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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Feb 1998 to 21 Feb 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Feb 1998 to 21 Feb 1998
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There are 11 messages totalling 604 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran fears attack on Iraq may bring more refugees
2. Saudi crown prince meets Iranian envoy
3. Iranians demonstrate against US threat to strike Iraq
4. Iran and US lock horns in the noble sport of wrestling
5. Iranians march against U.S. military build-up
6. Rafsanjani says West gave mass-destruction weapons to Iraq
7. Rafsanjani heads for Saudi Arabia
8. A Persian game is at the center of a search for identity
9. Iran paper urges Saudi to lead OPEC in oil cut
10. Former Iranian president Rafsanjani in Saudi Arabia
11. Two Iranian construction engineers shot dead in Karachi

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:58:55 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran fears attack on Iraq may bring more refugees

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi said in an interview published on Saturday Tehran was
worried that a U.S. military strike against Iraq could flood his
country with more refugees.
``We are not happy with the presence of foreign forces in
the region and consider our security under threat,'' Kharrazi
told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper.
``The outbreak of war in the region threatens the security
of all neighbouring countries. If Iraq comes under attack, we
will face crowds of refugees and an environmental disaster...,''
he said.
Iran, which in November was estimated to have 1.4 million
Afghan refugees and some 600,000 Iraqis, is regarded as the
world's most important country hosting refugees.
Iran opposes the U.S. military presence in the Gulf and says
any strike against Iraq would jeopardise stability in the oil-
rich region.
But Tehran also wants Baghdad, its foe in an eight-year war
that ended in 1988, to comply with United Nations Security
Council resolutions on weapons inspections.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:59:17 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Saudi crown prince meets Iranian envoy

RIYADH, Feb 20 (AFP) - Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah ibn Abdel
Aziz met Friday with an envoy from Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.
The envoy, Sayyed Mohammad Sadr, deputy minister of foreign
affairs for Arab and African affairs, presented greetings from
Khatami to Crown Prince Abdallah, SPA said.
The news agency did not say when the envoy arrived in Saudi
Arabia.
Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is due in
Riyadh on Saturday for an official visit during which he is expected
to meet Saudi King Fahd, Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad
Reza Nuri said Wednesday.
Rafsanjani, who stepped down as president in August, remains an
influential figure in Iran as a top advisor to spiritual leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Relations between Riyadh and Tehran, which have long been tense,
have warmed considerably over the last two years.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:58:23 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranians demonstrate against US threat to strike Iraq

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Shouting "Down with America," several
hundred people staged a demonstration following weekly prayers here
Friday to protest against a threatened US military strike against
neighboring Iraq.
The protestors, who included members of the Islamic
fundamentalist group Ansar-Hezbollah, decried the massing of
American forces in the Gulf before dispersing peacefully, witnesses
said.
The anti-American demonstration came as Tehran hosts a team of
US wrestlers in an international tournament. The wrestlers are the
first American athletes to visit Iran since the Islamic Revolution
of 1979.
The United States, backed notably by Britain, has threatened to
strike Iraq if diplomatic efforts fail to convince Baghdad to give
unconditional access to UN arms inspectors to all of its suspected
weapons sites.
Tehran opposes any strike, and has called the build-up of
American forces in the Gulf a pretext for strengthening Washington's
influence in the region.
Before the demonstration, former Iranian president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, the imam for this week's prayers, criticized the
United States and Europe for "putting the most destructive kinds of
weapons in Iraq's hands."
Rafsanjani also said he hoped the crisis over Iraq would be
resolved peacefully "with the aid of God and the watchfulness of
countries in the region."

