Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 16 Jan 1999 to 17 Jan 1999

There are 14 messages totalling 860 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. More murders
2. AYATOLLAH KHAMENEH'I UNDER HEAVY PRESSURE TO RESIGN
3. FOCUS-Iran hardliners stop pro-Khatami sermon
4. Khatami to sue Iran 's state TV over murder allegations
5. Kuwaiti emir receives Iranian envoy for talks on Iraq
6. Iranian ambassador to Russia denounces US "disinformation"
7. Russia lashes out at US for failing to provide evidence on Iran
8. Rafsanjani appeals for factional truce in Iran after dissident murders
9. Islamic extremists threaten to kill Iranian journalist: reports
10. Iranian hardliners disrupt Esfahan Friday prayers
11. Iran urges 50 percent cut in oil output to boost prices
12. Iranian speaker calls for Israel's destruction on "Qods Day"
13. AI- Urgen action
14. Hard-line group threatens to kill dissident

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 03:21:30 +1100
From: Susan Ghaemi <s.ghaemi@UNSW.EDU.AU>
Subject: More murders

03:12 GMT, 17 January 1999

TEHRAN, Jan 17 (AFP) -Political killings and kidnappings, death threats
against intellectuals and dissidents, and violent killings of citizens on
an almost daily basis, have deepened a sense of insecurity in Iran ahead of
the 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Iran has been gripped by a vicious cycle of death threats and murders
against dissidents and writers as well as professionals, as rival political
factions are locked in a power struggle ahead of the anniversary on
February 11.

News of horrific murders in Tehran's northern residential suburbs in recent
weeks, widespread political violence and arrests, disappearances and failed
assassination attempts are also becoming commonplace.

Tehran has seen three murders in the past days. Jurist Javad Emami and his
wife were slaughtered in their home in northern Tehran this week, and in
another incident, Fatemeh Eslami, the wife of a well-known translator was
found strangled to death at her home with a scarf she was wearing, on
Wednesday.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:58:12 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: AYATOLLAH KHAMENEH'I UNDER HEAVY PRESSURE TO RESIGN

PARIS 14 JAN. (IPS) The leader of the Islamic Republic, the ayatollah Ali
Khameneh'i is under heavy pressure by both the public and the right, hard
line wing of his own conservative group to resign, according to very well
informed sources in Tehran.

"Afraid of a popular uprising, the ultras among the conservatives are
pressing Mr. Khameneh'i to step down in order to calm a situation that has
become volatile after the admission, by the Information Ministry, that some
of its agents carried out the killing of dissidents from his own people
than the public opinion", the source told the IPS.

The political climate in Iran is reported to have become "explosive" after a
relatively unknown cleric accused publicly by indirectly the popular
president Mohammad Khatami to be behind the latest wave of assassination of
Iranian political and intellectual dissidents.

Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Hosseinian stunned the nation three days ago after he
"disclosed" that the Information Ministry agents who savagely killed Mr.
Dariush Foruhar and his wife as well as 3 other intellectual dissidents were
president Khatami's people.

The accusation provoked outrage among Iranians, discredited further more the
ruling conservatives, badly divided the revolutionary guards and increased
the pressures over the lame ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the
Islamic Republic, who is seen more and more as the number one killer, as
photocopies of a letter supposed to be in his own hand writing ordering the
commander of the revolutionary guards to eliminate some "apostate"
journalists and intellectuals is being widely distributed in Iran.

Officially, the obscure and almost unknown cleric is the Head of the Islamic
Revolution's Documentation Centre, but his surprising declarations to the
hard line evening newspaper "Keyhan", the unofficial organ of the Information
Ministry and to the state-run television takes another significance once one
knows that Mr. Hosseinian is a former Deputy Information Minister who worked
and continue to collaborate closely with hojatoleslam Ali Fallahian, the
former Information Minister who know is serving as the adviser of the
ayatollah Khameneh'i for security and intelligence affairs.

