Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Jan 1999 to 7 Jan 1999

There are 9 messages totalling 540 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. First possible after-shock
2. Fwd: Quote of the day
3. Impact of various sectors
4. Forouhar's children call for international probe
5. Preparations Under Way to Re-open Previous Murder Cases
6. Foruhar's Children Insist on International Investigation
7. Montazeri Supporters Released
8. Iranian writer seeks asylum in Norway
9. MKO Claims Responsibility for Failed Assassination

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:16:44 EST
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: First possible after-shock

TEHRAN (Jan. 7) XINHUA - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami vowed to sack
Intelligence Minister Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi after his ministry admitted
that its agents were involved in serial murders of dissidents and
intellectuals.

"President Khatami underlined that he would dismiss him (Najafabadi) if he
would not resign," local daily Salam on Thursday quoted informed sources as
saying.

The sources said that Khatami would take over the Intelligence Ministry by
himself and appoint one of the current deputy intelligence ministers as acting
intelligence minister.

The Intelligence Ministry announced on Tuesday night that it had arrested a
few of its own "devious colleagues" for being involved in the mysterious
killings of an opposition leader and several dissident writers later last
year.

The admittance shocked the Iranian society. Some print media have called for
the resignation of the conservative minister and a pro-Khatami political party
also urged the government to change the structure of the country's security
and intelligence system.

Leader of the Iran Nation Party Darius Forouhar and his wife were stabbed to
death at home in November and several dissident writers were killed in Tehran
in December.

Some conservatives have previously blamed "foreign enemies" for the murders.


Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:17:47 EST
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Quote of the day
"Attributing such incidents to Arrogant Powers (the United
States) has made us the laughing stock of the public."

Presidential economic adviser Morteza Alviri
on the recent series of murders


"Attributing such incidents to Arrogant Powers (the United
States) has made us the laughing stock of the public."

Presidential economic adviser Morteza Alviri
on the recent series of murders


Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:23:09 EST
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Impact of various sectors

TEHRAN, Jan 7 (AFP) - The admission that Iranian intelligence
agents were involved in the murders of dissidents has shocked the
nation and provoked calls for structural reform of the government,
notably the secret services.
The revelations Tuesday that renegade agents at the intelligence
ministry were behind the recent murders of several writers and
opposition leaders have led to a public outcry and highlighted the
need for institutional changes and establishing the rule of law.
Such reforms have been a top priority of President Mohammad
Khatami, but they have been slow in coming amid strong and often
violent resistance from Islamic hardliners.
The president's supporters, targets of a violent campaign by
Islamic extremists, are pressing for a shake-up of various
institutions, mainly the judiciary and security aparatus.
"The president must move ahead with reform in the intelligence
ministry without any political consideration," said a left-wing
student group, Reinforcement of Solidarity Office.
"The regime's prestige is on the line. People must know the
truth. The officials guilty of negligence must be sacked, expecially
those at the intelligence ministry," warned Mohammad Salamati, a
leading left-wing activist.
Newspapers too have demanded institutional changes and the
public trial of the killers in a bid to prevent a repetition of
similar crimes.
"It is true that the intelligence ministry, like many other
ministries, needs to be revamped and cleansed," said Iran News.
"Publicizing the identity of the culprits and putting them on
trial quickly will greatly help the matter and appease the people,"
added the Tehran Times, another English-language daily.
Others suggested a conspiracy reaching beyond low-ranking secret
agents.
"It is possible that such organized crime is committed with the
backing of people higher up, something that is not too difficult to
uncover," said the newspaper Hamshahri.
Newspapers backing Khatami continue to call for or predict the
ouster of Intelligence Minister Ghorban-Ali Dorrie-Najafabadi, a
respected religious scholor and economist appointed after Khatami
was sworn in as president in August 1997.
Many observers believe Najafabadi was chosen to clean up the
image of the ministry after it was implicated in the 1992 murders of
dissidents in Germany and to appease hardline conservatives.
"Few people are in the dark that the intelligence minister was
not Khatami's choice, that his policies have not been in tune with
those of the president," said Salam daily.
"His ouster must be considered so that the policies of the
intelligence ministry are in harmony with those of the rest of the
government and to make it responsive to the people," it added.
But conservative newspapers backed the minister, complimenting
him for coming clean in revealing the involvement of his officials
and breaking with the ministry's long tradition of secrecy.
"There are people in the opposition who dream of the day to get
even with the intelligence ministry and to misrepresent the
admirable record of this hardworking body," said Qods daily.
"We have to be alert and protect this sensitive arm of the
regime from poisonous criticism coming from dissidents and their
plots," it warned.
The revelations that the murders were committed by agents within
the ministry have sent shockwaves through the regime, which has
always blamed Israel and the United States for any act of
terrorism.
Until last week, many conservatives blamed the two enemies of
the Islamic Republic for the murders and even an attack here on a
group of visiting Americans by Islamic activists.
Such views are now fast losing their appeal.
"Attributing such incidents to Arrogant Powers (the United
States) has made us the laughing stock of the public," said
presidential economic adviser Morteza Alviri.
Secular writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh were
kidnapped and murdered in early December. Another intellectual,
Majid Sharif, was found dead under mysterious circumstances around
the same time.
Secular nationalist leader Daryush Foruhar and his wife,
Parvaneh, were found stabbed to death at their Tehran home on
November 22.

