Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Jan 1999 to 5 Jan 1999

There are 8 messages totalling 863 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Defected Cleric in Germany
2. 375+ request UN to send fact finding mission
3. Intelligence Ministry Agents Behind Killings of Dissidents
4. Shalamcheh, Fakur Banned
5. Grenade Attack Against Head of Tehran Judiciary
6. Raelian Human Rights
7. IRI Information Minister resigns
8. Intelligence Ministry Admission Huge Blow to Hardliners

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 13:05:29 GMT
From: Jamshid Naghizadeh <janakgf1@W200ZRZ.ZRZ.TU-BERLIN.DE>
Subject: Defected Cleric in Germany


PARIS 3RD JAN. (IPS) An Iranian clerical source working closely with the
intelligence-terrorist machine of the Islamic Republic has formally
confirmed the responsibility of the regime's leaders in the recent
assassinations, including that of Mr. Dariush Foruhar, the 70 years-old
leader of the Iranian People's Party and his wife Parvaneh on 21st of
November 1998.

The cleric, identified by informed sources as hojatoleslam Ja'far Baqrian
alias Avazi has offered the German authorities "highly valuable and
sensitive informations" concerning the latest murders of Iranian dissident
politicians and intellectuals, as well as a list of more than 170 Iranian
personalities to be assassinated inside and outside Iran to Germany

Mr. Baqerian, who's name seems to be is faked, had been arrested in the last
days of December at Frankfurt Airport on route to Canada, travelling with a
falsified Iranian passport. Presenting himself as an adviser to the Majles
(parliament) "Crisis Committee", he has applied for political asylum from
Germany, sources told the IPS.

According to sources, German authorities are investigating to see if the
defector is a real cleric, an agent of the regime send on mission to Canada,
a member of the Intelligence Ministry or just an MP. "In any case, it seems
that the man is a big fish", according to one source.

Asked why he was travelling on a faked name and passport, Mr Baqerian-Avazi
has told German interrogators that the same as an Iranian married woman can
not travel without permission from her husband, in Islamic Republic, high
ranking officials of the regime, including MPs, can not go outside without
authorisation from the office of the leader.

The arrest of the man comes at a time that it become clearer that the recent
murders of dissident politicians and intellectuals have taken place on
orders from the highest authorities of the regime with the aim of
eliminating all dissidents personalities suspicious of mounting an
opposition to the regime. ENDS DEFECTION 0319900

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 10:39:44 EST
Subject: 375+ request UN to send fact finding mission

233 signatures from Washington D.C. (unlisted)
21 Signatures from New York (unlisted)
48 signatures from Sweden (unlisted)
73 listed signatures from Internet (listed)
Total: 375 signatures
Please reply to by filling this form:
profession (optional):

Hi all,

There are reports from some sources in Paris (Meehan) saying that seven people
have been
arrested in connection to the recent killings. Four of them are apparently
from the information ministry and three from the revolutioanry guards. This
petition requests a deep probe into the links between various governmental and
semi-governmental organizations and the recent murders. A just resolution of
this problem is only possible if some impartial body is involved in the
process and this speaks to the most salient point of this petition (sending a
fact finding mission to Iran). The news about the case being remanded to a
military court has sparked concerns that the trial might be quick and closed.
Some only attribute this to the fact that the arrested suspects might be part
of the military organ such as revolutioanry guard. Yazdi's recent comments
show that the conservatives are scrambling to pin this on groups such as
Forqan or Mehdi Hashemi's group. The recent defection of a "high ranking
clergy" and the claim that the "order" had come from "high places" has
thickened the plot. All and all, there is a dire need for an impartial body
(UN team perhaps to take a look at this) so that the issue is closed in a fair
and satisfactory manner. Two issues might force them to agree with this
demand: 1) international pressure and 2) escalation of the division between
the two fractions.



December 1998

To: The Honorable Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner on
Human Rights, Geneva,
Switzerland, Fax # 01141-22-9170123

We are outraged to learn of the brutal and gruesome killing of two
opposition leaders in Iran, Mr. Dariush Forouhar and Mrs. Parvaneh Eskandari-
Forouhar on Sunday, November 22, 1998. We are sending this fax/e-mail to you
to ask for your expression of condemnation and outrage against this extra-
judicial execution.
We are also very concerned about the safety and security of other
members in Iran, including Mr. Abbas Amir-Entezam who remains in jail.

