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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Feb 1999 to 15 Feb 1999
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There are 11 messages totalling 562 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Results of 2 Dacades Applying Islamic Economy
2. Iran arrests suspected assassins
3. Iranian police issue account of German's murder amid mounting criticism
4. Iran launches first electronic daily newspaper
5. Iran starts work on new airbase in south
6. Iran: No confrontation with US, Israel
7. Closer ties with Gulf states Tehran's top foreign policy priority
8. South African oil minister visits Iran
9. Tehran wants "drastic reform" following dissident murders
10. Rare mass jailbreak in Iran
11. Tehran press again slams government over German's murder

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 22:25:00 EDT
From: Boddy Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Results of 2 Dacades Applying Islamic Economy

AS VIOLENCE INCREASE, EXPERTS SAID ISLAMIC ECONOMY HAS RUINED
IRAN

By Safa Haeri in London

LONDON 13TH FEB. (IPS) Islamic banking system and the so-called
Islamic economy have ruined Iran, dilapidated billions of the
nation's wealth, generalised corruption, generated a speculative
economy and left Iran out of the world's trend towards
prosperity and economic growth, a panel on Iran and Economic
Problems was told Saturday in London.

Organised by the Paris-based Association of Iranian Researchers
(AIR) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of
London University, leading Iranian economists and experts noted
that the very notion of Islamic banking based on prohibition of
interests was "an absurdity resulting from the total ignorance
of the ruling religious concerning modern economy".

"At the origin, there is this basic contradiction between
Western concept of economy and finances and the Islamic one that
while banks lend money and charges interests for a purpose of
productivity and economic activities, Islam meant helping the
poor and the needy against money lenders", noted Dr Hasan
MansAur, a professor of economics teaching at major European
universities, including the American University of Paris.

Noting that Islamic economy was a "total abstract full of
contradictions - stock exchange is forbidden in Saudi Arabia,
the cradle of Islamic banking while it is authorised in Islamic
Iran, interests are forbidden in Sudan, but allowed in Pakistan
- Dr Manour pointed out that everywhere the Islamic economy and
banking system had been implemented, it ended by ruining the
economy and producing economic havoc.

Hence, from the start, the Islamic Republic, basing its economic
laws on Islamic and Koranic precepts, created obstacles to the
road of economic growth and productivity by fighting against all
the signs of modernity and civilisation, observed Dr Javad
Gohari, an economist teaching at London University.

"The regime stood against television, video, satellite,
Internet. It banned art, music, and artistic creation. It forced
the best of Iranian brains to leave the country, brains that
could turn Iran into a developed nation", he said.

Dr Fereydoun Khavand, another Iranian economist who teaches at
French universities noted for his part that in the past 20 years
Iran had missed all major economic revolutions that changed the
face of the modern world.

"While Communist China became the paradise of foreign investors,
while nations in Asia and Latin America became economic tigers
thanks to their ability at attracting foreign investments, while
all over the world, nation decentralised, privatised and secured
economic prosperity and growth by encouraging the private
sector, the Islamic Republic became the first odd regime that
banned foreign investments", Mr. Khavand remarked, pointing out
that with more 90 per cent of the economy being controlled by
the State, the Islamic Republic has become the world's biggest
centralised, monopolistic governments.

Meanwhile, the strange case of the speaker who "disappeared" on
the first day of the conference became a thriller story the kind
cherished by John Le Carre after he told friends that he in fact
had been "abducted" by two unidentified men who had threatened
him that if he speaks at the venue, he would endanger his life
and harm the situation of the Zoroastrians in Iran.

Dr Kasra Vafadari, an Iranian Zoroastrian who was to give a
lecture about the situation of his community in Iran under the
Islamic rule did disappeared minutes before the start of the
afternoon session centred on the situation of religious
minorities in Iran, creating fear and confusion among the 100
people who had attended the conference, particularly the 2 other
panellists who would talk on the situation of Iranian Jewish and
Sunni Muslims minorities.

