Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Feb 1998 to 16 Feb 1998

There are 13 messages totalling 767 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. fwd: Morteza Firuzi, spied for France, Japan and S-Korea!!
2. socker: "Mountain of Criticism" is Growing Against IFF
3. 4. 5. Radio Hambastegi on the WEB
6. Appeal of German facing death sentence in Iran "in final stage"
7. Lawyers for condemned Iranian journalist appeal verdict
8. Iran, Jordan stake hopes on Annan visit to Iraq
9. Khomeini's former chosen successor under increased surveillance in Iran
10. Birmingham's Hosseinieh set on fire
11. Sport: Wrestling Diplomacy?
12. Iran unrolls welcome mat for American wrestlers
13. Free Persian Banner Java Applet

fwd: Morteza Firuzi, spied for France, Japan and S-Korea!!


TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - An Iranian journalist condemned to death,
Morteza Firuzi, spied for France, Japan, and South Korea, a
conservative Iranian newspaper said Sunday.
The newspaper Ressalat said that Firuzi, the former
editor-in-chief of the English-language daily Iran News "worked for
the French, Japanese, and South Korean intelligence services."
The paper said Firuzi, sentenced to death in January for
"espionage and adultery," received "175,000 dollars in cash for
political, economic, and military intelligence" and had had
"numerous adulterous relations which have been proven."
The Iranian press has repeatedly accused Firuzi of spying but
until now has not said for which countries he was supposed to have
worked.
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.
Firuzi, a political analyst known for his moderate and
modernist views, was well-placed among Iranian officials and
sometimes accompanied them during their foreign visits.
He started as a journalist at another English-language daily,
the Tehran Times, but left three years ago to found the Iran News, a
respected newspaper widely read by foreign diplomats.
His name disappeared in October from the list of staff of the
newspaper as information began to trickle out about his arrest.
A human rights group and an international press association last
week urged Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to intervene to save
Firuzi from the death sentence.
The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said Firuzi
could be hanged in the next few days, and feared he had not been
given a proper trial.
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.
-=-=-
Want to tell us what you think about the ClariNews? Please feel
free to <email us your comments>> <comments@clari.net>.

socker: "Mountain of Criticism" is Growing Against IFF


Editorial: "Mountain of Criticism" is Growing Against IFF

February 15, 1998

Iranian newspapers, Abrar Varzeshi and Hamshahri, are increasing
criticizing the Iranian Football Federation for its inability to create
an atmosphere for soccer to improve in Iran. Abrar Varzeshi is critical
of the IFF's refusal to allow Tomislav Ivich and his assistants one
hundred percent control over the choosing of players for the National
Team. While Ivich has based his decisions on his experience as a coach
who has coached numerous quality sides in Europe, the IFF has not been
able to produce any justification for its desire to keep certain players
and not allow others.

Hamshahri wrote extensively in its February 15th edition about the chaos
within in the IFF and its failure to use the few months left to World
Cup to arrange friendly matches for the Iranian National Team. One
remembers the World Cup draw and the failure of Iranian officials to
participate in the post draw meeting in which the participating
countries arranged friendly matches to prepare them for the largest
sporting event in the world. The absence of the IFF in that crucial
meeting is clearly evident when one looks at FIFA's "List of Friendly
Matches". Iran is no where to be seen on that list. Even countries that
haven't qualified, such as Oman and Algeria submitted their friendly
matches to FIFA. Click to view the list. One hopes that the recent
announcements by Iranian sports papers about possible games against
England, Ireland, and Netherland are true. Or does Iran need to wait for
other soccer associations, such as the Canadian Association, to plan its
friendly matches?

Even bigger concern is its failure as a national soccer authority to
calm down recent round of disputes between different clubs in Iran over
the fate of the Iranian National Team.

The Iranian National Team struggled through many obstacles in the
qualification round, (poor planning, unqualified coach, unprofessional
handling of Iranian players). Unfortunately many of these obstacles were
result of IFF's indifference towards soccer in Iran. While Iran was on
brink of collapse in the second leg of the qualification games, sporting
officials cooperated with one another and displayed unity in hopes that
the team would regain its confidence and qualify to the World Cup.
Almost in all aspects Iranian National Team received the most basic of
assistance from IFF (book economy class tickets for players without
checking to make sure there isn't a 7 hour delay). Nevertheless Iranian
National Team managed to make Iran proud and qualify to World Cup
virtually without any help from IFF.