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:35:21 EST
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Forouhar's children call for international probe

TEHRAN, Jan 7 (AFP) - The son and daughter of Daryush Foruhar,
an Iranian dissident recently murdered along with his wife, insisted
on Thursday that an international investigation be conducted into
the murder of their parents.
The request was made despite an admission by Iran's intelligence
ministry on Tuesday that renegade agents were involved in the
Foruhars' killings as well as the kidnapping and murder of several
writers.
"It took the intelligence ministry weeks to admit the truth that
was clear to all from the first day," said Arash and Parastu Foruhar
in a statement faxed to AFP.
"We neither know about the identity of those arrested, nor their
rank, or whether they are the real organizers of these evil acts or
just agents who have to be sacrificed so that their commanders can
escape punishment," they said.
"It is our natural right to demand an independent investigation
into the crimes against us and others. We want the truth and the
whole truth to be exposed.
"These crimes should be investigated by a team of international
lawyers. Amnesty International and another human rights
organisation have already asked to send a team and are waiting for
a response from the Islamic republic," they added.
Iran's foreign ministry said Wednesday it would not allow any
international interference in the affair.
Foruhar, the leader of the secular nationalist Iranian Nation's
Party, and his wife, Parvaneh, were found stabbed to death at their
Tehran home on November 22.
Secular writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh were
kidnapped and murdered in early December. Another intellectual,
Majid Sharif, was found dead under mysterious circumstances around
the same time.
Iranian leaders had condemned the murders and pledged to find
the killers.

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 11:47:48 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Preparations Under Way to Re-open Previous Murder Cases

Iran moderates demand secret police reform

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Moderates backing Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday demanded reform of
the security services, after revelations that secret police
death squads were involved in the murders of dissidents.

The reformers, sensing a chance to extend Khatami's
authority to what has historically been the realm of the
conservative clerical establishment, also demanded hardline
rivals to publicly distance themselves from the killings.

The left-wing Islamist Salam daily, close to the
president's inner circle, said Intelligence Minister
Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi has been given the choice to
resign or be dismissed.

``Informed sources say after the ouster of Dorri
Najafabadi, the president himself will supervise the
ministry for some time,'' the newspaper said.

There was no immediate confirmation of the report, but such
a move would represent a fundamental shift in the balance
of power in favour of the president, who has campaigned for
the rule of law as a cornerstone of his liberal reforms.

Under Iran's Islamic system, the elected president has
little control over the security police, the armed forces
or the courts -- all conservative strongholds. These powers
are held by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, named by
a clerical body.

``Few people do not know that the intelligence minister was
not the president's choice, and he has not had the
necessary cooperation with the president,'' Salam said.
``The least that must be done now is to replace him and
probe his performance.''

The startling admissions of secret police involvement in
killings of dissidents, whispered but never before stated
openly, rocked conservatives who had earlier blamed
``outside forces'' for the spate of crimes.

Evidence of rogue agents, uncovered with the help of a
presidential team working alongside the security services,
has emboldened reformers and put the hardliners on the
defensive.

A moderate political analyst said preparations were under
way to re-open political murder cases dating back four or
more years. ``A committee will soon be set up to
investigate the mystery murders,'' said Saeed Leylaz.

But conservatives cautioned of the potential damage from
anything resembling a witch-hunt against the security
forces, recruited from the most dedicated Revolutionary
Guards who fought armed dissidents after the 1979 Islamic
revolution and distinguished themselves in the 1980-88
Iran-Iraq war.

``Any move aimed at weakening the morale of the devoted
intelligence fores can be evaluated within the same plot
the designers of the recent murders had been following,''
said the hardline daily Jomhuri Eslami.

The uproar began in November with the stabbing deaths of
Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar, an outspoken
husband-and-wife team of nationalist dissidents, and the
disappearance and death of a writer who had earlier been
active with exiled rebels.

Two more secularist writers were later found dead in
December after going missing, and a fourth has not been
heard from since August and is presumed dead.

The mystery murders, apparently carried out by
well-organised professional killers, struck fear among
Iran's cultural elite and unnerved many ordinary Iranians.

Political leaders, both moderates and conservatives,
deplored the violence and promised swift investigations,
culminating in the surprise admission by the Intelligence
Ministry on Tuesday.

But there are no signs that the scandal and its political
fallout, fed by increasing demands for accountability from
mainstream society, will ease anytime soon.

