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There are 19 messages totalling 1236 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. THE TIME IS NOW
2. Anti-Turkish demonstrations erupt across western Iran (2)
3. Daughter of Iran, Shades of Her Father
4. (fwd) Turkey closes one gate on Iranian border over Kurdish protests
5. Turkey evacuates consulate in Iran after Kurdish attacks
6. Iraqi Shiites protest in Iran over cleric's murder
7. PKK urges Kurds to fight Turkey
8. Iranian police break up Kurd protest
9. Third straight day of Shiite unrest in Iraq: SAIRI
10. Last-ditch bid to bar Tehran reformers from Friday's landmark elections
11. Iran rejects Turkmenistan deal on Caspian gas pipeline
12. Iranian supreme leader condemns killing of Iraqi ayatollah
13. Iranian supreme court quashes death sentence on German
14. Iraqi opposition seeks international probe into cleric's murder
15. Iran's municipal elections focus on the battle for Tehran
16. Iran denies Iraq incursions
17. Seven drug smugglers killed in shootout: Iran
18. Iran announces more arrests in dissident murders with Turkish help

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 09:32:29 EST
From: CHAIRNGO@AOL.COM
Subject: THE TIME IS NOW

HAMBASTEGI Number 80-81
February 1999

Editorial
THE TIME IS NOW
Maryam Namazie, IFIR Deputy Director
February 1999

When we speak of thousands at risk of deportation to the Islamic
Republic of Iran, we must remember the individuals. We must remember
the person who is languishing in a "reception facility," imprisoned in a
"holding center," shackled at an airport, living in a ghetto, beaten by a
cop, and forcibly taken to an Iranian embassy in handcuffs. We must
remember the woman who cannot sleep, the child who has become
suicidal, the man who has been called a liar one too many times
during interrogations by immigration authorities and the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We must remember the
individuals who are uncertain and full of fear, yet kicking and screaming
so that they will not awaken in their nightmare, the Islamic Republic of
Iran.

These are the people who occupied the UN in The Hague, Holland,
and who organized the sit-in in Bokum, Germany. They will not be
forced to live under medieval rules. They are hungry for life. They want
to live like human beings.

The media and "civilized" governments have seen the flare in their eyes,
both in Iran and in immigration holding cells. That is why they raise the
picture of a smiling mullah and hold conferences on Islam and human
rights. They want us to believe that conditions in Iran are normal. They
want us to believe that those individuals are welfare cheats, ignorant,
and not deserving of anything better. They hope to make the
intolerable tolerable by repeatedly saying it is so. It is only because
they have seen the wrath in an asylum seeker's eyes, have felt his
glares, and have been offended by her cheeky, uncompromising belief
that she is worthy of dignity. Those individuals, part of a sea of
humanity, will not be discounted, dehumanized, and bartered for profit.

Remember those individuals when you raise your pens and your fists
to smash inhumanity. Have you not yet done so, now is the time to
become partners in the struggle for the right to asylum and an end to
the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now is the time to take that step forward
in any way you can - by writing a letter, joining a protest action,
exposing the unbearable. The crisis-ridden regime of Islam is falling flat
on its face. Opposition is on the rise. People are demanding an end
to repression and the regime which has promoted a culture of mass murder.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) has been
an uncompromising partner in this struggle. Join us and a movement
which demands a life worthy of human beings. The time is now.

IFIR PRESS RELEASES (AUGUST - DECEMBER 1998)

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) with its 40 branches
in 15 countries world-wide, has unrelentingly exposed the Islamic Republic
of Iran and defended refugee rights over the past ten years. In order to
better publicize IFIR's campaigns, a summary of all our main press releases,
most
of which are translated from Persian, will be printed in Hambastegi.