Based in Paris where he teaches at French universities, Mr.
Kasra is reported to have told his wife and some friends that he
was going to have coffee with two men who wanted to talk to him
during the coffee break.

Eventually, Dr Kasra showed up late in the evening as London
police investigators who had been alerted by the organisers were
interrogating both his French wife and other people to find out
about the unidentified men.

Dr. Hosein Lajevardi, the president of the AIR told IPS that Mr.
Kasra had informed him that his 2 alleged abductors had warned
him against taking part in the conference, menacing that if he
does speak, not only he would put his life at risk, but he would
also create problems for the 250.000 to 300.000 Iranian
Zoroastrians religious community that enjoys limited freedom
under the ruling Shi'a Muslims that controls Iran.

A Paris-based non-profit making organisation with no political
or ideological colouring, the AIR has established a sound
reputation thanks for the meetings and conferences it organises
under the general title of "Iran in the Threshold of 2000" that
includes vast and varied subjects ranging from arts and music to
the situation of women or minorities, press or political
parties, democracy or Iran's foreign relations etc. where
leading experts, both but mostly Iranians and foreigners give
lectures.

But while the London police "closed" Mr. Kasra's case,
concluding that he had not been "abducted" without offering any
explanation, Mr. Lajevardi think that the unidentified men were
agents of the Islamic Republic who wanted to give both himself
and the AIR a "clear message to stop its activities at once".

The mystery shrouded eight hours-long disappearing of Mr. Kasra
in London coincided with the assassination in Iran, of the
German Director of Deutsche Bank office in Tehran at a time that
the giant banking institution had successfully arranged a one
billion DM loan for the dramatically foreign cash short Iran.

Observers noted that these latest incidents happens as, led by
the ruling but lamed conservatives, political violence is on the
increase in Iran, as shown by the visible deterioration of the
regime's relations with the outside world, most notably with
France, England and Germany. ENDS 2 ACI 1529902



















[B

























[A

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:12 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran arrests suspected assassins

TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The Iranian authorities have arrested
an unspecified number of suspects allegedly involved in a wave of
assassinations of Iranian intellectuals last year.
The Iranian News Agency said today that President Mohammad Khatami
was on Sunday briefed by an investigative commission on the recent
arrests, saying they ``will help shed light on the assassinations.''
A number of liberal Iranian intellectuals were killed last year in a
wave of assassinations. The reformists and centrists have blamed the
extreme Islamist militants of carrying out the killings, while the
conservatives are blaming ``foreign elements.''
The news agency said Khatami urged the investigative commission to
``work seriously and closely'' with the judicial and intelligence
authorities to find out who was behind the assassinations.
Other suspects were arrested last month in connection with the wave
of killings.
Tehran has insisted the suspected assassins did not act upon official
orders.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:07 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian police issue account of German's murder amid mounting criticism

