DNI-NEWS Digest - 21 May 1998 to 22 May 1998

There are 2 messages totalling 116 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. IRNA: daily calls for timely action by soccer officials 2. Iran arrests son-in-law of dissident cleric

IRNA: daily calls for timely action by soccer officials

daily calls for timely action by soccer officials

tehran, may 21, irna -- an english-language daily on thursday editorialized on humiliating defeat of iran's soccer team on tuesday called on iranian sports officials to stop using others as scapegoats.

'iran news' blamed iranian high-ranking sports, specially soccer, officials for their ignorance and indifference in recent months and said that it has led to waste of great amount of money, hurting nation's pride.

"in south asia when an official makes such big and repeated blunders, he finally commits suicide. but in our sports, it has become the norm that when one makes mistake one looks for an escapegoat to shift the blame on," read the editorial.

"demoralized by its heaviest defeat in its history, our national team must now play against three opponents in the world cup, which is politically very important since all three countries have had, or are currenly involved, in a political row with iran."

considering the current chaotic situation in the iranian soccer and other sports, people expect the officials to act timely and prudently instead of rashly dismissing the coaches and trainers, concluded the daily. bg/jh end ::irna 21/05/98 10:41

Iran arrests son-in-law of dissident cleric

Iran arrests son-in-law of dissident cleric

TEHRAN, May 21 (Reuters) - Iranian authorities have arrested the son-in-law of dissident Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on charges linked to unrest by backers of the senior cleric, newspapers said on Thursday.

The daily Kayhan quoted an unnamed informed source as saying Hadi Hashemi had been arrested for ``provoking conflict and tension particularly in the cities of Isfahan and Ahmadabad.''

The central city of Isfahan, and Montazeri's nearby hometown of Najafabad, have been hotbeds of protests since the dissident cleric was put under house arrest and prevented from teaching after he questioned the authority of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a speech in November.

The daily Farda quoted his son, Ahmad Montazeri, as confirming that Hashemi had been arrested.

Iranian newspapers have in recent days reported a number of arrests in Isfahan and Ahmadabad after Khamenei last week blasted Montazeri's supporters over their plan to hold a demonstration to protest at restrictions imposed on the cleric.

At Khamenei's urging, thousands of hardliners marched in Isfahan and Ahmadabad last Friday to prevent the dissidents' rally from taking place. Montazeri's supporters called it off.

Hashemi is the brother of Mehdi Hashemi, an Islamic radical who was executed in 1987 on charges of murder, kidnapping and using his links to Montazeri to further factionalist aims.

Montazeri and Hadi Hashemi at the time distanced themselves from Mehdi Hashemi.

Mehdi Hashemi's name has been back in the news again since Khamenei last week said Montazeri's backers were linked to ``Mehdi Hashemi's criminal gang,'' and to Iraq-based armed rebels.

Montazeri's rare public challenge to Khamenei's paramount power in November prompted violent demonstrations by hardliners in which the dissident's house and offices were attacked.

His treatment by the authorities has sparked repeated strikes by shopkeepers in Najafabad in recent months.

Montazeri, 76, has been Iran's most prominent dissident since the country's late spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini dismissed him as his designated successor shortly before his death in 1989. Montazeri had criticised government policies including the treatment of political prisoners.

The march by Khamenei's hardline supporters in Isfahan has also led to a heightening of tension with Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, a moderate cleric who leads the city's Friday prayers.

Taheri, an ally of President Mohammad Khatami, has repeatedly criticised hardline groups for taking the law into their own hands and attacking the offices of moderate newspapers and cinemas screening a film they deemed immoral.

Khatami, a relative moderate who has advocated granting greater liberties, has refused to be drawn into the controversy over Montazeri but some pro-Khatami newspapers have criticised the measures against the dissident. ^REUTERS@

10:33 05-21-98

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 21 May 1998 to 22 May 1998 ***************************************************