One has to add that both the senior executive Editor of Keyhan, Mr. Hossein
Shariatmadari and the General Director of the "Voice and Visage" of the
Islamic Republic (Radio and TV), Mr. Ali Larijani are appointed by the
leader and are senior members of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence
services.

According to Mr. Hosseinian, the agents accused to have carried out the
assassination belongs to the left wing of the president Mohammad Khatami's
governing coalition who wanted to infiltrate the Information Ministry in
order to "eliminate all true sons of Islam, the revolution and the Hezbollah"

"Both the opportunistic leftists and the resurrectionist left forces are
digging the bed in which some allow themselves to invite freely foreign
embassies to interfere in the political affairs of the nation and to meet
with an American spy" he did not identified.

In an exclusive interview with "Keyhan", Mr. Hosseinian directed the
Information Ministry and the Islamic Revolution's Guards to seriously
investigate this "important matter" and arrest "all the intermediaries and
the hosts"(of the unidentified American spies), warning that "otherwise the
CIA will infiltrate the Information Ministry, create dangerous divergence
aimed at weakening this administration and with the help international
propaganda circles, start a wave of terror and violence in the country".

He also warned Mr. Khatami to do not invite any foreign delegations or
allowing any American to enter the country. "The Information Ministry, the
Revolutionary Guards and the Islamic Revolution's Court must be vigilant,
be ready to neutralise the plots".

But his surprising declarations have backfired to the extend that now
Iranians are convinced that all the murders orders were issued by Mr.
Khameneh'i.

Mr. Hosseinian's "dreadful show" triggered the 3 men Presidential
Investigation Committee to immediately issue a communiqué reiterating that
it will carry on with its investigations until "everything is known and all
culprits arrested and brought to justice.

According to the statement, so far 10 people who were not identified are
arrested while "many others" are being "identified and investigated".

"What has appalled the people and opened the hand of the conservatives is the
fact that while until recently, they were blaming the Mehdi Hashemi band ( a
son-in-law of the dissident grand ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri executed 10
years ago for plotting to overthrow the regime) for the killings, now they
blame the very person of the president and his associates", observed one
analyst in Tehran.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:56:31 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: FOCUS-Iran hardliners stop pro-Khatami sermon

TEHRAN, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Stone-throwing Iranian hardline militants
disrupted a sermon by a senior moderate cleric backing President Mohammad
Khatami, amid a bitter row over a spate of killings of dissidents,
newspapers reported on Saturday.

The daily Salam said some 100 Islamic militants cut speaker wires and threw
sticks, stones and metal rods at a podium where Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri
was about to deliver his sermon at Friday prayers in the central city of
Isfahan.

``When an iron rod was thrown at Ayatollah Taheri, his bodyguard fired blank
rounds in the air, but the agitators kept throwing stones and shoes. (So)
Ayatollah Taheri left the podium,'' Salam said.

The militants chanted slogans backing the conservative-run Intelligence
Ministry, which has been at the centre of the row after admitting that some
of its agents were involved in the murders, and calling for Taheri's
resignation, it said.

Taheri had earlier called for a purge of the ministry, saying ``years of
mismanagement'' had paved the way for the murder spree in which two outspoken
dissidents and at least two liberal writers died.

A clerical body in charge of Friday prayers on Saturday expressed ``disgust''
at the disruption, saying in a statement that the militants had ``violated
the sanctity of the Friday prayers and its leader,'' state television
reported.

It was a rare condemnation by a top body of the militants, who are widely
believed to be backed by powerful conservatives.

Taheri's office earlier issued a statement accusing police and security
forces of standing by during Friday's disturbance and ``sometimes
cooperating with the agitators,'' Salam said.

Moderates backing Khatami, who has spearheaded probes into the murders, have
accused hardliners of involvement in the killings in an effort to destabilise
Khatami's government.

