued its training today despite the
absence of Tomislav Ivich. Tomislav Ivich will be attending the games by
Arminia Beilfeld and FC Koln in order to observe Karim Bagheri, Ali Daei
and Khodadad Azizi play with their home clubs. Ali Daei and Khodadad
Azizi are the main strikers on the team while Karim Bagheri is the power
in the mid field.

Ivich told a Persian radio station in Germany that he was pleased with
the performance of Karim Bagheri and Ali Daei, whom both play for
Arminia Beilfeld. His goal is to visit the Friday game between FC Koln
and HSV and observe Iran's popular striker, Khodadad Azizi. Khodadad
Azizi was benched during the last game by FC Koln and there is a
possibility that he will be benched again this Friday. According to
German media, FC Koln fans can not understand reasons behind the
decision by FC Koln coach, Lorenz Costner, to bench Azizi. Costner told
a press conference that he believed that Azizi's teammate, Vladiou, was
in a better physical shape than Azizi and he would be desperately needed
to help FC Koln avoid a drop to Second Division. Azizi saved his club a
few days ago when he scored a crucial equalizer in minute 75 against
Wulfsberg, just two minutes behind the goal by Wulfsberg. (View Azizi's
Goal Click )

Meanwhile in Tehran Tomislav Ivich's Croatian assistant, Jelco Miac, and
Ibrahim Ghassempour held another training session. Players that were
available in this session were:

Mehdi Hashminasab, Sirous Deanmohammadi, Mehrdad Minavand, Mehdi
Mahdavikia,Reza Rezaemanesh, Ali Akbar Ostad Asadi, Bader Mohammad
Khani, Edmund Bazeek, Behzad Gholampour, Dariush Yazdani, Satar
Hammadani, Behman Seraj, Ali Emamifar and Mohammad Narazi. Edmund
Bazeek, who plays for Pirouzi, was just recently added to the National
Team. Although he has been a crucial part of the Pirouzi side, previous
National team coaches did not believe he would shine on the National

Mohammad Khakpour, Naeem Sadavi, Ahmad Abedzadeh and Yahya Golmohammadi
were missing from the practice due to injury. Following the practice
Miac told reporters that Ivich would be finalizing the team (23 players)
by mid March. There are reports that the coaching staff is criticizing
the IFF for interfering with their decision making, especially when it
comes to choosing the players for the team.

Unfortunately the inefficiency of the IFF and its unclear agenda have
given way to personal disputes getting in the way of progress. The IFF
has recently been criticised by different soccer clubs in Iran for
relying solely on Pirouzi (Persepolis) players. About 60% of the
National Team is plays for Pirouzi and many non Pirouzi fans have
objected and complained to the IFF. Although several players from
Esteghlal have been added to the players list, some non Pirouzi fans
claim that those players will not be playing on the field but "warming
the benches." Unfortunately some individuals fail to look at the "bigger
picture" when it comes to soccer in Iran. Nevertheless the IFF announced
that it has asked the "Sports Relations Departments" to look into the
fight between Hamid Esteeli and Ali Reza Mansourian in Hong Kong. It is
unclear whether they will be sanctioned by the IFF for the incident.

Iran was scheduled to meet Poland on February 16th but the game was
canceled as Iranian players have to participate in the Asian Club
championship. Instead Poland traveled to Paraguay on February 8th where
they were thrashed 4-0 by the home side. Poland did not travel with
their main players to Asuncion (Paraguay's capital). According to a
recent interview by Ivich, Iran have plans to play several friendly
(warm-up) matches before their first World Cup match on June 14th
against Yugoslavia. According to reports possible opponents for Iran
could be England, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, UAE,
Bulgaria and Croatia.

Meanwhile sports wear manufacturer, Puma, is negotiating with the
Iranian Football Federation for possible sponsorship. According to
reports, Puma has offered IFF $500,000 for sponsorship. Along with Puma
other companies such as Adidas and Sanyo have also expressed interest in
sponsoring the Iranian Team.

