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There are 19 messages totalling 616 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iraqi opposition accuses Baghdad of murdering Shiite cleric
2. Liberal opposition joins pro-Khatami candidates for municipal elections
3. Counterfeit dollar network broken up in Iran
4. Iranian Kurds protest outside Turkish embassy in Tehran
5. More than one million foreigners working illegally in Iran: ministry
6. Tehran prayers swept up in political fever
7. New pro-Khatami newspaper hits the streets of Iran
8. Bonn cautious over Iran move to quash death penalty for German
9. Iranian cleric threatens Rushdie
10. Iran confirms quashing of death sentence on German
11. Kuwait minister due in Iran for media talks
12. Iran drills first well at new giant offshore gas field
13. Iranian president visits controversial nuclear power site
14. UAE newspaper accuses Iran of suppressing Sunni Moslems
15. Ocalan sought asylum in Iran: report
16. Clashes continue in Iraq: SAIRI
17. Iranian officials allow Elf, Eni operating licence
18. Death penalty for Iran's drug traffickers ineffective: official
19. Forty-five people held after attack on brother of Iranian spiritual guide

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:37 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iraqi opposition accuses Baghdad of murdering Shiite cleric

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - An Iran-based Iraqi opposition group
accused Baghdad on Saturday of being behind the murder of a leading
Shiite Moslem cleric and his two sons that has sparked deadly riots
in Baghdad.
"This new crime is part of a vast plan by Saddam Hussein's
regime to wipe out religious Shiite dignitaries," a member of the
Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) told AFP.
Several people were killed and others wounded after riots
erupted in a Shiite suburb of Baghdad on Saturday following the
murders of Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadek al-Sadr and his two
sons overnight Thursday, according to CNN.
"With these killings, the regime wants to sow terror and discord
among religious Shiite personalities in Iraq," said the SCIRI
member, who declined to be identified.
Ayatollah Sadr, aged in his 60s, was a member of the family of
Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Sadr, a religous leader killed in
1980 by agents of the Iraqi regime, the opposition said.
For two years he had been imam in Kufa, a town near the southern
holy city Najaf, according to the SCIRI, the main Iraqi Shiite
opposition movement headed by Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:27 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Liberal opposition joins pro-Khatami candidates for municipal elections

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - The Iranian internal opposition announced
Saturday that its candidates for the Tehran municipal elections have
joined the list of liberal reformers close to President Mohammad
Khatami.
The outlawed but tolerated Freedom Movement of Iran has been
allowed to present four candidates in Tehran, but its supporters in
the provinces were all disqualified by selection committees,
dominated by conservatives.
FMI leader Ibrahim Yazdi said last week it would take an active
part in the campaign, even if its own supporters were prevented from
standing.
The four approved FMI candidates have joined nine reformers --
including four women -- on a list headed by former interior minister
Abdollah Nuri.
They are fighting for 15 seats on the Tehran municipal council.
Conservative candidates are also standing on a common list
supported by the Association of Combattant Clergy, the oldest and
most powerful political-religious organisation in the country.
The FMI was established by politicians who took part in the
Islamic Revolution 20 years ago, but have since distanced themselves
from the regime.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:43 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Counterfeit dollar network broken up in Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Several Africans belonging to a network
importing counterfeit US dollars to Iran have been arrested, the
Iranian intelligence minstry said Saturday.
The ministry, cited by the official IRNA news agency, did not
identify the nation in question but said the network had imported
several million dollars via an unnamed international organisation
based in Tehran.
It said the network had already sold a number of the counterfeit
notes.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:08 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian Kurds protest outside Turkish embassy in Tehran

TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - Chanting "Death to Turkey, America and
Israel," some 1,000 Iranian Kurds staged a rally outside the Turkish
embassy and a UN office here Friday to protest the capture of
Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.
"Free Ocalan" and "Ocalan, Ocalan, we support you" the
demonstrators shouted in Kurdish outside the embassy in central
Tehran before moving on to the office of the UN representative.
They threatened Turkey and Israel with reprisals for the capture
of Ocalan and demanded the immediate relase of the leader of the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who was seized by Turkish commandos
in Kenya on Monday and flown to Turkey.
Israel has rejected allegations by the PKK that it had anything
to do with the capture of the Kurdish rebel leader.
In a statement read out at the UN office, the demonstrators
denounced an "imperialist and Zionist plot" which they said led to
Ocalan's capture and called for Turkey to be "put on trial before an
international court."
Many of the protestors wore traditional Kurdish garb and carried
pictures of Ocalan during the demonstration, which passed off
peacefully.
Turkish sources here said meanwhile that angry Kurds had
attacked 12 Turkish trucks at Bazargan on the Turkish-Iranian border
to protest Ocalan's arrest.
The sources also said that some 600 to 700 Kurds staged a
protest on Friday near the Turkish consulate in the northwestern
Iranian city of Orumiyeh. They were not allowed to approach the
building, they said.
Iranian state radio said Wednesday that the Turkish government
should now "make some concessions" to settle the Kurdish issue,
warning that if it did not, "Europe could intervene."
Turkey has accused Iran in the past of closing its eyes to the
use of its territory by Turkish Kurd rebels to infiltrate into
Turkey, charges Iran denies.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:14 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: More than one million foreigners working illegally in Iran: ministry

TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - More than a million foreigners in Iran,
most of them Afghans, are working in the country illegally, a labor
ministry official said Friday.
"These illegal workers are sending some 1.2 billion dollars back
to their native countries each year," said Mostafa Emadi, deputy
director of alien affairs at the labor and social affairs ministry.
Emadi, quoted by the official IRNA news agency, stressed that
those given refugee status in Iran "are not authorised to work."
Ministry official Gholamreza Hossein-Pur meanwhile said that of
the 300,000 Afghans repatriated in the last three years, 250,000
have come back illegally.
"The majority of foreigners resident illegally in Iran have
access to travel documents and falisifed work papers," he said.
Iran has for two years been strengthening controls along the
border with Afghanistan to block the arrival of new refugees.
Some two million Afghans are resident in Iran, according to
unofficial figures.
More than one million Afghans are thought to have left Iran
since Kabul's communist regime fell in 1992.
But Iran has radically slowed down repatriation of Afghan
nationals since the Sunni Moslem Taliban militia took control of
most of Afghanistan in 1996.
Like all but three nations around the world, Shiite Moslem Iran
does not recognise the Taliban government. Tehran supports the
opposition movement in Afghanistan.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:19 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran prayers swept up in political fever

TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - Next week's landmark Iranian municipal
elections took center stage at Friday's weekly prayers at Tehran
university as youths ignored police orders and distributed campaign
leaflets during the sermon.
Police tried in vain to keep the dozens of youths from passing
out flyers among the crowd as even Ayatollah Ahmad Janati devoted
his sermon to next Friday's first-ever municipal elections in the
Islamic republic.
Surrounded by walls covered in colourful political posters,
Janati urged candidates to avoid "futile expenditures" during the
week-long campaign, citing the nation's ill economic health.
"Candidates should be moderate and avoid waste," Janati said.
About 300,000 candidates, including some 5,000 women, are in the
running for 200,000 seats on councils in towns and villages across
the country.
Municipal elections are called for by the Islamic republic's
constitution, adopted in 1980, but next week's vote will be the
first of its kind since the 1979 overthrow of the shah.
The historic vote is being seen as a test of democratic reforms
under moderate President Mohammad Khatami, who was elected in 1997
by a landslide majority that included strong support from the
nation's youth.
The poll is also being seen as a dry run for next year's
parliamentary elections, enabling both hardline conservaties and
reformers to weigh up their relative popularity with the voters.
Tehran, with a population of nearly 10 million, has only 15
seats on offer. Conservative candidates are standing on a joint
list, supported by the Association of Combattant Clergy, the oldest
and most powerful political-religious organisation in the country.
The reformers, a coalition of former radicals and moderates, are
led by former interior minister Abdollah Nuri, a close associate of
Khatami and of the previous mayor, Gholamhossein Karbaschi.
Karbaschi is ineligible to stand after being found guilty of
corruption last year in a case he alleged was brought by his
conservative opponents.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:55 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: New pro-Khatami newspaper hits the streets of Iran

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - A new newspaper hit the newsstands of
Iran on Saturday, the latest in a wave of moderate journals to
appear since reformist President Mohammad Khatami took power 18
months ago.
Directeur Latif Safari described his newspaper Neshat (Vitality)
as "pluralist and independent" and said it supported Khatami's
efforts "to strengthen political openness and the civil society."
Neshat employs several former staff from Jameeh and Toos, two
moderate newspapers now banned from publishing.
In all, the Iranian authorities have announced that more than
1,000 publications are now authorised, double the number in
existence before Khatami took power in August 1997.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:02 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Bonn cautious over Iran move to quash death penalty for German