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Iranian police issued a detailed account
Monday of the murder of a German businessman following mounting
criticism of the authorities' handling of the affair and suggestions
that "invisible hands" were behind it.
Police insisted a lone fugitive from justice was reponsible for
Saturday's murder of the former Tehran representative of Deutsche
Bank, Heinrich Lambert Heimes.
They said the lone gunman abducted Heimes from a German
diplomatic car to use him as a hostage.
The gunman kept the businessman with him after opening fire on
police and wounding one of them, and after then swapping the embassy
Toyota for another car, the statement said.
Police insisted the gunman killed his hostage before the final
firefight with police in which he was killed, contradicting the
German foreign ministry's insistence that Heimes too was killed in
the final exchange of fire.
Otherwise the police account was substantially the same as one
published in an evening newspaper close to the conservative
dominated judiciary the previous day.
Police said the gunman, Mohammad-Agha Ziarati-Farahani, 24, had
gone on a killing spree after his fiancee's family refused to give
him permission to marry their daughter and had already killed two
people before abducting Heimes.
The police statement followed a second day of criticism in the
Tehran press and open questioning of the official accounts of the
German's killing.
"Our law enforcement and foreign ministry spokespersons should
take a lesson from what can only be described as massive public
doubt about the various pronouncements," said an editorial in the
government newspaper Iran Daily.
"Unanswered questions abound" about Saturday's murder, the paper
said.
"Is there any wonder Iranians met the news of the German
banker's death with knowing if uninformed nods," the paper asked,
referring to press suggestions the previous day that the killing was
the work not of a lone criminal as officials claimed but of
"invisible hands" seeking to sabotage the "long-awaited expansion of
relations" with Bonn.
"The prime reason such rumours are travelling at such high
velocity ... is that they come in the midst of what appears to be
another wave of premeditated political violence," the paper said.
"The same types of action in the last half of 1998 ended in the
string of six assassinations associated with elements from the
(intelligence) ministry."
In a shock admission last month, the intelligence ministry
acknowledged that a spate of killings of dissidents here late last
year involved "rogue" agents, prompting the resignation this month
of conservative Intelligence Minister Dorri-Najafabadi.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:31 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran launches first electronic daily newspaper

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Iran launched its first electronic daily
newspaper on the Internet Monday dubbed Nation's House.
The paper, run by the Iranian parliament's research and
information centre, was officially inaugurated by house speaker Ali
Akbar Nateq-Nuri, the official news agency IRNA reported.
As well as providing daily accounts of parliamentary
proceedings, the paper will also draw on the huge volume of research
about Iran conducted for MPs.
The Internet has become increasingly popular in the Islamic
Republic with a growing number of cybercafes and a huge private
shopping centre specializing in imported computer equipment opening
for business in the Iranian capital.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:37 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran starts work on new airbase in south

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps has
started work on a new airbase in the southern province of Fars, the
Tehran press reported Monday.
The new airbase near the provincial capital of Shiraz was
intended as a "deterrent measure against Iran's enemies," newspapers
quoted the commander of the guards' airwing, General Mohammad-Baqr
Qalibaf, as saying at the inauguration ceremony Saturday.
The airbase is the second in the province -- the other dates
from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Iranian parliament adopted a defence budget of 2,800 billion
rials, or around 933 million dollars at the official exchange rate
of 3,000 rials to the dollar, for 1999-2000.
For the year ending March 21, Iran's defence budget was 2,900
billion rials, or around 966 million dollars at the official
exchange rate.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:18 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran: No confrontation with US, Israel

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Iran's former Revolutionary Guards
commander Mohsen Ridai has ruled out any military confrontation with the
United States and Israel but has warned that his country has the
capability to retaliate to any missile strike by the Jewish state.
Speaking in an interview with the London-based Al Hayat newspaper
today, Ridai said: ``I rule out any military confrontation. Moreover,
the international and regional circumstances do not allow them to think
about it.''
He cited the Iraq case, arguing that despite the international
resolutions, the United States has failed to win support even for the
airstrikes that aim at the destruction of the Iraqi bacteriological and
chemical weapons.
He said, ``If this is the way with Iraq, so how could they launch a
war against Iran.''
Asked if the United States and Israel might launch airstrikes that
would target Iran's nuclear installations and other strategic positions,
Ridai said, ``I don't think so although we have made preparations to
defend ourselves.''
But he warned: ``If Israel directs one missile against our
territories, we will retaliate with 10 missiles. We have the capability
of making such a retaliation and they are aware of this. Therefore, we
don't think that they are considering any military confrontation with
us.''
Ridai noted that the United States has recently eased its ``enemy
activities'' against Iran, but the ``Zionists continue to harm our
relations with friendly states in the region and are trying to disturb
the internal situation in Iran.''
He said Washington feared Iran's influence in central Asia following
the collapse of the Soviet Union ``so they were quick in finding the
Taliban issue in Afghanistan...then pushed for an alliance between
Israel and Turkey directed against Iran.''
He added that the United States also fears any rapprochement between
Iran and the Gulf states and pushed its fleets into the region to
confront what it believes was ``a real danger on them.''
Ridai said the Iranian armed forces have scored ``a big progress''
since the success of the Islamic Revolution in 1978, noting that Iran is
now producing tanks and armored personnel carriers and ``will be a good
arms supplier source for its friends in the Arab and Muslim worlds.''
He added: ``We are ready to supply them with the weapons they wish
without any restrictions.''

