DNI-NEWS Digest - 3 Jun 1998 to 4 Jun 1998

There are 11 messages totalling 841 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. Sport: Croatia Downs Iran 2-0 2. Iranian President To Visit New York 3. Khatami Fights Back Opposition Criticism 4. HRW/Iran 5. Iran Guards chief says forces watching opponents 6. Iran leader vows allegiance to Khomeini's ideals 7. FOCUS-Iran says rebels attack targets in Tehran 8. Armed Iranian exiles in new Tehran attacks 9. Iran says AIOC in oil swaps talks despite US ire 10. Iran seeks Indo-Pakistani talks on nuclear tests 11. Iran to link Israel to alarm over nuclear tests

Sport: Croatia Downs Iran 2-0

Croatia Downs Iran 2-0

.c The Associated Press

RIJEKA, Croatia (AP) - A spectacular free kick by Robert Prosinecki and a close-range goal by Davor Suker lifted Croatia to a 2-0 victory over Iran Wednesday in a World Cup warmup match.

Croatia held the visitors in their own half through most of the game and dictated the tempo of play with short and safe passes.

Iran, whose midfield crumbled early, battled stubbornly in defense, winning mid-air duels but often having to resort to fouls to fend off Croat attacks.

A foul on Zvonimir Boban, the home side's captain, from a few meters (yards) outside the penalty area, proved particularly costly for the Iranians. Prosinecki converted from the dead ball situation in the 30th minute, lifting his shot over the wall and into the top corner of the net.

Although mostly on their back feet, the Iranians were not, however, without their chances. They searched for an equalizer through quick breaks and long flanks to their front men.

Khodadad Azizi missed Iran's best opportunity when he fired a 56th minute penalty wide of the goal. A cracking volley by Mehdi Mahdavikia and a sailing drive over the crossbar that only just missed the target were some of Iran's other promising chances to pull one back.

Suker put the game beyond doubt in the 77th minute when he latched onto a loose ball in the box and sent it past a helpless Ahmadreza Abedzadeh.

The match completed Iran's cycle of warm-up games before they join Group F in France with triple-champions Germany, Yugoslavia and the United States.

Croatia joins Group H in their first-ever World Cup with two-time titlists Argentina and fellow rookies Japan and Jamaica.

Before leaving for France, Croatia will also play a tuneup match with Australia at home on Saturday.

Lineups:

Croatia - Drazen Ladic (Marijan Mrmic, 46th), Zvonimir Soldo, Igor Stimac (Igor Tudor, 46th), Dario Simic, Robert Jarni (Ante Seric, 85th), Zvonimir Boban (Krunoslav Jurcic, 46th), Aljosa Asanovic (Silvio Maric, 65th), Robert Prosinecki (Zoran Mamic, 80th), Mario Stanic (Goran Juric, 82nd), Davor Suker, Goran Vlaovic.

Iran - Nima Nakisa (Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, 56th), Javad Zarincheh (Na'eem Saadavi, 75th) Nader Mohammadkhani (Sirous Din-Mohammadi, 83rd), Mehdi Pashazadeh, Mohammad Khakpour, Karim Bagheri, Mehdi Mahdavikia Reza Shahroudi (Mehrdad Minavand, 81st), Khodadad Azizi, Ali Daei, Hamid Reza Estili (Alireza Mansourian, 56th).

AP-NY-06-03-98 1946EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.


Iranian President To Visit New York

Iranian President To Visit New York

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD .c The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mohammad Khatami, who has sought a more moderate course for Iran since his election a year ago, plans to visit the United States this fall to address the U.N. General Assembly, a government official said Wednesday.

Referring to the planned address in September as a ``very important speech,'' the official said Khatami would discuss the position of Muslims in the world and in the United Nations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Khatami would urge the United Nations to give Islamic nations a permanent seat on the Security Council.

The official's comment was the first confirmation of the planned trip, though such a visit had been rumored for days. The trip would require U.S. government permission, which has never been refused to a head of state for a visit to the United Nations.

During a broadcast interview in January, Khatami called for a dialogue with Americans and more cultural and educational exchanges - breaking through nearly 20 years of hostility.

The United States severed ties with Iran after militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Two previous Iranian presidents have addressed the United Nations since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Both used their speeches to attack the United States.

The president also will use his trip to meet the 2 million member Iranian community in the United States, the official said. Many Iranians fled their country to settle in the United States and other Western countries after the revolution.