Sports: Iran Gives US Wrestlers Entry Visas

Iran Gives US Wrestlers Entry Visas
By Afshin Valinejad
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, February 5, 1998; 8:39 a.m. EST

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran has granted American wrestlers visas for an
international meet in Tehran next month, allowing U.S. athletes to compete
in the country for the first time in almost two decades, a sports official
said today.

Coaches, officials of the U.S. wrestling federation and journalists
traveling with the team also were given permission to enter Iran, Mohammad
Reza Talqani, the vice president of the Iranian wrestling federation, told
The Associated Press.

Last month, the U.S. wrestling federation announced that five U.S. wrestlers
would compete in the Feb. 19-21 Takhti Cup.

It will mark the first visit by U.S. athletes since the 1979 Iranian
revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed regime. Washington severed ties after
Muslim militants loyal to the revolutionary government stormed the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The U.S. team, led by 1993 world champion Melvin Douglas and 1992 Olympic
gold medalist Kevin Jackson, is tentatively scheduled to tour Iran Feb.
14-22. But U.S. wrestling officials have given no date for the team's
arrival in Tehran, Talqani said.

Relations long have been tense between Iran and the United States, which
accuses the Islamic government of supporting international terrorism,
seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and opposing the Middle East peace
process. Iran denies the charges.

There have been signs of an easing of tensions in recent months.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a relatively moderate cleric who took
office in August, has said he would welcome cultural exchanges between the
two countries.

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

fwd: The oldest story ( why jews do what they do? )

I found this artickle on SCI, it is an interesting article.
Farhad A.
Mansour Bighamian" <>
For the answer, we must go back thousands of years to the origin of the
Jewish people. At their origin, the Jews were merely one of many Middle
Eastern tribes, racially Semitic, like their neighbors and racial
cousins who are today called Arabs. When they first appear in history,
and in their own writings, they had already established the essential
pattern of Jewish life which persists to this day -- that is, they had
established themselves as a united, prosperous, and influential minority
in someone else's country, in this specific case Egypt. Dr. William
Pierce writes in his article The Essence of Judaism (Reprinted in The
Best of Attack and National Vanguard Tabloid, available as item number
353 for $16.95 plus $1.50 postage and handling from National Vanguard

' There the former slave Joseph had parlayed his talents for
necromancy and grain-speculation into a virtual dictatorship at the side
of the Pharaoh. [The Jewish Torah tells us in Genesis] "As for the
people, he reduced them to serfdom from one end of the land to the
other." Then Joseph threw open Egypt to his Jewish brethren [saying]
"You shall feed on the fat of the land" and "the best that the land of
Egypt offers is yours."

'When a more national-minded Pharaoh turned the tables on the Jews they
were forced to flee, but not before relieving the Egyptians of their
gold and silver. And so the pattern of Jewish history was set: from
outcasts to fellow-citizens, then trusted advisers, and finally,
ruthless masters. Then follow the persecutions, pogroms, and expulsions
which have won for the Jews such undeserved sympathy.'

Most peoples of the Earth are more than mere nomadic tribes in that they
have established their nations within more or less fixed geographic
borders, which are defended against invaders and within which the people
make use of the resources of their land. Most peoples have a spiritual
and emotional bond with their land which, when combined with a love for
their blood kindred, we call by the name of patriotism. This bond to our
blood and soil can be very strong, and some of us are moved to tears by
a good rendition of our national anthem. But for virtually all of their
history the Jews have not lived in such a manner. Nor have they lived in
the manner of other nomadic peoples like the Huns who swept across their
more civilized neighbors in a swath of pillage and conquest. No, almost
unique among the peoples of the Earth, the Jews have lived primarily by
planting their colonies among other nations, living always as a small
cohesive minority in the lands of what they call the goyim, which is an
opprobrious term for all non-Jews who, according to Jewish religious
writings, are equivalent to cattle.