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:24 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Closer ties with Gulf states Tehran's top foreign policy priority

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Improved relations with the Gulf states
are Iran's top foreign policy priority, Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharazi said here Monday.
"The expansion and deepening of relations with the countries of
the Persian Gulf is the the priority of our foreign policy," Kharazi
told a meeting of Iranian diplomats based in the Gulf region.
The reformist government of President Mohammed Khatami will
continue its policy of "detente, confidence-building and growing
cooperation" in the region, the official news agency IRNA quoted
Kharazi as saying.
"The Persian Gulf is an area of great importance, which is why
its security and independence must be secured and guaranteed by the
countries of the region," he said.
Iran opposes the huge Western military presence in the region
built up since the 1991 Gulf War with Iraq, but it opposed Iraq's
1990 invasion of Kuwait and has improved its relations with the six
Gulf states in recent years.
A major stumbling block to improved relations remains Iran's
dispute with the United Arab Emirates over the Gulf islands of
Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.
The islands lie in the strategic southern gateway to the Gulf --
the Strait of Hormuz -- through which a fifth of the world's oil
passes.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:44 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: South African oil minister visits Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Visiting South African Energy Minister
Penuell Maduna has agreed to boost cooperation with Iran, already
its biggest Middle East trade partner, the Tehran press reported
Monday.
Since Nelson Mandela became president in 1994, relations between
the two governments have drastically improved and Iran has become
South Africa's principal oil supplier, providing it with a hefty
trade surplus.s

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:08:51 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran wants "drastic reform" following dissident murders

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Iran's reformist government launched a
campaign for a thorough overhaul of the secretive intelligence
services Monday following last month's shock admission that "rogue"
agents were involved in the murder of dissidents.
The intelligence ministry, which is "responsible to ensure the
security of citizens," had "become the home to a coterie of
murderers," said an editorial in the government newspaper Iran
Daily.
"Drastic reform" of the ministry was now essential following the
resignation earlier this month of conservative Intelligence Minister
Qorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, the paper said.
But the campaign immediately ran into opposition from
conservatives opposed to interference in the intelligence ministry
from Iran's reformist government.
Conservative cleric Ali Yunesi, who is expected to be formally
designated to replace Dorri-Najafabadi Tuesday, should retain a
"free hand," the conservative Tehran Times said.
Iran Daily described the "recent spate of murders by security
forces" as the "ugliest event during the era of the Islamic
Republic."
Dorri-Najafabadi's resignation "bodes well," but had come "a bit
late" and only "under pressure by the president (Mohammed Khatami),"
the paper said.
"The minister's resignation can be regarded as the second
achievement of the presidency after the first which was the intial
admittance of guilt by the security establishment," it said.
"Yet what the public demands in the 20th year of the victory of
the revolution is the drastic reform and fundamental development of
the country's security establishment to avoid the recurrence of such
events."
The paper insisted that Iran's reformist president had to
exercise continuing supervision over the ministry if he was to
fulfil his campaign promise to ensure respect for the rule of law.
"If ... the president exercises no authority in (the minister's)
appointment or dismissal or even that of a manager of the ministry,
how is he expected to fulfil his pledge to defend the rights of the
people?" the paper asked.
"Legal supervision of the performance of such a sensitive body
is a national obligation," the paper insisted.
But the conservative Tehran Times expressed strong opposition to
any attempt by Khatami to reform the intelligence services.
Yunesi -- a conservative former head of the Tehran Revolutionary
Court whose name is expected to be put before parliament for
approval Tuesday -- should be given a "free hand" to appoint his own
staff, the paper said.
The paper accused those who claimed to be seeking to reform the
intelligence ministry of in reality seeking to further their own
factional advantage.
"There are words in the air that pressure is being exerted on
Yunesi to appoint certain individuals ... Unfortunately the
(intelligence) ministry has long been a target of factionalism," the
conservative paper said.
"True (Khatami) belonged to a certain faction before his
election as president in May 1997 ... However now he is president of
the whole nation not a certain faction, his administration should
not be influenced by any factional tendencies," it said.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:09:40 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Rare mass jailbreak in Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - Eight prisoners, six of them awaiting
execution, have broken out of a prison in southern Iran, a Tehran
newspaper reported Monday.
The breakout happened at the Firuzabad prison in the southern
province of Fars, the Sobh-e-Emruz newspaper said without specifying
when.
The six prisoners on death row, one of them an Afghan, were due
to be hanged for murder, it said.
Jailbreaks are a rarity in Iran, where the prison population
numbers a little over 120,000 for a population of 60 million.