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:01:16 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran and US lock horns in the noble sport of wrestling

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - The cream of America's wrestlers is
locked in a titanic sporting clash loaded with political symbolism
against Iran, where wrestling is revered as a noble art imbued with
ancient notions of chivalry.
The arrival of the US team in Tehran on their first visit since
the 1979 Islamic revolution has been hailed as a catalyst for warmer
ties between the two arch foes -- which have demonised each other
for 19 years.
However for many in Iran, the fiercely-popular sport of
wrestling transcends politics.
"For us, wrestling is first a culture. It is sacrosanct. It is
the pride of our people, an expression of Iranian character," said
Mohammad Reza Taleqani, the head of Iran's wrestling federation.
The arena at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) stadium, which was packed
with more than 12,000 spectators on Friday for the free-style
matches of the Takhti Cup, was draped with slogans praising the
sport's noble and clean image.
"The sports atmosphere in our country has to be marked with
spirituality, virtue and forgiveness," said one of the mottos. "With
sport fight drug addiction," said another.
Political observers say wrestling is the most appropriate way to
start to bring together Iran and the United States, which have been
at daggers drawn since the revolution which toppled the pro-American
shah.
Comparisons have been made with the "ping-pong diplomacy"
between China and the United States in the 1970s, where a simple
sporting clash nudged the two superpowers towards dialogue.
But veteran Iranian sports commentator Ataollah Behmanesh
dismissed any link between sports and politics.
"The Americans make a big deal out of this. It is a mistake to
mix sports with politics." he said.
"When America attacks Iraq how could they resolve a problem like
that with sending here five wrestlers? We have major disagreements
with the United States."
But Taleqani agreed that "sports give form to relations between
nations."
Wrestling in Iran is no mere sport. It dates back to the ancient
Persia in 500 B.C., although the modern free-style form was adopted
only half a century ago.
Many of the finest works of Iranian literature have references
to the noble art, such as Ferdosi's Shahnameh (The Book of Kings)
where the main mythological character Rostam wrestles and beats his
son Sohrab in an unfair match, displaying his inferior moral
character.
In Old Persia, kings and warlords hired the strongest wrestlers,
known as Pahlevan, or champion or Samurai, as a symbol of their own
magnificence, grandeur and power.
Many men, going on long journeys, trusted their wives and
children with Pahlevans, famed for their superior moral character,
to keep watch and protect them during their absence.
The Pahlevans were expected to have strong religious
convictions, disregard for material things, and the strength of
character never to look at women or attempt any sexual
transgression.
They were also used as security forces to keep watch in
streets.
A recent example of Pahlevan was Qolam-Reza Takhti, after whom
the wrestling competition was named.
Takhti came from a poor family, but he became world wrestling
champion several times before he died in 1965, possibly at the hands
of the shah's secret police SAVAK.
He was hugely popular and respected for his charitable and
down-to-earth character as well as his opposition to the shah -- who
often disregarded the poor.
Wrestling is mainly a blue-collar sport in Iran, drawing its fan
base from the poorest and often religious sections of the
population.
Much of the Islamic regime's strongest support comes from the
poorer sections of society as well, but despite this many of the
spectators in the Azadi stadium cheered the American wrestlers --
even when they defeated their Iranian opponents.
Observers here have contrasted the dignified display by Iranian
wrestling fans with the scourge of football hooliganism that still
rears its head from time to time in Europe, pointing to the moral
dimension of wrestling.
"They cheered for their guy... they cheered for our guy. And
when it was over, they cheered because it was good sport," said
American coach Joe Seay.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:00:45 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranians march against U.S. military build-up