AP-NY-06-03-98 1750EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.


Khatami Fights Back Opposition Criticism

Iranian President Fights Back Opposition Criticism

Xinhua 04-JUN-98

TEHRAN (June 4) XINHUA - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami fought back criticism by the opposition conservatives, accusing them of trying to dictate the president in the name of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran Radio reported Thursday.

Khatami made the remark at the ceremony held Wednesday night in the mausoleum of the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Musavi Khomeini to mark the 9th anniversary of his demise, the radio reported.

Khatami said that all the people should obey country's constitution. "It is not necessary that someone comes to tell the president what to do or what to say, " he said, "Does the president have no ability to explain his stance?"

The Iranian president said that Khamenei would announce his stance himself and no one had the right to air views in the name of the supreme leader.

Once again, Khatami stressed the importance of the rule of law, saying that every one in the society has the right to announce his views within the framework of the constitution and the government would defend his right.

He urged unity among different political factions and tolerance of opinion differences.

Khatami's strong-worded speech was believed to be a response to the criticism by Ayatollah Ali Khazali, a member of the conservative Guardians Council which supervises the implementation of the constitution. Khazali said last Thursday that Khatami should "publicly and unequivocally" confess and correct his mistakes.

Khazali blamed Khatami, a moderate advocate of reforms and social changes in Iran, for his presence and speech at the cheerful rally held by his supporters on May 23 to mark his landslide victory in the presidential elections a year ago.

In the rally, Khatami's supporters demanded for the ouster of the conservative leading judiciary figures and Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Rahim Safavi. They also called for reforms in some important state organs, such as the state-run radio, television and the police.

Khatami's call for respecting the rule of law in his speech to the rally was interpreted as a strong attack on the conservatives, who were accused by the moderates of blocking the reforms by the government.


HRW/Iran

350 5th Avenue, 34th Floor New York, New York 10118 Telephone: (212)290-4700 Facsimile: (212)736-1300 E-mail: hrwnyc@hrw.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 3, 1998 For information contact: Hanny Megally (212) 216-1230 Elahé S. Hicks (212) 216-1233

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CONDEMNS KILLING OF IRANIAN CIVILIANS

Human Rights Watch unequivocally condemns the bombing on June 3 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, which killed three persons and wounded dozen of others.

"We condemn this brutal attack, and the deliberate and arbitrary killing of innocent civilians which violates the most basic principles of humanity," said Hanny Megally executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

According to press reports, the People's Mojahedine Organization of Iran (PMOI), has claimed responsibility for the blast. Human Rights Watch calls on PMOI to immediately and unconditionally cease all such attacks on civilians. PMOI is an armed Iraq-based organization that has openly dedicated itself to overthrowing the Iranian government.

In response to similar attacks in the past, the Iranian government has clamped down on the civil liberties of Iranian citizens. Human Rights Watch urges the Iranian government not to take such steps in this instance.

***

Human Rights Watch: Mission Statement Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to bring offenders to justice, to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom and to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those holding power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.

We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

Kenneth Roth is the executive director and Jonathan Fanton is the chair of the board.

Its Middle East division was established in 1989 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in the Middle East and North Africa. Hanny Megally is the executive director; Eric Goldstein is the research director, Joe Stork is the advocacy director; Virginia N. Sherry is associate director; Clarisa Bencomo, Elahé Sharifpour-Hicks, and Nejla Sammakia are research associates; Georgina Copty and Awali Samara are associates. Gary Sick is the chair of the advisory committee and Lisa Anderson and Bruce Rabb are vice chairs.

Web Site Address: http://www.hrw.org Listserv address: To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail message to majordomo@igc.apc.org with "subscribe hrw-news" in the body of the message (leave the subject line blank).


Iran Guards chief says forces watching opponents

Iran Guards chief says forces watching opponents

TEHRAN, June 3 (Reuters) - The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said his forces would bide their time before moving against reform-minded opponents who have thrived under moderate President Mohammad Khatami, newspapers said on Wednesday.

``The Guards...have identified many of the elements of these groups...They have at this time left them free to set up their groups and newspapers but we will go after them when the time is ripe,'' the daily Hamshahri quoted Revolutionary Guards Commander Brigadier-General Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.

Safavi, speaking to a gathering of hardline students, said the Guards were monitoring ``the third group,'' apparently meaning liberals and dissidents outside the mainstream moderate and conservative Islamic factions which share power in Iran.