For your information, Mr. and Mrs. Forouhar were found stabbed to death in
their home in Tehran on November 22, 1998. Both of their bodies were
The similarity of this gruesome crime and the past assassinations of other
IRI's critics and opponents, both inside and outside Iran, is horrifying and
deserves the most urgent attention by international HR organizations. Mr. and
Mrs. Forouhar had recently called for a boycott of the elections of the
Council of Experts. Also, a few months ago, Iran's revolutionary commander,
Rahim Safavi, had vowed to
"behead" and "cut the tongues" of the opponents of the regime.

A few days later after the death of the Forouhars, the body of a missing
dissident writer, Mr. Majid Sharif, was found in Tehran. Meanwhile, another
dissident journalist, Mr. Pirouz Davani, has been missing since August 1998!

The body of another dissident writer was discovered in Tehran on Wednesday,
December 9, 1998. Mr. Mohammad Mokhtari, a prominent dissident writer, was
abducted last Thursday, and his strangulated body was thereafter identified in
a Tehran morgue by his relatives.

Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, a 45-year-old translator and author, has gone
missing after he left his Tehran office on Wednesday afternoon, December 10,
1998. Mr. Mohammad Pouyandeh was found dead in the town of Shahriar on
the outskirts of Tehran on December 13, 1998.

We strongly protest and condemn the extra-judicial killings of Dariush and
Parvaneh Fourouhar, Majid Sharif, Mohammad Mokhtari, Mohammad Jafar
Pouyanbdeh and request formation of
independent investigative committee to probe these killings and the
"disappearnces" in Iran.

We the undersigned would like to ask you to send a fact finding mission to
Iran to investigate the killing of Daryoosh and Parvaneh Forouhar, Majid
Sharif and Mohammad Mokhtari, Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh and the
"disappeaance" of Piruz Davani and. We believe that this should be
investigated in the
context of ilegal activities of the "pressure groups", the "information
ministry and the "revolutionary guards" and other governmental organizations
have might have links with the semi-legal, semi-governmental pressure groups.

1. Dr. Kourosh Parsa, Electrical Engineer, USA
2. Mr. Shahram Kheiltash, USA
3. Dr. Mohammad Eghtedari, Economist, USA
4. Manijeh Saba, Lecturer, USA
5. Ebrahim Soujeri, PhD Student, EEEng., Turkey
6. Kokab Bahoosh, Student, U.A.E.
7. Dr. Hosein Abghari, Professor, USA
8. Ali Khalili, Accountant, Canada
9. Dr. Esmail Nooriala, Persian poet, writer and literary critic, Colorado,
10. Farhad Abdolian, Hardware designer, Sweden
11. Dr. Mehran Sam, USA
12. Siavash Enayati, Software Engineer, USA
13. Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State
University, USA
14. Sohrab Foruzan, Informatiker , Germany
15. Arash Izadi, businessman, Canada
16. Sohayl Shambashi, Consulting Engineer, San Diego, USA
17. Dr. Mansour Farhang, Professor of Political Science/ Bennington College,
U. S. A.
18. F. Saadat, Researcher, USA
19. Mr.. Mansour Kavianpour, Vice President of Product Development, USA
20. Mrs. Marieke Kavianpour, USA
21. Hamid S. Assadi, Student, Dominica
22. Mehdi Ardalan, Austrailia
23. Sam Ghandchi, Engineering Director, U.S.A.
24. Siobhan Gibbons, College administrator, USA
25. Dr. M. GhaemMagham, physician, USA
26. Tara Etemadi, Systems Engineer, U.S.A
27. Jerome W. Clinton, Professor Princeton University, USA
28. Navid Golshahi, Engineer, USA
29. Majid Maleki, Systems Analyst, USA
30. Roya Motamed Zaman, Multimedia producer, USA
31. Farnaz Ravandi, Software Engineer, USA
33. Dr. Sassan Pejhan, Electrical Engineer, USA
34. Maryam Pirnazar, Communications Consultant, San Francisco, USA
35. Mehrdad Mohebbi, Electrical Engineer, USA
36. Jalil Farid, Consulting Engineer, Sweden
37. Susan Ghaemi, Australia
38. Behdad Forghani, Engineer, USA
39. J. Naghizadeh, Ph.D., Research Physicist, U.S.A.
40. Hossein B. Zadeh, Human Rights Activist, UK
41. Dr. Masoud Karim-Nia, Chemistry Engineere, Germany
42. Hamid Beheshti, Germany
43. Alireza Azizi, Physicist, USA
44. Dr Majid Ghoddusi, Electron Microscopist, Australia
45. Michael Azar, Doctorate student, Sweden
46. Hossein Gholipour , Sr. Computer Consultant, Canada
47. Barry Ghanbari, USA
48. kamyar sarshar, PhD. Student of Computer Science, Germany
49. Jim Harris, Consultant, U S A
50. Zara Houshmand, Writer, USA
51. Dr. Shahram Tabe-Mohammadi, Research scientist, Canada
52. Dr. Siroos Afshar, Computer Engineer, USA
53. Shahrzad Khorsandi, Instructor, USA44. Michael Mares, Instructor, USA
54. Noushin Hatamian, adjunct professor, USA
55. Farid Marjayee, USA
56. Reza Sadre, provisional government's Commerce minister, USA
57. Manouchehr Shafiee, USA
58.Bahman Maghsoudlou, Film producer, USA
59. Dr. Sohrab Sadri, physician, USA
60. Jamsheed Barahman, USA
61. Goudarz Eghtedari, Engineer, USA
62. Afshin Shafei, Student, Norway
63. Manucher Ghaffari, Media Specialist, USA
64. Dr. Akbar Mahdi, Sociologist, U.S.A.
65. Elizabeth M. Stiras, Student, General Studies, Minneapolis, MN, USA
66. Mohamadreza Namvar-Yeganeh, USA
67. Dr. Kamran Behnia, physicist, France
68. Ahmad Rafat Journalist Rome (Italy)
69. Ahmad Rafat Journalist Rome (Italy)
70. Asghar Abdi, MD, PhD, Birmingham, UK
71. L.R. Bartlett, PhD, Birmingham, UK
72. name: Majid Hashemi, Industrial Engineer, Finland
73. Mohammad Parvin, Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
CSULA, and Aerospace Consultant, USA
233 signatures from Washington D.C.
21 Signatures from New York
48 signatures from Sweden