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Around 2,000 Iranian hardliners
marched in central Tehran Friday to demonstrate against the U.S.
military presence poised against Iraq.
The demonstration followed mass prayers at Tehran University
where influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said
the West had created the current crisis with Iraq by selling it
weapons of mass destruction.
The march was organized by the Ansar-e Hezbollah (Supportes
of the Party of God) group which opposes any dilution of the
revolutionary principles of the Islamic republic.
``American forces must leave the Persian Gulf,'' Hossein
Allahkaram, head of Ansar-e Hezbollah, told marchers from a
platform built on the back of a pickup truck decked with
loudspeakers.
The crowd, including women dressed in the traditional black
chador, responded by shouting ``The Persian Gulf is a grave for
Satan'' and ``Death to the Great Satan America.''
The marchers also carried banners with slogans such as
``Down with Israel'' and ``Down with England.''
Rafsanjani said in his sermon the standoff with Iraq over
U.N. inspection of its weapons of mass destruction was an
``extension of the past.''
``Those who created the problem are now fighting each
other,'' he said.
Rafsanjani, who retains an influential role as head of the
powerful state Expediency Council, blamed the United States,
France, Germany and Britain for selling Baghdad weapons of mass
destruction since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
``I don't know if the (ruling Iraqi) Baath party still has
weapons of mass destruction and, if it does, how many. But the
point is that these weapons were given to Iraq by you (the
West),'' Rafsanjani said.
The crowd regularly interrupted his sermon by chanting
``Death to America'' and ``Islam is victorious, America is
defeated.''
``Who gave these weapons to Iraq? This also applies to
missiles...Wasn't it Germany and France?,'' Rafsanjani said.
``There are many cases in America itself whose companies
were involved'' in arms sales to Iraq, the former president
said.
Iraq used poisonous mustard gas against Iranian soldiers in
the mid 1980s and against Iraqi Kurdish civilians in 1988.
``We shouted for eight years but the deaf arrogant world did
not listen...At that time their first priority was suppressing
the Iranian revolution,'' Rafsanjani said in one-hour address.
``I warned the West that you are giving chemical weapons to
Iraq...Their hands are stained with crime,'' he added.
Rafsanjani, Iran's president between 1989 and 1997, also
blasted the West for ignoring the Iraqi people's sufferings
during the current crisis.
Tehran has repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution of
the crisis and expressed opposition to the presence of U.S. and
other Western forces in the region. It opposes military action
against Baghdad.
Iran has also said Iraq must comply with U.N. Security
Council resolutions on arms inspections.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to arrive in
Iraq for an 11th-hour peace mission Friday.
The slogans at the march were in stark contrast to the
treatment of a visiting American amateur wrestling team, the
first U.S. sportsmen competing on Iranian soil since the 1979
Islamic revolution.
The U.S. wrestlers have been warmly applauded throughout the
Takhti international wrestling competition in Tehran this week,
part of annual events marking the revolution which toppled the
U.S.-backed shah 19 years ago.
A patriotic Iran crowd of around 5,000 people sportingly
clapped U.S. wrestler Shawn Charles from Mount Pleasant,
Michigan, after he beat Iran's Taqy Akbarnejad in a hard-fought
encounter at the Azadi (Freedom) sports hall in west Tehran.
The visit of the U.S. wrestlers has raised comparisons with
Washington's ``ping-pong diplomacy'' with China in the 1970s
when a team of U.S. table tennis players visited China as a
prelude to better relations between the two states.
Washington broke diplomatic relations with Tehran in 1980,
several months after militant Islamic students stormed the U.S.
embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Hardline newspapers and politicians have denounced the trip
by the five American wrestlers.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:01:52 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Rafsanjani says West gave mass-destruction weapons to Iraq

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Former Iranian president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized the United States and Europe on Friday
for supplying Iraq with the weapons of mass destruction at the heart
of the current crisis.
"Your hands are dirty and you are implicated, because it is you
yourselves who have been putting the most destructive kinds of
weapons in Iraq's hands," he said as he led weekly prayers at Tehran
University.
"Not only Iraq but also the experts and the Western countries
are war criminals," Rafsanjani told a crowd of several thousand.
"If there is a fair court or an impartial international body,
Iraq will be judged a war criminal for having used chemical weapons,
and you, too, for having put these weapons in its hands," he said.
Rafsanjani, who stepped down as president in August, remains an
influential figure in Iran as a top advisor to spiritual leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Tehran opposes any strike, and has called the build-up of
American forces in the Gulf a pretext for strengthening Washington's
influence in the region.
The United States, backed notably by Britain, has threatened to
strike Iraq if diplomatic efforts fail to convince Baghdad to give
unconditional access to UN arms inspectors to all of its suspected
weapons sites.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 16:02:54 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Rafsanjani heads for Saudi Arabia

