Date: Feb 15, 1999 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Feb 1999 to 14 Feb 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Feb 1999 to 14 Feb 1999
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There are 13 messages totalling 503 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran arrests more suspects in dissidents' murders
2. Tehran expects oil earnings of nine billion dollars for 1998-9
3. Iran hangs eight armed robbers at dawn
4. German condemned in Iran feels forgotten by Bonn
5. Tehran newspaper gives detailed account of German's murder
6. Clinton trial a "Zionist ploy": Tehran paper
7. Iran denies bin Laden in country
8. Iran angrily rejects European "interference" over dissidents' murders
9. Tehran denies Pakistani reports Bin Laden headed for Iran
10. Murdered German businessman travelling with defence attache
11. Tehran paper openly questions official account of German's murder
12. Iranian group says Rushdie death sentence will be carried out
13. Iranian envoys meet Afghan opposition following Taliban talks

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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:21:40 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran arrests more suspects in dissidents' murders

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - More suspects have been arrested in
connection with a string of murders of dissidents late last year, a
special commission of inquiry reported to Iran's reformist President
Mohammed Khatami Sunday.
The commission told the president that the new arrests should
help throw light on the brutal killings, his office told the
official news agency IRNA.
A shock admission by the intelligence ministry last month that
"rogue" agents had been involved in the killings prompted the
resignation earlier this month of conservative Intelligence Minister
Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi.
Khatami stressed to commission members the need for them "to
seriously follow up the issue" in coordination with the judiciary
and intelligence ministry and the importance of a "timely" reporting
of their findings, his office said.
Tehran's military prosecutor Hojatoleslam Mohammad Niazi will
disclose more details about the case early next week, a commission
member told IRNA.
The brutal murders of nationalist dissident Dariush Foruhar and
his wife Parvaneh and of writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad
Pouyandeh caused public uproar here.
Another writer Majid Sharif was also found dead in mysterious
circumstances.
The murders led radical supporters of Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami to trade accusations with his conservative opponents over
responsibility for the murders and prompted Khatami to set up the
commission of inquiry.
The commission initially announced the arrest of 10 people in
connection with the murders although some have since been released.
The Tehran military prosecutor has vowed that he will try the
case in public.
Iran has repeatedly rejected calls from the European Parliament
and other organizations for an international commission of inquiry
into the killings.
"Europe has no authority to interfere in our affairs and ask for
fact-finding or inquiry teams to be sent," Iranian parliamentary
speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri told MPs earlier Sunday.
Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi insisted there was in
any case no need for any inquiry as the Iranian justice system was
completely open.
"There is a genuine dialogue between the judiciary and the
people and we have no problem," he said earlier this month.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:21:45 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran expects oil earnings of nine billion dollars for 1998-9

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - Iran now expects to earn just nine
billion dollars from oil exports for 1998-1999, a massive five
billion dollar shortfall on the 14 billion dollars originally
projected, officials announced on Sunday.
The collapse in the world oil price over the past six months
meant that Iran was now earning 25 percent less from oil exports
than it was at the time of the Islamic Revolution 20 years ago, the
director of the state Planning and Budget Organization, Mohammad-Ali
Najafi, told the official news agency IRNA.
Iran relies on oil sales for nearly 85 percent of its foreign
currency receipts and around half of all government income, and the
collapsing oil price has created an estimated budget shortfall of
6.2 billion dollars for the fiscal year to March.
The budget adopted by Iran's conservative dominated parliament
projects a deficit of at least five billion dollars again next year
on oil earnings of 12.084 billion dollars.
But the budget MPs approved was based on a projected oil price
substantially higher than that Iran is currently obtaining.
The budget predicted an oil price of 11.8 dollars a barrel for
next year requiring a significant recovery from the roughly nine
dollars a barrel Iranian oil is currently obtaining.
The second largest producer in the OPEC oil cartel, Iran's
current output stands at 3.6 million barrels per day, of which 2.5
million bpd is exported.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:10 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran hangs eight armed robbers at dawn

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - Eight men convicted of masterminding a
string of armed robberies against jewellery shops in the capital
were hanged in a Tehran prison at dawn, an evening newspaper
reported Sunday.
Twenty-three other members of the "Ruby" gang were sentenced to
be jailed, fined or lashed, Kayhan reported.
Several shopkeepers were killed in the two dozen raids carried
out by the gang since 1989, the paper said.
The punishment for armed robbery is execution under the Islamic
penal code enforced in Iran.