* IFIR - Swedish Branch, Press Release Number 9, 30 August 1998:
Representatives of the IFIR Branch in Sweden met with a number of
organizations and parties as a follow-up to the Branch's campaign in
defense of "clandestine asylum seekers" in Sweden.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Hambastegi will Print your
Grievances Against the Islamic Republic of Iran," August 30, 1998:
Hambastegi will print the grievance letters of all those who have been
directly or indirectly harassed, humiliated, tortured and persecuted by the
Islamic regime of Iran.
* IFIR - German Branch, Nader Sharifi, Director, "The Anti-Refugee
Policies of the German Government is Condemned," September 6, 1998:
A protest campaign summoned by IFIR - German Branch and three other
organizations was endorsed by more than 200 organizations. More
than 30 thousand individuals participated in the actions which took
place in 36 cities throughout Germany.
* IFIR Swedish Branch, Hassan Panahi, Secretary, Press Release
Number 10, September 7, 1998: In continuation of the campaign
in defense of "clandestine asylum seekers," the IFIR representative
spoke at a conference in Stockholm on September 3, 1998.
Other participants included representatives of the Swedish
government's immigration department. The immigration department
agreed to review cases which had been denied.
IFIR Secretariat, "September 21, 1998: Day of Action in NYC Against
the Islamic Republic of Iran," September 18, 1998: A call to join
the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) summoned demonstration
in NYC against the regime of Iran on September 21, 1998 on the
date that Khatami attended the fifty-third session of the UN
General Assembly.
* IFIR Secretariat, "Successful Demonstration against Islamic Republic
of Iran," September 23, 1998: The successful demonstration was
endorsed by hundreds of organizations and individuals and covered by
the media.
* IFIR Secretariat, "International Solidarity for the Struggle of Iranian
Refugees in Canada," October 5, 1998: With the IFIR - Canadian
Branch's initiative, ongoing protests have culminated into an expansive
and national "Campaign Against the Federal Government Attacks on
Immigrants and Refugees," comprising workers', women's, humanitarian
and socialist organizations, including Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
(OCAP), a renown labor organization. The Campaign has gained
public support through demonstrations, and actions, including
occupying of government centers.
* IFIR - Canada Branch, Hassan Varash, Director, "Success for Afghan
Refugees," October 11, 1998: Following a demonstration of the Campaign
defending refugee rights, immigration contacted the campaign's
headquarters to announce that several Afghans were given residency.
IFIR congratulates all for this success.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Support Iranian Refugees in
Iraq," October 13, 1998: IFIR calls for support of the demands of Iranian
refugees residing in Iraqi Kurdistan who are participating in a sit-in.
* IFIR - Canadian Branch, Hassan Varash, Director, Press Release
number 17: "The Minister of Immigration Backs Down," October 14, 1998:
The Canadian Minister of Immigration formally opposes many items on
the "Not Just Numbers" Legislation, though she had initially supported
it. The legislation was to pass in May of this year but failed as a result
of national protests organized by the Campaign.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "The Struggle of Refugees
in Canada Succeeds in Pushing Back the Government," October 15, 1998:
Months of organized protests in Canada and internationally have
forced the government to cancel its racist legislation.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Iranian Refugees in
Iraq End Successful Sit-in," October 21, 1998: The second sit-in of
200 Iranian refugees in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, in protest to the policies
and practices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) - Iraq Branch Office, has ended successfully.
* IFIR - Vancouver Branch in Canada, Fahimeh Sadeghi, "Protest
Shirin Amini's Deportation," October 21, 1998: Shirin Amini was
detained and deported to the United States. Her children are still in
Canada. IFIR calls on all to protest her deportation and the inhumane
methods of Canadian immigration.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Condemn the Islamic
Attack on Women's Rights Activists," October 21, 1998: The release
supports the activists of the Action Committee in Defense of Women's
Rights in Iran (ACDWRI) who participated in a Canadian Labor
Congress' (CLC) conference in Montreal and condemns an Islamic
association called "Alhoda, the Lebanese Moslems' Society" who objected
to their participation.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Join the International
Campaign in Defense of Taslima Nasrin," October 28, 1998: IFIR
joins the international campaign summoned by the Worker-communist
Party of Iran in defense of the Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasrin.
* IFIR - Swedish Branch, Bahram Rahmani, Director, Press Releases
on the Painful Tragedy in Gotenberg, November 1998: In a number of
press releases, beginning on October 30, 1998, IFIR gives its condolences
for the tragic human loss in a fire at a local where 400 youth were
attending a dance. 63 lost their lives and 200 were injured as a result.
IFIR condemns the formation of ghettos which result in limited resources
and safety for immigrants and refugees. Another press release discusses
a November 21 roundtable discussion in which matters such as the
status of immigration in Sweden, cultural relativism, and the isolation and
marginalization of immigrants were discussed.
* IFIR - Swedish Branch, Bahram Rahmani, Director, "Iran is Unsafe,
Deportation Must End," November 16, 1998: As a result of the struggle
of IFIR and other individuals, representatives of seven parties in
Swedish parliament signed a recommendation stating that Iran be
deemed unsafe and that deportation to Iran be stopped.
* IFIR Secretariat, Soraya Shahabi, Director, "Radio Hambastegi
will Begin Broadcasting Programs in Iran," November 20, 1998: For
the first time, IFIR's voice will be able to reach the people in Iran
directly via radio. IFIR calls on all supporters of its ten years of
progressive activities in defense of human and egalitarian beliefs
to financially support the weekly programs.
* IFIR Secretariat, Behruz Milani, "Another Crime has Been
Committed in `Safe' Iran," November 23, 1998: IFIR condemns
the assassination of Dariush and Parvaneh Foruhar. This is not
the regime's first crime, nor its last. IFIR declares that the regime,
Khatami, Khamenei, Rafsanjani and all their collaborators are
directly responsible for this crime.
* IFIR - Sweden, Bahram Rahmani, Why Must a Young Girl go on
Hunger Strike, December 5, 1998: The release states that the
fact that a 16 year old girl must go on hunger strike is a political
and human calamity for Sweden. IFIR calls for residency for
Shadi and her family and an end to deportations to Iran.
* IFIR Secretariat, Maryam Namazie and Keyvan Javid, On
International Human Rights Day: A Call for Action Against Reaction
and Repression, December 10, 1998: The press release condemns
Islamic and Islamist governments and groups which commit
genocide and untold crimes against humanity.
* Bahram Rahmani, IFIR - Sweden, A Young Asylum Seeker and
her Family are Granted Residency, December 15, 1998: Shadi
and her family received residency in Sweden after their hunger
strike and the support of many organizations and individuals.
IFIR-Sweden had defended her claim.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT IFIR, GPO, PO BOX 7051
NY, NY 10116. Tel: 212-747-1046. Fax: 212-425-7260.
E-mail: chairngo@aol.com. To subscirbe to Hambastegi, send $15
to the above address. Hambastegi is mainly in Persian.
Make checks payable to CHAIR.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 20:52:00 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Anti-Turkish demonstrations erupt across western Iran

Anti-Turkish demonstrations erupt across western Iran
by Kianouche Dorranie

02/21/99 Agence France-Presse

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - Violent anti-Turkish demonstrations have erupted
across western Iran in protest at the capture of Kurdish rebel leader
Adbullah Ocalan, Iranian newspapers and Kurdish groups reported Sunday.


Protestors have taken to the streets in several towns in Iran 's western
Kurdistan provinces since Friday and several people were reported killed in
clashes with security forces.


"Demonstrators, chanting slogans in support of the Kurdish movement in
Iranian Kurdistan and calling for a solution to the Kurdish problem, were
attacked by government forces and their demonstration was bloodily
repressed," the Iran branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said.


"According to the information we have, several people have keen killed and
wounded and dozens of others arrested," the KDP said in a statement
received in Nicosia.


Iran 's conservative Qods newspaper reported sporadic clashes between
police and demonstrators in the town of Orumiyeh, while Jahan-e-Eslam
newspaper said two youngsters were killed by police attempting to ward off
an attack on the Turkish consulate there.


The daily Hamshamri, the paper of the Tehran municipality, said there had
also been clashes in the western towns of Sanandaj, Baneh and Saqez.


The police were reported to have intervened to break up Kurdish rallies,
and markets in a number of other towns closed in protest.


Several hundred Iranian Kurds held a peaceful demonstration with interior
ministry permission on Sunday outside the UN building in Tehran. They
called for Ocalan's release and chanted slogans in Kurdish in support of
"Greater Kurdistan."


"We will set fire to Turkey," they chanted, as they waved portraits of Ocalan.


A large police contingent had been deployed to protect the UN building
which has been the scene of Kurdish demonstrations in previous days.