The Honorable Kofi Annan, Secretary General, The United Nations, Fax # (212)
The Honorable Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, Fax: (011-27-21=
The Honorable Vaclav Havel, President of Czech Republic, Fax #
The Honorable Maurice Danby Copithorne, Special Representative on Iran,=
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Switzerland, Fax #
Mr. Hanny Megally, Director of Middle East Watch, New York, Fax # (212)
Ms. Karen Kennerly, Pen American Center, New York, Fax # (212) 334-2181
Mr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International, New York,
Fax # (212) 627-1451
Ms. Nancy Bothne, Amnesty International Midwest, Chicago, Fax # (312)
Director, Amnesty International, Washington D.C., Fax # (202) 546-7142
Ms. Cosette Thompson, Amnesty International, San Francisco, Fax # (415)
Mr. Joe Baker, Amnesty International, Culver City (Los Angeles), Fax #
(310) 815-0457
The Iranian mission to UN, New York


Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 11:23:32 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Intelligence Ministry Agents Behind Killings of Dissidents


Tuesday, January 5, 1998


Intelligence ministry officials arrested in connection with recent

tehran, jan. 5, irna -- public relations department of the information
ministry issued the following statement here tuesday on the mysterious
serial killings.

''the hateful murders which took place recently in tehran is an
of instigations and threat over iran's national security.

''the information ministry based on its legal duty and following urgent
instructions of the paramount leader of the islamic revolution and
religious jurisprudent and the president of the islamic republic of iran
have the responsibility as a top priority to investigate and eradicate
this hideous phenomenon.

''with the cooperation of president's special investigating committee
ministry has succeeded in identifying the network and
arresting its members and finally handing them over to the law

''unfortunately some of the irresponsible colleagues of this ministry
deviatory thoughts acting on their own and without doubt as
agents and in the interest of aliens perpetrated these crimes.

''such a horrendous act has not only betrayed and inflicted harm to the
unknown soldiers of imam-e zaman (may allah hasten his reappearance)
but also have to a very great extent tarnished the creditability of the
sovereign state of the islamic republic of iran.''

the information ministry severely condemns all forms of criminal acts
against mankind and all kinds of threats against the safety and security
fellow iranian citizens.

it clearly understands the dimension of and the depth of this
going beyond its borders. based on such a concept, it has decisively
resolved to uproot all those instigating elements causing political
violence and in addition has vowed to guarantee the security of the
and its people.

with full confidence and all its power, the ministry is pledging
to all the honorable and respectable iranians to provide security and
freedom and endeavor to preserve the rights of all as it had done during
the years of revolution despite all ups and downs.

it also pledges to follow up the complicated case until all the bandits,
gangsters and those alien agents both within and outside the country
involved in such destructive designs, which run contrary to laws of the
nation, are identified, brought to justice and uprooted.