------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:21:51 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: German condemned in Iran feels forgotten by Bonn

BONN, Feb 14 (AFP) - A German businessman condemned to death in
Iran for an alleged affair with an Iranian woman criticised Bonn for
not making faster progress on his case, the daily Die Welt said
Sunday.
The paper published a letter sent from Helmut Hofer in his
prison cell to his friend John Schneider-Merck, in which he said he
found "the way I am treated by the two sides more and more shameful
and sad."
In a letter dated 26 January, Hofer said he had told authorities
in Bonn and the German embassy in Tehran "that it wasn't worth
coming to see me any more if they had nothing to say to me."
Martin Erdman, spokesman for the German foreign ministry, said
Bonn and the embassy had done "everything possible" to secure
Hofer's release.
He said the authorities had pushed for better prison conditions
for Hofer, obtained permission for regular visits and had spent
thousands of dollars on lawyers' fees.
Germany last week said it would postpone a visit to Tehran by
Chancellery Minister Bodo Hombach, who is Germany's special envoy on
the case, until there was "greater clarity" surrounding the affair.
Tehran later rejected "any preconditions set on its foreign
relations."
Hofer, 57, was jailed in September 1997 and sentenced to death
for an alleged affair with an Iranian woman. Iranian law forbids
sexual relations between Moslems and non-Moslems.
The German denies having had any relationship with the Iranian
student, who Schneider-Merck said approached him for "conversations
in English."
An Iranian official said earlier this month that Hofer should
know the final verdict on his appeal by the end of February.
Hofer said in his correspondence that he knew Bonn would not
exchange him for Kazem Dharabi, an Iranian jailed in Germany for
involvement in political assassinations in Berlin in 1992.
Dharabi's 1997 trial, in which the Iranian regime itself was
accused of implication, strained relations between the two
countries.
Hombach's visit has further been marred by the abduction and
murder of a German businessman on Saturday, just as Iran's reformist
government was seeking to mend ties with Bonn.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:21:56 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran newspaper gives detailed account of German's murder

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - A Tehran newspaper close to Iran's
conservative dominated judiciary gave a detailed account Sunday of
the murder of a German businessman, following suggestions in the
moderate press that the killing was the work of "invisible hands."
German businessman Heinrich Lembert Heimes had been unlucky
enough to be caught up in a killing spree launched by a young
Iranian when his fiancee's family refused to give him permission to
marry their daughter, the evening newspaper Kayhan said.
Mohammad-Agha Ziarati-Farahani, 24, had already killed three
other people in his efforts to evade police before he abducted
Heimes from a German diplomatic car on Saturday, the paper said.
The killing spree started when Ziarati-Farahani, a resident of
the holy city of Qom, turned up at his fiancee's family's house
armed with a Kalashnikov and driving a stolen Peugeot, the paper
said.
He opened fire at police, who had already been alerted by the
family, killing one officer, it said.
The fugitive Ziarati-Farahani then killed Ali Sahra-Ghard, the
assistant director of a Qom factory where he had sought to change
cars.
As he fled he opened fire on bystanders killing a shopkeeper,
the paper said.
Ziarati-Farahani only stopped the German diplomatic car when his
stolen Peugeot broke down, it said.
His only interest was in the car and its driver Heimes, the
paper said, and so he made the passengers in the vehicle -- German
military attache Peter Hausmann and the two men's wives -- get out.
The fugitive only killed the German businessman when he realized
police were on his trail, it said.
The newspaper's account contradicted the version of events given
by the German foreign ministry Sunday which said that Heimes was
"killed in an exchange of fire between the Iranian security forces
and the gunman."
The detailed account from the conservative-leaning evening paper
followed open questioning of official accounts of the killing in a
morning newspaper close to Iran's reformist government.
"Statements made by the foreign ministry and the law enforcement
forces are neither clear nor convincing," said the English-language
Iran News which is widely read by foreign diplomats here.
The paper openly cast doubt on official claims that Heimes's
abduction was the work of a lone criminal and suggested that
"invisible hands" were seeking to sabotage the "long-awaited
expansion of relations" with Bonn.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:17 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Clinton trial a "Zionist ploy": Tehran paper

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - The "Zionist" lobby in the United States
masterminded the Monica Lewinsky affair and US President Bill
Clinton's subsequent impeachment trial to punish him for his
"neutral" role in the Middle East, according to a Tehran paper.
"The Zionist lobby was disappointed" when Clinton was acquitted
of perjury charges by the US Senate, an "analyst" told the English
language Tehran Times on Sunday.
"In the recent past, Clinton was the only US president who tried
to play some sort of neutral role" in the Middle East, he said
implying that this had provoked Israeli anger.
The paper said in another article that the "Zionists" are now
"in full control of Washington."
Another paper said the affair was divine retribution for the
president's excessive confidence and pride.
"Bill Clinton failed to realise that he was first being watched
by the Almighty, then by millions of Americans who already had him
under scrutiny for a number of extramarital affairs," said the
conservative daily Kayhan International.
It said it was natural "for a president to feel invincible when
the economy is doing fine and he fires cruise missiles at poor Iraqi
homes."
The paper concluded that the affair was a vindication of Iran's
Islamic legislation separating men from women in public offices.
The "separation of sexes is good for the society, and good for
politics," it said.
To ram home the point, the paper carried a picture of a
smug-looking Clinton drawing on his "infamous cigar," a reference to
his reported use of a cigar as a sex aid during his encounters with
Lewinsky.
The US Senate acquitted Clinton of charges of perjury and
obstruction of justice on Friday at the close of only the second
presidential impeachment trial in US history.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran denies bin Laden in country

TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Iran has strongly denied that a Saudi
dissident sought by the United States for allegedly masterminding
terrorist acts against U.S. targets is in that country.
Tehran was responding to reports quoting intelligence sources in
Pakistan that Osama bin Laden was seen on the borders between
Afghanistan and Iran.
The foreign ministry said in a statement today that ``this
information is unfortunate and irresponsible, aimed at confusing public
opinion.''
The Saudi millionaire dissident, who has been living in Afghanistan
since the former Soviet occupation of the country in the 1980s,
reportedly left the country.
The Afghan Taliban movement said Saturday it lost track of bin Laden
and believed he left Afghanistan after the United States gave the
Taliban a deadline to expel him or hand him over for trial.
The Taliban, which refused to expel him, said Washington threatened
to use force against its own headquarters if it failed to hand him over.
The United States fired missiles at suspected camps and hideout of
bin Laden and his supporters in Afghanistan shortly after bomb attacks
against two U.S. embassies in East Africa last August killed more than
200 people.
Meanwhile, State Department Spokesman James Rubin said in Paris today
the United States was ``not in a position to confirm'' whether bin Laden
did in fact leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban said Saturday it did not ask bin Laden to leave the
country.
British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Derrick Fatchet said
in London today he did not think it was likely that the Taliban has in
fact lost track of bin Laden.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:33 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran angrily rejects European "interference" over dissidents' murders

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - Tehran Sunday stepped up its rejection of
calls for an international inquiry into a string of murders of
dissidents here last year, warning the European Parliament not to
meddle in its domestic affairs.
"Europe has no authority to interfere in our affairs and ask for
fact-finding or inquiry teams to be sent," said Iranian
parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri.
"We have restored dialogue with the European Union but this does
not mean that we shall tolerate any interference in our internal
affairs," he told MPs.
The European Parliament and other international organisations
have called for fact-finding teams to be sent to Iran to investigate
the murders late last year of a nationalist dissident and his wife
and at least two other writers.
In a shock admission early last month the intelligence ministry
admitted that "rogue" agents had been involved in the murders,
sparking the resignation this month of conservative Intelligence
Minister Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi.
Nateq-Nuri's angry reaction to the calls from the European
Parliament follows a firm rejection from Iran's conservative
judiciary earlier this month of any international inquiry.
"Iran is an independent country and does not accept any foreign
interference ... The judiciary rejects an inquiry team or
fact-finding mission of any sort," judiciary chief Ayatollah
Mohammad Yazdi said.
Yazdi insisted that there was in any case no need for any
inquiry as the Iranian justice system was completely open.
"There is a genuine dialogue between the judiciary and the
people and we have no problem," he said..
The brutal murders of nationalist dissident Dariush Foruhar and
his wife Parvaneh and of writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad
Pouyandeh caused public uproar here.
Another writer Majid Sharif was also found dead in mysterious
circumstances.
The murders led radical supporters of Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami to trade accusations with his conservative opponents over
responsibility for the murders, and prompted the intelligence
minister's resignation after weeks of mounting pressure in the
radical and moderate press.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:22 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran denies Pakistani reports Bin Laden headed for Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - Tehran categorically denied Sunday
Pakistani reports that Washington's public enemy number one, Saudi
dissident Ossama bin Laden, was headed for Iran.
Claims by a Pakistani intelligence officer that bin Laden had
been seen on the Iranian border after his reported disappearance
from his Afghan hideout were "irresponsible" and "regrettable," a
foreign ministry spokesman said.
The reports were aimed at "confusing public opinion," the
spokesman told the official news agency IRNA.
The Taliban militia, which controls 80 percent of Afghanistan,
announced on Sunday that bin Laden had disappeared and might have
left Afghanistan.
Its claim was greeted with caution by Britain and the United
States, who hold bin Laden responsible for a series of attacks
against Western targets.
Bin Laden was believed to have been living in the southern
Afghan city of Kandahar, the Taliban's de facto base, since the
United States last year launched missile strikes against his camps
in Afghanistan.
His continued residence has raised fears of new US military
action and hindered the Taliban's efforts to be recognised as the
legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.
Analysts said the Taliban may have moved to isolate bin Laden to
win international favour.
Bin Laden, a gaunt and secretive 42-year-old millionaire, has
called on Moslems to kill Americans and Britons whenever possible.
He launched three fatwas, or religious decrees, between 1996 and
1998, declaring a religious war, or jihad, against the US presence
in Saudi Arabia and has made new threats since the US and British
bombing campaign in Iraq in December.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:38 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Murdered German businessman travelling with defence attache