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

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 21:09:50 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran press again slams government over German's murder

TEHRAN, Feb 15 (AFP) - The Iranian government's handling of the
abduction and murder of a German businessman attracted severe
criticism in the Tehran press for a second day running Monday amid
widepread questioning of the official version of events.
"Our law enforcement and foreign ministry spokespersons should
take a lesson from what can only be described as massive public
doubt about the various pronouncements," said an editorial in the
government newspaper Iran Daily.
"Unanswered questions abound" about Saturday's murder of the
former Tehran representative of Deutsche Bank, Heinrich Lembirt
Heimes, the paper said, despite the detailed version of events given
by a newspaper closer to Iran's conservative dominated judiciary the
previous evening.
The paper noted that the Iranian police's version of events
still did not tally with that given by Bonn.
"The Germans say he died in the shootout that killed the gunman
and not necessarily at the gunman's hand," the paper said.
Heimes' abduction from a German diplomatic car just as Iran's
reformist government seeks to mend ties with Bonn provoked open
questioning of official accounts of his killing in the Tehran press
on Saturday.
The English-language Iran News , which is considered close to
Iran's reformist government and is widely read by foreign diplomats
here, openly cast doubt on official claims that the killing was the
work of a lone criminal and suggested that "invisible hands" were
seeking to sabotage the "long-awaited expansion of relations" with
Bonn.
"Is there any wonder Iranians met the news of the German
banker's death with knowing if uninformed nods," Iran Daily
commented.
"The prime reason such rumours are travelling at such high
velocity ... is that they come in the midst of what appears to be
another wave of premeditated political violence," the paper said.
"The same types of action in the last half of 1998 ended in the
string of six assassinations associated with elements from the
(intelligence) ministry."
In a shock admission last month, the intelligence ministry
acknowledged that a spate of killings of dissidents here late last
year involved "rogue" agents, prompting the resignation this month
of conservative Intelligence Minister Dorri-Najafabadi.
But another English-language paper slammed the "efforts made to
politicize" Heimes's murder.
"It is really surprising that an effort is being made in certain
circles to make such a simple case a political issue," the Tehran
Times quoted an analyst as saying, before repeating the detailed
version of events given by Kayhan the previous evening.
According to that account, Heimes was the unlucky victim of a
killing spree launched by a young Iranian whose fiancee's family had
refused to give him permission to marry their daughter.
Relations between Iran and Germany -- long its largest European
trading partner -- have been strained for nearly two years, since a
German court accused the Iranian regime of responsibility for the
murders of Kurdish political opponents in Berlin in 1992.
They deteriorated further a year ago when German businessman
Helmut Hofer was sentenced to death for an alleged affair with an
Iranian woman, in violation of Islamic law banning sexual relations
between a Moslem woman and a non-Moslem man.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Feb 1999 to 15 Feb 1999
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