DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 May 1998 to 12 May 1998

There are 10 messages totalling 594 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. fwd: MONDAY MAY 11, BERKELEY, THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL TOURNEE OF IRANIAN SHORT FILMS 2. Hezbollah Attacks Doctors for Opposing Segregation 3. Gulf Arab states should encourage reforms in Iran: UAE analyst 4. Iranian officials summoned by parliament to explain economic crisis 5. Mohajerani defends press freedom 6. Fa'ezeh Hashemi to Publish Women's daily 7. Iran Daily editor acquitted 8. Iran Newspaper Sales Top Two Million 9. Doctor Abducted by Hezbollah 10. Students Demand Non-clerics, Women Run in Experts Elections

MONDAY MAY 11, BERKELEY, THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL TOURNEE OF IRANIAN SHORT FILMS

THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL TOURNEE OF IRANIAN SHORT FILMS

The Iranian-American Film Forum proudly presents:

A two hour program of seven short films by Iranian-born filmmakers from Holland, Germany, Canada and the United States.

Monday May 11, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.

The George Gund Theater U C Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

2621 Durant Avenue, Berkeley

For information, please call (510) 986-9194

For further information please visit our web site: http://www.jps.net/forhope/iaff2000
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The Second INTERNATIONAL TOURNEE OF IRANIAN SHORT FILMS

Celebrating Iranian Cinema from around the world

The Second International Tournee of Iranian Short Films is a 2 hour program of short films made by Iranian born filmmakers from Germany, Holland, Canada and the US. The Iranian Cinema has shown its potential in the International competitions and festivals and now in specialty theaters in Europe and the US. While this is fantastic, the more than 5 million Iranians living outside of Iran are finding the reflection of their new lives, and their new experiences in films made by film-makers of Iranian descent. That is why The first International Tournee of Iranian Short Films in it’s 14 city tour was a great success with both international critics and audiences. The Iranian-American Film Forum is proud to present the Second International Tournee of Iranian Short Films.

The Tournee opens with, The Red Fish (Maahi-ye Ghermez) (Holland 1994), Amir Razi’s simple but elegant 14 minute film about a boy and his fish. Widely seen at International film festivals around the world, this marvel of a film received the top award at last year’s Hong Kong Film Festival.

Ramin Serry’s My Sister’s Wedding (Aroosi-ye Khaaharam) (U.S.A 1996), is a powerful 10 minutes film about a boy’s struggle to deal with his sister getting married and leaving him behind.

In Wings of Hope (Baalhaa-ye Omid) (Canada 1994), the 4 minutes animation by the Canadian film-maker Masood Raoof, lyrical simplicity comes to life. When a boy is not allowed by authorities to give his drawing to his imprisoned father, he devises a poetic solution.

The Tournee continues with Dariche (U.S.A 1995), from the Iranian-American film-maker, Masood Abolfathi. In this 14 minutes meditative piece about memory, the lost love is intertwined with the reflective present and a new beginning is reached.

In Farhad Zamani’s Please Don’t Eat The Daisy’s (Lotfan Daisy haa raa Nakhor) (U.S.A. 1995) a young army general returns from a war/revolution and agonizingly imagines that the three central women in his life (Mother/wife/daughter), are one person: Daisy.

A Child’s Play (Baazi-ye Bachegaaneh) (Germany 1993) by Huschmand Emran, looks at the problem of racism in Germany. As an adventurous German teenager is about to firebomb an apartment building full of immigrants, he comes to a realization about racism.

The Second International Tournee of Iranian Short Films ends with Beyond The Red Line (Varaa-ye Khatteh Ghermez) (Canada 1995), Farzad Sadrian’s 26 minute film about friendship. When two men from two different cultures meet they realize that they have more in common than differences.


Hezbollah Attacks Doctors for Opposing Segregation

BBC

Tuesday, May 12, 1998 Published at 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK

Iranian radicals beat up surgeons

Members of a radical Islamic faction in Iran have attacked a medical conference in the capital, Teheran, and assaulted at least one surgeon.

About fifty members of the group, Ansar-e Hezbollah , Supporters of the Party of God, stormed into the conference on Monday and demanded that the surgeons retract their criticism of a parliamentary proposal to segregate the health service by sex.

The BBC Iranian affairs reporter says Ansar-e Hezbollah regularly resorts to violence against those it judges to be working against the interests of the Islamic Republic.