``The fruit has to be picked when it is ripe. That fruit is unripe now. We will pick it...when it turns ripe,'' Safavi was quoted as saying.

``We have thrown a stone inside the nest of snakes which have received blows from our revolution, and are giving them time to stick their heads out,'' he said.

Safavi recently drew criticism from moderate groups for his alleged remarks to ``cut the necks and tongues'' of opponents. The Guards said his comments had been distorted by newspapers.

Iranian conservatives have expressed concern that Islamic principles were being abandoned after Khatami's government relaxed censorship and allowed scores of new publications.

Liberal and dissident groups have become more active in the more open political atmosphere, with some questioning the authority of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The moderates urged the Guards not to get involved in factional politics, as required by Iranian laws.

``We do not interfere in politics but if we see that the foundations of our system of government and our revolution is threatened...we get involved,'' Safavi said.

``When I see that a (political) current has hatched a cultural plot, I consider it my right to defend the revolution against this current. My commander is the exalted leader and he has not banned me (from doing this),'' Safavi added.

Khamenei, widely seen as closer to the conservatives, is commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces.

Khatami was elected in a landslide victory last year on a platform of granting greater cultural and political liberties, defeating candidates backed by Iran's conservative clerical establishment.

The reform-minded president has faced tough opposition from the conservatives who still control key state bodies.

16:01 06-03-98

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


Iran leader vows allegiance to Khomeini's ideals

Iran leader vows allegiance to Khomeini's ideals

TEHRAN, June 4 (Reuters) - Thousands of mourners heard on Thursday supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vow Iran's continued allegiance to the ideals of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the ninth anniversary of his death.

State television showed wheelchair-bound war veterans joining large crowds who beat their heads and chests at the ceremonies held at Khomeini's gold-domed shrine south of Tehran.

``Today, nine years later, anyone who looks at this country sees signs of the presence of the honourable Imam (Khomeini). The Imam is among us. His ideas are alive and his path is ever-lasting,'' Khamenei said in a speech carried by Tehran radio.

He called for unity between moderate and conservative factions, which have been involved in a series of open rows, saying they were both committed to the ideals of Khomeini's 1979 Islamic revolution.

``Today the hearts of the people, the government, the president, the parliament, the judiciary...beat for Islam,'' said Khamenei, who succeeded Khomeini after his death in 1989 at the age of 86.

``Our defeated enemies, America and Zionism (Israel), will not be able to hurt this nation and cause damage as long as Islam rules in your country,'' said Khamenei, speaking days after bombings by Iraq-based Iranian rebels killed three people.

In an address at Khomeini's mausoleum on Wednesday night, moderate President Mohammad Khatami stressed the close links of the late spiritual leader with the people.

``The Imam belonged to the people. He spoke only to the people. It was with the people he carried out the revolution and went through storms,'' the television quoted Khatami as saying.

The reform-minded Khatami, elected in a landslide last year, faces tough opposition from conservatives in charge of many sate bodies who fear the abandonment of the revolution's principles.

``With the support of the young the Imam victoriously went through eight years of (the Iran-Iraq) war and resisted all kinds of terror by cold-hearted terrorists,'' Khatami said.

Tensions rose this week with a resurgence of attacks by the Iraq-based Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main opposition group.

Officials said security forces foiled a Mujahideen Khalq attack on Tuesday against the Tehran headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards after two explosions, one of which killed three people and injured six at a court building.

The Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks, which they said were in response to the killings of its members in clashes with government troops in the past months.

Analysts say hopes for change through reforms engendered by Khatami's election have sapped Mujahideen's chances of gaining popular support. But the group says sharpened factional conflicts have helped it by weakening the Tehran government.

Iran has repeatedly blamed the Mujahideen for cross-border raids from Iraq, and for bombings. The Mujahideen has denied attacking civilians but has claimed responsibility for hitting military, economic and state targets.

11:34 06-04-98


FOCUS-Iran says rebels attack targets in Tehran

FOCUS-Iran says rebels attack targets in Tehran 12:45 p.m. Jun 03, 1998 Eastern

TEHRAN, June 3 (Reuters) - Iran said on Wednesday it had foiled an attack by Iraq-based rebels against the Tehran headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards after two explosions, one of which killed three people at a court building.

Iran's official news agency IRNA said the second blast occurred on Tuesday night in a military industrial building in the capital, without causing casualties.

