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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Feb 1999 to 7 Feb 1999
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There are 10 messages totalling 782 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Khomeini's onetime heir calls on Iran to renew US relations
2. Iran to test motor for new space rocket
3. UAE press denounces Iranian move on disputed island
4. NYT: Revolution
5. FEATURE - Changing role for the women of Islamic Iran
6. Best children's films, directors awarded
7. Soccer Kicking Karimi faces ban
8. Many Iranians still hope to return home despite new lives in the U.S.
9. Iranian carnival features US cartoon characters, music
10. Iran opposition says Tehran in deadly weapons drive


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 12:15:09 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khomeini's onetime heir calls on Iran to renew US relations

TEHRAN, Feb 7 (AFP) - A senior Iranian cleric urged the country
to renew severed relations with the United States if its interests
demand a reopening of ties served nearly two decades ago.
"Even if the freezing of ties with the United States were a
divine order, it would have been a temporary one and not permanent,"
dissident Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was quoted as saying by
the evening paper Khordad on Saturday.
Montazeri, an outspoken critic of Iran's leadership, was once
the designated successor of Iran's late revolutionary leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
He said relations should be renewed if "political experts
conclude that the interests of the nation are best served by the
resumption of ties."
Currently living at home under police supervision, the now
disgraced ayatollah was speaking to a group of theology students and
academics, though Khordad gave no date for this.
Iran's foreign ministry said last week it drew a "red line" at
negotiations with the United States, which severed relations in 1980
when Islamic students stormed the US embassy in Tehran, holding
staff hostage for over a year.
Iran accuses the United States of wishing to dominate the
country's affairs as it did under the pro-Western monarchy, toppled
20 years ago this month.
The United States has worked to isolate Iran both politically
and diplomatically, accusing it of supporting international
terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction, charges Iran


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 12:15:18 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran to test motor for new space rocket

TEHRAN, Feb 7 (AFP) - Iran announced on Sunday that it is to
test the motor for a new space rocket, just six months after the
successful launch of a medium-range missile sparked concern in the
United States and key regional ally Israel.
The test will be carried out by the armed forces on Tuesday,
just two days before 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution
which overthrew the pro-Western shah, Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani
told a news conference here.
But he swiftly added that the rocket, dubbed the Shahab-4, "has
no military use and will be not be produced on a large scale."
Last July Iran successfully launched the Shahab-3 missile, with
a range of 1,300 kilometres (800 miles), prompting acute fears in
the United States and its main regional ally Israel which lies
within the missile's range.
"With the Shahab-3 we attained our objectives and have no need
to manufacture missiles of similar range," Admiral Shamkhani
"We have the right to have our own satellite and launcher," he
said, adding that Iran had achieved its "the deterrent capability it
wanted with the Shahab-3 missile and had no need for new missile
launchers of greater range."
Shamkhani said that the Shahab-3, which is currently on display
at an anniversary exhibition of military equipment at the capital's
international fair ground, had given Iran a "real deterrent punch."
"Thanks to this deterrent punch, Israeli leaders have sharply
reduced their threats and hostile language against Iran," he said.
But Shamkhani went out of his way to stress that the missile was
not meant as a deterrent against any other country in the region.
"Our missiles are no threat to any Islamic country -- we made
quite clear that the Shahab-3 would never be used against Moslem
territory," Shamkhani said.
The defence minister said that one test firing of the Shahab-4
rocket motor had already been carried out, but said it had not been
a success because of a "mechanical problem."
He insisted that the missiles had been developed entirely with
Iranian technology, rejecting persistent reports that the programme
was dependent on North Korean technology.
He did not specify the nature of the satellite Iran intended to
put into space although late last month parliament approved a budget
appropriation for the launch of telecommunications satellites.
MPs authorised up to 300 million dollars of foreign loans during
the coming financial year starting March 21 to pay for the purchase
and launch of a telecommunications satellite.
The borrowing was approved even though most other items of
government expenditure were sharply cut as part of an austerity
package intended to tackle a mounting economic crisis here sparked
by a sharp fall in the price of Iran's main export oil.
Throughout the past decade, Iran has been trying to develop its
own telecommunications satellite.
Work started during the 1990s on a satellite dubbed the Zohreh,
but technical and financial problems prevented completion of the
Israel has expressed great concern over Iran's missile and
rocket programme and with US help is currently developing the
Arrow-2 anti-missile missile to counter the perceived threat.
Both French defence officials and independent analysts had
expressed doubt about the progress of Iran's missile programme,
questioning whether the Shahab-3 missile was really yet fully


