Date: Mar 11, 1998 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1998 to 10 Mar 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1998 to 10 Mar 1998
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There are 9 messages totalling 499 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Jame'eh criticizes judiciary chief
2. Khatami should defend rejected Majlis candidates
3. Student gathering to support pluralism, Constitution
4. Homa Sarshar on women in Iran, Afghanistan
5. Deputies urge Speaker to investigate toture
6. Minister: Universities need freedom, tolerance
7. Rafsanjani the uncrowned king of Iranian politics
8. Iran, Russia Diverge Over Caspian Policy
9. Papers report pro-Montazari demo in Najafabad


Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:56:25 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Jame'eh criticizes judiciary chief

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 9, 1998

Press Watch

Jame'eh in its 'With the responsibility of the
editor-in-chief' wrote that the behavior of the judiciary
chief towards journalists during a press conference
attended by the foreign and domestic press was not
appropriate for a man of his position. There is nothing
wrong with questioning an official as an interviewee
regarding the issues related to his field, or even trying
to find out if there are truths behind rumors, the daily
said. It is customary to give such responses as 'what you
asked is confidential', 'we are studying the case and the
results will be announced later', 'In my opinion what you
say doesn't have any logical basis' or 'Pose this question
to someone else'. If similar responses have a logical
basis, they will not only influence the inter-viewer, they
may even satisfy the listener. But it is unusual for an
offi-cial to lose his temper while answering the questions
posed by jour-nalists and then resort to intimidating the
interviewer with the possi-ble risk of arrest, the paper
pointed out.

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:55:03 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Khatami should defend rejected Majlis candidates

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 9, 1998

Press Watch

Salam interviewed a member of the Islamic Revolution
Mujahedeen Organization (IRMO), Behzad Nabavi, as well as a
professor of Isfahan University, Fazlolah Salavati, who
were disqualified by the Council of Guardians for the
Majlis mid-term elections. "I wonder how these people allow
themselves to disqualify veteran revolutionaries who have
sacrificed everything they had in order to defend the
country as well as the revolution," Nabavi noted. "I
supported Imam Khomeini from the first day of the
revolution and everybody is aware of my track record," he
added. "I don't know on what basis they have accused me of
not believing in the constitution and disregarding the
principle of the supreme jurisprudence (Velayat-e- Faqih),"
noted Salavati. "President Khatami who took an oath to
safeguard the constitution, after succeeding in the
presidential elec-tions, should defend the rights of those
people, who like me, have been rejected without reason," he

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:57:16 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Student gathering to support pluralism, Constitution

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 9, 1998

What's Up?

A group of students will gather before the main entrance of
Tehran University Monday in support of the Constitution,
according to a communique signed by the Islamic
Associations of Tehran University, the University of
Medical Sciences, Allame Tabatabaei University, the
Judicial Sciences University and several other universities
in Tehran. They have said that in addition to sup-porting
the Constitution their gathering is aimed at supporting the
dignity of universities. The signatories added that they
would disclose the identities of those who were behind the
recent violence and clash-es in the universities. The
meeting will also address obstacles in the way of political
pluralism in the universities and call for due attention to
be paid to economic problems, the communique read.

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:58:30 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Homa Sarshar on women in Iran, Afghanistan

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 8, 1998

What's Up?

VOA's Farsi service ran a program on the status of woman in
Iran and Afghanistan in which Iranian author and journalist
Homa Sarshar in cooperation with the head of the
International Federation of Afghan women Nafiseh Mahmoud
participated. "What the Taliban does to Afghan women is far
worse than what is happen-ing to women in Iran," commented
Sarshar. She went on to say that we should feel pity for
the women of this region. "No similarity how-ever can be
seen between the status of women in Iran and Afghanistan.
The Iranian woman has been forced to wear a veil after the
emergence of the Islamic system in Iran, but she has the
right to vote, to go to school and to work in public
places," Nafiseh Mahmoud said. On the contrary, the Afghan
woman is deprived of all these rights. She went on to say
that the communists have closed the doors of the mosques to
Muslims in Afghanistan, but the Islamic system of Iran has
not restricted the activities of religious minorities

