Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Jan 1999 to 18 Jan 1999

There are 7 messages totalling 278 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Russians say West trained Iranian nuclear specialists
2. Iran celebrates end of Ramadan fast
3. Iran says dissident murders not "organised"
4. Iran condemns massacre of Albanians in Kosovo
5. Iranian regime shaken by murders and insecurity
6. UAE magazine slams Iranian oil cut proposal
7. Tehran launches probe into fundamentalists' disruption of Moslem prayers

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:48:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Russians say West trained Iranian nuclear specialists

MOSCOW, Jan 18 (AFP) - The Russian FSB, the former KGB, accused
western nations Monday in the press, of having made significant
transfers of technology to Iran.
"The leaders of the nuclear industry and the Iranian missile
programmes were trained at the best American, Canadian, French and
German universities and Iranian firms are equipped with western
material which under certain conditions permits them to organise
missile production," the FSB chief press officer General Alexander
Zdanovich said in the daily Sevodnia.
The statement from a representative of the Russian security
establishment, were a response to renewed accusations from
Washington that Russia is supplying sensitive technology to Tehran.
Russia has denied this, saying it has acted in accordance with
international law.
The FSB official mentioned equipment supplied by the German firm
Bolenz and Schafer, bought by Iran in 1996 and which he said could
be used to make ballistic missiles and the engines for them.
He also said Iran has "electroerosion" equipment supplied by the
Swiss firms Roboform, Robofill and AGIE, permitting the manufacture
of parts for liquid-fuel-powered missile engines.
Zdanovich said Japanese firms had also supplied equipment while
most of the computer programmes used in Iran were made in the United
States.
Washington which slapped economic sanctions in July on seven
Russian insstitutes and companies accused of links with Iran, and on
Tuesday announced more sanctions against three Moscow research
institutes. The United States also threatened to cancel some space
cooperation projects with Moscow.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:48:53 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran celebrates end of Ramadan fast

TEHRAN, Jan 18 (AFP) - Iran will celebrate the feast of Aid
al-Fitr marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, on Monday,
an official communique broadcast over the radio said.
After a rainy night, thousands of people, men and women gathered
early Monday at Tehran university in the city centre for a session
of collective prayers led by the Islamic Republic's top spiritual
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
All the senior dignitaries of the regime and members of the
government were present.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:49:00 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran says dissident murders not "organised"

TEHRAN, Jan 17 (AFP) - A committee investigating a spate of
mysterious murders of political dissidents and writers in Iran last
year said Sunday that they were not organised by any political
groups.
"The decisions by those who planned and carried out the recent
killings were not in the form of (organised) bands," said a
statement from the committee, which was set up last month.
"Close investigations reveal that none of the political groups
or factions were in any way involved in this," said the statement,
carried by the official IRNA news agency.
The committee announced last week that 10 people had been
arrested in connection with the murders of nationalist opposition
leader Daryush Foruhar as well as several liberal writers in
November and December.
Iran's intelligence ministry made the extraordinary admission
earlier this month that rogue agents were involved in the stabbing
to death of Foruhar and his wife, Parvaneh, on November 22.
The affair has led to bitter political fighting between
reformers backing President Mohammad Khatami and his conservative
opponents over how to deal with the formidable secret services, with
both sides blaming each other for the murders.
But the committee said reports that some top information
ministry officials were possible suspects were "devoid of any truth"
and warned that members of the press who had "slandered the
officials" were liable to prosecution.
It also called for the public to remain calm, saying the
investigation needed to be carried out free of tension to avoid it
being undermined.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:49:08 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran condemns massacre of Albanians in Kosovo

TEHRAN, Jan 17 (AFP) - Iran condemned as a "heinous crime" the
killings of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the official IRNA news
agency reported on Sunday.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi called for those
responsible to be brought to justice.
"The Moslem world is concerned about the situation in Kosovo and
the hardship imposed on Moslems there," the agency quoted him as
saying.
On Saturday the bodies of at least 45 individuals, apparently
civilians, were found in the village of Racak, about 30 kilometres
(20 miles) south of Pristina.
Iran is the current president of the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:49:33 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian regime shaken by murders and insecurity