The Interior Ministry has apologised to the surgeons for the incident.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service


Gulf Arab states should encourage reforms in Iran: UAE analyst

ABU DHABI, May 12 (AFP) - A top UAE strategic planner has called for Iran to intensify reforms and for neighbouring Gulf Arab states to help finance them by pumping in investments if Tehran abandons its arms drive.

Jamal al-Suweidi, director of the state-run Institute for Strategic Studies and Research in the United Arab Emirates, said economic recovery in Iran would help bring stability to the region.

"Political stability in the Gulf region is closely linked to economic prosperity," Suweidi wrote in a new book on Gulf security, obtained on Tuesday.

"Gulf Arab states have absolutely no interest in economic deterioration in Iran," he said.

"On the contrary, they would largely benefit from the success of the pragmatic trend in Iran because achieving stability in the region depends largely on internal stability in that country."

The strategic analyst urged Iran to give up its arms drive in favor of economic reforms.

"There is a consensus that Iran's future hinges on its ability to restore life to its economy... Iran should not follow the example of Iraq, which has sought to terrorise its neighbours to achieve economic goals," he said.

Suweidi said Tehran needs to press ahead with reforms to raise the living standards of Iranians, expand the non-oil sector and tackle economic woes, including high foreign debt, inflation and unemployment.

He also urged the Iranian government to encourage foreign investors by easing curbs on joint ventures, to cut corporate taxes and to liberalise currency transfer.

The analyst criticised US economic sanctions against Iran, saying they could complicate its efforts to rescue the economy and push Tehran to "adopt a more radical foreign policy."

"Certainly, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have no interest in contributing to any hostile effort aimed at strangling Iran economically," Suheidi said.

"A worsening in the economic situation in Iran will push it into more extremism internationally and this is not welcomed by Iran's neighbours."

Tehran's ties with GCC states soured after the Islamic revolution toppled the pro-West Shah in 1979. The conservative GCC monarchies have accused Iran of meddling in their affairs.

In contrast with Iran's wrecked economy, the GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have healthy economies, high per capita incomes and relatively low debt.

Iran has repeatedly urged its neighbours across the Gulf to help its economy, which depends heavily on oil. Since President Mohammad Khatami took power last year, it has also sought to mend fences with the GCC.

Such an approach has started to produce results, as Saudi Arabia has signalled a warming in ties and called on the United States to open a dialogue with Tehran.

Iran is also sending its foreign minister to the UAE later this month to discuss a dispute over three strategic Gulf islands.

"The GCC countries ... should concentrate on how to dilute Iran's revolutionary language and contribute to raising the per capita income of the Iranian people," Suweidi said.

But he warned that financial help must hinge on assurances that the money will not be used to fuel Iranian armament programmes, which he called a "source of great worry."

"GCC states can not adopt a policy of extending financial assistance to Iran when such aid could be transferred to fund a strategic armament operation, which threatens the existence of GCC countries," he said.

"As was the case during the Cold War, the party seeking investment must first remove the destructive military threat against others in a verifiable way," Suweidi said.


Iranian officials summoned by parliament to explain economic crisis

TEHRAN, May 12 (AFP) - Three economic officials were summoned to a closed-door session of the Iranian parliament Tuesday to explain the country's deepening economic crisis, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Economic Minister Hossein Namazi, the governor of central bank Mohsen Nurbakhsh, and the director of the budget and planning organisation Mohammad-Ali Najafi delivered a report on the "country's economic situation and hard-currency reserves and answered questions by the MPs" during the four-hour session, it said.

Parliament spokesman Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht said the MPs "stressed the need to eliminate the unemployment problem to ensure security for investment, pay attention to non-oil exports and fight inflation."

They also asked about Iran's position on a meeting of the ministers of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Indonesia last November.

OPEC decided at the time to raise its output ceiling by nearly two million barrels a day, a move which prompted a record fall in crude prices.

The drop in Iranian crude prices to around 12 dollars a barrel has severely hit the country's economy, which is heavily dependent on oil exports.

"With only 10 billion dollars how can we both subsidize basic commodities and feed the industry," Nurbakhsh was quoted as saying.

He was referring to billions of dollars the government pays in subsidies each year for such basic goods as medicine, bread and fuel to make them affordable to the swelling numbers of poor people.

Amid a shortage of hard currency, the central bank appropriates a limited amount of hard currency for various sectors of the government and private businesses.