An influential Iranian Kurd MP called on the country's Kurdish population
to rise up in protest against Turkey, which he accused of having "repressed
the Kurdish people and flouted their rights for decades."


"Turkish leaders must know that Ocalan's capture will not hinder the
legitimate struggle of Kurds in Turkey," Bahaeddin Adab told parliament on
Sunday.


"I call on courageous Kurds in Iran and elsewhere to continue their
legitimate protests against the abduction of Abdullah Ocalan," said Adab
who represents Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province in western Iran .


Anger over the Ocalan affair has been extended to lambast Turkey for its
ties with Israel, and to attack the United States.


Adab said the Iranian government should review its economic relations with
Ankara in view of its "ever closer links with the criminal regime in Israel."


Demonstrators in Tehran called for "Vengeance against Israel" and "Death to
America," while those in the Kurdish frontier town of Bameh also included
anti- Israeli and anti-United States slogans in their protests.


Turkey and Israel are linked by a military cooperation agreement, and
Kurdish groups have accused Israel of helping Turkey capture Ocalan.


The United States welcomed Ocalan's arrest and some groups have implicated
the CIA in his abduction.


In the past Ankara has accused Iran of "closing its eyes" to the use of its
territory by reb%6Z$6f the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to infiltrate into
Turkey, charges Tehran rejects.


Iran has a Kurdish population of between five and six million, who enjoy a
certain degree of autonomy and are represented in parliament.


Ocalan, leader of the PKK, was captured by Turkish agents in Kenya on
Monday and in now being held in Turkey pending trial on terrorism charges.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:02:27 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Daughter of Iran, Shades of Her Father

February 21, 1999
Daughter of Iran, Shades of Her Father
By LESLIE CAMHI

During the summer of 1997, in a poor district in southern Tehran, the
authorities learned that a 65-year-old man, together with his blind wife,
had kept his 12-year-old twin daughters locked inside their hous7e since
birth.

Social workers intervened; the girls, unwashed and barely intelligible,
were temporarily removed to a child welfare agency; their parents were
taken in for questioning.

Close by, in another neighborhood, an 18-year-old girl and her father, a
prominent filmmaker, watched these events unfolding on the evening news and
discussed it excitedly. Within days, the girl had borrowed her father's
movie camera and the film stock for his next feature (a precious commodity,
controlled by the government).

With her father's help, and a minimal crew, she began shooting, on
location, the real-life characters in this drama.

"The Apple," an astonishing directorial debut by Samira Makhmalbaf, written
and edited by her father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, won praise when it screened at
the Cannes International Film Festival last spring, but it also provoked a
certain confusion. "One critic asked: 'What kind of country is Iran?' " Ms.
Makhmalbaf recalled, speaking animatedly in a mixture of English and Farsi.
" 'Is it a place where 12-year-old girls are incarcerated, or where
18-year-old girls make movies?' "

The film, which opened in New York on Friday after screening in the New
York Film Festival last fall, is both a realistic recreation of surreal
events and a subtle allegory about the need for liberty. It mixes simple,
potent symbols -- a mirror, a watch, an apple -- with surprisingly natural
performances and cinematic sophistication, yet its true charm stems from
the extraordinary gentleness and humor with which it surrounds the frail
participants in this social tragedy.

The twins, though largely mute and physically impaired from years of
confinement, nevertheless illuminate the screen with their awkward
intelligence and palpable delight in freedom. Their impoverished, elderly
father quotes from an antiquated parenting manual, describing girls as
flowers, easily faded by the "sun" of strange men's gazes; his
wily,hard-headed simplicity, which produced such calamitous consequences,
is also touching and funny.

Yet the film's most painful and haunting presence is the girls' blind and
severely disturbed mother, a spectral figure who prefers to remain locked
in her home, wrapped in her chador and continually muttering curses.

"It is useless to try to find someone to blame for her condition," said Ms.
Makhmalbaf, sitting in the Manhattan offices of her distributor, New Yorker
Films. "Who is to tell whether it was her husband's wish for her to be
incarcerated, or her own? By the time society intervenes, she has so
radically internalized this norm that even when the door is opened, she
doesn't know what to do. The veil has become her entire universe.

"What I noticed about those two girls is that, the more they came into
contact with society, the more complete they became as human beings. For me
that became a metaphor for all women. The other women in the neighborhood
all have bars in front of their houses. They're all wearing chadors. They
live in the same prison, just a little better. It doesn't mean they are as
free as men, to have a role in society.

"But sometimes I think that women in Iran are like a spring. When you push
them a lot, when they are under pressure, they are closed. But if they want
to be free, and if they try, they burst out with a lot of energy."

Articulate and vivacious, aware of her youth yet utterly self-assured, it's
tempting to see Ms. Makhmalbaf as the embodiment of a new generation. In
fact, her precocious emergence as a filmmaker coincided with the promise of
social change in Iran.

In May 1997 Mohammad Khatami was elected president in a landslide victory;
he pledged openness, tolerance and concern for the aspirations of young
people and women. (Recent assassinations of dissident intellectuals, though
officially condemned by the government, have dampened those hopes
considerably.)

"It was very important that Khatami talked about young people," Ms.
Makhmalbaf said, though she declares herself largely uninterested in
politics. "For 19 years, nobody cared about them."

Yet Ms. Makhmalbaf's startling cinematic vision is also the product of a
unique education and circumstances. Among Iran's New Wave of filmmakers,
Abbas Kiarostami may be the darling of Western critics, but Mohsen
Makhmalbaf (known in this country for "Gabbeh") is more widely admired at
home. Ms. Makhmalbaf practically grew up on sets where she watched her
father direct more than a dozen features.

At age 15, Ms. Makhmalbaf informed her father and other family members that
she wanted to quit high school to devote herself to cinema. "It took some
time to convince them," she said. "That was my first practice in directing."

In response to her requests for guidance, Makhmalbaf suggested books and
films; friends and other family members soon joined their
discussions."Gradually, our meetings became more systematized, like lessons
in a school," she said. "We studied the history of art, music,
architecture, film, video, photography, literature and poetry."

During that time, Ms. Makhmalbaf made two video shorts, a documentary about
styles of European painting and a fiction about a frustrated young artist.

