Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Jan 1999 to 21 Jan 1999

There is one message totalling 179 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Cease-fire in Iran

Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 12:28:41 GMT
From: Jamshid Naghizadeh <janakgf1@W200ZRZ.ZRZ.TU-BERLIN.DE>
Subject: Cease-fire in Iran

Despite calls that news from Iran-press-service not be posted here
in DNI, I think this piece of news is significant.



PARIS 20TH JAN. (IPS) A cease-fire is being worked out between the president
and the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to "lower down the
wicks" of the bitter row that has erupted between the two camps as a result
of the latest wave of assassinations of political and intellectual

That emerged following a surprising communiqui by the three-men Presidential
Investigation Committee (PIC) on Monday and a vague statement Wednesday by
the Head of the military justice saying that the men who murdered at least 4
political and intellectual dissidents almost two months ago had acted on
their own and not on order by some senior leaders, as it is believed by the
general public.

Mr. Dariush Foruhar, the 70 years-old leader of the nationalist Iranian
People's Party and his wife Parvaneh were murdered in their residence in
Tehran on 21st of November. That crime was followed immediately by the
assassination of two dissident writers, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad
Ja'far Pouyandeh. Ja'far Sharif, a political analyst was killed before the
Foruhar couple and Piruz Davani, a political activist who disappeared 4
months ago is still missing.

While the ayatollah Khameneh'i would persistently blame "foreign elements"
for the assassinations, the president did not ruled out that "local
criminal" may have carried out the murders, wowing to push the
investigations to its 'very roots", until the real commanders of the
"hateful crimes" are found and brought to justice.

That was done by the PIC when, ten day ago, it announced, to the shock and
surprise of the public opinion both at home and abroad, that the killers are
agents of the notorious Information (Intelligence) Ministry of the Islamic

The Committee further revealed that at least ten agents of the Ministry had
been detained in connection to the murders.

The dramatic disclosures led the pro-Khatami press and the public opinion to
press the government to push the enquiries until all the real commanders of
the murders, particularly the clerics who issued the religious orders to the
assassins is identified.

That was too much for the president, as it was clear to everyone that the
leader should have issued the fatwas or religious orders himself.

In the meantime, the future of the Information Minister, the hojatoleslam
Qorbanali Dorri Najafabadi became, an issue of major difference between the
president and his reform seeking camp with the ruling conservatives, as the
Minister is nominated by the leader and not the president.

As the moderate press and the pro-Khatami forces were urging the departure
of the Minister and his replacement by someone closer to the president
political programmes, the ayatollah Khameneh'i ordered Mr. Najafabadi to
stay and carry on.

Speaking to the Iranian Radio and television, the hojatoleslam Mohammad
Niazi the Military Prosecutor said investigations showed that the killers
had acted on their own, "depending on relations rather than structures and

He added that none of regime's factions had been involved in the killings.
"The assassins knew that the body of the Information Ministry, an
administration in charge of the nation's security could not accept such
hateful, dirty crime. Thus, they acted between themselves, without referring
to their superiors, the general director of the deputy minister", Mr. Niazi

Both the PIC and Mr. Niazi's statements dismayed the Iranians. "There is a
nasty smell of bargaining between the two camps", commented one Iranian
analyst in Tehran asking for anonymity.

Echoing the leader's point of view, the hojatoleslam Niazi, also said that
the question of involvement of foreign hands in the murders was an "ever
stronger possibility" and revealed that some of the men involved had already
left Iran.

The PIC had concluded that the killers had acted in "closed circuit",
without connection to other officials on the Ministry.

"This is the more dangerous as no one can guarantee that in future other
agents would not decide between themselves to assassinate other dissidents",
commented one senior journalist.

"To close the case by saying that a circle outside the system committed the
murders cannot be satisfactory," the outspoken moderate daily Khordad said.

It charged that the perpetrators were part of a conservative-backed "circle
that has carried out numerous kidnappings and murders in recent years and
fed officials misleading information in certain (internal state) bulletins."

"If this organisation is not uprooted and (its members) are not punished
according to the constitution, a political Mafia would remain forever in
Iran," the pro-Khatami newspaper which is owned by the former Interior
Minister hojatoleslam Abdollah Nouri said.

In his contradictory statements that convinced no one, Mr. Niazi said the
transfer of the murder case to the Military Justice was quite legitimate
since his administration has proper experience in dealing with such matters
of national security.

He said the murderers of Mr. Foruhar and his wife were "assisted" by some
friends of the family who had opened the doors of the residence for the

This was the thesis the authorities forwarded from the outset.

But Dr Karim Lahiji, the president of the Paris-based Iranian League of
Human Rights contested this presentation of the murders of the Foruhars he
knew for the last 40 years. "Our own investigations shows that the
murderers, all agents of the Information Ministry had entered the house
under their own name and without any Trojan Horse".

Talking to the IPS, Mr. Lahiji, who acts as the lawyer for Parastou and
Arash, respectively the daughter and the son of the assassinated couple,
said if the investigators are so certain about the details of how Mr.
Foruhar and his wife have been assassinated, why is that they do not
identify the killers. This clearly indicates that the authorities both right
and left, are looking for scapegoats.

The suggestion to stop the mud throwing at once came from the former
president ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during the last Friday
priers as more pressures are applied on the leader, the ayatollah Ali
Khameneh'i to adopt a low profile in order to allow the public opinion cool

Breaking his long and significant silence over the murders, the Head of the
Council for the Discernment of the Interests of the Regime called on all
antagonist clans and wings of the Mollahrchy to "lower down the wicks of the
feuding" and allow the (investigations in the murders) case to "continue its
natural path".

"Ever since Mr. Rafsanjani made this statement it was clear to us that some
nasty deal had been worked out between the conservatives and the president",
Mr. Lahiji noted.

This point of view was confirmed by the fact that another presidential
investigating team concluded Tuesday that Mr. Ali Larijani, the General
Director of the "Voice and Visage" (Radio and Television) was not
responsible for the controversial programme named "The Light" at which a
pro-conservative cleric had revealed that the assassins are pro-Khatami

The allegations stirred public outcry. The president, in a punitive measure,
forbid Mr. Ali Larijani to attend cabinet meetings until he present formal

Like all men in charge of sensitive jobs in the Islamic Republic, the leader
also appoints the general director of the State-owned Radio and Television.

Meanwhile, the terrorist Islamic organisation Feda'iyan Eslam has threatened
to kill two prominent personalities close to the ayatollah Mohammad Khatami.

In letters to the Interior Minister, Dr Habibollah Peyman, the leader of the
Muslim Militant Movement and Reza Alijani, the Editor of the banned monthly
"Iran Farda" have both but separately complained that callers identifying
themselves as members of the Feda'iyan Eslam had menaced that if they don't
"shut up, they will be cut into pieces".

Mr Peyman also reported that his residence is being watched and filmed from
neighbouring roofs and that his wife and daughter had been assaulted in the

A member of the Servants of Reconstruction Party, Mr. Alijani is an
outspoken critic of the hard line conservatives and talk very often to
foreign based Farsi language radio stations such as the BBC or RFI. ENDS 16

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Jan 1999 to 21 Jan 1999