Although Jewish organizations preach integration and racial equality for
White Americans, they themselves are among the most racially exclusive
peoples on Earth. They have their own special schools for their children
where non-Jews are not permitted; they have their own media of
newspapers and magazines -- intended for Jewish consumption only -- in
which they rail against the evils of intermarriage with non-Jews and
promote the idea that they are a special chosen race, decreed by God to
be holier than all others and therefore deserving of special treatment
from the rest of us. Why this seeming contradiction? Why is it
integration and conquest by Third World immigration for us, and racial
exclusiveness and superiority for them?

The answer can be found in the Jews' special mode of life. Living as
they always have as a tiny minority among other peoples, allowing
general intermarriage would quickly have resulted in the disappearance
of the Jews as a distinct people. Their genes containing those qualities
that mark them as distinctly Jewish would have been completely swamped
by mixture with the genes of their more numerous host peoples. If they
were to survive, they needed a religion and a moral code which
discouraged mixture with non-Jews. They needed a theology which exalted
them above other peoples. They created exactly that in their myth of the
"Chosen People." And it has served them well. The nations and empires
which they have colonized and lived in over the centuries have largely
turned back into sand, but the Jews have survived and prospered and are
still very much with us today.

But, you might object, there has been intermarriage. Yes, indeed there
has, and to such an extent that many Jews today whose ancestors have
spent countless generations among the peoples of Europe look, at least
to an untrained eye, as White as any European. And Jewish families
residing in China look to us quite Oriental, though I am told that to
Eastern eyes they are still distinct. But nevertheless, despite and in
some ways because of this intermixture, the Chosen People myth has been
and still is a powerful force which has preserved the essence of Jewish
uniqueness. To understand how this seeming contradiction can be, you
have to understand the basic scientific fact that behavioral tendencies,
character, and personality are largely genetic, and are passed on from
generation to generation with mathematical precision according to the
characteristics of the parents, and their parents, and so on back into
the mists of time.

The essence of Jewishness is not in their distinctive appearance, which
some Jews have largely lost over the centuries, nor in their peculiar
modes of dress or diet or expression; which many non-religious Jews have
abandoned anyway without in any way relinquishing their Jewishness. No,
the essence of Jewishness is the special "us versus them" mentality
which is formalized in their Chosen People myth and which was necessary
for their survival as a tiny group among the teeming masses of Egypt,
Babylon, Rome, and America. For thousands of years, the Jews were
subjected to a rigorous process of genetic selection. Those Jews in whom
this "us versus them" mentality, this intense ethnocentrism or racism,
was weak or absent were the most likely to intermarry and the least
likely to raise their offspring as Jews or induce their spouses to
undergo the difficult and officially discouraged conversion process.
Thus the genetic material of these less "racist" Jews was lost to Jewry.
Thus, over the centuries, those Jews who remained in the fold were those
who possessed these special mental qualities in the highest degree.
These qualities became intensified over the years since only those who
possessed them most intensely were the progenitors of the following
generations of the people who called themselves Jews.

The fact that there has been a definitely observable drift of White
genetic material into the gene pool of European and American Jews does
not substantially change the situation as I have illustrated it. When
intermarriage occurred despite the opposition of the conservative and
religious elements, and the offspring were raised as Jews, a similar
selection process took place among them. Those to whom the Chosen People
myth and the attitudes and practices that accompany it were incongenial
or repugnant escaped into the wider Gentile world, and did not
contribute their genes to the Jewish people. Those who had inherited the
special mentality that characterizes the Jewish mode of life became part
of the Jewish people, and the parents of Jewish children, even though
they often brought with them such non-Jewish characteristics as straight
fine hair, light coloration, and straight or upturned noses. Looking at
this situation from a purely biological perspective, this acquisition of
some of the physical characteristics of their host peoples might have
been a survival advantage to the Jews, since it blurred the distinction
between themselves and their hosts, at least to the hosts, and the
Gentile's consciousness of their foreignness had always been a danger to
them. In fact, it was and still remains their greatest fear. They call
it anti-Semitism. The term is really a poor one, since it is never
applied toward those who dislike Arabs, who are relatively pure Semites;
but always to those who criticize Jews, who today are only partly
Semitic and who have themselves probably killed more Semites than any
other people.