Home schooling also sparked the cinematic ambitions of Ms. Makhmalbaf's
siblings. Her 19-year-old brother Messam, who worked as a still
photographer on "The Apple," is interested in editing; her little sister
Hanna made her first short film at the age of 8. ("The Day My Aunt Was Ill"
was selected to screen at the Locarno Film Festival.)


The unlikely parallels between the destitute family in "The Apple" and this
highly cultivated but incongruous household of auteurs were not lost on the
film's Iranian viewers.

"Mr. Makhmalbaf also kept his children at home," said Jamsheed Akrami, an
Iranian film critic who teaches at William Paterson University in Wayne,
N.J. "Not as prisoners, of course. But his logic was, I'm not happy with
the educational system, I'm going to educate them myself. Well, it struck
me that the actions of the father in the film were something like his. One
act produced very interesting results. The other resulted in a tragedy. But
their nature was not so different."

How closely did Mohsen Makhmalbaf orchestrate his daughter's emergence as a
director? Reached by fax in Tehran, Makhmalbaf did not return repeated
requests for comment on their collaborative process.

Whatever its debt to her father's esthetic legacy, "The Apple" is guided by
Samira Makhmalbaf's spirit of youth and independence. Yet "The Apple" also
builds upon the contradictions of a country that since its Islamic
revolution has supported a flourishing professional class of women while
enforcing their hijab, or ritual veiling and seclusion; a country that has
seen one of the world's great contemporary cinemas flower amid strict
government censorship.

"I think women directors in Iran have more chances than outside Iran for
professional advancement," asserted Malak Khazai, an art director and
director who divides her time between Paris and Tehran. "Discrimination
comes not from the authorities but from constraints placed upon them by
personal relationships."

Raksheen Bani-Etemad, the most prominent of the half-dozen women directors
currently working in Iran, agrees. Ms. Bani-Etemad's last three films have
centered on subjects of particular concern to women, and she finds Iranian
filmgoers increasingly interested in these issues.

Earlier this month she presented her most recent work, "The May Lady," at
the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Its heroine, a divorced
filmmaker, is researching a documentary on "the exemplary mother" while her
own maternal duties create conflict in her private life.

"These are things people wouldn't even talk about among themselves," she
said in Rotterdam. "So when they're shown on screen, they have a tremendous
force."

Iranian film censors require women's figures to be veiled; male and female
actors are prohibited from touching, and the use of close-ups is
discouraged. Paradoxically, by making naturalistic depictions of romance
difficult for directors to achieve, these restrictions have contributed to
the development of a cinema uniquely engaged with social reality. With its
focus on children and socially dispossessed people, and its self-conscious
mixing of documentary and fiction styles, "The Apple" draws upon several
prevalent Iranian film genres.

"We took the experience we were having while shooting very seriously," Ms.
Makhmalbaf said when describing her method of eliciting remarkably
spontaneous performances from the film's cast of nonprofessionals. "I had
only one camera, and very limited film stock. So I couldn't ask the father
to act in a fictive way, and have 10 takes, and choose one of them. I had
to recreate the real conditions that would generate his dialogue and his
hostility.

"What is being created, in effect, is a Third World, neither real nor
documentary; a conversation, a give-and-take, between my imagination and
their reality. I didn't take my camera and intrude into the family's
privacy. Instead, I generated an atmosphere of trust, in which we made the
film together, collectively."

Ms. Makhmalbaf laughed but acknowledged a reporter's suggestion of yet
another family parallel. Her father also made an early public debut. When
he was 17 and a fervent revolutionary, he attacked one of the Shah's
policemen,
and spent five years in prison for his crime. (The policeman survived and
went on to become an aspiring movie actor 20 years later. When he showed up
for an audition, Makhmalbaf decided to restage the attack in "A Moment of
Innocence," a brilliant and poignant work of documentary/fiction.)

The difference between these two gestures -- the father's act of
revolutionary violence, and his daughter's embrace of esthetic freedom --
may also mark the distance Iran has traveled in a single generation.

Leslie Camhi's most recent article for the Arts and Leisure section was
about the French director Benoit Jacquot.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:14 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: (fwd) Turkey closes one gate on Iranian border over Kurdish protests

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Feb 22 (AFP) - Turkey on Monday closed one
of its gates on its border with Iran following Kurdish protests
across the border over the capture of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah
Ocalan, local authorities in the eastern Turkish province of Van
said.
The gate in the Esendere town of the southeastern Turkish
province of Hakkari would be closed for an undetermined period.
The Kapikoy border gate in Van, meanwhile, would remain open.
"There are no problems with the Kapikoy gate. Our commercial
ties with Iran are continuing. The gate is open," Van governor
Abdulkadir Sari told Turkjey's NTV news channel on Monday.
Iranian newspaper and Kurdish groups said Sunday that violent
anti-Turkish demonstrations have erupted across western Iran in
protest of Ocalan's capture.
The Iran branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said in
a statement received in Nicosia that several people were killed and
wounded as Kurds took to the streets demanding a solution for the
Kurdish problem.
The Jahan-e-Eslam newspaper said two youngsters were killed by
police attempting to ward off an attack on the Turkish consulate
there in the town of Orumiyeh on Friday.
The Turkish Anatolia news agency gave the toll of the clash
before the consulate as three dead and two policemen injured.
Anatolia on Sunday quoted a foreign ministry official in Ankara
as saying that the personnel of the Orumiyeh consulate had been
moved to Tebriz for security reasons.
They would return when "normal conditions have been restored",
the official added.
Ocalan, who faces the death penalty in Turkey on terrorism
charges linked to his Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) fight for an
independent Kurdish state, was seized by a Turkish commando in Kenya
on Monday last week and flown to Turkey the following day.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:10 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Turkey evacuates consulate in Iran after Kurdish attacks

