Date: Mar 10, 1998 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 8 Mar 1998 to 9 Mar 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 8 Mar 1998 to 9 Mar 1998
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There are 4 messages totalling 271 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Journalists urge judiciary chief to respect rights
2. Papers report pro-Montazari demo in Najafabad
3. Ebtekar listening to suppressed cries of Afghan women
4. Khatami to Address Iranians Abroad for Norooz

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Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 15:07:27 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Journalists urge judiciary chief to respect rights

IRAN'S Judiciary Chief Urged to Respect Reporters' Rights


Xinhua 09-MAR-98


TEHRAN (March 9) XINHUA - Iranian reporters recently urged
Iranian Judiciary Supervisor-General Ayatollah Mohammad
Yazdi to respect their rights, the Persian-language
newspaper Salam reported on Monday.

In a letter, published by the newspaper, to the judicial
chief, 194 reporters expressed their support for the right
of a Salam reporter Ms. Farhani to raise questions about
any issue to anyone.

The paper did not give her first name. The reporters
contended that their right to ask questions should not be
denied.

Yazdi issued an order last week to summon Farhani to a
court after she asked him at a press conference to comment
on the claim that some people from Tehran Municipality
arrested on charges of embezzlement were tortured by
judicial officials in investigations.

Yazdi was angered by the question and ordered the reporter
to give evidence to prove the claim, and threatened to
punish her if she failed to do so in three days.

His action shocked the Iranian society, the press in
particular, which believed that he had violated reporters'
rights.

Government officials, including Interior Minister Abdollah
Nouri and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ataollah
Mohajerani, strongly criticized Yazdi for his "harsh
attitude" towards a reporter.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Nouri said a judge
should not make "emotional, harsh, angry and threatening
speeches," and that "I suggest Mr. Yazdi, as the highest
judicial official in the country, speak with dignity,
caution and base his speeches on laws."

The embezzlement case of Tehran Municipality has become a
hot issue between Iran's two rivalry political factions.

The left-wing faction has attacked the judicial body to
politicize the case to weaken the government of President
Mohammad Khatami while the right-wing faction has accused
"certain groups" of blocking the judicial body in
investigating the case.

The sharp dispute over the embezzlement case has
intensified political factional struggles in Iran,
particularly on the eve of parliamentary by-elections due
to be held on Friday.





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Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 15:09:11 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Papers report pro-Montazari demo in Najafabad

Monday, March 9, 1998 Published at 15:54 GMT

BBC
Despatches


Demonstrators support Iranain dissident


Supporters of a senior Iranian dissident cleric, Ayatollah
Hussain Ali Montazari, have demonstrated in his home town
to protest against the authorities continued decision to
place him under house arrest. Two Iranian newspapers
reported that the bazaar in the central town of Najafabad
was closed at the weekend and the Ayatollah's followers
staged a sit-in to call on the government to lift
restrictions on him. Ayatollah Montazari has been under
house arrest since last November when he publicly
challenged the former Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah
Khomeini. The BBC's Iranian affairs reporter, Sadeq Saba:

Iranian newspapers report that the supporters of Ayatollah
Montazari closed down the town centre in Najafabad
completely in protest against restrictions on him.
Ayatollah Montazari, who was once a designated successor to
the late Ayatollah Khomeini, is one of the most senior
religious leaders in Iran with a wide following among
believers. One of his followers told newspapers that the
demonstration was kept peaceful only to give a warning to
the authorities. If our demands are ignored, he warned,
protests would continue.

Ayatollah Montazari was sacked eight years ago for
criticising the excesses of the Islamic regime. Last
November, he questioned the authority of the Iranian
supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and supported the
relatively moderate President Khatami in his efforts to
introduce reforms.

Later his home and office in the holy city of Qom was
attacked by Islamic militants and Ayatollah Khamenei
accused him of treason. It appears that there is a
disagreement among Iranian authorities over how to deal
with Ayatollah Montazari.