But conservatives have denied the charges, with some hardliners accusing
backers of Khatami for the killings.

Taheri, the only big-city Friday prayer leader who openly backs Khatami's
liberal reforms, has also provoked the wrath of hardliners by speaking out
against their attacks on Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most
prominent dissident cleric.

07:47 01-16-99

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 01:23:21 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khatami to sue Iran 's state TV over murder allegations

Khatami to sue Iran 's state TV over murder allegations

01/14/99 Deutsche Presse-Agentur Copyright (c) 1999, dpa

Teheran (dpa) - President Mohammad Khatami's office will sue the
state-run television (IRIB) head for broadcasting an interview in which
the president's supporters were accused of being involved in recent
high-profile murders, the daily Tehran Times reported Thursday.

``President Khatami disagreed with the way the IRIB conducted the debate
on the murders ... his office has (therefore) decided to lodge a
complaint against the IRIB,'' Tehran Times quoted an unnamed informed
source as saying.

IRIB aired an interview Monday night with Ruhollah Husseinian, head of
the Centre of Islamic Revolution Documents, who had accused ``left-wing
supporters of President Khatami'' of being behind the killings of five
intellectuals and writers.

The pro-Khatami coalition, formed of members of the moderate G6 and
neo-leftist MRM factions, reacted furiously and branded the interview an
effort to ``launch a conspiracy'' against the president.

IRIB itself distanced itself from the interview and proclaimed that
Husseinian has expressed his own viewpoint and not that of IRIB.

The daily Khordad reported Thursday that IRIB President Ali Larijani was
excluded from the latest cabinet session and is not expected to attend
the sessions for an indefinite period.

The IRIB president is appointed by Iran 's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, and although not having a ministerial portfolio, the TV head
regularly attended the cabinet sessions.

IRIB is Iran 's main source of information and, as there are no
non-public channels in Iran , IRIB is watched by more than 90 per cent
of Iranians.

Pro-Khatami circles, especially students, warn Khatami's opponents of
planning a coup against the moderate president and that even his life is
in danger.

The Teheran daily Salaam reported Tuesday that even Khatami is on a
death list of 179 liberal opposition elements in Iran said to be in the
hands of the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau as well as
within circles close to the president.

Last month's assassination of two liberal intellectuals and three
writers and the secret police announcement last week that a number of
its staff were involved in the killings, intensified the power struggle
in Iran between the pro-Khatami wing and his opponents from the
conservative camp.

Despite the general standpoint that Khatami's life is in danger, a
source close to the president said Wednesday that Khatami rejected
proposals of adopting extra security measures. ``Nobody would dare to
even think of killing him ... then those elements would have to deal
with more than 20 million of his supporters,'' he said.

Copyright (c) 1999, dpa

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:38:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Kuwaiti emir receives Iranian envoy for talks on Iraq

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 16 (AFP) - An Iranian envoy Saturday handed a
message from President Mohammad Khatami to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber
al-Ahmed al-Sabah as part of Iranian attempts to find a solution to
the Iraqi crisis, the official KUNA news agency reported.
The news agency did not reveal the contents of the message, but
said the two-day visit by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad
Sadr was made at Khatami's request.
Iran, current chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference, said the visit would focus on Iraq's territorial claims
against Kuwait.
Sadr, who arrived on Friday, was also received by Prime Minister
Sheikh Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmed al-Sabah.
Sadr visited Iraq on Monday and Tuesday where he met Deputy
Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, Vice President Raha Yassin Ramadan and
Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf.
Iraq recently again called into question the status of Kuwait,
which it occupied in 1990 until driven out by an international
coalition the following year.
On January 9 Iraqi deputies called for the scrapping of a UN
resolution demarcating the border with Kuwait. Aziz stated in a
newspaper article the following day that Great Britain created
Kuwait in order to weaken Iraq.
Iran Tuesday condemned the Iraqi claims.
"Such territorial claims are not a proper solution to resolve
differences," between Iraq and Kuwait, said foreign ministry
spokesman Hamdi-Reza Asefi.
"Regional problems ought to be settled through negotiations and
tension-free talks ... A conflict between Iraq and Kuwait will be
the worst problem for the region," he told the English-language Iran
News.
He said Sadr would visit other regional countries to help broker
peace, adding that "we are concerned about the Iraqi issue and do
not want the issue to surface again."