In the past year, the bank has tightened the allotments even further, provoking a recession and a rise in the exchange rate of major foreign currencies against the Iranian rial.

Najafi said his organisation was ready to propose a new budget for this year based on earnings of 12 dollars from the sale of a barrel of crude.

The parliament in January projected revenues of 16 dollars per barrel of oil for the current fiscal year, which started March 21.

Newspapers say the cabinet has already marked down expected earnings from oil sales to 12 dollars a barrel.

A similar parliamentary session is to be held next Tuesday.


Mohajerani defends press freedom

Iran Newspaper Sales Top Two Million

Reuters 12-MAY-98

TEHRAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Newspaper circulation in Iran, where many new publications have been authorised since the election of President Mohammad Khatami last year, has hit a record two million copies, the government minister in charge of the media said.

But although sales had reached two million a day, ``we still have a long way to achieve the desired status,'' Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani said at a news conference.

Newspaper sales have been boosted by new press freedoms, many journalists say. But old habits die hard and obstacles to press freedom still exist.

``If we do not agree with the stance of a particular publication...this personal attitude should not prevent its existence,'' Mohajerani said at the Monday evening news conference, Salam daily reported on Tuesday.

Last week, the provincial offices of a moderate Iranian newspaper were attacked by assailants opposed to its content.

And at the height of political turmoil over the arrest of Tehran's mayor last month, law enforcement officers raided the lithography sections of two Persian dailies, Iran and the mass circulation Hamshahri.

Several Iranian journalists have been jailed or silenced, and intimidation has been used to try to influence newspaper content.

``The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance defends the totality and permanence of the publications that have legally obtained publishing licences,'' Mohajerani said.

``Fortunately in the current atmosphere, different voices accepted within the constitution of the Islamic Republic are being reflected by the press,'' he added.

Nearly 1,000 newspapers, magazines and literary journals are printed in Iran. The capital has 21 daily newspapers.

Mohajerani also called for an improvement in the content of Iran's radio and television programmes.

Key officials at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting monopoly are appointed directly by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is seen as close to Khatami's conservative political rivals.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.


Fa'ezeh Hashemi to Publish Women's daily

press-women

1st ever daily for women to appear on news stands in late may

tehran, may 12, irna -- licence holder and editor-in-chief of the daily 'zan-e ruz' (woman of today) ms. fa'ezeh hashemi said here on tuesday that the daily is to be published in late may. mrs. hashemi, who made the remark here at the fifth press festival on monday, said the daily aims to change social attitude towards women and to define the rights men and women should have equally in the society.

the press are not dealing with women related issues favorably despite the fact that women enjoy high potential and shoulder grave roles in the society, said mr. hashemi, adding that it is necessary for the iranian press to focus on the problems facing iranian women.

hashemi, also majlis representative from tehran, said that women's presence in the society does not at all mean their ignorance of their role in the family.

::irna 12/05/98 18:06


Iran Daily editor acquitted

persian iran-editor

editor of persian iran daily acquitted after four hour deliberation

tehran, may 11, irna -- irna's managing director and chief editor of arabic, al-wefaq, sports, persian and english iran dailies, fereydoun verdinejad was acquitted here monday by the special press court working under jury system.

the two different charges were based on the publication of a caricature, which had no resemblance whatsoever with the majlis deputy and the publication of news related to law-enforcement.

according to the law enforcement the dissemination of the news in the daily would weaken the force's ability. however, the editor of iran daily outright rejected those charges.

verdinejad further told the court that his paper was fully prepared to assist law enforcement in strengthening the foundation of the community's security.

::irna 11/05/98 21:55


Iran Newspaper Sales Top Two Million

Iran Newspaper Sales Top Two Million

Reuters
12-MAY-98

TEHRAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Newspaper circulation in Iran, where many new publications have been authorised since the election of President Mohammad Khatami last year, has hit a record two million copies, the government minister in charge of the media said.

But although sales had reached two million a day, ``we still have a long way to achieve the desired status,'' Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani said at a news conference.

Newspaper sales have been boosted by new press freedoms, many journalists say. But old habits die hard and obstacles to press freedom still exist.

``If we do not agree with the stance of a particular publication...this personal attitude should not prevent its existence,'' Mohajerani said at the Monday evening news conference, Salam daily reported on Tuesday.

Last week, the provincial offices of a moderate Iranian newspaper were attacked by assailants opposed to its content.