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.
Reza Alijani, the editor of the liberal political monthly
Iran-e-Farda (Tomorrow's Iran), was issued a death threat by a
shadowy group calling itself the Fedayeen (Devotees) of Pure Islam.
The review's director, Ezatollah Sahabi, informed the interior
ministry that Alijani had been threatened with death for giving
interviews to foreign radio stations.
In the central city of Esfahan, weekly Moslem prayers were
disrupted when fundamentalists heckled and threw objects at prayer
leader Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri and provincial governor Jaafar
Musavi, both allies of moderate President Mohammad Khatami.
These events are taking place under the shadow of press reports
of a list, as yet undisclosed, of 179 writers and moderates who have
been threatened with death.
Whether political or criminal, the murders have been a serious
blow to the regime's image and provoked a war of words between
Iran's principal political factions on the eve of anniversary
celebrations.
Radical leftwingers backing Khatami and conservatives are
blaming each other for the murders.
The verbal melee broke out after the intelligence ministry
announced last week that rogue agents were involved in the murders
of two nationalist dissidents and three writers.
Radicals have called on conservative Intelligence Minister
Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi to resign, while conservatives have
accused pro-Khatami left-wingers of being involved in the murders.
Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani pleaded with
rival factions to call a truce, warning that "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," he said.
"Our regime and people definitely suffered from these murders.
They damaged our security and harmed our international prestige," he
said.

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:49:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UAE magazine slams Iranian oil cut proposal

ABU DHABI, Jan 17 (AFP) - Iran's call for oil producers to slash
output by 50 percent to boost prices was dismissed Sunday by an
Emirati magazine as a tactic to divert attention away from its
quota-busting.
"Tehran is offering advice to producers to end the crisis, while
it is Iran which needs advice to stop busting its OPEC quota," said
Akhbar Al-Saa magazine which is published by the Emirates Centre for
Strategic Studies.
"Tehran must respect OPEC's resolutions and the common interests
of the cartel rather than giving advice to others," the magazine
said.
The angry reaction came in response to comments by Iran's former
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday that oil producers
should halve output to boost flagging prices.
"The consumers are playing a dangerous game and producers are
sitting idly doing nothing," said Rafsanjani who is still important
in Iran as a key aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The proposal is unlikely to be met favourably by Iran's fellow
producers in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries,
which regularly accuse Iran, the world's fourth largest producer, of
busting its quota.
The dispute stems from production cuts agreed by OPEC in March
1998. The cuts were based on the cartel's February production
levels, in Iran's case 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
But Iran has argued that it had technical problems during
February and its average production was about 3.9 million bpd and
this should be the baseline from which to make its pledged cut of
305,000 bpd.
The arguments dragged on for most of 1998, culminating in a
December interview given by Iranian Oil Minister Bijan
Namdar-Zangeneh to London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
In the interview he suggested that OPEC should revise its quota
levels down to pre-Gulf War, or 1991, levels.
This would severely undermine the quota of Saudi Arabia, the
world's largest oil producer, and to a lesser extent the UAE, since
both took on part of Iraq's production quota, which they have yet to
relinquish.
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: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 02:50:11 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran launches probe into fundamentalists' disruption of Moslem
prayers

TEHRAN, Jan 17 (AFP) - Iran's interior ministry has launched an
investigation into the violent disruption of weekly Moslem prayers
by Islamic fundamentalists in the central city of Esfahan last week,
newspapers reported Sunday.
A fact-finding mission has been sent to Esfahan to "examine the
origins of the incident and try and identify those responsible," the
papers said.
During the prayer ceremony in Esfahan on Friday, a group of
religious hardliners heckled and threw objects at prayer leader
Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri and provincial governor Jaafar Musavi --
both allies of moderate President Mohammad Khatami and strong
critics of political violence.
The incident angered Khatami's supporters who demanded tougher
action against the perpetrators of the political violence waged
against Iranian reformists over the past two years.
Taheri's weekly prayer sermons in Esfahan are often marked by
tension and scuffles between moderates and fundamentalists.
The ayatollah later blasted the extremists for "offending the
sacred position of the prayer ceremony," reformist newspapers
reported.
He said he would hold a replacement prayers for the one
disrupted on Friday, which coincided with the International Qods
(Jerusalem) Day, held in Iran on the last Friday of the fasting
month of Ramadan in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Taheri has linked Islamic extremists to a recent spate of
murders of dissidents and intellectuals, in which the country's
intelligence service has been implicated.
The murders have caused uproar in Iran and a bitter war of words
between Khatami's backers and his hardline opponents.
Sobh-e-Emrooz (This Morning), a pro-Khatami newspaper reported
Sunday that two reformist clerics were arrested in Esfahan this
week.
Alireza Farzaneh-Khu and Mansur Yar-Mohammadi, both active in
local politics, were remanded in custody by a special court charged
with dealing with offences committed by clerics.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Jan 1999 to 18 Jan 1999