If one statement ever came out of Iran's former coach, Mohammad Mayeli
Kohan, that we should take note of, it is his response to the media
criticism following Iran's loss to Saudi Arabia in qualification games.
Mayeli Kohan said, "the people expect too much from us." Indeed
considering the poor behavior that IFF has displayed towards soccer in
Iran and the lack of descent facilities in Iran (Azadi needs extensive
work), one should understand why one can not expect any better results
form Iranian players.

Although the current administration in IFF headed by Mr Farahani has
shown greater professionalism and efficiency than the one under Dariush
Mostafavi, there is still room for improvement.

Tomislav Ivich is currently in Croatia trying to do what the IFF should
have done previously. Ivich is in process of arranging a friendly match
between Iran and Croatia in the near future. In addition, Ivich is
hoping to bring to the National Team a qualified Croatian goal keeper
coach. He even has hinted that he seeks to find better goal keepers than
the ones currently on the National Team. According to reports Ivich's
coaching staff is doing its out most to arrange a friendly game with
Arminia Bielfeld, the home club of Bagheri and Daei. Ivich has also
asked his assistants Miac, Hossein Amin Bakhsh and Ibrahim Ghassempour
to travel to Abadan for the game between "Naft Abadan" and
"Esteghlal-Ahwaz". They will be watching the players on these two sides
closely for possible recruiting to the National Team.

However, the current tension between the IFF and Ivich, the IFF and
clubs in Iran has hindered the possibility of planning for the World
Cup. The Pirouzi/non-Pirouzi dispute has created a crevasse within the
Iranian National Team. One hopes that these organizations and players
realize that in France they will be playing as "Iran", and not as
Pirouzi or Esteghlal.

Ivich stated when he became the coach of the Iranian team that he
believed that Iran needed 12 friendly games in order to be able to
produce results in France. Thanks to the Carlsberg Cup Iran was able to
test a few new players for possible use in World Cup. However two games
is simply inadequate for a team that will be playing World's strongest
soccer sides (Yugoslavia and Germany). In 1990 United Arab Emirates was
humiliated in Italy World Cup when it lost to Germany 5-1, Yugoslavia
4-1 and Colombia 2-0. With the talent that is available, not only on the
National Team, but in Iran, we can surely produce results that will
shine in the history of Iranian soccer.

According to Abrar Varzeshi the Kuwaiti Soccer Association has contacted
the IFF for a friendly match. It seems that the IFF might have approved,
but it hasn't been confirmed. Kuwait has agreed to play either in Kuwait
City or in Tehran. Although the friendly match with Kuwait is better
than the National Team playing "Bank-e-Melli" and other local Iranian
clubs, it is not as good experience as playing a European side, even
third division European club. In our group in the World Cup none of the
teams follow Kuwait's style of soccer and all of them are stronger sides
than Kuwait. Possible opponents that will serve as excellent preparation
for Iran are Czech Republic, Croatia, Bulgaria, Netherlands and Canada.

Meanwhile Germany have arrived in Oman for a friendly match with that
team. Germany's coach, Mr Vogts, believes that playing Oman and Saudi
Arabia will provide him with necessary knowledge about Iran. He believes
that Iran and its neighboring Persian Gulf states play a similar
Brazilian style of soccer. His assumptions are questionable. Oman will
meet Germany on Tuesday February 17th. Week later Germany will meet
Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

© Copyright 1998. Persian Gulf Soccer.

Radio Hambastegi on the WEB


Hi,
I just heard that the Hambastegi Radio in no available on the web, the
address is:

http://home.bip.net/radiohambastegi
Here is what I found on their "interview" section:

Interview with Baghr Momeni
Interview with Parvis Navidi
Interview with Bijan Hekmat
Interview with Nader Motazavi
Interview with Mansour Hekmat
Interview with Darioush Homajoun
Interview with Abdollah Mohtadi
Interview with Ali Pournaghavi
Interview with Hassan Hessam

I had difficulties listenning to their "files" but I think it is a
temporary problem.

Regards,
Farhad A.