State television said the attempted bombing by the ``hypocrite terrorist group'' was foiled and the attackers fled from the Revolutionary Guards' headquarters when challenged but left explosives and ammunition at the scene.

Hypocrites is the term used by the Iranian government to describe the Iraq-based armed rebel Mujahideen Khalq, Iran's main opposition group.

The group, designated by the U.S. State Department last year as a foreign terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's blast at the Islamic Revolutionary courthouse.

IRNA said two children and an Iranian man of Armenian descent were killed in the blast at the courthouse, which also injured six people.

The television showed scenes from the funeral of Vilhelm Aten at an Armenian Christian church attended by officials including Tehran governor Mohammad Reza Ayatollahi.

It said Aten worked as a technical supervisor at the court building which was seriously damaged in the blast.

Conservative parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri said opposing factions should set aside their disputes in the face of the attacks which coincide with events marking the death on June 3, 1989, of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

``One gets the impression that bandits, the hypocrites and spies have all become more active, thinking the time is ripe for them. Sometimes (our) inopportune remarks and wrong actions and analyses encourage them,'' IRNA quoted Nateq-Nouri as saying.

``Today, more than ever, it is necessary for the revolutionary forces to show their unity,'' Nateq-Nouri said in a speech at Khomeini's mausoleum south of Tehran.

Conservatives and backers of moderate President Mohammad Khatami have clashed, sometimes violently, on a variety of issues since Khatami's election last year.

Analysts say hopes for change through reforms engendered by Khatami's election have sapped Mujahideen's chances of gaining popular support. But the group says sharpened factional conflicts have helped it by weakening the Tehran government.

Mujahideen's spokesman in Baghdad, Farid Soleimani, earlier told Reuters in Dubai by telephone that ``several Revolutionary Guards were killed or wounded and buildings were damaged'' in a mortar attack on their headquarters in east Tehran.

He said the attack was in retaliation for the October killing of four group members in a clash with government forces in western Iran.

A Mujahideen statement faxed to Reuters in Dubai said it launched another mortar attack on an ammunition depot in north Tehran on Tuesday night causing massive explosions.

Revolutionary courts were set up after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution to deal with political and other crimes according to laws based on the Moslem sharia legal code.

Mujahideen said after the blast that ``dozens of the regime's interrogators and torturers were killed and injured.''

Iran has repeatedly blamed the Mujahideen for cross-border raids from Iraq, and for bombings. The Mujahideen has denied attacking civilians but has claimed responsibility for hitting military, economic and state targets in Iran.

A large bomb in 1994 killed 26 people at a Shi'ite Moslem shrine in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad. Iran blamed the Mujahideen, but the group denied responsibility.


Armed Iranian exiles in new Tehran attacks

Armed Iranian exiles in new Tehran attacks 08:37 a.m. Jun 03, 1998 Eastern

By Barry May

DUBAI, June 3 (Reuters) - Armed Iranian rebels who said they launched three attacks in Tehran on Tuesday have waged years of warfare against Iran's Islamic government.

Mujahideen Khalq (People's Holy Warriors) is Iran's main exile opposition group with military bases in Iraq close to the borders with Iran, from which it raids the Islamic republic, and offices in the West.

It advocates the armed overthrow of the clergy-dominated government in Tehran and has claimed responsibility for hitting military, economic and state targets in Iran. It has denied attacking civilians.

The Iranian government refers to the group -- branded a ``terrorist'' organisation by the U.S. State Department -- as monafeqin, Persian for hypocrites.

The group claimed responsibility for a blast at an Islamic revolutionary court in north Tehran on Tuesday in which three people were killed and six injured, and said it also launched attacks on the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards and an ammunition depot.

Iran said an administrative building was attacked but added that the attack on the Guards headquarters was repulsed.

The group was formed by mostly young Islamist leftists who played a key role in Iran's 1979 revolution that ousted the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

They soon broke with the father of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- who died nine years ago on Wednesday -- and the movement was suppressed in a widespread crackdown begun in 1981.

Iran blamed the group for a spate of bombings that killed a president, a prime minister and more than 200 officials, parliamentarians, and senior Shi'ite Moslem clerics.

The Mujahideen, many of whose members were executed after summary trials, did not claim responsibility for the attacks but hailed them as ``people's justice.''

The Mujahideen later surfaced on the other side of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war front and in European capitals where it set up an international publicity network, including a Washington office not far from the White House.