This fear of our recognition of their foreignness is natural. To the
nations which have expelled or fought them over the centuries -- and the
list is a long one, including Egypt, Rome, Spain, England, France,
Russia, Germany, and many others -- the reason was the resentment of the
peoples of those lands when these peculiar foreigners became rich and
powerful and had the ears of the political leaders, while the rightful
owners of the land felt dispossessed of their birthright. This process
has occurred many times throughout history and it is occurring again in
the United States of America right now.

The Jews perceive any reaction against their presence in the host
nations as persecution, and from their point of view perhaps it is
persecution, since our reaction is against the only way of life they
know: that of a parasite attached to a host. From a biological point of
view, one cannot assign any moral fault to either party. But it must be
acknowledged that their interests are irreconcilable.

Edward Said on the US-Iraq War, The Real Reasons Behind The War

Professor Edward Said


Professor Edward Said

It would be a mistake, I think, to reduce what is happening between
Iraq and the United States simply to an assertion of Arab will and
sovereignty on the one hand versus American imperialism, which undoubtedly
plays a central role in all this. However misguided, Saddam Hussein's
cleverness is not that he is splitting America from its allies (which he
has not really succeeded in doing for any practical purpose) but that he
is exploiting the astonishing clumsiness and failures of US foreign
policy. Very few people, least of all Saddam himself, can be fooled into
believing him to be the innocent victim of American bullying; most of what
is happening to his unfortunate people who are undergoing the most
dreadful and unacknowledged suffering is due in considerable degree to his
callous cynicism -- first of all, his indefensible and ruinous invasion of
Kuwait, his persecution of the Kurds, his cruel egoism and pompous
self-regard which persists in aggrandizing himself and his regime at
exorbitant and, in my opinion, totally unwarranted cost. It is impossible
for him to plead the case for national security and sovereignty now given
his abysmal disregard of it in the case of Kuwait and Iran.

Be that as it may, US vindictiveness, whose sources I shall look at in
a moment, has exacerbated the situation by imposing a regime of sanctions
which, as Sandy Berger, the American National Security adviser has just
said proudly, is unprecedented for its severity in the whole of world
history. 567,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the Gulf War, mostly as
a result of disease, malnutrition and deplorably poor medical care.
Agriculture and industry are at a total standstill. This is unconscionable
of course, and for this the brazen inhumanity of American policy-makers is
also very largely to blame. But we must not forget that Saddam is feeding
that inhumanity quite deliberately in order to dramatize the opposition
between the US and the rest of the Arab world; having provoked a crisis
with the US (or the UN dominated by the US) he at first dramatised the
unfairness of the sanctions. But by continuing it as he is now doing, the
issue has changed and has become his non-compliance, and the terrible
effects of the sanctions have been marginalised. Still the underlying
causes of an Arab/US crisis remain.

A careful analysis of that crisis is imperative. The US has always
opposed any sign of Arab nationalism or independence, partly for its own
imperial reasons and partly because its unconditional support for Israel
requires it to do so. Since the l973 war, and despite the brief oil
embargo, Arab policy up to and including the peace process has tried to
circumvent or mitigate that hostility by appealing to the US for help, by
"good" behavior, by willingness to make peace with Israel. Yet mere
compliance with the US's wishes can produce nothing except occasional
words of American approbation for leaders who appear "moderate": Arab
policy was never backed up with coordination, or collective pressure, or
fully agreed upon goals. Instead each leader tried to make separate
arrangements both with the US and with Israel, none of which produced very
much except escalating demands and a constant refusal by the US to exert
any meaningful pressure on Israel. The more extreme Israeli policy becomes
the more likely the US has been to support it. And the less respect it has
for the large mass of Arab peoples whose future and well-being are
mortgaged to illusory hopes embodied, for instance, in the Oslo accords.

