DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Jun 1998 to 11 Jun 1998


There are 9 messages totalling 537 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Jameah to continue publication
2. Lack of Press Law Hinders Political Development
3. Press Reaction to Jame'eh Ruling
4. Iranian cabinet studies move to impeach interior minister
5. Banned Iranian newspaper vows to publish ahead of appeal
6. Khatami supporters rally round Iran's embattled interior minister
7. Tehran mayor denies stealing "a single rial" as trial resumes
8. Iran agency denies Kinkel,Kharrazi discussed Hofer
9. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - June 11

Jameah to continue publication

Hamshahri reports today (June 11) that the Editor of suspended liberal Newspaper Jameah -Mashaollah Shamsolwaezin- is determined to continue publication of the Newspaper until the conclusion of appeal process. The verdict of suspension was ruled by the Judge despite the recommendation of the Jury for reduced verdict. The Judge imposed maximum punishment of suspension. The ruling is to be appealed and the paper will continue publication.

--jamshid


Lack of Press Law Hinders Political Development growth of press, first step toward political development

tehran, june 11, irna -- the english daily 'iran news' thursday in its editorial wrote that lack of political development in the society is the main reason behind banning of two dailies.

the proper venue for any political development is therefore through codification of clear and transparent laws, formation of genuine political parties, establishment of rule of law and meritocracy, pointed out the paper.

stating a few factors which contribute to the creation of circumstances that sometimes lead to the closing down of newspapers, the daily noted that whenever there is dearth of important news the print media take unusual measures to provide exciting news for their readers.

moreover, iranian journalists are unaware of what constitutes a press offense since lack of a clear and concise ''press law'' exists in the country.

therefore, any possible reform in the press law needs a qualitative improvement in the infrastructure of the press and its laws, pointed out the paper adding that political development in iran would prove meaningless without such a change.

furthermore employment of unqualified people in many iranian journals is another factor which contributes to the general confusion prevailing in the press, noted the daily adding that some journals are mostly financial disasters.

''therefore, any financial punishment inflicted upon the offending journals is a double burden on them,'' pointed out the paper adding that ''the case of more heavily news-oriented and professional journals which by definition have more financial problems, is different from those journals that are less professional but sell more due to their appeal to the masses.''

a growth of the press is therefore the first step toward political development. without a growth in the country's political institutions, we cannot attain political development, emphasized the paper in conclusion.

::irna 11/06/98 10:40


Press Reaction to Jame'eh Ruling

Iran Daily (Journal of Islamic Republic News Agency) June 11, 1998

Jameah banned

Mixed reaction by the press

Tehran - Branch 1410 of Tehran Public Court here on Wednesday revoked the publication license of the daily 'Jameah'.

Based on the courts ruling, the license holder, also the managing director of the daily, Hamid Jalaie-Pour, was banned from holding similar responsibilities with other publications for a period of one year.

He was also fined rls. 16 million.

Meanwhile, the press and media reacted with shock and disbelief to the closure of the popular Tehran-based daily.

The managing director of Iran News, Mohammed Soltanifar said, "I am upset that a paper has been closed down. It does not matter which faction the paper endorsed. What counts is that closing down a publication means one step back in the course of political develop-ment. I do not consider it appropriate. Of course, there are several reasons behind the closures of Gozaresh-e Rooz and Jameah, namely their staff being non-professionals and employing political figures as journalists, the ambiguities of the existing press law, and the political naivety of our society."

Soltanifar added, "In politically developed countries where it is possible to tolerate any and all forms of opposition, the sheer existence of various publications can promote growth. But, we have not prepared ourselves for political development and among the requi-sites for such development are cer-tain parameters such as the growth of professional journalism, formation of political groups, and clarity of the laws especially press laws."

The editor of Tehran Times, Sadroddin Mousavi said, "Closing a paper down is like hammering a nail in the coffin of democracy. But, let us not forget that the fore-front of democracy is made up of journalists.

Therefore, they should facilitate democracy within the framework of law, otherwise they themselves would turn out to be the enemies of democracy."

One Kayhan official, Mohammad Mohajeri who did not state his position at the paper, said, "Talking about law and abiding by the law, means one also has to accept the jury's verdict. I believe because Jameah abused the privi-lege of press freedom and violated press laws, its closure is quite nat-ural."

The paper, which was launched only in February with the aim of supporting Khatami's reformist agenda, has been the subject of numerous attacks from conserva-tive circles over the past few weeks.