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - A German businessman, whose murder
Saturday has further soured Tehran's relations with Bonn, was
travelling with the German military attache in his diplomatic car,
diplomatic sources said here Sunday.
The gunman made the attache -- naval officer Peter Hausmann --
and his wife get out of the car along with the wife of German
businessman, Heinrich Lambert Heimes, they said.
He then hijacked the car, abducting and later killing Heimes,
the German representative of Deutsche Bank, who was at the wheel at
the time.
According to an official account of the killing published by the
official news agency IRNA Saturday, Heimes was killed by a lone
fugitive as he was travelling in a car belonging to the German
embassy.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:50 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran paper openly questions official account of German's murder

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - A Tehran paper openly questioned Sunday
official accounts of the murder of a German businessman the previous
day suggesting the killing was not the work of a lone criminal but
of circles determined to undermine Tehran's ties with Bonn.
"Invisible hands," screamed the headline to the editorial in the
English-language Iran News calling for urgent action by the
authorities to stop the businessman's murder sabotaging a
"long-awaited expansion of relations."
"Statements made by the foreign ministry and the law enforcement
forces are neither clear nor convincing," the paper said of official
accounts of Saturday's murder of the Tehran representative of
Deutsche Bank, Heinrich Lembirt Heimes.
"A review of Irano-German relations in the past few years
reveals that invisible hands are at work to prevent the expansion of
ties between Bonn and Tehran," said the paper, which is considered
close to Iran's reformist government and is widely read by foreign
diplomats.
Its editorial openly suggested that the murder which the
authorities blamed on a lone fugitive, might have been the latest in
a string of mystery murders which the intelligence ministry last
month admitted involved "rogue" agents.
"It is still too early to say whether or not this murder is part
of the same killing campaign that still baffles the Iranian
authorities and nation," the paper said.
"The intelligence agents and law enforcement officers must
cooperate in pursuing this matter and determine if the murderer was
working alone or had accomplices," it said.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:56 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian group says Rushdie death sentence will be carried out

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - The leader of an Iranian political and
religious foundation which has put a price on the head of British
writer Salman Rushdie, said Sunday that the fatwa against him would
"definitely be carried out".
In a statement published in the daily Jomhuri-Eslami, Ayatollah
Hassan Sanei, president of the 15-Khordad Foundation, upheld the
"validity" of the religious decree issued on February 14 1989 by
Iran's late spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny.
Khomeiny sentenced Rushdie to death, saying he was guilty of
blasphemy against Islam in his book "The Satanic Verses".
The 15-Khordad Foundation has offered a reward of 2.8 million
dollars for Rushdie's murder.
"Iran is serious in defending this historic fatwa and wants to
see it applied," Sanei said, stressing that "the idea of Rushdie's
annihilation is more alive than ever."

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:22:45 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian envoys meet Afghan opposition following Taliban talks

TEHRAN, Feb 14 (AFP) - Iranian officials have met Afghan
opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood for the first time since Tehran
held its first direct talks with the Taliban militia which controls
most of Afghanistan, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.
The meeting in Afghanistan on Saturday focused on "current
developments" in the country and "new strategies" to "ensure peace
and security" after 20 years of civil war, the news agency said.
Iran, which supports Masood's forces against the Taliban,
announced it held its first direct talks with the militia in Dubai
in early February, though there has still been no word from the
Taliban on the meeting.
Relations between Tehran and Taliban have been severely strained
since the killing of eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist
following the militia's capture of the opposition stronghold of
Mazar-i-Sharif last August.
Tehran has called on the Taliban to find and punish the
perpetrators of the murders, which prompted Iran to mass hundreds of
thousands of troops on the Afghan border last autumn.
Tehran also continues to demand the formation of a "broad-based
coalition government" in Kabul including the opposition, as called
for by the so-called six-plus-two group made up of Russia, the
United States and Afghanistan's six neighbours.
Iran accuses the militia of engaging in wholesale drug
trafficking and of swamping its borders with opium and heroin
destined for the Gulf countries and Western Europe.
Like most members of the international community, Tehran
continues to recognise the government of ousted president
Burhanuddin Rabbani, whose forces are led by Masood.

------------------------------

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Feb 1999 to 14 Feb 1999
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