The conservative-dominated judiciary increased pressure on
him by ordering the freezing of all his bank accounts last
month. But President Khatami has recently sent a
representative to Qom to examine ways in which restrictions
on Ayatollah Montazari could be lifted. The demonstration
in Najafabad and its possible repercussions will put more
pressure on the authorities to lift restrictions on
Ayatollah Montazari.



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Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 15:13:56 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Ebtekar listening to suppressed cries of Afghan women

Iran Women Say Hear Cries of Afghan Sisters

Reuters 08-MAR-98

TEHRAN, March 8 (Reuters) - Iran's highest ranking female
official told Afghan women that Iranian women were
``listening to their suppressed cries'' under the rule of
the extremist Islamic Taleban government.

``Your sisters in the Islamic Republic of Iran are
attentively listening to your suppressed cries,'' said
Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran's vice-president for environmental
affairs.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said on Sunday
Ebtekar made her comments an assembly of women in
Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan to mark International Women's
Day.

``Your unbearable present status is eyed with deep concern
by the Moslems all over the world,'' Ebtekar, the first
women to take such a high official post in Iran since the
Islamic revolution in 1979, was quoted as saying.

``Your sisters in the Islamic republic are taking measures
to establish Islamic human rights of women in the world
which will contribute to the improvement of the status of
women and provide progress in all the areas for the Moslem
communities around the world.''

Iran is opposed to the Taleban and has said the Islamic
movement gave Islam a bad name.

When the Taleban took control of the Afghani capital Kabul
more than a year ago, the group forbade women from working
except in the medical sector, closed girls' schools and
forced them to wear the burqa, a traditional veil that
covers the wearer from head to toe.

A group of 50 women's rights activists, led by European
Union humanitarian aid commissioner Emma Bonino, dedicated
International Women's Day on March 8 to the women of
Afghanistan and urged that foreign pressure be put on the
Taleban.

The Taleban defended its much-maligned record on women's
rights on Saturday, saying Afghan women retained their
dignity while Western women serve as mere lust objects.

Unlike many conservative Islamic countries, women in Iran
hold senior positions in government and are given the right
to vote.

Iranian officials often point out that there are more
female members in Iran's parliament than there are in the
U.S. Senate.

Iran's new President Mohammad Khatami, seen as a moderate
who won a landslide victory in May partly thanks to wide
support among women, has appointed three women to senior
posts.

Iran also named four women judges last December, marking
the first time women have held this position since the
revolution.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.


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

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 13:16:38 PST
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Khatami to Address Iranians Abroad for Norooz

Iran President to Address Iranians Abroad

Reuters 08-MAR-98

TEHRAN, March 8 (Reuters) - Iran's President Mohammad
Khatami, trying to court millions of Iranians living
abroad, has told embassies to ease their return home and
plans a special address to them this month, a newspaper
said on Sunday.

The English-language Tehran Times said Khatami would
deliver a message on the new Iranian satellite television
channel Jam-e Jam to mark the start of Now Ruz, the Iranian
new year that begins on March 21.

The newspaper said Khatami, a moderate cleric who was
elected last year, has proposed to embassies and missions
helping to ease the return of Iranians. It did not spell
out any specific measures he would suggest.

Iran witnessed a ``brain drain'' of technocrats and
professionals after the 1979 Islamic revolution that
toppled the pro-Western Pahlavi monarchy.

Khatami has previously called on Iranian expatriates to
return. The president is keen to attract back educated
Iranians, the vast majority of whom live in the United
States.

When Jam-e Jam was launched in December it was broadcasting
to Europe, Central Asia, North Africa and Gulf Arab states.
It was unclear if the speech would reach North American
viewers.

Now Ruz, an ancient Zoroastrian holiday pre-dating the
introduction of Islam to Iran some 1,300 years ago, is
widely celebrated in the Islamic republic and among
expatriates with family gatherings and traditional Persian
foods.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.




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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 8 Mar 1998 to 9 Mar 1998
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