Iranian cabinet studies move to impeach interior minister

TEHRAN, June 10 (AFP) - The Iranian cabinet met on Wednesday to examine the call by a group of conservative MPs for the impeachment of Interior Minister Abdollah Nuri, a key supporter of moderate President Mohammad Khatami. In a letter to Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nuri, the 31 MPs said that "continuation of Nuri's service in the post of interior minister is detrimental to tranquility and stability in the country." Among the charges levelled against the minister by the MPs were "creation of tension in the society, making provocative interviews and speeches in different provinces and appointing inexperienced people to managerial posts." Nuri was also accused of "creating tension" following the April arrest of Tehran mayor Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, another key ally of Khatami, who defeated Nateq-Nuri, the leader of the powerful conservative faction, in last year's presidential election. Khatami quickly threw his support behind his 49-year-old interior minister. "Mr. Nuri's activities in government have been crowned with success," state television quoted Khatami as saying Wednesday during a meeting with a visiting Kuwaiti official. But after hosting a cabinet meeting to review the call by the MPs, Khatami said the impeachment process "will help bring about the necessary transparency" in the case, the official IRNA news agency reported. "I believe that Nuri has the necessary capability to elaborate (on the case) and issues related to the interior ministry," Khatami said. IRNA said a proposed motion for impeachment must be submitted during an open session of parliament. Nuri would then have 10 days to appear before parliament and win a new vote of confidence from the conservative-dominated assembly. Nuri has been the target of criticism by conservative leaders for months, specifically because of his open support of Karbaschi, currently on trial here on corruption charges. Nuri set up a defense committee for Karbaschi following the mayor's arrest in April and is considered his chief defender within the Khatami government. After the mayor was arrested, an exhibition was hastily arranged at the interior ministry building to publicize the mayor's accomplishments during his nine years at the helm of the capital. Several people were injured during clashes between Islamic hardliners and supporters of the mayor in the capital and Nuri issued a warning at the time to fundamentalist militants. Nuri has also been criticized for allowing demonstrations in Tehran and other cities which led to clashes between hardline Islamists and supporters of a dissident cleric, Hossein-Ali Montazeri. The interior minister has also come under fire for authorizing a memorial ceremony for former prime minister Mehdi Bazargan in a Tehran mosque during which slogans hostile to conservative leaders were chanted. The impeachment initiative came as conservatives in the regime stepped up attacks on Iran's moderate press, which has provided strong support for Khatami's reformist agenda. An Iranian court on Wednesday ordered moderate newspaper Jameeh (Society), launched only in February, to cease publication, IRNA reported. The court also banned Jameeh's managing director and licence holder, Hamid Reza Jalai-Pur, from holding similar responsibilities with other newspapers for one year and fined him 16 million rials (5,300 dollars). Jalai-Pur had been accused of publishing "defamatory and untruthful articles" aimed at several regime leaders. Also Wednesday, another moderate newspaper published by IRNA journalists ceased publication after reprinting an article on Iranian leaders sending capital abroad.


Banned Iranian newspaper vows to publish ahead of appeal

TEHRAN, June 11 (AFP) - Moderate Iranian newspaper Jameeh, whose publication licence was revoked Wednesday by a Tehran press court, vowed Thursday to continue publishing until its appeal against the ban is heard. The paper appeared on Thursday afternoon carrying a front page story with a declaration by deputy culture minister Ahmad Bourghani that "publication can continue while awaiting a definitive decision on the appeal." Jameeh's editor-in-chief Mashallah Shams al-Vaezin slammed Wednesday's decision as a "political verdict," in an allusion to the domination of the justice system by the regime's conservative faction and its hostility towards the paper, which supports President Mohammad Khatami's moderate line. He told AFP that Jameeh, or Society, would lodge an appeal within the legal limit of 20 days. "In the meantime, we will publish our newspaper and even increase the print run as forecast," he said. The Tehran court revoked Jameeh's publication licence, banned managing director Hamid Reza Jalai-Pur from holding similar responsibilities with other newspapers for one year and fined him 16 million rials (5,300 dollars). Jameeh, which first rolled off the presses in February, was one of the most visible symbols of the recent changes in Iran's print media, which has become more diversified and critical since Khatami took power in August. But in recent weeks Jameeh has been the target of a barrage of criticism from fundamentalists and conservatives, accused of publishing tendentious and sometimes anti-Islamic articles. On Monday Jalai-Pur was warned over the publication of "defamatory and untruthful articles" aimed at several regime leaders and which were deemed "contrary to public moral order."