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - Former Iranian president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani left here for Riyadh on Saturday for a visit
during which he is expected to meet Saudi King Fahd, the official
Iranian news agency IRNA said.
Rafsanjani is the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit
Saudi Arabia since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
IRNA said Rafsanjani will discuss bilateral relations, the
crisis in Iraq, and the situation in the international oil market
with Saudi leaders.
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh, Agriculture Minister
Issa Kalantari, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Hossein Kamali,
and several deputies and other leaders are accompanying Rafsanjani.
Rafsanjani, who stepped down as president in August, remains an
influential figure in Iran as a top advisor to spiritual leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
While in Saudi Arabia, Rafsanjani also will make an "omra," or
small pilgrimage, to Mecca, visit Medina, and travel to the eastern
part of the country where a Shiite Moslem community lives, Iranian
officials said.
The visit by the Iranian official comes as tensions are high in
the Gulf region over Iraq's standoff with the United Nations over
weapons inspection.
UN Secretary Kofi Annan began talks in Baghdad Saturday with
Iraqi leaders in a last-minute effort to convince them to open all
suspected weapons sites to UN inspectors and avoid a threatened
US-led punitive strike.
Tehran opposes any military strike on Iraq and has said that the
crisis is a pretext for increasing Washington's influence in the
region.
Relations between Riyadh and Tehran, which have long been tense,
have warmed considerably over the last two years.
Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah ibn Abdel Aziz attended the
Organization of the Islamic Conference summit hosted by Tehran in
December.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 12:34:30 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>
Subject: A Persian game is at the center of a search for identity

The Winston-Salem Journal
February 20, 1998

A Persian game is at the center of a search for identity

The Winston-Salem Journal
Published: February 20, 1998

A Persian game is at the center of a search for identity
Backgammon is a movie about a 6-year-old Persian girl who tries to get
her grandfather to play a Persian game with her. In a big house, a large,
multigenerational family eats, talks and plays together. But the little
girl is ignored. No one will play backgammon with her.

This short, polished film, in Persian with English subtitles, will be
shown Saturday afternoon at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
It is simple in story but layered with meaning, much like such imported
Iranian films as Gabbeh and White Balloon.

But Backgammon was made by an American, a Winston-Salem native. And he
filmed it last spring at his parent's home in Winston-Salem.

Ramin Bahrani is 22, a recent graduate of Columbia University, and the
son of Nasrin and Khosrow Bahrani. Even though he was born here, the
first language Ramin learned from his parents was Persian. He sees his
film as a way of connecting with his family's culture.

''One of the things I was trying to capture was a large family where
communication and identity problems come out,'' he said. The film's unan
swered question is, '' 'Am I Persian or am I American?' That comes from
my own life,'' Bahrani said. ''Why do Persian people look at me as
American and Americans look at me as Persian, or Iranian?''

Bahrani grew up playing backgammon and realized at an early age that it
was a game invented by the culture his parents came from. He thought that
it would make an apt metaphorical device for his film, which he, together
with students and faculty from the N.C. School of the Arts, made into a
film.

''It's about communication and how this girl wants to communicate with
her grandfather, who represents her history and her culture,'' Bahrani
said. ''Her grandfather resists her, because she is a girl. And he says
she is not Iranian because she was born in America. She speaks the
language kind of clumsily, but she's trying. She's reaching out to learn
more about her people and she's being rejected. The other kids are not
trying to learn
backgammon. They're playing baseball or video games. Is she aware that
she's the only one showing an interest in her culture? No. She's too
young to think about that. She just wants to play the game.''

Bahrani wrote the script for the film in English and translated it into
Persian.

He found Manucher Marzban, the actor who plays the grandfather, through
friends of his parents.

And he found Sheema Regimand, who plays the girl, also named Sheema in
the movie, at an Iranian celebration in Raleigh.