ANKARA, Feb 21 (AFP) - Turkey has evacuated its consulate in
Orumiyeh, Iran after attacks by militant Kurds protesting the
capture of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, the foreign
ministry in Ankara said Sunday.
"The consulate personnel has been brought to Tebriz for security
reasons," the Anatolia news agency said quoting a foreign ministry
spokesman.
"They will return to Orumiyeh when normal conditions have been
restored," the spokesman added.
Violent anti-Turkish demonstrations have erupted across western
Iran in protest at Turkey's arrest of Ocalan, the leader of the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to Iranian newspapers and
Kurdish groups.
Ocalan, who faces the death penalty in Turkey on terrorism
charges linked to the PKK's fight for an independent Kurdish state,
was seized by Turkish commandos in Kenya on Monday and flown to
Turkey.
Anatolia said three people were killed and two policemen injured
in Orumiyeh Friday, when police attempted to ward off an attack on
the consulate.
The Iranian Jahan-e-Eslam newspaper earlier said two youngsters
were killed in the clashes there.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:17 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iraqi Shiites protest in Iran over cleric's murder

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - Several thousand Iraqis living in Iran
staged a demonstration in the holy city of Qom on Sunday, angered by
the murder of a top Shiite Moslem cleric in Iraq, according to Iraqi
sources in Tehran.
Around 5,000 people, mainly members of the Shiite clergy and
religious students, marched through the city, south of Tehran,
chanting slogans condemning "the latest crime of Saddam Hussein's
regime."
Koranic schools in the town have closed in protest, Iranian
radio said.
"With these killings, the enemies of israel want to destroy the
training centres for the Iraqi clergy," the Qom Association of
Koranic Schools said in a statement.
Leading Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadek
al-Sadr and his two sons were slain on Friday night as they were
leaving a mosque in the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq,
according to the Iraqi opposition.
Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the
murder on Saturday and said Baghdad was responsible for the security
of Shiites in Iraq.
"The pressure on Iraqi Shiites has reached a record level and
no-one can now be unaware of the responsibility of the Baghdad
regime," he said.
A leading Iran-based opposition figure accused Baghdad Sunday of
involvement in the killings and called for an international mission
to be sent to Iraq to investigate.
"We have irrefutable proof of the regime's involvement in these
new killings which are part of a wave of repression and elimination
of religious dignitaries and the holy Shiite sites in Iraq,"
Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim told AFP.
The killings triggered a wave of riots across southern Iraq,
according to opposition figures and witnesses.
Hakim, leader of the Shiite Moslem opposition umbrella group the
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, called for a
commission of inquiry led by the United Nations, the Organisation of
the Islamic Conference or the Arab League.
"We want this mission to investigate at the site of the
killings," Hakim said, adding that Ayatollah Sadr had been
threatened by Iraqi agents on numerous occasions.
"He was threatened because he criticised the regime," Hakim
said, adding that other religious figures in Iraq's holy Shiite
cities were also subject to pressure and threats.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:32 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: PKK urges Kurds to fight Turkey

TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A leader of the Kurdish Labor Party
(PKK) is calling on the Kurds in Turkey to fight the Turkish government
in protest against the arrest of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.
An unnamed PKK leader has issued a statement in the Iranian capital,
Tehran, urging the Kurdish population to strike against Turkish police
and government employees.
Reports from Turkey said today Kurdish protests in Istanbul have left
more than five policemen injured in clashes in the city on Saturday
night.
Some of the Kurdish protesters have reportedly been armed, firing
their guns at the large police force deployed in a poor Kurdish
neighborhood in Istanbul.
The security forces arrested scores of Kurdish protesters and removed
barricades set up by the neighborhood's residents to prevent the police
from entering the area.
Reports from the predominantly Kurdish town of Diyar Bakr in
southeastern Turkey said PKK activists distributed leaflets calling on
businesses to close their shops and offices in the morning hours to
protest Ocalan's arrest.
The PKK leader was reportedly captured in Nairobi, Kenya, last week
in a secret operation and taken to Turkey where he will be tried for
alleged acts of terrorism and grand treason.
Turkish newspapers today said his trial will begin in April and is
expected to last for two months. He faces the death penalty if
convicted.
The government is barring international lawyers from defending Ocalan
and has defied pressure from human rights groups to intervene in his
trial.
The left-wing PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in
southeastern Turkey for the past 14 years, a conflict that has killed
more than 35,000 people.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:33 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian police break up Kurd protest

TEHRAN, Feb 22 (AFP) - Iranian police fired shots into the air
on Monday to break up an anti-Turkish protest in the town of
Sanandaj in Iranian Kurdistan, the official IRNA news agency said.
"The police issued warnings to block the gathering but the
people did not follow the orders and the police fired shots into the
air to disperse the crowd," IRNA said.
Sanandaj's governor announced Sunday that the police would deal
with any unauthorized assembly.
Iranian Kurdistan has been the scene of several violent
demonstrations calling for Turkey to release Kurdish rebel leader
Abdullah Ocalan.
Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was
snatched by Turkish agents in Kenya last Monday and brought back to
Turkey where he will stand trial on terrorism charges.
Turkey removed its consular personnel from Urumiyeh in
northwestern Iran, close to the Turkish border, after a violent
Kurdish protest, the Turkish foreign ministry said Sunday.
Three people were slain at Urumiyeh Friday and two police
officers were wounded when police tried to repulse an attack on the
Turkish consulate, the Turkish news agency Anatolia reported.
However, the Iranian newspaper Jahan-e-Eslam, which is close to
the government, said Sunday that two youths were killed in the
violence.
Most of Iran's five to six million Kurds live in the west of the
country.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:38 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Third straight day of Shiite unrest in Iraq: SAIRI

TEHRAN, Feb 22 (AFP) - Iraqi security forces clashed with Shiite
Moslem protestors in several Iraqi cities for a third straight day
on Monday, the leader of an Iraqi opposition group here said.
Clashes took place in the southern town of Nassiriya, in
Karbala, south of Baghdad, and in the capital itself, said Ayatollah
Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, head of the Tehran-based Supreme Assembly of
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI).
He told a press conference here that 25 people were killed and
250 injured on Saturday and Sunday in Baghdad.
Rioting erupted Saturday in the Shiite suburbs of Baghdad and in
several southern Iraqi towns following the assassination of Iraq's
top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadek al-Sadr, and his two
sons on Friday.
Hakim said Iraq was "on the verge of a major explosion"
following Sadr's murder and accused the government of President
Saddam Hussein of "preparing a campaign of massive repression
against the Iraqi people."
"All the evidence suggests that the murders (of Sadr and his two
sons) were planned and executed by the Iraqi regime," he said.
The opposition leader called on the international community to
"assume its responsibilities and take effective measures to protect
the Iraqi people and its religious leaders."
Hakim said that he had addressed his call in writing to UN chief
Kofi Annan, Arab League chief Esmat Abdel Meguid and Iranian
President Mohammed Khatami, the current chairman of the grouping of
Islamic states, the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Shiites form around 55 percent of Iraq's population, but play
little part in the country's government which is dominated by
Saddam's Sunni Moslem Arab minority.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:26 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Last-ditch bid to bar Tehran reformers from Friday's landmark elections