Khatami supporters rally round Iran's embattled interior minister

TEHRAN, June 11 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and his supporters rallied round Interior Minister Abdollah Nuri on Thursday after a group of conservative MPs called for his impeachment. Several MPs and political figures close to Khatami accused the conservative-dominated parliament of trying to insult the government by seeking to bring down one of its most visible ministers. "I believe that Nuri has the necessary capability to explain himself and make his position clear," Khatami said during a cabinet meeting late Wednesday called to discuss the impeachment call. While conceding that MPs have the right to call for the impeachment of a government minister, Khatami said the timing was "badly chosen." In a letter to Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nuri on Wednesday, 31 MPs said that "continuation of Nuri's service in the post of interior minister is detrimental to tranquility and stability in the country." Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani accused parliament of "profiting" from the trial underway of Tehran mayor Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, another key Khatami ally, to censure the interior minister. Nuri, 49, set up a defence committee for Karbaschi following the mayor's arrest in April on corruption charges and is considered his chief defender within the Khatami government. A proposed motion for impeachment must be submitted during an open session of parliament. Nuri would then have 10 days to appear before parliament and win a new vote of confidence from the conservative-dominated assembly. Nuri has been the target of criticism by conservative leaders for months, specifically because of his open support of Karbaschi, who appeared in court on Wednesday on the second day of his trial for fraud, embezzlement, diversion of public funds, mismanagement and "despotic and dictatorial behaviour." Mohajerani also accused the conservative MPS of launching the attack against Nuri when public attention was consumed by the World Cup football tournament in France. "Once again, this censure motion risks a boomerang effect, and will give the minister and his supporters the opportunity to bring up the country's real problems," Mohajerani told Ettela'at newspaper. While Nuri's supporters do not believe the censure motion will succeed, several influential members of parliament have suggested that the interior minister could fall.


Tehran mayor denies stealing "a single rial" as trial resumes

TEHRAN, June 11 (AFP) - Tehran's reformist mayor Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, a key backer of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, told a court trying him on corruption charges here Thursday that he never stole "a single rial." The 44-year-old mayor, his hand on his heart, assured the court he is "not a thief" and that he "never stole a single rial of public money." "All that I have done is turn a stagnant city into one that is modern and liveable with hundreds of kilometers of highways, green spaces and cultural centers," he said. Karbaschi, whose arrest in April sparked a political crisis in the Islamic regime, said he earned a salary of two million rials a month -- 650 dollars a month at the official exchange rate. Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, who is also government spokesman, attended Thursday's second day of the trial in what was seen as a sign of government support for the embattled mayor. The minister made no comment, other than that he came as an "individual." Along with Karbaschi, Mohajerani is considered one of the leading moderates in the cabinet and is a close adviser to the president. The hearing ended at midday and is scheduled to resume Tuesday. Karbaschi reminded the court of his ties to the Islamic Republic's founder by reading a passage from a work by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini demanding "justice be fair, because any judicial error will be prejudicial to the republic and Islam as a whole." Karbaschi was appointed by Khomeini after the 1979 Islamic revolution as his personal representative in the then Gendarmerie which later became the police force. Judge Hojatoleslam Mohseni Ejei, a magistrate from the Shiite clergy, rebuked Karbaschi for the reading, saying "it is not enough to only cite passages from Khomeini which suit you. "He also wrote many things about the abuse of public trust." The mayor is being tried in a court responsible for judging offences committed by public officials. The session attacted a crowd of several hundred people -- supporters and opponents of the mayor and the curious -- who gathered outside the downtown court building until dispersed by police. During Sunday's opening session, Karbaschi rejected the corruption charges against him as "baseless" and denounced "political scheming" by his conservative opponents in the judiciary. Karbaschi, who has headed this metropolis of some 10 million people since 1989, has been charged with fraud, embezzlement, diversion of public funds, mismanagement and "despotic and dictatorial behaviour." The mayor has also been accused of using municipal funds to help finance the election campaigns of moderate candidates during 1996 legislative polls. Karbaschi's arrest and detention for 11 days in April triggered a crisis between Khatami's mainly moderate government and the conservative-dominated judiciary. Karbaschi benefited from an exceptional mobilization by the moderate wing of the government during his incarceration and demonstrations of support were held at Tehran Univerity, sparking clashes with hardline Islamists. The mayor was released from prison on the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, following a request from Khatami and against the wishes of the judiciary which had wanted him remanded in custody until his trial. There have been no official indications as to how long the trial will last, but aides to the mayor have said it could be weeks or even months.