And at the height of political turmoil over the arrest of Tehran's mayor last month, law enforcement officers raided the lithography sections of two Persian dailies, Iran and the mass circulation Hamshahri.

Several Iranian journalists have been jailed or silenced, and intimidation has been used to try to influence newspaper content.

``The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance defends the totality and permanence of the publications that have legally obtained publishing licences,'' Mohajerani said.

``Fortunately in the current atmosphere, different voices accepted within the constitution of the Islamic Republic are being reflected by the press,'' he added.

Nearly 1,000 newspapers, magazines and literary journals are printed in Iran. The capital has 21 daily newspapers.

Mohajerani also called for an improvement in the content of Iran's radio and television programmes.

Key officials at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting monopoly are appointed directly by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is seen as close to Khatami's conservative political rivals.

1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.


Doctor Abducted by Hezbollah

Iranian Hardliners Attack Surgeons at Conference

Reuters
12-MAY-98

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Hardliners smashed equipment at a medical conference and abducted a physician after a participant criticized the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and a proposed law to set up single-sex hospitals, a newspaper said Tuesday.

The moderate daily Hamshahri said about 40 Islamic activists went to the conference in Tehran Monday and demanded an apology from a surgeon who had Sunday spoken out against the law and criticized remarks allegedly made by the Guards commander to ``cut the necks and tongues'' of opponents.

It said the attackers broke audiovisual equipment in the conference hall, and assaulted a physician who asked them to leave and carried him away. The fate of the abducted physician was not known, the newspaper said.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, a leading moderate member of President Mohammad Khatami's cabinet, has expressed regret over the attack, Hamshahri quoted Iraj Fazel, head of Iran's Society of Surgeons, as saying. The congress was attended by 1,800 surgeons and physicians.

Days earlier the provincial office of a moderate newspaper that had published the alleged remarks by Guards commander Brigadier-General Yahya Rahim Safavi was attacked. The Guards and hardliners have said Safavi's words were ``distorted.''

Health officials, physicians, nurses and medical students have opposed the law to segregate health services offered to men and women in accordance with strict Islamic regulations.

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament gave initial approval to the law last month despite opposition from the government. The measure still needs to go through a second parliamentary vote and be approved by a senior state body before it can take effect.

Hardliners and conservatives who still control key levers of power in Iran's government have clashed with moderates on a range of issues since Khatami's election last year.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.


Students Demand Non-clerics, Women Run in Experts Elections

Excerpt:

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, the head of the moderate group, has said their rally would demand that non-clerics and women be allowed to run in elections later this year to the Assembly of Experts which chooses and can dismiss the supreme leader. Current members of the 83-man body are clergymen or religious scholars.

Iran Leader Slams Pro-West Intellectuals

Reuters 12-MAY-98

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tuesday blasted Western-style intellectuals, but praised moderate President Mohammad Khatami as a ``prominent personality,'' Iranian television said.

``Intellectualism was born sick in our country...A tendency toward the West, opposition to religion and rejection of national traditions, these are among the characteristics of intellectualism before the (1979) Islamic revolution in Iran,'' it quoted Khamenei as telling students at Tehran University.

Khamenei, on an unannounced visit to the campus, warned about an ``intellectual reaction'' which he said wanted to revive Western-oriented intellectualism, the television said.

``But our president...is a prominent personality whom nobody can use for their own ends,'' said Khamenei, who is widely seen to be closer to Khatami's conservative and hardline opponents.

Student members of the voluntary Basij militia earlier canceled a rally planned for Tuesday at the university to back the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards who has been criticized by moderates for alleged remarks to ``cut the necks and tongues'' of opponents, residents said.

The Guards and hardliners have said the commander's words, published in a moderate newspaper, were distorted.

Journalists said a group of moderate students, who had planned to hold another rally at the campus Tuesday, also said they were postponing their action. There have been several clashes between hardliners and moderates at such rallies.

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, the head of the moderate group, has said their rally would demand that non-clerics and women be allowed to run in elections later this year to the Assembly of Experts which chooses and can dismiss the supreme leader. Current members of the 83-man body are clergymen or religious scholars.

Khatami, an intellectual Shi'ite Muslim cleric, was elected last year on a platform advocating more cultural and social freedom thanks to wide support among intellectuals, women and Iran's large youth population.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.
All rights reserved.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 May 1998 to 12 May 1998
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