TEHRAN, Feb 22 (AFP) - An 11th-hour bid by conservatives to bar
leading reformers from standing in Friday's landmark municipal
elections sparked an angry response from supporters of moderate
President Mohammed Khatami on Monday.
In a move immediately rejected as illegal by the president's
supporters, the leader of the conservative-dominated election
Supervision Council disqualified a dozen pro-Khatami candidates in
the capital from standing in Iran's first ever municipal elections.
Among those barred by conservative MP Ali Mohavedi-Savoji was
the head of the main reform list, Vice President Abdollah Nuri,
Tehran newspapers reported.
Also barred were the head of left-wing student organization,
Mohammad Aqarzadeh, and Azam Taleqani, daughter of one of the
fathers of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Mahmud Taleqani.
Some of the candidates had been disqualified for failing to
provide documentary proof that they had resigned from all government
posts as required by electoral law, the conservative evening
newspaper Kayhan reported.
Others had failed to sign the required declaration of support
for the position of supreme leader, the constitutional centrepiece
of Iran's Islamic Republic currently held by Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei.
And one candidate did not have the clean police record required
by electoral law, Kayhan said.
But the move met with an angry reaction from Khatami supporters
with Tehran governor Ayatollah Azarmi vowing to issue a formal
complaint.
"Due to the fact that the deadline by which the Supervision
Council had to express its views on the candidates has expired,
Tehran's governorate general cannot accept the rejection of the
qualifications of these candidates," Azarmi told the official news
agency IRNA.
"Rejecting the qualifications of these candidates after they
have started their election campaign is a violation of their rights
and it will not only inflict financial damage but will dishonour
them as well," he said.
Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh, who is responsible
for organizing Friday's vote, charged that Mohavedi-Savoji's
disqualification order against the moderate candidates was invalid
because it bore the signatures of just two of the Supervision
Council's members, not the three required by law.
But Mohavedi-Savoji retorted that the order was quite legal
because the decision had been taken in the presence of three of the
council's members.
The reformist daily Sobh-e-Emruz slammed the disqualification
order as "yet another effort" by conservatives "to prevent
pro-Khatami candidates from standing in these elections."
Control of the capital with its 10 million-plus population is
the principal prize in Friday's landmark municipal elections as both
conservatives and reformers seek to consolidate their local power
base ahead of next year's key parliamentary elections.
The reformers, who are pledging "real participation in power" --
a reflection of the new political openness at the top of Khatami's
agenda -- are hoping to benefit from the wave of public enthusiasm
for reform that brought him to power in 1997, when he gained 75
percent of the vote in Tehran.
Facing the reformers is the right-wing conservative list, headed
by Ali Kamushi, head of the powerful Chamber of Commerce and an
influential member of the Tehran bazaar, a stronghold of
traditionalists.
About 330,000 candidates, including 5,000 women, have been
approved so far to stand in elections for 200,000 council seats
across the country.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:03 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran rejects Turkmenistan deal on Caspian gas pipeline

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Iran rejected Saturday the creation by
Turkmenistan of a consortium to oversee construction of a
2.5-billion-dollar pipeline to carry natural gas across the Caspian
Sea, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"This step by Turkmenistan is against the declared principles of
the countries bordering the Caspian Sea and the accord is
unacceptable," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi.
He said Iran was opposed to any project for carrying oil or gas
under the Caspian and added that the decision violated both
multilateral and bilateral agreements.
"Given the current legal status of the Caspian Sea... any
unilateral measure by a state bordering it is considered invalid and
unacceptable," he said.
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said at a signing ceremony
on Friday that he expected the pipeline, which will carry gas to
markets in Turkey and Europe, to be built before the end of the
year.
It is to pass under the Caspian via Azerbaijan and Georgia.
The project was made possible after the United States financed a
feasibility study that showed the pipeline was more viable than
other proposed routes through Iran.
The United States is pushing hard for a pipeline that avoids
Iran and Russia and heavily lobbied Turkmenistan and its Caspian
neighbours last year to shore up support for a trans-Caspian
pipeline route.
But Niyazov said Turkmenistan will also continue pursuing the
construction of gas pipelines through Iran to Turkey and Afghanistan
to Pakistan.
The oil and gas reserves of the Caspian are thought to be the
third largest in the world after the Gulf and Siberia.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:04 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Anti-Turkish demonstrations erupt across western Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - Violent anti-Turkish demonstrations have
erupted across western Iran in protest at the capture of Kurdish
rebel leader Adbullah Ocalan, Iranian newspapers and Kurdish groups
reported Sunday.
Protestors have taken to the streets in several towns in Iran's
western Kurdistan provinces since Friday and several people were
reported killed in clashes with security forces.
"Demonstrators, chanting slogans in support of the Kurdish
movement in Iranian Kurdistan and calling for a solution to the
Kurdish problem, were attacked by government forces and their
demonstration was bloodily repressed," the Iran branch of the
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said.
"According to the information we have, several people have keen
killed and wounded and dozens of others arrested," the KDP said in a
statement received in Nicosia.
Iran's conservative Qods newspaper reported sporadic clashes
between police and demonstrators in the town of Orumiyeh, while
Jahan-e-Eslam newspaper said two youngsters were killed by police
attempting to ward off an attack on the Turkish consulate there.
The daily Hamshamri, the paper of the Tehran municipality, said
there had also been clashes in the western towns of Sanandaj, Baneh
and Saqez.
The police were reported to have intervened to break up Kurdish
rallies, and markets in a number of other towns closed in protest.
Several hundred Iranian Kurds held a peaceful demonstration with
interior ministry permission on Sunday outside the UN building in
Tehran. They called for Ocalan's release and chanted slogans in
Kurdish in support of "Greater Kurdistan."
"We will set fire to Turkey," they chanted, as they waved
portraits of Ocalan.
A large police contingent had been deployed to protect the UN
building which has been the scene of Kurdish demonstrations in
previous days.
An influential Iranian Kurd MP called on the country's Kurdish
population to rise up in protest against Turkey, which he accused of
having "repressed the Kurdish people and flouted their rights for
decades."
"Turkish leaders must know that Ocalan's capture will not hinder
the legitimate struggle of Kurds in Turkey," Bahaeddin Adab told
parliament on Sunday.
"I call on courageous Kurds in Iran and elsewhere to continue
their legitimate protests against the abduction of Abdullah Ocalan,"
said Adab who represents Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province
in western Iran.
Anger over the Ocalan affair has been extended to lambast Turkey
for its ties with Israel, and to attack the United States.
Adab said the Iranian government should review its economic
relations with Ankara in view of its "ever closer links with the
criminal regime in Israel."
Demonstrators in Tehran called for "Vengeance against Israel"
and "Death to America," while those in the Kurdish frontier town of
Bameh also included anti-Israeli and anti-United States slogans in
their protests.
Turkey and Israel are linked by a military cooperation
agreement, and Kurdish groups have accused Israel of helping Turkey
capture Ocalan.
The United States welcomed Ocalan's arrest and some groups have
implicated the CIA in his abduction.
In the past Ankara has accused Iran of "closing its eyes" to the
use of its territory by rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
to infiltrate into Turkey, charges Tehran rejects.
Iran has a Kurdish population of between five and six million,
who enjoy a certain degree of autonomy and are represented in
parliament.
Ocalan, leader of the PKK, was captured by Turkish agents in
Kenya on Monday and in now being held in Turkey pending trial on
terrorism charges.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:09 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian supreme leader condemns killing of Iraqi ayatollah