Iran agency denies Kinkel,Kharrazi discussed Hofer

Full story Iran agency denies Kinkel,Kharrazi discussed Hofer 06:05 a.m. Jun 11, 1998 Eastern

TEHRAN, June 11 (Reuters) - The official Iranian news agency IRNA on Thursday quoted a diplomatic source as disputing a report that Germany and Iran had discussed the case of a German sentenced to death in Tehran for having sex with a Moslem woman.

``A diplomatic source in New York Thursday rejected a Reuters report that the case of a German businessman currently detained in Iran had been raised in the Wednesday meeting between the foreign ministers of Iran and Germany in New York,'' IRNA said.

``The source said that (Helmut) Hofer's case was not raised at all in the meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel,'' it said.

Reuters had quoted diplomatic sources as saying Kharrazi and Kinkel discussed the case of the Hamburg businessman, a key issue straining ties between Germany and the Islamic republic.

The Reuters story from the United Nations said a joint communique from the two countries did not say whether one of the subjects discussed was the fate of Hofer. But Reuters quoted diplomats as saying controversy over Hofer had been raised at the meeting.

Germany has made clear that relations with Iran could worsen considerably if Hofer were executed.

IRNA quoted its diplomatic source as saying: ``Hofer's case is taking its own course within the Iranian judicial system.

``He added that Hofer's case is a judicial one and efforts made by certain circles to politicise it will not work.''

Kinkel and Kharrazi were in New York attending a special U.N. session on the problem of drugs.

Their joint communique said they ``discussed especially bilateral questions and agreed that both sides desire to further relations between the two countries.''

Hofer, who is not married, was convicted of sex out of wedlock with a Moslem woman, who is also single. Under Iran's Islamic laws a non-Moslem man convicted of extramarital sex with a Moslem woman can face the death penalty.

The woman was sentenced to 99 lashes.

Relations between the two countries have improved after souring last year following a German court ruling that Iranian leaders had ordered the 1992 killing of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin. Iran denied the charges.


PRESS DIGEST - Iran - June 11

PRESS DIGEST - Iran - June 11 05:12 a.m. Jun 11, 1998 Eastern

TEHRAN, June 11 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Iranian newspapers on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

SALAM

- In a letter to the speaker of parliament Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, 31 parliament deputies called for the impeachment of the moderate interior minister Abdollah Nouri, saying that he is ``detrimental to peace and stability of the nation.'' President Mohammad Khatami threw his full weight behind his minister.

IRAN NEWS

- Iran welcomes any OPEC decision in support of oil market stability, the director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said in an interview. Overproduction by certain members leads to a lower price for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as independent producers.

TEHRAN TIMES

- Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Tehran said: ``All necessary grounds exist for joining hands by Iranians and Saudis in industrial areas.'' Currently there are two major Saudi commercial delegations in Iran, he said.

- Iran will cut its crude output by 100,000 barrels per day from July 1, the Oil Ministry said. The decision was made following talks between the Saudi oil minister and his Iranian counterpart.

IRAN DAILY

- About 60 residents of a western suburb of Tehran gathered in front of the district's water company, protesting against the shortage of drinking water and trying to block a road by burning tyres. The crowd dispersed following intervention by the police.

FARDA

- A Tehran court revoked the publication licence of the moderate daily newspaper Jameah. The licence holder, Hamid Reza Jalaipour, was also fined 16 million rials ($5,300) and banned from holding similar responsibilities with other publications for one year.

JOMHURI ESLAMI

- Iran and Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation in security, issues related to nationals of the two countries and campaigning against the smuggling of drugs, arms and goods.

KAR-VA-ARGAR

- A student union backing the moderate President Mohammad Khatami announced an emergency meeting on Saturday following ``several incidents hampering Mr Khatami's government, such as the impeachment of the interior minister and the closure of some publications.''

($1-3,000 rials) ((Gulf newsroom, +971 4 607 1222, fax +971 4 626982, dubai.newsroom+reuters.com))


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Jun 1998 to 11 Jun 1998 ***************************************************