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 12:15:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UAE press denounces Iranian move on disputed island

In, (AFP) wrote:

DUBAI, Feb 7 (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) press on
Sunday rejected "the Iranian policy of fait accompli" following
Tehran's inauguration of a new town hall on the disputed island of
Abu Musa.
"It is regrettable that Iran is pursuing its policy of fait
accompli ... ignoring international and regional appeals to resolve
the conflict peacefully," the semi-official Al-Ittihad daily said.
The move "is fresh proof of the lack of credibility of
officials' statements that Iran wants to start a dialogue with the
region's states to establish relations based on mutual respect," the
daily added.
Abu Musa is one of three Gulf islands claimed by both Iran and
the UAE, which has repeatedly called on Tehran to accept dialogue or
international arbitration to resolve the dispute.
Iran has controlled the disputed islands since 1971 after
Britain ended its protectorate in the region. It has repeatedly
rejected arbitration and claims the islands are part of its
The Al-Khaleej daily, which is also close to the goverment,
denounced "the escalation of Iranian provocation," and said the new
town hall "constitutes a violation of the priinciple of national
"Iran has closed all doors opened by the UAE to try and find a
peaceful solution to the issue of the three occupied islands," it


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:34:54 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: NYT: Revolution

-From the New York Times:

TEHERAN, Iran -- These are the "days of dawn," the 10 heady days that
brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini back from exile, saw the collapse of
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's regime and are celebrated this week across
Iran in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Again and again, state television has replayed grainy footage of Ayatollah
Khomeini's arrival from France, as he is escorted step by step down the
stairs of an Air France jet. Again and again, reverent tales are retold,
like a children's story in which the ayatollah was introduced as "the good
imam who rid Iran of the evil shah."

Despite the ingrained lessons of the revolution, a teen-agegirl asked
Ayatollah Khomeini's successor in a televised meeting the other day, "Why
did the Islamic revolution take place?"

The question reflects a widening gap between Iranians and the defining
event of their country's recent past. More than half of Iran's 68 million
people have been born since the events that toppled a king and stunned the
world; millions more are barely old enough to remember them.

And the young are not the only ones asking questions. The revolution that
put power into the hands of Shiite Muslim clerics enjoyed broad popular
support at the time. But today, disillusioned by a generation of experience
and emboldened by new political ferment, millions of Iranians from all
walks of life now feel cut adrift, regarding the revolution as no longer
relevant to today's problems.

In scores of interviews around Iran in the last two months, those were
sentiments voiced by clerks, cleaners, farmers, professionals and others in
big cities like Teheran and rural areas in the farmland around the
northwestern city of Tabriz.

"We were like sheep, following others," one of them, Abil, a 60-year-old
farmer wearing striped trousers, a plaid jacket and a shabby black felt
hat, recalled the revolution, which he once backed with enthusiasm.
"Wherever the shepherd led, we followed."

Sadiq Zibakallam, a political scientist who frequently delivers lectures
around the country, said he was encountering a similar sense of confusion.
"One of the most common questions that I come across is, 'Where are we
going?'" Zibakallam said. "That reflects the anxiety and helplessness that
many Iranians are going through."

Much Iranian discontent was channeled into the election of Mohammed
Khatami, the president who won a landslide victory two years ago over a
candidate supported by the ruling clerical establishment. Khatami, who has
pressed for greater social and political openness, is seen by some Iranians
as someone who might lead the country into what might be truly called a
post-revolutionary era.

But Khatami remains part of that establishment, as signified by the black
clerical turban without which he almost certainly would not have been
elected. And even he has expressed concern that Iranians might be tempted
to turn away from the past and to discard cornerstones just 20 years old.