The group's political arm, the National Council of Resistance, is a 570-member parliament-in-exile.

During the war with Iraq, the Mujahideen collaborated with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces, a move analysts said led to much loss of popular support in Iran. But the group has continued to beam radio and television broadcasts into Iran.

Its bases in Iraq have been the target of Iranian air and rocket attacks, most recently last September.

Its office in the Iraqi capital Baghdad is ringed by a concrete wall which has withstood mortar and bomb attacks.

Mujahideen's president-in-exile Maryam Rajavi, wife of the group's leader Massoud Rajavi, has said Iran's ``clerical regime will be toppled before the end of the 20th century.''

The U.S. State Department, which included the Mujahideen on a list of 30 foreign ``terrorist'' organisations for the first time last year, said in a 1994 report it was not a viable alternative to the government in Tehran.

Washington's decision to call the Mujahideen ``terrorists'' denied its members U.S. visas and made it illegal to give the group funds.

This was welcomed in Tehran where it was seen as the first positive sign of American goodwill towards the new government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, who was elected in May 1997 and took office in August.

Analysts say the hopes for changes through reforms engendered by Khatami's election have also sapped Mujahideen's chances of regaining popular support. But the group says sharpened factional conflict since the election has helped it by weakening the Tehran government.

In 1994, 100 members of the U.S. Congress asked President Bill Clinton's administration to open talks with the Mujahideen.

But the administration refused to deal with the group, citing past anti-American actions, engagement in acts of terrorism inside Iran, dependence on Iraq and lack of support inside Iran.

((Gulf newsroom, +971 4 607 1222, fax +971 4 626982, dubai.newsroom+reuters.com))


Iran says AIOC in oil swaps talks despite US ire

Iran says AIOC in oil swaps talks despite US ire 07:50 a.m. Jun 04, 1998 Eastern

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's flagship foreign oil consortium has started talks on possible oil export swaps through Iran in the teeth of U.S. opposition, a senior Iranian oil official said on Thursday.

Ali Majedi, Iran's deputy oil and gas minister for the Caspian Sea, said that British and Japanese members of the Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium (AIOC) have already sent Azeri crude samples to Iran for tests.

British Petroleum, Ramco and Itochu are all members of the AIOC group developing an $8 billion project in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea.

They were seeking to export through Iran's ``oil swap'' system, in which oil firms send Caspian oil to Iran's northern refineries in exchange for an equivalent amount in the Gulf.

Washington has promoted the AIOC group - which includes U.S.

firms Exxon, Amoco, Pennzoil and Unocal - as a spearhead in its bid to develop the Caspian region as a major westward supply source for next century.

It has bitterly opposed development of trans-Iranian export routes, promoting instead a trans-Turkish lines to the Mediterranean from Azeri capital Baku.

But Majedi said AIOC's problems with developing initial export pipelines through Russia and Georgia had forced it to turn to Iran.

The U.S. firms had not been in talks for swaps, Majedi said.

Britain's Monument Oil and Gas Plc and Ireland's Dragon Oil Plc oil will in the next two weeks start oil exchanges for their Turkmen output, while Mobil has applied for special U.S government permission to follow suit.

Majedi said the AIOC production could replace planned swaps with Kazakhstan, which have foundered since the Kazakh oil privatisations took output earmarked for swaps out of Kazakh hands.

Indonesia's Central Asia Petroleum will this month come to Iran for talks on resuming the Kazakh swaps, but will be replaced if agreement is not reached within six months, Majedi said.

Majedi was in London to launch the tender for construction of a new pipeline network which Iran hopes will ultimately enable the transport of 1.6 million barrels per day of Caspian crude.

AIOC started production in November at an initial rate of 75,000 barrels per day (bpd). Its output will peak at 700,000 bpd next decade.


Iran seeks Indo-Pakistani talks on nuclear tests

Iran seeks Indo-Pakistani talks on nuclear tests 07:25 a.m. Jun 04, 1998 Eastern

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, June 4 (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, fresh from talks in New Delhi and Islamabad, called on Thursday for India and Pakistan to open a sweeping dialogue on key issues including Kashmir and nuclear testing.

In a speech to the Conference on Disarmament, he criticised Israel's failure to join global arms control treaties and repeated Iran's call for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East.

Kharrazi addressed the United Nations body as the five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia -- gathered in Geneva to try to adopt a joint statement on the nuclear crisis in South Asia.