Appeal of German facing death sentence in Iran "in final stage"


TEHRAN, Feb 16 (AFP) - The appeal of a German national sentenced
to death for having a relationship with an Iranian woman is "in its
final phase before the court of appeal," the head of the judiciary
Mohammad Yazdi said Monday.
The German government announced at the end of last month that
56-year-old businessman Helmut Hofer had been condemned to death by
a Tehran court.
Yazdi confirmed during a press conference that Hofer was accused
of having an "illegal sexual relationship."
He said that "in accordance with our civil and Islamic laws,
this is a serious crime for it concerns sexual relations between a
non-Moslem man and a Moslem woman."
Hofer and his partner "have both admitted the crimes which they
have been accused of and the trial is in its final phase before the
court of appeal," Yazdi said.
"The Iranian judiciary will absolutely not allow itself to be
influenced by political campaigns, pressures or threats and will act
in complete independence," he said.
Bonn has expressed "shock" at the verdict, warning it could
damage ties beteen Tehran and the European Union.
Asked whether Hofer's conversion to Islam could resolve the
affair, Yazdi said the German already claimed to have converted.
"He claims to have converted, but that has still to be proved in
the eyes of the court, for claims alone are not enough," Yazdi
said.
"An inquiry is necessary to prove whether he has converted to
Islam or not, and, if he has converted, whether this conversion was
before or after the events.
"In every stage of the trial, the accused enjoyed all his
rights," the head of the Iranian judiciary insisted. He said these
included weekly visits by his lawyer and an official from the German
embassy in Tehran.
The case comes as Tehran and Bonn recover from a bitter
diplomatic row prompted by a Berlin court verdict implicating the
Islamic regime in the 1992 murder of four Kurd dissidents in
Berlin.
It ended in an agreement in November with the return of European
ambassadors to Tehran.
A German engineer, Helmut Szimkus, was sentenced to death in
Iran in 1992 for spying for Iraq but was later released.
-=-=-
Want to tell us what you think about the ClariNews? Please feel
free to <email us your comments>> <comments@clari.net>.

Lawyers for condemned Iranian journalist appeal verdict


TEHRAN, Feb 16 (AFP) - Lawyers for an Iranian journalist
condemned to death for espionage and adultery have asked that the
verdict be thrown out and he be granted a new trial, the head of the
judiciary said Monday.
Mohammad Yazdi told a press conference that Morteza Firuzi,
former chief editor of the English-language daily Iran News, would
be granted "all his rights."
He said Firuzi's lawyers, in accordance with Iranian law, had
asked that the verdict be overturned and that he be given a new
trial.
Yazdi said Firuzi had been charged with "espionage" and
"multiple cases of sexual relations, including several adulteries."
He did not identify the states on whose behalf the journalist
allegedly carried out espionage activities.
An Iranian judicial official said last month that Firuzi, who
was arrested in May, had been sentenced to death in January.
According to several newspapers, the death sentence has been upheld
by the supreme court.
A conservative Iranian newspaper said Sunday that Firuzi had
"worked for the French, Japanese, and South Korean intelligence
services."
The paper, Ressalat, said Firuzi received "175,000 dollars in
cash for political, economic, and military intelligence" and had had
"numerous adulterous relations which have been proven."
Firuzi, a political analyst known for his moderate and
modernist views, was well-placed among Iranian officials and
sometimes accompanied them during their foreign visits.
He started as a journalist at another English-language daily,
the Tehran Times, but left three years ago to found the Iran News, a
respected newspaper widely read by foreign diplomats.
His name disappeared in October from the list of staff of the
newspaper as information began to trickle out about his arrest.
A human rights group and an international press association last
week urged Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to intervene to save
Firuzi from the death sentence.

Iran, Jordan stake hopes on Annan visit to Iraq


TEHRAN, Feb 16 (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
discussed the "latest developments" over Iraq, with his counterparts
in Iraq and in Jordan on Sunday night, the Iranian news agency IRNA
reported Monday.
The Iraqi and Jordanian foreign ministers had expressed the hope
that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan "would get the agreement" of
the Security Council to "go to Iraq", IRNA said.
Several countries have appealed to Annan to visit Baghdad to try
to prevent Anglo-US punitive military action against Iraq over its
refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors unfettered access to
suspected weapons sites.
Jordanian deputies who talked to Iraqi Foreign Minister Said
al-Sahhaf in Amman, said he told them Annan could travel to Baghdad
on Wednesday.
On Saturday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said he feared a
US attack on Iraq would upset the stability of the region.
"An attack on Iraq will not solve the present crisis but will
create complications for the region," Khatami told a Turkish envoy,
the under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, Korkmaz Haktanir.