"Poisonous winds are blowing inside and outside the country," Khatami
warned in one anniversary address the other day, "and enemies are
attempting to separate you from the Islamic Revolution and the system."

The president did not elaborate. But in recent months, Iran has appeared
increasingly troubled, as the murders of dissident writers were revealed to
have been carried out by rogue intelligence agents, prompting public
protests that in turn met with violence from unpoliced thugs.

Even though two decades have passed, it is images of the revolution that
still dominate Teheran, where the picture of Ayatollah Khomeini, who died
in 1989, glowers down from countless buildings and office walls.

And the very structure of the government, headed by a supreme religious
leader, now Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is regarded as God's representative
on earth, is a product of the revolution that created the world's first
Islamic theocracy.

Still, Iranian officials readily concede that young Iranians in particular
appear to have little idea of what the revolution was about and that
keeping memories alive is much of what the anniversary celebration is about.

In the kickoff to a frenzy of nationwide ceremonies, the exact moment that
Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, on Feb. 1, 1979, was marked 20 years
to the moment later, at 9:33 a.m. on Monday, as school bells and train
whistles were sounded across Iran.

A helicopter on the outskirts of the capital later showered flowers on the
graves of thousands of people killed in what the ayatollah, during 15 years
of exile in France, made a popular cause: toppling the American-backed shah.

The shah's regime finally fell on Feb. 11, 1979, after days of street
battles, and the celebration is to reach its peak that day in a mass rally
and military parade. In the meantime, film, music and theater festivals are
under way, as is an exhibition showcasing the country's achievements since
1979, under banners like one that read: "The 10 days of dawn gave our
nation the sweet fruit of victory."

To questions about why the revolution took place, Ayatollah Khomenei and
others have pointed to corruption under the shah and to what they have
suggested was Iran's old place as an outpost of the United States.

Yet no mention is being made of the darker side of a revolution that others
remember with horror. More than 10,000 people, including some of Ayatollah
Khomeini's own aides, were executed in a wave of terror that followed his

Nor has mention been made of the economy's downward turn in the years that
followed the revolution, in a country where high oil prices and a much
smaller population had created prosperity under the shah.

For years, Iranians had seemed willing to forgive hardships, on the grounds
that the revolution was not about economics. But in the conversations
around Iran this year, the state of the economy was a constant theme of the
many people who said that on the anniversary of the revolution, they saw
little to celebrate.

"It's not only me," said Ali, a 37-year-old cleaner, who was interviewed as
he swept the stairs of an apartment complex on a chilly night in Teheran.
"Everybody gets angry. These clerics don't know what kind of problems we
have. They don't care, so how can they think of solving it? They don't even
know what's going on."

Mohammed, 39, a carpet weaver in northwest Iran, said, "We haven't had a
good meal in 20 years." He works at a loom in the two-room house he shares
with his wife and his elderly parents and says he can barely provide for them.

"I don't care about the revolution," he said. "The problem is we can't live."

Rogieh, 55, a mother of five who sat wrapped in a shapeless chador on the
floor of her family home in a nearby village, said, "We believe in God, but
we did not accept Khomeini and his regime."

Residents who defended the revolution said they believed its critics were
holding it to the wrong standard. "I think the most important change was
independence, not being a colony," said Nasser Sarkhan, 29, a member of
Iran's volunteer paramilitary force, who are known as basijis.

Among those who expressed criticism of the government, few ordinary
Iranians would allow their names to be published, saying that they feared
reprisals from security forces. But some said they would allow their
photographs to be published, as long as the name of their village did not
appear in print.

And many spoke with a boldness that is new to Iran in expressing not only
resentment toward the clerics, widely described as aloof and indifferent,
but sometimes, even vague nostalgia for the days of the shah. "He was such
a gentleman; he stood so straight; he represented the glory of the
country," murmured an official on duty this week at Saadabad in north
Teheran, where busloads of soldiers and schoolchildren were touring the
grounds of the shah's old summer palace.