Tuesday, January 5, 1999 Published at 18:30 GMT

World: Middle East

Iran's intelligence ministry admits killing of dissidents

The Iranian intelligence ministry has admitted that some of its agents
behind the killings of Iranian dissident writers and activists last

The ministry, in cooperation with a special commission set up by
Khatami, has arrested those believed to be responsible.

In a statement, the ministry described the agents as acting in the
interests of

Earlier, a prominent newspaper alleged that security agents were behind

Correspondents say the intelligence ministry statement is an attempt to
blame from the minister, Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, who is a close
ally of
the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 11:25:19 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Shalamcheh, Fakur Banned

World: Middle East

Two periodicals banned in Iran

The press supervisory board in Iran has banned two periodicals.

Government officials said the far-right weekly magazine, Shalamcheh, had
its licence withdrawn for accusing a late Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah
Abolqassam al-Khoei, of having ties to the secret police under the
deposed Shah
of Iran.

The officials said another magazine, Fakur, had also had its licence

Last year it published pictures of Monica Lewinsky and other women named
in the
scandals surrounding President Clinton.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 11:27:31 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Grenade Attack Against Head of Tehran Judiciary

Tuesday, January 5, 1999 Published at 18:01 GMT

World: Middle East


Grenade attack against Iran judge

A senior Iranian justice official is reported to have wounded in an
assassination attempt.
Head of the Tehran judiciary, Ali Razini, was attacked by armed
while travelling in a car in the capital, Iran's official Islamic
Republic News
Agency (IRNA) said.

The agency said a motorcyclist hurled a hand grenade at Mr Razini's car,
as it
was leaving his office in the Imam Khomeini Judicial complex in central

It said Mr Razini was "slightly wounded" in the leg and taken to a
His condition is reported to be satisfactory.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Khamenei supporter

Mr Razini, a conservative judge who heads the Special Court for the
Clergy, is
a key supporter of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He was the main figure behind last year's trial of Tehran's popular
Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, who was sentenced to jail for corruption.

The attack comes four months after Mohsen Rafiqdoust, a senior economic
official, survived an attempt on his life.

In August Assadollah Lajevardi, the former head of Iran's prisons, was
by gunmen in Tehran's bazaar.

Iran has recently also witnessed a spate of killings and disappearances
dissidents and intellectuals, in which at least three secularist writers
two opposition leaders have died.

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 17:14:42 -0500
From: Mehran Sam <mehran_sam@HMS.HARVARD.EDU>
Subject: Raelian Human Rights

Planetary Charter of the Rights of the Human Being

The present declaration validates the whole of the articles found in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed on Dec. 10th, 1948. It
guarantees its enforcement and imposes its teaching in all schools and
places of teaching on the planet. The Declaration of Human Rights
should be universal and respected everywhere on the planet.
For the said Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be respected in
its entirety and in all countries, and for it to lead to tremendous
progress of Humanity toward a world of freedom, equality, and
brotherhood, the following articles would be added. They are called the
Planetary Charter of the Rights of the Human Being:

Article 1:
Every human being has the right to be happy.
He devotes himself to the following process toward others: understanding
and love.
The concern of each human group must be the satisfaction of the needs of
its members; the well-being of Mankind being the central concern of all
its activities.

Article 2
Each human being has the right to control of his or her body and, being
fully aware, decide anything he or she wants about sexuality and
No mutilation, sexual or otherwise, may be done on a non-adult person.

Article 3
Each child has the right to be considered a free individual, equally
subject to her rights. She has the right to freely choose the family
where she wishes to live as well as the education that she wishes to

Article 4
No religion should be imposed on a child. Consequently, a child should
not be baptized, circumcised or subjected to any ritual that he would
not have accepted if he had had the freedom to decide for himself. One
must then wait until he is old enough to choose and if, at that moment,
a religion appeals to him, one must let him free to adopt it.

Article 5
The education given to a child must aim to his full blossoming according
to her desires and tastes. The respect of freedom and peacefulness of
others must be a guiding light for her, as for everyone. A child must
learn, as young as possible, to love the world in which she lives and
must be educated to be open to the outside world and live in harmony
with the other beings and natural world that surround her.