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 14:59:35 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Deputies urge Speaker to investigate toture

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 8, 1998

Press Watch

Farda wrote that 157 Majlis deputies in a letter addressed
to the Majlis speaker, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, requested
that he report the alleged mistreatment of Tehran's
district mayors by law enforcement officers to the leader
of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Following the release of some Tehran district mayors, they
claimed that they were mistreated by law enforcement
officers while imprisoned, the letter read. These claims
were made during private sessions attended by the Majlis
deputies, members of the cabinet and other authorities.
Since these allegations can negatively impact the
impressions of top level managers inside the country, the
concerned authorities should elaborate on the matter. Farda
quoted Majlis deputies as saying that "in spite of the
magnitude of this task and the pressure it may bring on the
Majlis, the people are urging their representatives to
thoroughly investigate the case."

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:01:24 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Minister: Universities need freedom, tolerance

Iran Daily (IRNA)
March 8, 1998

Universities need to tolerate varying views Mostafa Moin

Isfahan - Minister for culture and higher education,
Mostafa Moin said Saturday that differ-ences in opinion are
not worri-some and should be accepted as an integral part
of the universi-ty atmosphere. What is a cause of anxiety,
he added, is disre-garding differing viewpoints and the
lack of tolerance and freedom in the universities.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony at Isfahan Technical
University, Moin said unity in diversity is a source of
pride for the society and a symbol of the Islamic rule
which has been set up in Iran. Through relying on a culture
which encourages participation, valid differences of
opinion can be accepted, he noted.

Moin went on to say that an Islamic university participates
in political, cultural and social affairs at the highest
level of expertise. A university which does not take part
in political activities cannot be considered an Islamic
university, he said.

He observed that what is important is the existence of
recognized organizations with-in the universities.

Isfahan Technical University has 400 faculty members and
the professor-student ratio cur-rently stands at 1:19.

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:02:31 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Rafsanjani the uncrowned king of Iranian politics

Iran's Rafsanjani Still a Potent Political Player

Reuters 10-MAR-98

By Afshin Molavi

DUBAI, March 10 (Reuters) - More than six months after
stepping down as Iran's president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
remains a potent political force, analysts say.

Now head of a powerful advisory council, he has developed a
close working relationship with Iran's new moderate
president, Mohammad Khatami.

``Rafsanjani still retains a great deal of power. He is
certainly one of the top three powerful figures in
government,'' said Bijan Khajehpour, a Tehran-based

Khatami, elected in a landslide victory last May, is seen
as a reformer.

Rafsanjani, the son of a wealthy pistachio farmer, was a
devoted follower of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the
pre-revolution years and is widely credited in Iran with
persuading the late Iranian leader to end the eight-year
war with Iraq in 1988.

As president from 1989 to 1997 and speaker of parliament
throughout the 1980s, Rafsanjani is no stranger to power.
He now heads the Expediency Council, an influential
advisory body that reports directly to Iran's spiritual
leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He is also deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts,
another key leadership organ.

``He is now trying to position himself as an elder
statesman, a kind of father figure to the country who could
mediate in conflicts,'' Khajehpour told Reuters.

A conflict between Iran's contentious conservative and
liberal factions may thrust Rafsanjani, seen as
well-connected in both camps, into a mediating role.

So far, the battle lines have been drawn in competing
newspapers, sermons of religious leaders, and various power
centres in Iran's intricate political structure.

Occasionally, the conflict turns to violence. Last week, a
group of conservative students affiliated with the hardline
Ansar-e-Hezbollah, chanting ``Death to Liberals,'' clashed
with liberal students rallying in support of Khatami.

A prominent religious leader from the Shi'ite Moslem holy
city of Qom, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, late last
year threw down the gauntlet by attacking Khamenei as unfit
for his office.

Conservative backers of the supreme leader responded by
ransacking Montazeri's home, offering Rafsanjani his first
opportunity to step in as ``father figure,'' gently
reprimanding both sides in the conflict during a Friday
prayer sermon, analysts pointed out.

``If things continue as they are going now in Iran, then a
confrontation is just a matter of time,'' said Houshang
Amirahmadi, a U.S.-based Iran specialist who travels
frequently to the country.