Such candor, voiced within earshot of a foreign reporter, would have been
unheard of here just a few years ago. But the election of Khatami has been
followed, in newspapers, by an opening of debate between his supporters and
those of his more conservative rivals, and this seems to have left ordinary
Iranians more forthcoming.

In the interviews, many volunteered their own stories of the last 20 years,
in which the trauma of an eight-year war with Iraq and the struggle to make
a living formed the main chapters, not the revolution itself.

"In the beginning of the revolution, I supported them," said Seifollah, 55,
a farmer who grows carrots and turnips, as he sat on the floor beside his
wife, Rogieh. "But they made promises they didn't keep."

The couple showed visitors a family album that included photographs of
their eldest son, now 33, as a soldier during the war; they said he was
forced into service at the age of 18 by Revolutionary Guards who pounded on
their door in the dead of night.

Among dozens of people interviewed, in three cities and several villages,
only those with direct ties to the government, including the soldier, a
cleric and a merchant who sells government goods, said they still
identified with the revolution.


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:38:31 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: FEATURE - Changing role for the women of Islamic Iran

FEATURE - Changing role for the women of Islamic Iran 09:16 p.m Feb 04,
1999 Eastern

By Kaveh Basmenji

TEHRAN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The sphere of influence of Iranian women has
long been confined to the family, but today any political force eyeing a
hold on power needs to attend to their ever-increasing demands for
greater rights.

Twenty years after millions of women took part in nationwide
demonstrations that overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a new breed of
Iranian women are calling for improved civil rights as well as a larger
say in politics and the economy under a president they helped elect.

Women have come to the forefront of Iran's political priorities since
the 1997 election of moderate President Mohammad Khatami on a platform
of social and political reforms, including a promise to attend to
women's demands.

Although Khatami's election has not meant any major improvement in
women's status, it has struck a blow against dogmatic attitudes, said
publisher and activist Shahla Lahiji.

The constitution bars women from running for president, but Khatami has
named a woman vice-president, Masoumeh Ebtekar, a move with symbolic
significance, she said.

``Many of the women who voted for Khatami had not taken part in any
elections before. They voted because he promised to attach importance to
women,'' Lahiji said.

``The experience of the past 20 years has showed that no one could come
to power without the support of women,'' she said.

Some women's rights activists say the revolution turned the clock back
more than half a century for their sex, but others argue that it gave
birth to a new generation of women who have come to play an active part
in society.

``The revolution displaced the social stratum, bringing many otherwise
inactive women out of their homes and into social activities. This new
generation of women are gaining power and demanding more,'' said
businesswoman Pari Afshar.

One example of this change is Faezeh Hashemi, a moderate member of
parliament and publisher of the outspoken daily newspaper Zan (Woman).

Hashemi, a daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has
drawn as much support from women as bitter criticism from
traditionalists for advocating more rights and freedoms for women and
opposing ruling conservatives.

Thanks to greater freedom under Khatami, Hashemi and her allies have
raised demands ranging from a more relaxed Islamic dress code for women
to suggesting that there is nothing wrong with girls courting boys for

Such moves have flown in the face of the conservatives, some of whom say
that feminism is part of a Western ``cultural invasion'' and insist that
a woman's duty is to cater to the needs of her husband and children.

Women recently won access to men's sports events when a segregated
compartment was set aside for them during an Asian volleyball
tournament. Last year, women defied the ban to attend men's events and
forced their way into a soccer stadium to join celebrations of Iran's
qualification for the World Cup.


Things are also changing on the professional front. It is now two years
since more girls than boys passed national university entrance exams.

Some 28 percent of the country's general physicians and about 64 percent
of people with high school diplomas working in the medical sector are

Official figures put women's literacy rate at 74 percent, compared to 84
for men. Women's life expectancy is 60 years, one year more than that of

``A new epoch in the social life of Iranian women has begun. Their voice
of protest can clearly be heard. They are no more what they were 20
years ago. They are demanding their rights particularly in fields which
earlier were inconceivable, including the economy,'' said a women's
issues researcher.

But analysts say there is still a long way to go. The employment rate of
women is 12 percent of the active workforce, many in low-skill jobs.
Less than two percent of management positions are held by women,
official statistics show.