Moreover, a deep gulf separates Arab culture and civilization on the
one hand, from the United States on the other, and in the absence of any
collective Arab information and cultural policy, the notion of an Arab
people with traditions, cultures and identities of their own is simply
inadmissible in the US. Arabs are dehumanized, they are seen as violent
irrational terrorists always on the lookout for murder and bombing
outrages. The only Arabs worth doing business with for the US are
compliant leaders, businessmen, military people whose arms purchases (the
highest per capita in the world) are helping the American economy keep
afloat. Beyond that there is no feeling at all, for instance, for the
dreadful suffering of the Iraqi people whose identity and existence have
simply been lost sight of in the present situation.

This morbid, obsessional fear and hatred of the Arabs has been a
constant theme in US foreign policy since World War Two. In some way also,
anything positive about the Arabs is seen in the US as a threat to Israel.
In this respect pro-Israeli American Jews, traditional Orientalists, and
military hawks have played a devastating role. Moral opprobrium is heaped
on Arab states as it is on no others. Turkey, for example, has been
conducting a campaign against the Kurds for several years, yet nothing is
heard about this in the US. Israel occupies territory illegally for thirty
years, it violates the Geneva conventions at will, conducts invasions,
terrorist attacks and assassinations against Arabs, and still, the US
vetoes every sanction against it in the UN. Syria, Sudan, Libya, Iraq are
classified as "rogue" states. Sanctions against them are far harsher than
against any other countries in the history of US foreign policy. And still
the US expects that its own foreign policy agenda ought to prevail (eg.,
the woefully misguided Doha economic summit) despite its hostility to the
collective Arab agenda.

In the case of Iraq a number of further extenuations make the US even
more repressive. Burning in the collective American unconscious is a
puritanical zeal decreeing the sternest possible attitude towards anyone
deemed to be an unregenerate sinner. This clearly guided American policy
towards the native American Indians, who were first demonized, then
portrayed as wasteful savages, then exterminated, their tiny remnant
confined to reservations and concentration camps. This almost religious
anger fuels a judgemental attitude that has no place at all in
international politics, but for the United States it is a central tenet of
its worldwide behavior. Second, punishment is conceived in apocalyptic
terms. During the Vietnam war a leading general advocated -- and almost
achieved -- the goal of bombing the enemy into the stone age. The same
view prevailed during the Gulf War in l99l. Sinners are meant to be
condemned terminally, with the utmost cruelty regardless of whether or not
they suffer the cruelest agonies. The notion of "justified" punishment for
Iraq is now uppermost in the minds of most American consumers of news, and
with that goes an almost orgiastic delight in the gathering power being
summoned to confront Iraq in the Gulf.

Pictures of four (or is now five?) immense aircraft carriers steaming
virtuously away punctuate breathless news bulletins about Saddam's
defiance, and the impending crisis. The President announces that he is
thinking not about the Gulf but about the 21st century: how can we
tolerate Iraq's threat to use biological warfare even though (this is
unmentioned) it is clear from the UNSCOM reports that he neither has the
missile capacity, nor the chemical arms, nor the nuclear arsenal, nor in
fact the anthrax bombs that he is alleged to be brandishing? Forgotten in
all this is that the US has all the terror weapons known to humankind, is
the only country to have used a nuclear bomb on civilians, and as recently
as seven years ago dropped 66,000 tons of bombs on Iraq. As the only
country involved in this crisis that has never had to fight a war on its
own soil, it is easy for the US and its mostly brain-washed citizens to
speak in apocalyptic terms. A report out of Australia on Sunday, November
l6 suggests that Israel and the US are thinking about a neutron bomb on