Pakistan detonated six underground nuclear tests last week in response to the five conducted by Iran earlier in May. Both have drawn international condemnation.

``The nuclear sword of Damocles is now hanging over the region by a slender thread,'' Kharrazi told the world's only disarmament negotiating forum, which has 61 members. ``This was one genie that was much better...confined in the bottle.''

Kharrazi called for India and Pakistan to start a dialogue on all outstanding issues to promote stability in the volatile region.

``Certainly we are very concerned about this arms race in our neighbourhood, because it has direct impact on our national security,'' Kharrazi told a news conference. ``We have no intention to mediate.''

Kharrazi said he was not making a joint proposal on behalf of Iran and Pakistan. ``But this is my impression, that both sides have common ideals and elements.''

Topics should include peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir and confidence-building measures.

Kharrazi also said the two countries should discuss nuclear issues including moves to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

India controls two-thirds of the Himalayan region of Kashmir and the rest is held by Pakistan. The two countries have fought two of their three wars since gaining independence from Britain over the disputed region.

Both India and Pakistan have refused to sign the 1970 NPT, which aims to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and was indefinitely extended two years ago, or the 1996 CTBT which bans underground nuclear explosions.

``The recent developments have underlined the necessity of ensuring the universality of the NPT. This imperative is not only of paramount importance in South Asia, but in fact in the Middle East, where the refusal by Israel to accede to the NPT and accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards has gravely endangered the security of the entire region,'' Kharrazi said, referring to the Vienna-based agency.

``It is thus necessary for all to accept the will of the international community to take practical steps for the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East,'' he added.

The NPT has 187 signatory states. These do not include India, Pakistan, Israel, Cuba and Brazil.

``The NPT cannot be said to be damaged. There are some breaks,'' Kharrazi told the news conference. ``I think we all have to encourage India and Pakistan to eventually join the NPT.''

Kharrazi also said that the five official nuclear powers must address the question of Israel's nuclear capability.

If their joint statement failed to raise the issue of Israel, it would reveal a double standard, he said.

``I think we have to use single standards for everyone who proliferates nuclear weapons,'' he added.

Regarding ties with the United States, he said the ``wall of non-confidence'' still existed between the two countries. He blamed what he called the hostile behaviour of the U.S. administration.

Iran frequently criticises the United States and other nuclear powers for what it sees as their failure to deal with Israel's undeclared nuclear programme. Israel has never admitted having a nuclear arsenal but foreign experts believe it has up to 200 nuclear weapons.

Iran denies U.S. and Israeli charges that it seeks weapons of mass destruction, saying its own nuclear programme is peaceful and open to inspection.


Iran to link Israel to alarm over nuclear tests

Full story Iran to link Israel to alarm over nuclear tests 04:27 a.m. Jun 04, 1998 Eastern

TEHRAN, June 4 (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi left for disarmament talks in Geneva on Thursday where he will link Israel to alarm over nuclear tests by India and Pakistan.

Kharrazi was to address a session of the 61-nation U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.

The conference coincides with a meeting in Geneva of the world's five major powers -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- aiming to agree a joint stance towards India and Pakistan over their nuclear tests.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi said Kharrazi would express Iran's concern over possible abuse of nuclear technology by Israel and would also express the need for security measures to prevent a nuclear arms race.

The spokesman, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, said Kharrazi would outline ``Iran's principled stances at the conference vis--vis global disarmament.''

``Iran has always maintained that world security is best served through global disarmament and freeing the world, including the Middle East, from weapons of mass destruction, Mohammadi added,'' the agency said.

Iran last week expressed alarm at the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests and called on both countries ``to promptly cease all tests,'' stop their arms race and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

``The recent developments once again point to the necessity of giving serious attention to setting up nuclear-free zones, especially in the sensitive Middle East region, which is under the threat of Israel's nuclear arsenal,'' Mohammadi said at the time.

Iran frequently criticises the United States and other nuclear powers for what it sees as their failure to deal with Israel's undeclared nuclear programme.

The Jewish state has never admitted to having a nuclear arsenal but foreign experts believe it has up to 200 nuclear weapons.

Iran denies U.S. and Israeli charges that it seeks weapons of mass destruction, saying its own nuclear programme is peaceful and open to inspection.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 3 Jun 1998 to 4 Jun 1998 *************************************************