''I changed the script when I met her,'' he said. ''It was originally a
story about a little boy trying to play backgammon. But Sheema was so
amazing that I immediately changed the character. And as I did that, I
realized it added a whole new layer of meaning to the story. It now had
something to say about a patriarchical society.''

He plans to send Backgammon to film festivals. He wants to use it as a
steppingstone to making feature films. And he sees film as a good way of
promoting cross-cultural understanding.

''Much of what Americans know about Iran is exemplified by a movie like
Not Without My Daughter (a Sally Field potboiler about a mother whose
daughter is kidnapped and taken to Iran by her Iranian husband). ''That's
a very unfair depiction of the country and the people.''

Bahrani plans to show his film to filmmakers in Iran when he makes his
first trip to that country in March.

He said that though Hollywood ''has never appealed'' to him, he is very
excited about the prospect of getting into films in the Middle East.

''Film is a very big deal in Iran right now, and no one, to my knowledge,
has made a movie about Iranians who live in America,'' he said. ''I hope
they'll allow me to do some work there. Their approach to filmmaking and
art and culture are 3,000 years old. They have a lot to teach me.''

The SECCA showing of Backgammon will be at 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is
free.


_____________________________________________________________________
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------------------------------

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 19:35:29 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran paper urges Saudi to lead OPEC in oil cut

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Iran's Tehran Times newspaper on
Saturday urged Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries'
linchpin Saudi Arabia to lead a cut in the cartel's oil output
to rescue slumping world oil prices.
The English-language daily responded to a statement by Saudi
Arabia's oil minister Ali Naimi this week that Riyadh was
seriously concerned about the state of world oil prices and
would consider joint cooperation with other producers to turn
prices round.
"Now it is their (the Saudis') duty to follow up their words
with action...they must stick to what they have just said and,
along with other OPEC members, reduce their production," the
Tehran Times said.
The paper's comments came as Iran Oil Minister Bijan
Zanganeh flew to Saudi Arabia as part of a high-ranking mission
headed by the country's former president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani who will meet Saudi's King Fahd.
"Saudi Arabia should have now realised its power in global
oil trading and to be able to use this crucial role for
achieving real success for itself as well as other OPEC
members," the paper reported.
"Reduction of quotas and commitment to official allocations
are the best ways to save oil prices," Tehran Times said.
Saudi Arabia, with the aid of Gulf Arab producers Kuwait and
the United Arab Emirates, frog-marched OPEC ministers last
November in Jakarta to increase the 11-member group's ceiling by
10 percent to 27.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
Oil prices have since skidded to their lowest in nearly four
years on a combination of higher OPEC supplies, Asia's economic
crisis, a mild winter in the northern hemisphere and the return
of Iraqi exports under a United Nations "oil-for-food" deal.
Iranian newspapers have reported that Zanganeh came under
fire from some parliamentary deputies in a closed session this
week for his support of the Riyadh output plan in November.
Tehran's economy is hugely dependent on the hard currency
its petroleum exports bring in.
Oil analysts say that Tehran has been unable to meet its new
higher OPEC quota secured in Jakarta because of long-term
reservoir problems at its major fields which have capped flows
at around 3.65 million bpd.
Riyadh and Tehran are two of the world's three largest oil
exporters, separated only by Norway.
((Gulf newsroom, +971 4 607 1222, fax +971 4 626982,