Khomeini's former chosen successor under increased surveillance in Iran


TEHRAN, Feb 16 (AFP) - Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the
former designated successor of the late Iranian leader Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, has been placed under "heightened police
surveillance," officials said Monday.
He was being kept under closer observation in the Shiite Moslem
holy city of Qom south of the capital, the head of the Iranian
judiciary, Mohammad Yazdi, said.
"Armed police are guaranteeing the safety of Mr. Montazeri and
he, like several other intemperate clerics, are subject to
restrictions," Yazdi told a press conference here.
Ayatollah Montazeri, who was dropped as Khomeini's successor in
1989, last November condemned the monopoly of conservatives over the
government and the increasing intervention in policy of supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"The case of Mr. Montazeri has been entrusted to the Supreme
Security Council," Yazdi said without elaborating.
The council headed by President Mohammad Khatami is Iran's
highest authority in defence and national security matters.
Ayatollah Montazeri's remarks sparked an angry response from
circles close to the supreme leader with protests organized across
the country.
Demonstrators sacked his Koranic school in Qom and the
authorities closed down his school in the northeastern city of
Mashhad.
Ayatollah Montazeri, 75, is accused of questioning the
constitutional legitimacy and theological authority of Ayatollah
Khamenei, who last November called for his trial for treason.
Montazeri, who has been under police surveillance since 1989, is
considered close to the radical and moderate factions which backed
Khatami's election last May.

Birmingham's Hosseinieh set on fire


Monday Feb 7th:
A Hosseinieh which was under construction by 12 Imami Shi'ehes of Birmingham
was set on fire by unknown individulals. A Sunni lecturer thought that local
people may be responsible for the fire. The Hosseinieh is being built beside
a pub and the dome of the mosque was overlooking the pub.

Monday Feb 7th
The anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran was celebrated in Bradford
by Iranian Community during a gathering held in the Guild of Students,
Bradford University. Seraj, the traditional musician and singer and Seyed
Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai (a 6 year old Iranian boy who has memorised the
whole Quran) entertained the audience (150 people).

Tuesday Feb 8th
The Iranian Community in Manchester celebrated the anniversary of the
Islamic Revolution of Iran in the Student Union of Manchester University and
Siraj and the little Tabatabai entertained the audience. The first was
singing in Farsi and the second was singing in Arabic.

Thursday Feb 12th

Komeil Prayer in the Imambareh of Khoja Shieh-Birmingham (Clifton Road) was
followed by Muhammad Amin's lecture in English. Muhammad Amin was converted
to Islam almost at the same time that I left Islam. He wanted to marry a
Muslem woman from Ghana and he became a Sunni Muslem and then decided to
become a Shieh. He is a blonde and white skinned man aged 40 plus. His wife
to be was under 20. He arranged a visa for her to come to Britain. She
disappeared on arrival and Muhammad found another Muslem girl aged 22. His
wife is from Asian-African rich origin. Muhammad joined the Howzeh of
Birmingham and within a short time he started lecturing on the menbar. He
was asking Muslem women to respect hijab not only in the mosque but also in
an area of Moseley of one mile radius from the mosque. He was addressing
those women who put their headscarves on their heads on entry. Mr Amin is
facing a lot of difficulty with his new wife's immigration status. The
Immigration department wants to deport his new wife because she is an asylum
seeker.

Saturday Feb 14th
About 300 Iranians gathered in Kanoon Towheed to celebrate the anniversary
of the Islamic Revolution. The speakers were a representative from
Al-Nehdhah Islamic Movement of Tunisia, and Dr Siddiqi, the director of
Hijaz College in Coventry. According to an advertisement in Ettela'at
International, Rashed Alqanusi was scheduled to give a lecture, but another
person gave the speech. The speaker praised Khomeini's opinion of mass
popular movement. He mentioned the election of Khatami in spite of clerics
opposition to Khatami. The speaker called the 2nd Khordad phenomenon a
symbole of Islamic democracy and pluralism.
Dr. Siddiqi, portrated the 21st century as the a conflict between Islamic
Civilisation and Western Civilisation. The organisers of Kanoon Tawheed
objected to Dr Siddiqi's remark as a harsh view. He also blamed agents of
The Great Satan for this criminal action during his speech in
Kanoon-e-Towheed, London on Sat Feb 14th. When I asked him for some
explanation, he replied, "No Moslem burns a mosque because it is sacred."
He added that agents may call themselves Moslems, but they are being paid by
CIA and Mosad.