Article 6
As the mind awakens with the body, a teaching based on techniques of
meditation and the development of the senses must be applied and be
available to all so that Humanity will go toward the road of respect and
awakening of everyone's marvelous potential. With the greatest respect
for these philosophical and religious beliefs, these teachings must be

Article 7
Everyone has the right, during his life, to have enough to eat and
adequately clothed, to have a place to sleep as well as the right to
receive an education even if he does no work. He who works has the
right to luxury, the indispensable motor of human progress. The luxury
obtained will be proportional to the work done and/or the progress that
he will have brought to humanity.

Article 8
Each person has the right to be born and to live in a healthy body in a
healthy environment. Health care services, as with safety, must be
organized for prevention to the benefit of all and each person has the
right to support and free medical services, which are necessary to
maintain the best physical and psychological health. Euthanasia must be
legal and regulated according to the right to refuse pain.

Article 9
Each person has the right to blossom according to her own desires and
tastes in any field, without any restriction due to race, culture,
religion or gender. Public authorities must encourage her creativity
and, for that purpose, must subsidize those initiatives, whether they
are scientific, religious, cultural or artistic.

Article 10
Each human being has the right to maintain any type of intimate
relations with others that he desires, whether they are of a homosexual
or heterosexual nature and as long as these relations are established
between consenting adults, no matter how many people are involved.
These unions and possible breakups must be legally recognized by human
society without any distinction as to the type of relation chosen.

Article 11
Each human being has the right to be respected in her religious
convictions, no matter what the religion, old or new, as long as that
religion respects all human beings.

Article 12
An ethical committee must be set up to make sure that the texts and
practices of all religions ? including the dominating religions ?
conform first to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and then to
the Planetary Charter of the Rights of the Human Being. If one religion
does not respect both declarations, it must be judged if its texts and
practices represent a danger for humanity.
The recognition of a religion as official must be open to all religious
or ideological movements, even if it is a minority or considered out of
place in relation to the moral norm in a given society.

Article 13
Everything must be put into place to accelerate the development of arts
and all artistic expression, whether extant, new or yet to come. This
will allow the development of personal and collective harmony.

Article 14
Everything must be put into place to accelerate the development of
sciences. Scientific discoveries must be made and directed with the
improvement in mind of the human condition, so that everyone will
benefit from it without discrimination and so that happiness will
increase for all.

Article 15
A free legal system for everyone must be set up and implemented by human
society as well as a Planetary Court, accessible by any person or group
of people, under identical conditions.

Article 16
Society must create and maintain special places to take in the very sick
and criminals, in conditions fit for human life.
The death penalty must be abolished on all territories.

Article 17
Everything must be in place to respect and protect the environment, the
plants and animals, and all forms of life on Earth.

Article 18
A world government must be put into place quickly and democratically.
This government will use Humanitarism as its main principle, i.e. the
focus of concern and decisions will be the human being and not money (as
is the case now).
a) This government will set up real control of the implementation and
respect of the Rights of the Human Being in all regions of the Earth.
It will give real sanctions to regions that do not respect these Rights
and will severely punish those responsible for those actions.
b) This government will set up a world army for the maintenance of
peace, which will guarantee a true, lasting peace on the entire planet.
A policy of immediate and unconditional disarmament must be pursued.
c) This government will organize the fair distribution of the riches of
the planet, without distinction of race, culture or religion.
d) This government will set up a world currency in order to favor and
trigger, in short term, the total elimination of money and the primacy
of the economic value.
e) In order to guarantee communication between all the people on the
planet, this government will allow the teaching of a world language and
will supervise its implementation.

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 23:38:13 GMT
From: Jamshid Naghizadeh <janakgf1@W200ZRZ.ZRZ.TU-BERLIN.DE>
Subject: IRI Information Minister resigns

I just heard that Dorri Najafabadi, the IRI information minister
who is known to be close to coservative clergy circles has
resigned. This is an attempt to contain the fiasco created by
the arrest of those responsible for recent murders and pin
it on an isolated faction within the information ministry and
the revolutionary guards.

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 17:28:15 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Intelligence Ministry Admission Huge Blow to Hardliners

Tuesday, January 5, 1999 Published at 23:02 GMT

World: Middle East

Iran agents 'involved in liberal murders'

Iranian secret police were among those arrested over the
recent murders of liberals, the Intelligence Ministry has

BBC Middle East Correspondent Jim Muir says the shock
admission is a huge blow to the hardline faction in its
current power struggle with the reformers.

A series of abductions and murders of liberal intellectuals
and writers late last year was widely seen as an attempt by
hardline conservatives to crush the reformist movement.

Conservatives had blamed foreign agents for the killings,
saying only Iran's enemies - including the United States
and Israel - would gain from a terror campaign to
destabilise the country.