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 19:36:17 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Former Iranian president Rafsanjani in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Feb 21 (AFP) - Former Iranian president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived here on Saturday for a visit during which
he is expected to meet Saudi King Fahd, officials said.
The Iranian official, due to stay 10 days, was met at the
airport by Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah ibn Abdel Aziz.
Rafsanjani is the highest-ranking Iranian official to visit
Saudi Arabia since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA said Rafsanjani will
discuss bilateral relations, the crisis in Iraq, and the situation
in the international oil market with Saudi leaders.
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh, Agriculture Minister
Issa Kalantari, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Hossein Kamali,
and several deputies and other leaders are accompanying Rafsanjani.
Rafsanjani, who stepped down as president in August, remains an
influential figure in Iran as a top advisor to spiritual leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
While in Saudi Arabia, Rafsanjani also will make an "omra," or
small pilgrimage, to Mecca, visit Medina, and travel to the eastern
part of the country where a Shiite Moslem community lives, Iranian
officials said.
The visit by the Iranian official comes as tensions are high in
the Gulf region over Iraq's standoff with the United Nations over
weapons inspection.
UN Secretary Kofi Annan began talks in Baghdad Saturday with
Iraqi leaders in a last-minute effort to convince them to open all
suspected weapons sites to UN inspectors and avoid a threatened
US-led punitive strike.
"Iran is opposed to any American military action against Iraq
and calls on Baghdad to apply the UN resolutions" on disarmament,
Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Rez Nuri told
reporters.
Nuri added that "Iran and Saudi Arabia share the same
position."
Saudi Arabia, one of Washington's firmest allies in the region,
has said it opposes any military strike and has refused use of its
bases and facilities for launching one.
The Iranian ambassador said Rafsanjani's meetings here could
also focus on "strengthening bilateral relations in economic,
commercial, cultural, and security areas."
Relations between Riyadh and Tehran, which have long been tense,
have warmed considerably over the last two years.
The Saudi crown prince attended the Organization of the Islamic
Conference summit hosted by Tehran in December.

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

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 19:34:57 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Two Iranian construction engineers shot dead in Karachi

KARACHI, Feb 21 (AFP) - Unidentified gunmen Saturday shot dead
two Iranian construction engineers in Pakistan's troubled port city
of Karachi, police said.
Three assailants attacked the engineers at their work site and
fled on two motorbikes, police and witnesses said.
The Iranians were identified as Ali Mohammad Habib Zadeh, 36,
and Murtaza Adib Zadeh, 48.
The engineers were attacked as they supervised work on the
construction of a fly-over road bridge by an Iranian company in the
seaside Clifton area.
They had arrived about eight months to work on the 300 million
rupees (seven million dollars) project being built by Machine Sazi
Arak Iran. Three other Iranians and 25 Pakistanis are working with
the company.
Local administration and police officials termed the attack
"targetting killings and an act of terrorism."
They said it was too early to say whether there was a sectarian
motive behind the killings, adding that investigators would look
into all aspects.
Head of the Karachi administration, commissioner Mir Hussain
Ali, said called the killings an "unfortunate and sad incident."
Iranian Consul, Hasan Farazandeh, who visited the hospital where
the victims were brought, condemned the attack and said "it is very
sad to see my two countrymen falling victim to terrorism."
"It is Pakistan's duty to protect all foreign nationals living
in the country," the diplomat said.
Moslem sectarian violence in Pakistan, blamed on militants from
majority Sunni and minority Shiite communities, has claimed more
than 200 lives, among them several Iranians, since early last year.
Official sources said the bodies of the two Iranian engineers
would be flown to Iran on Sunday by a Pakistan International Airline
flight.
One victim received six bullets and the other three, said doctor
Seemi Jalali, who attended them at the Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical
Centre.
"They arrived in very critical condition and were dead within
minutes," the doctor said.
Five Iranian air force personnel were gunned down in last
September in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi near capital,
Islamabad. An underground Sunni extremist group had claimed
responsibility for the attack.
Two Iranian brothers living in Karachi were also gunned down
last September by unknown attackers.
In Janunary 1996 a mob burned down an Iranian cultural centre in
Lahore and a month later an Iranian diplomat, Mohammad Ali Rahimi,
and six Pakistanis were killed in an attack on the Iranian cultural
centre in Multan.
The killings triggered strong protests by Iran, a predominantly
Shiite state. Iranian leaders demanded that Pakistan government take
strong steps to protect Iranian nationals and the country's Shiite
minority.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Feb 1998 to 21 Feb 1998
***************************************************