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:09 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian ambassador to Russia denounces US "disinformation"

MOSCOW, Jan 16 (AFP) - Iran's ambassador to Russia, Mehdi
Safari, on Saturday denounced as "disinformation" US allegations
that Russia is transferring sensitive nuclear and missile technology
to Iran.
In an interview published in the Russian weekly Rossiskaya
Gazeta, Safari said the United States is "irritated by our
(Iran-Russia) cooperation and is trying to harm it by spreading all
kinds of disinformation."
On Tuesday, Washington slapped economic sanctions on three
Russian scientific institues, which it accused of collaborating with
Iran.
Russia has denied the allegations and has reacted with fury,
arguing that the United States has failed to provide concrete
evidence to support the claim.
The Iranian embassy in Moscow, quoted by the Iranian news agency
IRNA, said Wednesday it had "no knowledge" of the institutes
mentioned and has "just a few students studying law, languages and
humanities subjects at the Moscow university."
But the Iranian ambassador admitted in the Russian interview
that "more than twenty" Iranian students are currently undergoing
training at at least one of the institutes cited by Washington, the
Moscow Aviation Institute.
However, he said "the Iranian missile programme is being
developed without any outside participation," adding: "In this field
we have had no contacts with Russia."
"Iran and Russia are neighbours, and share a lot of common
interests. We have developed cooperation in numerous fields, and
particularly in the areas of oil and gas," he said, judging that the
US allegations were dictated by "US economic interests" and
geopolitics.
"The Americans have recently been showing a great interest in
the Caspian Sea, which, as everyone knows, is rich in oil. One has
to see that behind their attacks is a desire to dictate their
conditions (in the region)," he said.
The US ban came on top of similar sanctions imposed against
seven other Russian institutes last July.
The United States added further pressure on Thursday by
threatening to cut off space cooperation with Russia if Moscow
failed to stamp out its military ties with the Islamic state.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:27 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Russia lashes out at US for failing to provide evidence on Iran

MOSCOW, Jan 15 (AFP) - Russia's security chief Nikolai Bordyuzha
on Friday accused the United States of failing despite repeated
requests to present hard evidence that Russian institutes were
collaborating with Iran.
Bordyuzha, who serves both as Security Council chairman and
Kremlin chief of staff, accused US diplomats of refusing to answer
Moscow's inquiries as to why Washington this week slapped sanctions
on three Russian science laboratories.
"We are just as concerned about the proliferation of nuclear
weapons as the Americans are because Iran is closer to our border
than that of the United States," Bordyuzha was quoted as saying by
Interfax.
"However, they (US officials) have not presented us with any
documents and are practically refusing to take part in an
investigation."
Bordyuzha said US diplomats "smile and shake their heads" but
refuse to provide concrete evidence of why Washington thought the
three were leaking nuclear and missile know-how to Tehran,
ITAR--TASS reported.
The ban came on top of similar sanctions imposed against seven
other Russian institutes last July.
The United States added further pressure on Thursday by
threatening to cut off space cooperation with Russia if Moscow
failed to stamp out its military ties with the Islamic state.
Russia has denied any such connections with Iran and has reacted
with fury to Washington's actions.
Yegor Stroyev, the powerful chairman of the Federation Council
upper parliament chamber, on Friday accused the Clinton
administration of attempting to "isolate Russia from the world,
politically, economically and intellectually," Interfax reported.
In Washington, visiting First Deputy Prime Minister Yury
Maslyukov attempted to douse the flaring dispute by stressing that
there was "a full understanding" between the United States and
Russia over Iran.
"I do not think this will happen," Maslyukov said in reference
to a potential break in space cooperation.
But Moscow continued to fume over Washington's tough stance.
Russian Space Agency director Yury Koptev said he was "categorically
against" Washington's "strong-arm tactics."
And lawmakers in the nationalist- and Communist-dominated State
Duma lower house of parliament were considering a non-binding
resolution advising Russia itself to break-off space ties to
Washington.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:34 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Rafsanjani appeals for factional truce in Iran after dissident murders