There is still a glass ceiling for female graduates, particularly in the
current economic crisis that has hit Iran after a slump in oil prices,
said sociologist Nasser Fakouhi.

``The pressure of traditions and the economic crisis with its chronic
unemployment block women's way, even though the state spends a lot on
women's education,'' Fakouhi said.


The law is another battleground for women's rights. It gives men an
absolute right to divorce their wives without having to produce any
justification and, in the vast majority of cases, custody of the

``Although the mother has a very lofty place in Iranian literature and
religious tradition, legally she is next to nothing,'' said feminist
lawyer Mehrangiz Kar.

But family laws are undergoing change as a result of joint efforts by a
handful of intellectual activists and thousands of ordinary women who
have appeared before family courts.

Today men cannot divorce their wives without the ruling of a court in
which a female legal observer is present to make sure the woman's rights
have not been violated.

Improvements in custody regulations are also underway, and raising the
age at which girls can legally be married from the current nine years is
on the agenda, Lahiji said.

``There are innumerable obstacles in the way of Iranian women, but the
fact is that their current social status, with their recent
achievements, is irreversible,'' she said.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication and
redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the
prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any
errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:40:03 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Best children's films, directors awarded

thr 045
best children's films, directors awarded
tehran, feb. 6, irna -- winners of the 13th international fajr
film festival for children and young adults were introduced and
awarded in a ceremony held here on friday.
the public relations department of the festival said that
'one is not enough' from iran was chosen as the best animation film
in the international section of the festival and received the golden
'enfant de la ciotat' from france won the golden butterfly as the
the best documentary film.
'the golden butterfly' for the best feature film went to
paper missile' by farhad mehranfar from iran, for the best director to
renee heisig from germany and for the best young player to mohsen
falsafin for his role in the iranian film 'son of marry.'
the 70-man jury gave an honorary diploma and the golden butterfly
for the best animation film to 'one is not enough' by abdullah
alimorad and for the documentary film to 'the first grade' by firouz
the golden butterfly for the best video film went to 'the sweet
dream' by bahram jawaheri and for the best video film director to
fereydoun hassanpour for his work 'money'.
meanwhile, the honorary diplomas of the festival's video clip
section went to 'read it in my eyes' by majid esteki and to the
feature film 'oven' by farhang khatami.
the jury also awarded the golden butterfly and an diploma of
honor for the best documentary film to the 'first grade' and for the
best feature film to 'the birth of a butterfly.' bg/rr
::irna 06/02/99 19:38


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:41:43 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Soccer Kicking Karimi faces ban

Soccer Kicking Karimi faces ban

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Ho Chi Minh City Iran's new star goalscorer
Mohamad Ali Karimi faces a lengthy ban for his attack on a referee at
the Dunhill Cup.

Karimi, 21, was one of the heros of Iran's Asian Games-winning side in
December and has attracted attention from European clubs.

But the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) disciplinary committee will
meet in Kuala Lumpur next Thursday to consider action after Karimi
kicked and pushed Japanese referee Toru Kamikawa in a match against
Vietnam on Tuesday.

Such an assault on a match official can lead to a ban of up to two
years. Karimi was sent off and suspended for the rest of the tournament.
He has apologised to Kamikawa but can expect no mercy from the AFC.

If the confederation goes for the maximum penalty, it will take a
convincing appeal by a contrite player and his apologetic national
federation to get it reduced.

Karimi was one of two Iranians sent off in a tense two minutes midway
through the match against the hosts.

Ali Ansarian collected his second yellow card in the 69th minute for a
tackle from behind. Iranian players immediately surrounded Kamikawa to
protest the decision and Karimi pulled Kamikawa's shirt and kicked him
in the shins. A host of European scouts followed Karimi at the Asian
Games in Bangkok. Ali Daei and Khodadad Azizi already play in Germany.

But the Iranian federation told them that the attacking midfielder must
stay in Iran for at least another year. Any move could now be even
further away.