Sunday Feb 15th
A meeting was held in a tent erected on the remains of the Hosseinieh to
appeal for help to rebuild the Hosseinieh. About 600 male and female Moslems
from Sunni and Shieh factions attended the meeting and speakers from various
Islamic factions expressed their anger toward this barbaric act. About 10
speakers gave talks including the President of Association of Midland
Mosques. The talks were all in Urdu language and I could not understand the
content of the talks. A Sheikh spoke as the representative of
Jama'at-e-Islami of Pakestan. Sheikh Aref lectured in English condemning the
criminal act . The representative of Ayatullah Araki (the director of
Islamic Center of England) spoke in Persian and stated that not only all
Muslems, but also followers of all Ibrahimi Faiths and all humanists and all
humans condemn this criminal act. He said that burning a mosque, a sacred
place, is insulting to all temples and an invasion to those who have respect
for people's property and culture. He forgot to compare burning Birmingham's
Hosseinieh with Montazeri's Hosseinieh in Qom. He also forgot to talk about
Salman Rushdi's human rights. 20,000 Pounds was collected in situ.

Sunday Feb 15th
According to IRNA, more than 1000 Iranians and non-Iranian Moslems gathered
in Kanoon Towheed to celebrate the birthday of Seyed Muhammad Tabatabai
little singer of the Qoran.

Monday Feb 16th
Today Mohandes Ezzatullah Sahabi was tried in a court in Tehran. He was sued
by Ayatullah Mahdavi Kani for criticising Islamic sacred values of the IRI.
According to Radio Israel, Sahabi replied, the heI thought that even prophet
Muhammad was not beyond criticism. According to BBC, the majority of the
panel voted not guilty.

Sport: Wrestling Diplomacy?


Feb. 16 — An American amateur wrestling team is set to arrive in Tehran
Tuesday, the first U.S. sports squad to visit the Islamic republic since
Iran’s 1979 revolution. Five U.S. wrestlers, led by former Olympic and
world champion Kevin Jackson from Gilbert, Ariz., and five officials
from the national governing body USA Wrestling are expected to touch
down at Tehran’s Mehrabad international airport at around 1.30 a.m.
Tuesday [5 p.m. EST Monday].

Iranians Downplay Political Significance The team is to take part in the
Takhti Cup, a freestyle and Greco-Roman international wrestling
competition held in Iran each year to celebrate the revolution. Jackson
and team members Zeke Jones, Melvin Douglas, Shawn Charles and John
Giura will be some of the most prominent American visitors to the strict
Islamic state since militant Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in
Tehran in 1979 and held some 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Leading
Iranian officials are playing down the political symbolism of the trip,
though comparisons with Washington’s “ping-pong diplomacy” with China in
the 1970s have proved irresistible to many commentators. “The team is
here primarily to wrestle but they are also interested in the idea that
they could be very helpful in U.S.- Iran relations,” John Marks,
president of Search for Common Ground, a Washington-based
non-governmental organization, told Reuters in Tehran.

Cross-Cultural Exchanges Are First Step The visit comes just weeks after
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate Shiite cleric, in a
television interview broadcast on CNN urged a dialogue between Americans
and Iranians to bring about a “a crack in the wall of mistrust” between
the two countries. “The idea of ping-pong diplomacy has occurred to
everyone. But one should not have exaggerated expectations. This is
primarily a sports event,” Marks said. Two officials from Search for
Common Ground are in Iran to coordinate the visit between USA Wrestling,
Iranian authorities and the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which is the
diplomatic channel for U.S. interests in Iran. Iranian officials are
also attempting to take away some of the potential political drama from
the visit. The head of Iran’s judicial system Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi
was emphatic that the trip made no difference to future political
relations between Washington and Tehran. “There is no relationship
between the coming of these sportsmen and our relations with the United
States. As the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated, we do
not need relations with the United States,” Yazdi told reporters at a
news conference Monday.

Chance to Learn and Compete The head coach of Iran’s wrestling team,
Amir Reza Khadem, told Reuters the four-day tournament would give his
squad of the country’s top 100 wrestlers a chance to watch, compete and
gain experience from the quality U.S. team. “Since the Americans are
bringing their best wrestlers, it is very important for our wrestlers in
terms of experience,” Khadem said at the team’s exclusive training camp
just beneath the snow-capped Alborz mountains in northern Tehran. The
Iranian squad has been assembled for three weeks, building up its
fitness on the traditional local delicacy of kebabs and rice and taking
on new techniques. For Khadem, himself a former world champion, the
competition will allow him to pick 16 of his best wrestlers for a world
cup event in the Iranian capital in August. “Everyone is competing for
national colors so the mood is decisive. The team is very keen and
looking forward to the matches,” Khadem said. Wrestling is Iran’s
traditional sport and its most successful in terms of Olympic and world
Championship medals. The American team will compete in the freestyle
event of the Takhti Cup on Feb. 19 and 20 in a 12,000-seat arena at the
Azadi sports complex in Tehran. “The team is very welcome because they
will get to confront the realities of Iran,” said Fariba, a 32 year-old
employee at an advertising company, who was walking outside the walled
grounds of the former American embassy in Tehran.