TEHRAN, Jan 15 (AFP) - Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani pleaded with rival political factions on Friday to call a
truce in their bitter quarrel over a recent spate of dissident
murders.
"None of you will benefit from this dispute. Our being at each
other's throats has pleased the enemy and prompted them to raise
questions about our regime and the (1979 Islamic) revolution,"
Rafsanjani said in a sermon at weekly Moslem prayers at Tehran
University.
"What is all this fighting for? You brothers, who with your
unity pulled off the revolution, how can you allow your division to
reach such a point and make the enemy happy?" he asked.
"I welcome criticism as it helps our society to grow. But not at
this level in a country which faces so many enemies and threats from
Israel and arrogant powers," said Rafsanjani, who is still immensely
powerful as a top adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Supporters of President Mohammad Khatami have been locked in a
fierce battle against conservative opponents after the intelligence
ministry admitted last week that rogue agents carried out the
killings of several writers and political dissidents in October and
November.
Reformers are demanding a thorough clean-up of the secret
service and the removal of its conservative chief Ghorban-Ali Dorrie
Najafabadi, but rightwingers accuse them of trying to score
political gains from the murders.
The dispute took a bitter turn this week after both sides openly
accused the other of having a role in the killings and seeking to
cover up the affair.
The murders have dominated public affairs in Iran in recent
months and overshadowed International Qods (Jerusalem) Day, held
here on Friday to express sympathy for the Palestinian struggle
against Israel.
Iran has organised Qods Day on the last Friday of the Moslm
fasting month of Ramadan each year since the revolution in
solidarity with the Palestinians.
Rafsanjani, whose speech was dominated by an analysis of the
Palestinian question, vowed that the regime "is determined to dry up
the roots of the recent murders."
"The leader (Khamenei) has issued a strict order to this effect.
We will not show any political consideration or forgiveness.
Everyone wants to root out this sedition and spare people of its
evil effects," he said.
"Our regime and people definitely suffered from these murders.
They damaged our security and harmed our international prestige,"
Rafsanjani added.
He urged the rival factions to calm down and let the
investigation take its course."
A committee set up by Khatami in December to solve the murders
said this week that 10 people had been arrested and that more were
under surveillance.
It pledged to reveal "the whole truth" to the public when the
probe is completed and the case goes to trial.
But Khatami's supporters and the press are impatient want the
murderers' identities revealed.
"Everyone linked to the murders, from the masterminds to the
agents and those who issued the orders to kill or possible foreign
connections should be subjected to an investigation," an association
of former MPs said in a letter to Khatami.
"The chain of killings must be probed with strength and without
political considerations, and the criminals must be eliminated with
courage," they said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency on
Friday.
Around 50 current MPs also sent a letter to the president
demanding action against the conservative-run radio and television.
The television provoked uproar after it aired an interview this
week with hardline cleric Ruhollah Hoseinian who suggested Khatami's
radical left-wing supporters were involved in the murders.
"They (conservatives) want to turn this important issue around
and reduced into a negligible affair," the MPs said. "Instead of
blaming the enemy for the killings, they are blaming our own
people."
Their move came after 180 MPs in the conservative-dominated
parliament issued a statement on Thursday backing the intelligence
chief.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Islamic extremists threaten to kill Iranian journalist: reports