Meanwhile, Zhang Yuning scored two goals last night to lead China into
the final of the eight-nation tournament with a 4-1 victory over

The Vietnamese, despite a vocal crowd in packed 21,000-seat Thong Nhat
Stadium, looked tired and were outplayed throughout the game.


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:43:05 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Many Iranians still hope to return home despite new lives in the U.S.

Copyright 1999 Nando Media Copyright 1999 Reuters News Service


LOS ANGELES (February 4, 1999 12:03 p.m. EST
- Hamid Rafatjoo was 9 when militiamen raided his home. Several Iranian
revolutionary guards searched the house in suburban Tehran and hauled
his parents away for questioning.

"At that point my parents made the decision to leave," recalled
Rafatjoo, now 28, whose father was a respected surgeon in Iran's
capital. "If a doctor's home wasn't safe, what was?"

Iran's Islamic revolution, which erupted 20 years ago under the
leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, drove out an ancient
pro-Western monarchy under the Shah of Iran that the fundamentalist
cleric claimed had strayed from Muslim ideals.

The upheaval, in which thousands of Iranians were executed, drove many
of the wealthiest and best-educated to seek refuge in Europe or the
United States. Two decades after Khomeini declared the Islamic Republic
of Iran, the Persian diaspora have fashioned new lives as doctors,
shopkeepers and scientists while clinging to dreams of a return to their

An estimated 3 million now live outside the ancient country once known
as Persia and half a million of them have flocked to southern
California, drawn by the area's sunny climate and economic prospects.

'Very rich' left first

"The main portion of those who left first were the very rich because
they didn't like living in a country with problems," said Ali Limonadi,
president of IRTV, a Persian television station based in Los Angeles.

Intellectuals were not far behind as the new regime tightened its grip
on academics and professionals. "The main reason for people leaving was
the freedom, which just wasn't there," Limonadi said.

While many Iranians initially fled to Germany or France, the specter of
xenophobia there chased many to the shores of America, despite its own
struggles with racism. "In America they could feel at home - not right
away, of course, but it was better than Europe," Limonadi said.

Los Angeles has sprouted thousands of Iranian businesses ranging from
shops selling intricate hand-woven Persian carpets to music stores
hawking the latest hits from Iranian pop stars. More than 70 Persian
restaurants pepper the city, offering rich Middle Eastern fare such as
marinated lamb kebabs and stews laced with walnuts and pomegranate

Persian culture is so prevalent in some parts of Los Angeles it is
sometimes referred to as "Tehrangeles."

But, despite this success, the road to acceptance has been hard for
exiled Iranians. Many were hounded in their new country after Islamic
radicals in Tehran stormed the U.S. Embassy in November 1979 and took 62
Americans hostage.

"That has died down and there's an awareness now that the people who are
here are not necessarily religious fundamentalists," Rafatjoo said.

Some older Iranians have also been vexed by the language barrier.
Rafatjoo initially fled to France with his mother and brother, gaining a
command of French - only to be uprooted two years later to come to the
United States.

Only English was theme song from 'Happy Days'

"The only English I knew was the theme song for 'Happy Days,'" Rafatjoo
said, referring to the popular TV sitcom.

Elham Gheytanchi, 26, said language problems forced her father to
abandon his career as an agricultural engineer and he now works in a Los
Angeles men's store run by her uncle.

For her, a female Jewish Iranian who is now a U.S. citizen, even
answering the question "What nationality are you?" sparked some serious
soul-searching. "For me, from the very beginning I had this real
burdensome problem of identity," she said.

Reaping the fruits of the traditional Persian emphasis on learning,
younger Iranians are installing themselves in America's corporate towers
as well as its ivory ones.

Rafatjoo is an attorney with Irvine, California, law firm Lobel, Opera
and Friedman. Gheytanchi is toiling on a doctorate in sociology at the
University of California in Los Angeles.

Even now, 20 years later, a large chunk of the Iranian community still
hope they can one day return to their homeland. "My goal is to keep
Iranians here together until the day we can go back," Limonadi said.

As with many other groups, the Internet has become the Iranians'
favorite outlet for dissent, with dozens of human rights and reformist
Web sites cropping up.