Houshang Golshiri, a prominent writer who was close to the
murdered authors, said the ministry's admission was not
enough.

``As I have told the officials before, only if the roots
are deeply traced back to the first murders and both
perpetrators and instigators are identified could we hope
to have a society free of violence, murder and torture,''
he told Reuters.

08:14 01-07-9

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 11:53:57 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Foruhar's Children Insist on International Investigation

TEHRAN, Jan 7 (AFP) - The son and daughter of Daryush
Foruhar, an Iranian dissident recently murdered along with
his wife, insisted on Thursday that an international
investigation be conducted into the murder of their
parents.

The request was made despite an admission by Iran's
intelligence ministry on Tuesday that renegade agents were
involved in the Foruhars' killings as well as the
kidnapping and murder of several writers.

"It took the intelligence ministry weeks to admit the truth
that was clear to all from the first day," said Arash and
Parastu Foruhar in a statement faxed to AFP.

"We neither know about the identity of those arrested, nor
their rank, or whether they are the real organizers of
these evil acts or just agents who have to be sacrificed so
that their commanders can escape punishment," they said.

"It is our natural right to demand an independent
investigation into the crimes against us and others. We
want the truth and the whole truth to be exposed.

"These crimes should be investigated by a team of
international lawyers. Amnesty International and another
human rights organisation have already asked to send a team
and are waiting for a response from the Islamic republic,"
they added.

Iran's foreign ministry said Wednesday it would not allow
any international interference in the affair.

Foruhar, the leader of the secular nationalist Iranian
Nation's Party, and his wife, Parvaneh, were found stabbed
to death at their Tehran home on November 22.

Secular writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh
were kidnapped and murdered in early December. Another
intellectual, Majid Sharif, was found dead under mysterious
circumstances around the same time.

Iranian leaders had condemned the murders and pledged to
find the killers.

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 12:50:26 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Montazeri Supporters Released

Iran Releases Backers of Dissident Cleric-Magazine

Reuters 06-JAN-99

TEHRAN, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Iranian authorities have released
four backers of dissident Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri
who were detained for protesting against the senior
cleric's house arrest, a weekly magazine reported.

The moderate weekly Aban said Hadi Hashemi, Montazeri's
son-in-law, and Abbas Ali Fateh, an official at the senior
cleric' office, were among the freed. It did not elaborate.

Fateh was reportedly held last month along with six
students of Montazeri who had distributed pro-Montazeri
leaflets.

Hashemi had been arrested in May for alleged involvement in
unrest in the central city of Isfahan and Montazeri's
nearby hometown of Najafabad.

The region has been a hotbed of strikes by shopkeepers and
other protests since Montazeri was put under house arrest
and prevented from teaching after he questioned the
authority of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
in 1997.

Islamic hardliners struck back with demonstrations and an
attack on Montazeri's house and office.

Montazeri, 76, has been Iran's most prominent dissident
since 1989, when the late spiritual leader Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini ruled him out as a designated successor
in a dispute over the treatment of political prisoners and
other issues.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 12:55:50 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Iranian writer seeks asylum in Norway

Thursday, January 7, 1999 Published at 18:25 GMT

BBC
World: Middle East

Iranian writer seeks asylum in Norway


An Iranian writer who went to Norway to attend a conference
on freedom of expression has sought political asylum there.

The writer, Mohammad Ali Kushan, had been invited by the
Norwegian Forum for the Freedom of Speech.

He was reported as saying that he would not return to Iran
at the moment because of the recent murders of
intellectuals and writers who were critical of the
government.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced this week that
it has arrested some of its own agents, whome it blames for
a spate of killings of liberal intellectuals and
politicians in the recent months.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:34:45 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: MKO Claims Responsibility for Failed Assassination

Mko Claims Responsibility for Failed Assassination

Xinhua 06-JAN-99

TEHRAN (Jan. 6) XINHUA - Iran's outlawed Mujahideen Khalq
Organization (MKO) has claimed responsibility for a failed
assassination on Tuesday, the Hamshahri daily reported
Wednesday.

After the failed attempt on the life of head of Tehran
province's justice department Ali Razini, the MKO announced
to take responsibility for the attack late Tuesday night,
the daily said.

The report did not elaborate on how and where the MKO
claimed its responsibility for the attack.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on
Wednesday that a 30-year-old passer-by was killed and five
others including Razini were injured in the assassination
attempt.

Director General for Security Affairs of the Interior
Ministry Amir Hussein Motahhar told IRNA that two
motorcyclists adhered explosives to Razini's car in
downtown Tehran when Razini was driving home from his
office.

However, earlier reports said that Razini's car had been
attacked by hand grenades.

Motahhar said that Razini, who was injured in the leg,
abdomen and chest, underwent operations on his right leg
and is hospitalized at intensive care unit at present.

One of the injured was treated as outpatient and the other
three were also hospitalized, he said.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Jan 1999 to 7 Jan 1999