TEHRAN, Jan 16 (AFP) - A shadowy Islamic fundamentalist group
has threatened to kill a liberal Iranian journalist following a
spate of murders of dissidents and writers, newspapers reported
Saturday.
Reza Alijani, editor of Iran-e-Farda (Tomorrow's Iran) monthly,
has received several phone calls from a group describing itself as
Fedayeen (Devotees) of Pure Islam, threatening to kill him if he
gave interviews to foreign media, they said.
"After Pouyandeh, it will be your turn and if you talk to
another foreign radio station, it will be your last time," the
caller warned, referring to Mohammad Pouyandeh, one of the writers
kidnapped and murdered last month.
The magazine's director, Ezzatollah Sahabi, has informed
Interior Minister Abdol-Vahed Musavi Lari of the threat.
"It is not inconceivable that another wave of murders could
begin, which is why I am asking you to carry out your duties,"
Sahabi warned.
Pouyandeh and another writer were found strangled to death in
early December, while a third author Majid Sharif was found dead
around the same time.
The authorities said Sharif had died of a heart attack.
The murders followed the stabbing to death of nationalist
dissident Daryush Foruhar and his wife Parvaneh in their home on
November 22.
The Fedayeen initially claimed responsibility for the killings,
but the intelligence ministry admitted last week that rogue agents
had carried them out.
Iran-e-Farda, a political and economic review, represents the
views of liberal opposition groups and is close to the Iran Freedom
Movement, a banned but tolerated dissident movement.
Last month, its director was banned from journalism for one year
after being convicted of printing "slanderous" material against the
armed forces.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:15 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian hardliners disrupt Esfahan Friday prayers

THERAN, Jan 15 (AFP) - A group of Islamic hardliners disrupted
weekly Moslem prayers led by a staunch supporter of Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami in the central city of Esfahan Friday,
the official IRNA news agency reported.
The "limited number of worshippers in the congregation chanted
(hostile) slogans and hurled objects towards the platform" where
Esfahan's prayer leader Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri was delivering a
sermon, it said.
"A commotion ensued and the aytollah decided to leave and cancel
the prayer ceremony," IRNA added.
Taheri, a left-wing supporter of Khatami, is a strong critic of
fundamentalist violence in Iran, a stand which has earned him the
hardliners' ire.
The congregations he leads are often marked by tension between
his supporters and opponents.
Last week, after the intelligence ministry admitted that rogue
agents had carried out a string of recent murders of intellectuals
and dissidents, Taheri linked the killings to a violent campaign
waged by extremists against the president's supporters.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:21 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran urges 50 percent cut in oil output to boost prices

TEHRAN, Jan 15 (AFP) - Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani called on Friday for oil producers to slash output by 50
percent to boost flagging prices.
"The consumers are playing a dangerous game and producers are
sitting idly doing nothing," Rafsanjani said in a sermon at weekly
Moslem prayers at Tehran University.
"We can still do something to help the situation. It's a simple
calculation: Let's cut supply by 20, 30, or 50 percent, whatever, to
boost demand," he said.
"This will be a temporary measure, but we will see a rapid rise
in prices. What is there to lose if we earn the same money with only
50 percent of what we produce now?" asked Rafsanjani, now a top
adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"If we decide to export 15 million barrels instead of the
present 27 million, our revenues may fall for two or three weeks,
but not much longer," he said.
"Have no doubt that with such a decision the prices will rapidly
shoot up and reach to the ideal 21 dollars a barrel," he added.
Rafsanjani said President Mohammad Khatami was giving the idea
thought, "but we will have to take it more seriously."
He also said OPEC, of which Iran is a member, "will have to
secure the support of the major non-OPEC crude exporting countries,
such as Russia, to succeed in such a goal."
The Iranian economy has been badly hit by the sharp drop in oil
prices and the country is facing a huge budget deficit.
Iran, the world's second-ranked exporter which earns more than
80 percent of its hard currency revenues from oil sales, is
presently selling crude for below 10 dollars a barrel.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:39:43 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian speaker calls for Israel's destruction on "Qods Day"