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Iran's spiritual leader on Saturday
condemned the assassination of Iraq's top Shiite Moslem cleric and
said Baghdad was responsible for the security of Shiites in Iraq.
"The pressure on Iraqi Shiites has reached a record level and
no-one can now be unaware of the responsibility of the Baghdad
regime," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
He described the slaying of leading Iraqi Shiite cleric
Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadek al-Sadr and his two sons on Friday
night as having been carried out by "the enemies of Islam."
A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry expressed "shock"
at the murder and called for those responsible to be arrested.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:15 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian supreme court quashes death sentence on German

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - A German languishing on death row in an
Iranian prison for more than a year has been granted a reprieve, the
Iranian judiciary said Saturday, in a move seen as aimed at mending
ties with Bonn.
The supreme court quashed the death penalty imposed on
businessman Helmut Hofer over his alleged affair with an Iranian
woman because the reasoning behind a lower court's verdict was
inadequate, the official newspaper Iran reported.
"The Hofer case has been referred back to a new court for a new
trial," judicial spokesman Said Nobari told AFP.
Hofer, 57, was arrested in September 1997 on charges of
violating an Iranian law banning sexual relations between Moslems
and non-Moslems. He was sentenced to death by hanging in January
(eds: correct) last year.
Germany's foreign ministry reacted cautiously to the
announcement, saying that official word had not been forwarded to
Bonn and it remained to be seen whether the supreme court move was a
"definitive decision."
German Chancellery Minister Bodo Hombach, who is Bonn's special
envoy on the case, told the Bild newspaper that the report was a
"hopeful interlude" and "the beginning of a happy end."
"This could speed up the improvement of relations between Iran
and Germany," he added.
Last week Germany said it would postpone Hombach's planned visit
to Tehran until there was "greater clarity" surrounding the affair.
Last May the supreme court sent the case back for review to the
lower court, which announced in October that the death sentence
still stood.
Hofer has repeatedly denied having a relationship with the
woman, a 26-year-old Iranian medical student identified only as
Vahideh G., who was arrested at Tehran airport with him and later
sentenced to 100 lashes.
His defence lawyers had sought to overturn the conviction on the
grounds that Hofer had converted to Islam and had taken the name
Helmut-Reza.
Earlier this month, Iranian officials denied reports that Hofer
might be pardoned as part of this week's celebrations to mark the
20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
Any pardon would have to be granted by the Islamic republic's
supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The German daily Die Welt reported this week that Hofer found
"shameful and sad" the way he had been treated by both Iran and
Germany.
The paper quoted a January 26 letter Hofer sent from his prison
to his friend John Schneider-Merck, who said the woman had
approached him for "conversations in English."
The quashing of Hofer's death penalty comes a week after the
abduction and murder of another German businessman just as Iran's
reformist government was seeking to repair relations with Bonn.
Heinrich Lambert Heimes, a former Tehran representative of
Deutsche Bank, was seized from a German diplomatic car last Saturday
and shot dead by a lone gunman who had already killed three other
people, according to official accounts of the slaying.
But the English-language Iran News paper cast doubt on the
official version of events, suggesting the killing was part of a
campaign to sabotage relations with Germany.
"A review of Iran-German relations in the past few years reveals
that invisible hands are at work to prevent the expansion of ties
between Bonn and Tehran," it said in an editorial.
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.
Hofer had said in his correspondence that he knew Bonn would not
exchange him for Kazem Dharabi, the Iranian jailed in Germany for
involvement in the assassinations.
Iran has repeatedly stressed that Hofer's case is a criminal
matter to be dealt with by the courts, and must not be politicised.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:38 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iraqi opposition seeks international probe into cleric's murder

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - A leading Iraqi opposition figure accused
Baghdad on Sunday of killing a top Shiite Moslem cleric and called
for an international mission to be sent to Iraq to investigate.
"We have irrefutable proof of the regime's involvement in these
new killings which are part of a wave of repression and elimination
of religious dignitaries and the holy Shiite sites in Iraq,"
Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim told AFP.
Leading Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadek al-Sadr
was slain along with his two sons as he was leaving a mosque after
Friday prayers in the holy city of Najaf, Hakim said.
The killings triggered a wave of riots across southern Iraq,
according to opposition figures and witnesses.
Hakim, chairman of the Iran-based Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq, called for a commission of inquiry led by the
United Nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference or the
Arab League.
"We want this mission to investigate at the site of the
killings," Hakim said, adding that Ayatollah Sadr had been
threatened by Iraqi agents on numerous occasions.
"He was threatened because he criticised the regime," Hakim
said, adding that other religious figures in Iraq's holy Shiite
cities were also subject to pressure and threats.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:27 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran's municipal elections focus on the battle for Tehran


TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - The walls of Tehran are plastered with
election posters as conservatives and reformers limber up for the
battle of next Friday's municipal elections, in which the capital is
seen as the major prize.
Two main lists are dominating the campaign, as much for the
ubiquity of their slogans and pictures as for the prominence and
standing of their candidates.
The reformist list is led by former interior minister Abdollah
Nuri, a close associate of President Mohammad Khatami, and publisher
of the pro-Khatami paper Khordad.
His list includes three women, and four members of the outlawed
but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement, which has been prevented from
standing elsewhere in the country.
The reformers are pledging "real participation in power" -- a
reflection of the new political openness at the top of Khatami's
agenda.
They are hoping to benefit from the wave of public enthusiasm
for reform that brought Khatami to power in 1997, when he gained 75
percent of the vote in Tehran.
Nuri is also hoping to profit from the popularity of another
associate, former reformist mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, himself
disqualified from office after being found guilty of corruption in a
trial last year overseen by conservatives.
Facing the reformers is the right-wing conservative list, headed
by Ali Kamushi, head of the powerful Chamber of Commerce and an
influential member of the Tehran bazaar, a stronghold of
traditionalists.
There are two women on the list, and only one member of the
clergy, in a clear sign that the conservatives are anxious to rid
themselves of their traditionalist image, and to present themselves
instead as efficient administrators.
They have toned down their rhetoric about remaining faithful to
the Islamic revolution, and put the city's problems at the forefront
of their campaign -- uncontrolled building development, pollution,
corruption and unemployment.
Their posters call for a humane and modern administration, and
preach respect for traditional architecture.
"The city's development can be guaranteed by specialists working
for the people," their posters read.
Beyond the clash of factions, the current election campaign has
thrown up a new political style, making a more direct appeal to
voters and addressing the issues which interest them, rather than
relying on the conventional arguments of the past.
Indicative of the new mood is the poster campaign of one of the
independents, Sadeq Samiei, a British-trained journalist. His
election photo -- pasted up all over the city -- shows him sporting
a tie, an item that has been ridiculed since the revolution 20 years
ago as mere aping of western fashion.
The English language Tehran Times has spotted the new trend and
approves it.
"The code of dress no longer plays a determining role in
candidate's success or failure. This social tolerance could be found
only at the very early stages of the revolution," it wrote.
"One candidate used caricatures in promoting his candidacy which
was like a breath of fresh air compared to the suffocating
traditional style," it added.
"Contrary to the norm in other elections, most candidates
emphasize their professional and educational backgrounds instead of
relying solely on their revolutionary experience," the paper said.
The municipal elections, being held throughout the country, are
the first of their kind since the 1979 revolution.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:32 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran denies Iraq incursions

TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Iran is denying that the Iraqi
opposition launched incursions into southern Iraq from its territories
during the U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq in December.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi today described the Iraqi
claims as ``baseless.''
He was quoted in the state-owned Iranian news agency that remarks by
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan that incursions originated from
Iran were ``unfounded.''
Ramadan was today quoted in al-Khaleej, a daily newspaper based in
the United Arab Emirates, as saying that the Iraqi army had aborted
incursions by the opposition on the second day of the U.S.-British
airstrikes on Iraq.
He said the incursions in southern Iraq had originated from Iran,
which hosts Iraqi Shiite opposition groups.
Asefi said Iran had exerted ``ceaseless efforts to halt attacks on
Iraqi citizens'' during ``Desert Fox,'' adding that he ``regrets such
baseless claims'' made by Ramadan.
The spokesman said Tehran rejects ``aggressive measures, adding that
his country was committed to adhering to the internationally recognized
borders with Iraq and to ''maintaining regional stability and security.``

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:58 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Seven drug smugglers killed in shootout: Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 21 (AFP) - Iranian troops killed seven drug
smugglers and seized a ton and a half of narcotics after a two-day
clash along the border with Pakistan, the official news agency IRNA
reported Sunday.
It said ground troops supported by helicopters battled with the
smugglers on Friday and Saturday, leaving seven of them dead.
The agency said the army had seized 1,400 kilos (3,100 pounds)
of opium, morphine and hashish as well as some arms and currency.
Iran is a vital transshipment point for drugs from Afghanistan,
Pakistan and central Asia intended for the Arab world and Europe.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:20 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran announces more arrests in dissident murders with Turkish help

TEHRAN, Feb 22 (AFP) - Iran has arrested four more suspects in a
recent string of brutal murders of dissidents here following
assistance from the Turkish authorities, Tehran military prosecutor
Hojatoleslam Mohammad Niazi said Monday.
Ankara handed over one of the four suspects who had fled to
Turkey on a false visa, Niazi told the official news agency IRNA.
The suspect had been tracked down by Iranian intelligence agents
in cooperation with Turkish police, Niazi said.
He said that all four suspects had played a prominent role in
last year's killings of dissidents and that other suspects were
still being sought.
But Niazi did not specify whether the new suspects were among
the "rogue" intelligence agents whose involvement in the killings
the intelligence ministry acknowledged in a shock admission last
month.
The admission eventually led to the resignation earlier this
month of conservative Intelligence Minister Qorbanali
Dorri-Najafabadi following weeks of mounting pressure from reformist
supporters of President Mohammed Khatami.
Niazi insisted that there was still a "strong possibility of
foreign involvement" in the killings, although he added that "one
could only be sure after the investigation was completed."
The brutal murders of nationalist dissident Dariush Foruhar and
his wife Parvaneh and of writers Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad
Pouyandeh caused public uproar here.
Khatami set up a special commission of inquiry to investigate
the killings and Niazi vowed he would try the case in public.
The authorities had already announced the arrest of 10 suspects
in the killings but their names were never released and some have
since been freed.
Iran has repeatedly rejected calls from the European Parliament
and other organizations for an international commission of inquiry
into the killings insisting no inquiry is needed as the Iranian
justice system is completely open.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 21 Feb 1999 to 22 Feb 1999 - Special issue
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