The rise of a reformist faction in Tehran led by the moderate President
Mohammed Khatami has fueled hopes of a U.S.-Iranian thaw that could
reunite friends and families. While some Iranians are able to return for
visits, that is off-limits to people like Limonadi, who declare
themselves the "opposition" of the Islamic regime.

"I am blacklisted, they would kill me right away," Limonadi said.

Gheytanchi welcomed any sign of rapprochement, saying: "You need to know
what happened in the past but not hold on to those ideas because then
you're stuck in the past."

But Rafatjoo doubts many exiles would return for long, given Iran's
economic woes and the higher standard of living enjoyed in the United
States. "During the Iranian New Year I remember my parents saying
'Hopefully next year we will be in Iran,'" he said. "You don't hear that
much anymore."


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:44:23 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian carnival features US cartoon characters, music

February 4, 1999 Web posted at: 9:34 PM EST (0234 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A carnival celebrating the Iranian revolution for
the first time featured U.S. cartoon characters, dancing and music -- a
sign of how much the government has relaxed limits on music and dance.

Actors dressed as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and a variety of animals sang
and danced in a procession of more than a dozen floats that circled
Enghelab (Revolution) Square, entertaining a crowd of more than 5,000

Called the "Caravan of Joy," the carnival was organized by the Ministry
of Culture as part of the celebrations leading up to the 20th
anniversary of the 1979 overthrow of the U.S.-backed Shah on Feb. 11.

The style of the parade demonstrated how much the government's
restrictions on music and dance have been lifted since President
Mohammad Khatami took office in 1997.

Islamic hard-liners accuse Khatami of undermining the revolution by his
relaxation of social restrictions.

"I'm very happy that we are celebrating with joy in the place where we
staged the revolution 20 years ago," said Morad Najafi, a 50-year-old
bank employee, who had come to Azadi Square with his wife and two small

"Joyful celebrations are not necessarily un-Islamic, and I'm sorry that
we did not celebrate like this before," said Najafi,

Even so, there were no women among the carnival performers. Women cannot
dance or sing in public.


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:45:06 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran opposition says Tehran in deadly weapons drive

February 4, 1999 Web posted at: 9:34 PM EST (0234 GMT)

ROME (Reuters) -- Iran's opposition in exile accused Tehran Thursday of
trying to develop biological and chemical arms and obtain weapons of
mass destruction.

"We recently obtained shocking information which demonstrates that the
mullahs' regime is advancing a very systematic and dangerous program to
mass produce the essentials for germ warfare," said Mitra Bagheri, Italy
representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

"These latest reports also confirm that the regime's biological and
chemical weapons program has been intensified since Mohammad Khatami
took office as president," she told a news conference in Rome.

VX nerve gas, toxic molds and soil-contaminating agents were among the
weapons Bagheri alleged were being researched and developed.

In recent weeks, U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of trying
to acquire from Russia materials and expertise for the development of
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Tehran has dismissed charges that it is seeking to develop biological
weapons and denies receiving any foreign help for its missile program,
which it says is defensive.

Bagheri said a drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction had been
intensified during the 21-month presidency of Shi'ite cleric Mohammad
Khatami, widely seen as a moderate reformer.

Khatami is due to visit Italy next month at the start of a visit to
Western Europe -- the first by an Iranian president since the Islamic
revolution 20 years ago.

"Clearly, as far as weapons of mass destruction are concerned, Khatami
is following in the footsteps of his predecessors and has launched an
all-out effort to expand the programme," she told reporters.

Bagheri alleged the Iranian authorities wanted deadly arms in order to
"export terrorism and fundamentalism" and had recruited foreign
specialists, mainly Russians, to accelerate its warfare projects.

"The Iranian now capable of producing at least three types
of biological munitions, usable for germ warfare. Tehran is
concentrating on increasing production to mass production levels, and
safeguarding these biological weapons," she said.

The National Council of Resistance, which is closely linked with the
Iraqi-based Mujahideen Khalq group, bitterly opposes Khatami's visit to
Europe and is campaigning against it.

Copyright 1999 Reuters.


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