TEHRAN, Jan 15 (AFP) - Iran's conservative speaker of parliament
Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri made a passionate appeal Friday to Arab nations
to unite for the destruction of Israel as the Islamic republic
marked International Qods (Jerusalem) Day.
"Come out openly, like Iran, and say you don't accept such a
country as Israel on the world map. Have courage. We can make good
use of our weapons, military equipment and all our forces," he
said.
"Say this land belongs to the Palestinians. The thieves and
occupiers must leave so that its real owners can return," he said in
a speech to thousands of people gathered at Tehran University to
mark the event.
"Don't seek to recognize Israel. Don't humiliate Islam by siting
at the negotiating table with the Zionists," Nateq-Nuri said. "A
dignified death is better than a wretched and humiliating life."
He urged Arab countries to try to "believe in themselves and
that they can help save the Palestinian nation."
"Solving the Palestinian question must become a sacred ideal for
the Arab and Moslem world, like it is for us," he said. "I have told
our Palestinian brothers that even if they give up the Palestinian
ideal, Iranians will not."
Iran has organised Qods Day on the last Friday of the Moslem
fasting month of Ramadan each year since the 1979 Islamic revolution
to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
Demonstrators, organized by conservative organisations and led
by clerics, gathered at the university, shouting "Death to Israel"
and "Death to America" and setting fire to the two countries'
flags.
They also carried cartoon images and effigies of Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat, who is detested here for "betraying" the
Palestinian cause by negotiating peace with Israel.
President Mohammad Khatami mingled with the crowds, who chanted
"Khatami we love you, Khatami we support you."
Apparently seeking to confirm his image as "the people's
president," he entered the university site along with worshippers,
rather than using an official entrance.
The president described the Palestinian question on Thursday as
"one of the greatest examples of blatant oppression in the 20th
century."
Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, giving the main
sermon at weekly Moslem prayers, called for political action to
contain the Jewish state.
"The Islamic world is strong. We can use the issue of oil as a
weapon, but this is contingent on some of the strongest countries of
the region cooperating to liberate Moslem territory," he said.
"The creation of Israel was a colonial scheme for influence in
the region, not one aimed at saving Jews and giving them a
homeland," he charged.
"Jews too were used as a pawn. They gathered them from all over
the world and created this predicament for them. Now both Jews and
regional countries are paying for it" added Rafsanjani, who is still
immensely powerful as a top adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei.
Rafsanjani has in the past taken a more pragmatic view towards
the Palestinian question, calling for an end to "Israeli occupation
of Palestinian land to create a new country where Moslems, Jews and
Christians can live in harmony."
Al-Qods day this year has been overshadowed by a bitter
factional controversy over a spate of murders of intellectuals and
political dissidents by rogue intelligence ministry agents.
Pro-Khatami newspapers are preoccupied with the killings, but
the conservative-run radio and television have alloted much airtime
to anti-Israeli propaganda.
"We must be careful not to allow the domestic controversy and
tension to make us play down such an important event as Qods day,"
warned Kayhan, a hardline newspaper.

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 01:49:46 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: AI- Urgen action

U R G E N T A C T I O N A P P E A L

The following information is from Amnesty International's research
headquarters in London, England. A.I. is an independent worldwide
movement working for the international protection of human rights. It
seeks the release of people detained because of their beliefs, color,
sex, ethnic origin, language or religious creed, provided they have not
used nor advocated violence. These are termed prisoners of
conscience. It works for fair and prompt trials for all political
prisoners and works on behalf of such people detained without
charge or trial. It opposes the death penalty, extra-judicial executions
(political killings), 'disappearances' and torture or other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of all prisoners
without reservation. Amnesty International promotes awareness of
and adherance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
other internationally recognized human rights instruments, the
values enshrined in them and the indivisibility and interdependence
of all human rights and freedoms.