Unfortunately the dictates of raw power are very severe and, for a weak
state like Iraq, overwhelming. Certainly US misuse of the sanctions to
strip Iraq of everything, including any possibility for security is
monstrously sadistic. The so-called UN 661 Committee created to oversee
the sanctions is composed of fifteen member states (including the US) each
of which has a veto. Every time Iraq passes this committee a request to
sell oil for medicines, trucks, meat, etc., any member of the committee
can block these requests by saying that a given item may have military
purposes (tires, for example, or ambulances). In addition the US and its
clients -- eg., the unpleasant and racist Richard Butler, who says openly
that Arabs have a different notion of truth than the rest of the world --
have made it clear that even if Iraq is completely reduced militarily to
the point where it is no longer a threat to its neighbors (which is now
the case) the real goal of the sanctions is to topple Saddam Hussein's
government. In other words according to the Americans, very little that
Iraq can do short of Saddam's resignation or death will produce a lifting
of sanctions. Finally, we should not for a moment forget that quite apart
from its foreign policy interest, Iraq has now become a domestic American
issue whose repercussions on issues unrelated to oil or the Gulf are very
important. Bill Clinton's personal crises -- the campaign-funding
scandals, an impending trial for sexual harassment, his various
legislative and domestic failures -- require him to look strong,
determined and "presidential" somewhere else, and where but in the Gulf
against Iraq has he so ready-made a foreign devil to set off his blue-eyed
strength to full advantage. Moreover, the increase in military
expenditure for new investments in electronic "smart" weaponry, more
sophisticated aircraft, mobile forces for the world-wide projection of
American power are perfectly suited for display and use in the Gulf, where
the likelihood of visible casualties (actually suffering Iraqi civilians)
is extremely small, and where the new military technology can be put
through its paces most attractively. For reasons that need restating
here, the media is particularly happy to go along with the government in
bringing home to domestic customers the wonderful excitement of American
self-righteousness, the proud flag-waving, the "feel-good" sense that "we"
are facing down a monstrous dictator. Far from analysis and calm
reflection the media exists mainly to derive its mission from the
government, not to produce a corrective or any dissent. The media, in
short, is an extension of the war against Iraq.

The saddest aspect of the whole thing is that Iraqi civilians seem
condemned to additional suffering and protracted agony. Neither their
government nor that of the US is inclined to ease the daily pressure on
them, and the probability that only they will pay for the crisis is
extremely high. At least -- and it isn't very much -- there seems to be no
enthusiasm among Arab governments for American military action, but beyond
that there is no coordinated Arab position, not even on the extremely
grave humanitarian question. It is unfortunate that, according to the
news, there is rising popular support for Saddam in the Arab world, as if
the old lessons of defiance without real power have still not been

Undoubtedly the US has manipulated the UN to its own ends, a rather
shameful exercise given at the same time that the Congress once again
struck down a motion to pay a billion dollars in arrears to the world
organization. The major priority for Arabs, Europeans, Muslims and
Americans is to push to the fore the issue of sanctions and the terrible
suffering imposed on innocent Iraqi civilians. Taking the case to the
International Court in the Hague strikes me as a perfectly viable
possibility, but what is needed is a concerted will on behalf of Arabs who
have suffered the US's egregious blows for too long without an adequate