Iran unrolls welcome mat for American wrestlers


Iran unrolls welcome mat for American wrestlers

16 February 1998 Web posted at: 02:33 GST, Dubai time (22:33 GMT)

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Arch-foes Iran and the United States may
finally have the chance to get to grips with each other during an
international wrestling tournament in Tehran which opens on Tuesday.

The visit of five top-rated American amateur wrestlers with officials
from the national governing body, USA Wrestling, will be the first time
a U.S. sports team has competed in Iran since the Islamic republic's
1979 revolution.

"I am glad the American team is coming. We are sportsmen. We don't care
about the politics. Leave that to the government," said Mohammad Reza
Taleqani, vice-president of the Iranian wrestling federation, told
Reuters in an interview.

Taleqani's office is decorated with portraits of late Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini -- who ousted the Shah 19 years ago -- and Iran's current
paramount spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who ensures the state
is run on strict Islamic lines.

Gold-plated vases and medals which will be awarded to winners among the
100-plus wrestlers taking part in the four-day tournament also fill his
busy office in central Tehran.

"Sport is one of the greatest things in the world. It's one of the best
things that can bring people together," said Taleqani, 45, himself a
world medal-winning wrestler.

The arrival of the U.S. team has already raised comparisons with
Washington's "ping-pong diplomacy" with China in the 1970s and has
increased speculation that relations between the two states could be
slowly thawing.

The United States broke diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980, after
militants Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took
Americans hostage. Fifty-two of them were held for 444 days.

The election as president of moderate cleric Mohammad Khatami last May
has also raised the prospect of better relations, culminating last month
in a televised address by Khatami to the American people, in which he
expressed regret over the embassy seizure.

"We don't have any grudge against the American people. As President
Khatami has said, human contacts between all countries are useful," said
24-year-old university student Mohsen outside the former U.S. embassy in
Tehran.

The building is now a training school for Iran's crack Revolutionary
Guard.

His comments were echoed by 28-year-old Jamshid, a Tehran banker walking
past the former embassy on his way to work.

"Iranian wrestlers have been to America and there was no problem. So why
should anything happen to the American wrestlers here? Politics and
sport should be separated," he said.

One hardline Iranian newspaper this month came out against the visit,
calling it an affront to Iran.

But Iranian wrestling authorities are laying out the welcome mat for the
American freestyle wrestlers.

The team is expected to stay in Tehran's five-star Azadi hotel, whose
main lobby was until recent years decorated with posters blazing with
"Down with the USA" and pot-holed by bullets from the revolutionary
years.

Two-time world champion and 1992 Olympic gold medallist Kevin Jackson
from Gilbert, Arizona, will lead the U.S. team which is made up of
top-ranking wrestlers Zeke Jones, Melvin Douglas, Shawn Charles and John
Giura.

Iran has picked its team from the national squad. Training facilities
are at the sprawling Azadi sports complex in west Tehran, which was by
built by former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for the 1974 Asian games.

Wrestlers from Mongolia, Japan, Armenia and Hungary trained at the
12,000-seat arena on Sunday, grappling and throwing each other down on
three competition-size mats.

Organisers fought against a heavy snow fall which has hit Tehran to
erect scaffolding and furnish the inside of the stadium, under the gaze
of portraits of Khomeini and Khamenei.

National anthems and flags will not be used at the tournament to mark
individual and team winners, removing the prospect of the Stars and
Stripes being unfurled in central Tehran, according to one official.

Free Persian Banner Java Applet


bA salAm,
You can download the new and free Persian Banner Java applet from:
http://www.panjere.net/iran/sw/java/banner1/fbannerapplet.html

This banner will show upp to 10 different text strings on your homepage. Text
will scroll slowly from left to right on the screen in user defindable speed,
color and shape. There is a comprehensive documentation on how to use this
applet on your homepage at the above address.

This applet is free to use for individuals and NGO and non prophit
organizations.

Download and have fun!

bA ehterAm,
Farhad A.

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