Amirahmadi sees Rafsanjani as more a political opportunist
than a father figure.

``Rafsanjani is hoping that the two factions will not be
able to work together so he becomes indispensable again. He
is playing the waiting game,'' Amirahmadi told Reuters.

Particularly critical will be Rafsanjani's role in the
current debate on the role of the spiritual leader in
Iran's political system.

A growing number of voices have expressed opposition to the
power vested in Ayatollah Khamenei, who is given absolute
authority in Iran's government system.

Many critics, like Ayatollah Montazeri, oppose the current
leader's credentials while others, such as prominent
intellectual Abdol Karim Soroush, oppose the institution of
an all-powerful religious ruler, known as velayat-e-faqih.

Rafsanjani stepped into the debate for the first time on
February 3.

``He realised how dangerous the continuation of these
political disputes would be for the Islamic regime so he
stepped in to mediate,'' said Amirali Nourbaksh, a
Tehran-based political and economic consultant.

``In the political power triangle in Iran, Rafsanjani holds
all the cards. He is the uncrowned king of Iranian
politics,'' said Fouad Ajami, a Washington-based Middle
East specialist.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

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Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 15:03:05 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Iran, Russia Diverge Over Caspian Policy

Tuesday, February 24, 1998 Published at 10:07 GMT

World: Analysis

Russia-Iran: Cooling Relations?

BBC analyst Malcolm Haslett

Iran and Russia have had particularly warm relations in
recent years. But Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi
arrived in Moscow Tuesday to discuss a number of emerging
problems. BBC regional analyst Malcolm Haslett asks is the
Russian/Iranian friendship cooling?

On the main issue of the day - the crisis over Iraq -
Russia and Iran hold similar positions. They strongly
opposed the idea of air strikes against Iraq.

So in public at least, Mr Kharrazi and his Russian
counterpart, Yevgeny Primakov, may focus on this issue. But
they will also have to spend some time trying to dispel
several clouds, which have recently appeared in the
previously sunny sky over their relations.

Both Russian and Iranian newspapers have noted in the last
week that there are disagreements over the nuclear power
station being built in Bushehr in southern Iran.

This scheme, originally started by Germany before the
Iranian revolution, is being completed with the help of
Russian expertise and nuclear equipment. But the Russian
minister for Nuclear Energy, Viktor Mikhailov, last week
announced that construction of the buildings in Bushehr was
well behind schedule, and that Russia would step in and
complete construction of those, too.

The Iranian daily, Farda, has reported that Mr Mikhailov
was recently prevented by Iranian security from seeing the
head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, Gholamreza

That could explain some of Mr Mikhailov's frustration. But
one of Farda's editors told the BBC he thought Mr Mikhailov
himself was, as he put it, "playing games".

The Iranian journalist said that Russia, bowing to pressure
from the United States, was sometimes cooperative, but was
sometimes critical of Iran and held back from full

That's not the interpretation put on the incident by some
Western observers.

A report in the Washington Post recalls that some US and
Israeli officials still question whether Russian technology
provided for the Bushehr plant might not help the Iranians
develop a nuclear weapon potential. Such people, it's
suggested, may see Russia's determination to complete the
project on time in a more negative light.

Russian-Iranian disagreements over Bushehr are not the only
ones Mr Kharrazi and Mr Primakov will have to face; sources
in Teheran suggest Iran is upset and angry about Russia's
apparent volte-face over exploitation of the rich resources
of the Caspian Sea.

Previously Teheran and Moscow stood side by side in favour
of joint exploitation by all five Caspian coastal states.
But in the last two weeks it's emerged that Russia is
willing to accept the division of the sea into national
sectors, at least as far as mineral resources are

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Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 18:45:17 +1100
From: Mehdi Ardalan <mardalan@LAUREL.OCS.MQ.EDU.AU>
Subject: Re: Papers report pro-Montazari demo in Najafabad

Does anyone know which domestic newspapers BBC's report refered to?


On Mon, 9 Mar 1998, Arash Alavi wrote:

> Monday, March 9, 1998 Published at 15:54 GMT
> 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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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1998 to 10 Mar 1998