fwd: Iran's Second Sex

Business Week: February 23, 1998 Letter From Iran


At Ali's pizza parlor, a popular teen hangout, girls furtively giggle
and make eyes at groups of boys. An announcer bellows that someone's
pepperoni pizza is ready. Still, this is Tehran. Fearful of harassment
by the Islamic police--who enforce dress-code and behavior laws--the
announcer also urges the girls to ``mind your hijab''--a reference to
the scarf and long coat all Iranian women must wear. Quickly, the
scarves are readjusted, and loose locks of hair disappear. Hijab is of
endless fascination to Westerners. ``What was it like being covered up
all the time?'' I was asked when I returned. I said I found hijab a
nuisance, as do most Iranian women. It's particularly uncomfortable
during the hot summer months. But overall, most Iranian women have
learned to live with it; the young even manage to make it look
fashionable. For many, hijab is the least of their problems. It is in
other aspects of their lives that Iranian women are seeking dramatic
change. The language they use sounds almost reminiscent of the early
days of the feminist movement in the U.S. in the 1970s. No one is about
to burn a bra, but Iranian women are tired of being treated inequitably,
and they're saying so. TURNING POINT. One of the ways they're making
their concerns known is through sports, which has become an unlikely
political vehicle for Iranian women. Last November, when the Iranian
soccer team won a berth in the World Cup, Tehran went wild. Street
parties erupted throughout the city. ``I took off my scarf and danced in
the street,'' says Banafshe, a student at Tehran University. Hundreds of
women did the same. Others broke into a stadium--women are not allowed
to attend sporting events--to participate in the welcome-home ceremony
for the soccer team. Overwhelmed, the city's Islamic police did nothing.
Women's activist and publisher Shahla Lahiji calls this extraordinary
event the ``football revolution.'' Many Iranian women hope it won't stop
there. Iran isn't Saudi Arabia--where women may not drive or vote--but
Iranian women are discriminated against in employment, marriage, and the
courts. They can't leave the country without their husbands' permission
or be seen in public with a man who is not a family member. They can't
even ride bicycles because it's considered too sexually provocative. So
these days, women are looking hopefully to the country's new President,
Mohammed Khatami, who is considered a moderate. Khatami promises more
rights for women, including more employment opportunities and better
treatment under the law. While critics say he has not yet delivered
major changes, women are encouraged by his reformist views. ``They have
more stride in their walking,'' says Lahiji. ``The head is up now.''
During the time of the Shah, women were accorded many rights, including,
in 1962, the right to vote. But after the Islamic revolution in 1979,
these freedoms disappeared. Women were forced to cover themselves, and
many had to leave their jobs. It became difficult to live a comfortable
life outside the home. JUDGES, TOO. Now, their status is rising more
quickly than at any other time since 1979. Khatami has named a woman as
one of his vice-presidents--a first. Iran now has women judges; four
were recently appointed to family court. And women account for 45% of
all university students. ``The opportunities for women are improving.
Women can become engineers or accountants or doctors,'' says Vahide Das
Jerdi, a gynecologist and one of 13 women who belong to the 270-member
parliament. Working has clearly helped Iranian women gain a sense of
independence. In recent years, Iran's faltering economy forced many
women into the workforce to help support their families. But what
started out as economic necessity turned into enjoyment. Women no longer
have to spend most of their time cloistered in their houses. ``I love
interacting with people and dealing with customers,'' says Shiva, a
31-year-old mother of one and a haircutter at a Tehran beauty salon. ``I
would never give up my job.'' For some women, an increased sense of
independence puts them at odds with Iranian men. Afasanah, a 35-year-old
bride-to-be who works at a government ministry, says she had a hard time
finding a man who would let her continue to work. ``Until now, I found
it easier to be independent. And most men don't like that,'' she says.
Even more traditional Iranian women agree it's hard to find a modern
husband. ``It's very common now for women in their 30s to be single and
working,'' says 32-year-old Farideh, an office worker, as she leaves the
shrine of an Islamic saint in northern Tehran. Being single doesn't seem
to dismay her. ``First my job, then marriage,'' she says. Getting a good
job isn't easy, however. Opportunities for women remain limited. Many
work at traditional women's jobs: beauty salons, clothing stores,
teaching, and nursing. While nearly a third of government jobs are now
occupied by women, they are the lower-paying ones. Behouri, a
21-year-old nutrition major at Tehran University, says that while she'll
find a job when she graduates, she won't be treated the same as a male
employee. ``There is no equality between men and women,'' she laments.
VIGILANTES. There's rising concern, too, about a conservative backlash
either stunting or even reversing the few strides women have made. While
women say they are harassed less now by Islamic police, they are
increasingly bothered by vigilante groups prowling the streets looking
for women wearing makeup or walking with a man who is not a relative.
Most women say these instances have not yet turned violent, but they do
find them threatening and worry that they may become more severe. Still,
women are daring to break the myriad laws that govern their behavior. At
a Tehran park, medical student Sahar, wearing a black scarf, short blue
raincoat, jeans, and sneakers, blatantly flouts the law by playing
badminton with a man she doesn't know. ``I do whatever sports I like,
even with boys,'' she says defiantly. She even manages to ride a bike


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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 12 Feb 1998 to 13 Feb 1998