Please do not repost the information below to any part of the Internet
without prior permission from Amnesty International. Thank you for
your help with this appeal.

Please read the monthly Urgent Action Network Newsletter posted on
the web at: http://www.amnesty-USA.org/urgact/newslett.html

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: sharriso@aiusa.org
http://www.amnesty-usa.org/urgact/
Phone: 303 440 0913
Fax:303 258 7881
---------------------------------------------------


UA 09/99 Flogging 15 January 1999

IRAN Amir Farshad Ebrahimi
Kiyanoush Mozaffari
Babak Shahrestani


An Iranian court has sentenced the three men named above to
flogging and imprisonment in connection with an assault in August
1998 on 'Ataollah Mohajerani, Minister of Culture and Islamic
Guidance, and 'Abdollah Nuri, the Vice-President of Iran. Amir
Farshad Ebrahimi was reportedly sentenced to 40 lashes and 18
months' imprisonment, while Kiyanoush Mozaffari and Babak
Shahrestani were each sentenced to 20 lashes and six months'
imprisonment.

Amnesty International unconditionally opposes flogging in all cases
as a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
'Ataollah Mohajerani and 'Abdollah Nuri are senior members of the
cabinet of Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of
Iran. Reports suggest that the three men due to be flogged are
connected to unofficial groups who have frequently attacked
supporters of President Khatami.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send
telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters:
- urging the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to commute
the sentences of flogging imposed against Amir Farshad Ebrahimi,
Kiyanoush Mozaffari and Babak Shahrestani, on the basis that
flogging constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment.
- reminding the government of Iran of its commitment to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 5:'No one shall be
subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.'

APPEALS TO:
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency:

Telegrams: Ayatollah Khamenei, Tehran, Iran


President
Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, The Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency:

Telegrams: President Khatami, Tehran, Iran


Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi
Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency:

Telegrams: Head of the Judiciary, Tehran, Iran


COPIES TO:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kamal Kharrazi
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran


Mr Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far
Secretary, Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 13165-137
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Faxes: 011 98 21 204 0541

Iran does not currently have an embassy in Washington DC. However
you can send copies of your appeals to:
Iranian Interests Section
2209 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC 20007.

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office
between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if
sending appeals after February 26, 1999.

'No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment'
Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Visit the Amnesty International UDHR campaign website on
http://www.amnesty.excite.com

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 01:50:59 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Hard-line group threatens to kill dissident

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) An Iranian militant group has threatened to kill the
editor-in-chief of a liberal magazine, the publication's owner said in a
statement.

Reza Alijani, editor-in-chief of the monthly Iran Farda, received two
death threats in the past few days, magazine owner Ezatollah Sahabi said
in a statement faxed to The Associated Press late Thursday.

``After the last victim was killed ... you are next, Alijani, and if you
continue to give interviews to foreign radio stations, your next
interview will be the last in your life,'' Sahabi's statement quoted the
written threat as saying.

The threat follows the killing of five writers in the past two months,
all of whom had spoken out against Iran's clerical leadership. Two other
leading dissidents are missing.

Sahabi, whose magazine also is critical of clerical rule, said the
threats to Alijana came from the radical group Islam Fedayeen, or
Islamic commandos.

His statement said the threats' reference to the last victim was to
Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh, one of the five slain dissidents.

Sahabi, a prominent opposition figure and a former budget and planning
minister, sent a similar statement to Interior Minister Abdolvahed
Mousavi-Lari, a moderate.

After the mysterious killings since November, the Intelligence Ministry
recently said it arrested 10 of its agents in connection with the
deaths.

The ministry's statement followed President Mohammad Khatami's urging a
thorough investigation into the killings. The slain dissidents were
sympathetic to political reforms that Khatami is trying to carry out
amid hard-line opposition. av-ti-ggl

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 16 Jan 1999 to 17 Jan 1999