A ministry statement on Tuesday said: "Unfortunately a few
irresponsible, evil-minded and wilful colleagues of this
ministry ... were among those arrested [over the

It said their actions amounted to treason against fellow
Intelligence Ministry agents and had damaged the reputation
of the Islamic regime.

The ministry, which is in charge of internal security, is
regarded as being in the hands of the hardliners.

A reformist newspaper, whose revelations triggered the
Intelligence Ministry admission, is demanding that those
higher up the chain of command at the ministry should also
be punished.

Network broken

The ministry statement said a network that included secret
service agents acting on their own had been broken.

It said the arrested agents "had no doubt become tools of
secret hands and committed these criminal acts in the
service of foreign interests".

It added that those responsible for the killings would be
brought to justice. It did not say how many people are
being held.

At least three secularist authors and two opposition
leaders died in November and December in mysterious
circumstances. The killings sparked widespread fear among
Iran's cultural elite.

They were seen as a setback to the movement for change
which lifted reformist President Mohammad Khatami to office
in 1997.

However, correspondents say the arrests are likely to
bolster the position of President Khatami, who had
advocated the rule of law as a major part of his liberal
political and social reforms.

President Khatami and his fellow moderates have been
engaged in a continuing power struggle with conservatives,
who are widely regarded as having the sympathy of Iran's
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Arrest of secret agents boosts Iran's Khatami

04:25 p.m Jan 05, 1999 Eastern

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The admission on Tuesday by
Iran's secret police that its own agents were involved in
the murders of dissident intellectuals marked a stunning
victory for President Mohammad Khatami and his campaign for
the rule of law.

The Intelligence Ministry said in a statement that its
investigation into what it termed ``hateful murders'' had
prompted it to arrest some of its own agents in the
killings that had shocked the Islamic republic.

``It (the ministry) clearly understand the dimensions and
depth of this catastrophe,'' the statement said.

The intelligence service, long a mainstay of the
conservative clerical establishment, also pledged to root
out the sources of political violence and to safeguard the
security of all Iranians.

``This confirms what many in Iran have long suspected but
no official would say publicly -- that hardline (Islamic)
elements inside the system were involved,'' said one
political analyst, who asked not to be identified.

``Khatami is the big winner. The hardliners are discredited
and he can show that the system works for all, not just
(for) the right but also for dissident writers.''

Word of the arrests followed a recent meeting between
Khatami and members of a special presidential task force
assigned to the case. The ministry credited that committee
with helping to identify and arrest the suspects.

Under Iran's Islamic system, the elected president wields
little official influence over the security forces, the
judicary or the police. Those powers lie with the supreme
leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chosen by a body of Shi'ite

The ministry statement, carried by the state news agency
IRNA, also said the murders were carried out ``in the
service of foreign interests.''

Senior officials had earlier said the killings were
designed to destablise Iran and undermine foreign policy
gains under the moderate Khatami. Some blamed Israel, while
others hinted at U.S. involvement.

No details of the case against the agents were released,
and the foreign powers or groups allegedly involved were
not identified.

However, those claims looked certain to get a boost with a
grenade attack, also on Tuesday, against the head of the
Tehran judiciary, Ali Razini.

Razini, an outspoken conservative and former judge accused
by exiled opposition groups of violations of human rights,
was reported in satisfactory condition. Another person was

In August Assadollah Lajevardi, the former head of Iran's
prisons, was shot in the Tehran bazaar. The Iraq-based
Mujahideen Khalq opposition claimed responsibility for the
murder, accusing Lajevardi of executing political

Whatever the provenance of the mystery murders or the
grenade attack, any evidence of hardline death squads
looked certain to play into the hands of moderates backing

Pro-reform newspapers and student groups have hammered the
Information Ministry, the judiciary and the police -- all
under the control of their conservative rivals -- for the
failure to end the spate of killings and arrest the

Western human rights groups and literary societies have
called for independent inquiries into the murders, which
have claimed two opposition activists and at least three
secularist writers.

Conservatives, meanwhile, have been wrong-footed by the
deaths, which terrified the small secularist elite but also
unnerved many ordinary Iranians.

Several announcements of breakthroughs by the judiciary and
the secret police, all apparently premature, heightened
popular suspicions that a cover-up was under way.

Tuesday's announcement, an unprecedented admission of
internal division within the state's most sensitive
echelons, looked likely to help allay those fears.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Jan 1999 to 5 Jan 1999