BONN, Feb 20 (AFP) - Germany reacted cautiously on Saturday to
the announcement that Iran's supreme court had quashed a death
sentence against a German businessman for an alleged affair with an
Iranian Moslem woman.
"The ruling has not yet been transmitted to us," a foreign
ministry spokesman said, adding that it remained to be seen whether
it was a "definitive decision."
Helmut Hofer, 57, was arrested in September 1997 on charges of
infringing a law banning sexual relations between Moslems and
non-Moslems. He was sentenced to death by hanging early last year.
"The Hofer case has been referred back to a new court for a new
trial," an Iranian judicial spokesman Said Nobari told AFP in
Tehran, announcing the supreme court decision.
But the German foreign ministry spokesman noted that the supreme
court early last year had previously overturned the death sentence
against Hofer and referred the case back to a lower court, which
again upheld the penalty in October.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:30 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian cleric threatens Rushdie

TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - An Iranian prayer leader threatened
British author Salman Rushdie on Friday and insisted that the
"fatwa" ordering his death for blasphemy from the late Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomenei remained valid.
Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, addressing a Friday prayer gathering at
Tehran university, said that Moslems "will never allow Salman
Rushdie to live in security and safety."
"He is condemned to eternal detention and Moslems will not allow
him to live safely for a moment, notably if he appears in public,"
the conservative cleric said.
Janati also reiterated that the fatwa, or death sentence, issued
against Rushdie by the late leader of the Islamic Revolution,
Ayatollah Khomenei, "remains valid no matter what anyone says."
Khomenei condemned the Indian-born Rushdie to death in February
1988 for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam in his book
"The Satanic Verses."
Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah
Mohajerani reiterated this week that while the fatwa condemning
Rushdie to death cannot be withdrawn, the government will not seek
to carry it out.
"The ruling cannot be revoked," said Mohajerani, a moderate
member of the reformist government of President Mohammed Khatami.
"(But) the Islamic government would not take any action on the
ruling."
The remarks by Mohajerani came amid calls by influential members
of Iran's Shiite Moslem clergy for the death sentence against
Rushdie to be carried out.
The Khordad-15 Foundation, which has placed a 2.8 million dollar
bounty on Rushdie's head, insisted Sunday on the 10th anniversary of
Khomenei's fatwa that the death sentence against the writer would be
applied.
In September, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said at the United
Nations that the government would not seek to kill Rushdie and
disassociated the authorities from the bounty placed on his head.
Kharazi's comments opened the door to moves to improve ties
between London and Tehran -- the two countries have agreed to
exchange ambassadors although the move has not yet actually taken
place.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that
Khomeini's verdict is "based on Islam" and cannot be retracted.
"The apostate Salman Rushdie will eventually be burnt in the
fire of Moslems' wrath," the Guards said in a statement.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:33:49 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran confirms quashing of death sentence on German

TEHRAN, Feb 20 (AFP) - The Iranian judiciary confirmed Saturday
a newspaper report that the supreme court had quashed a death
sentence imposed on German businessman Helmut Hofer for having a
relationship with an Iranian woman.
"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
infringing a law banning sexual relations between Moslems and
non-Moslems.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:41 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Kuwait minister due in Iran for media talks

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 19 (AFP) - Kuwait's information minister is due
in Iran on Saturday for a three-day visit that will include the
signing of a media cooperation accord, the official KUNA news agency
said Friday.
Yussef Mohammad al-Samit's talks with Iranian officials will
also include "promotion of media and cultural cooperation, exchange
of radio and TV expertise and programmes," the agency said.
Iran condemned the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, although it
remained neutral in the 1991 Gulf War that followed.
But Tehran is opposed to the presence of US and British troops
in the Gulf, particularly in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran drills first well at new giant offshore gas field

TEHRAN, Feb 18 (AFP) - Iran started drilling the first well
Thursday at the vast South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, the
official IRNA news agency reported.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami watched the operations and
broadcast a message thanking the Iranian engineers working on the
project.
South Pars, which is shared between Iran and Qatar, measures
3,700 square kilometers (1,480 square miles) with reserves of about
10,000 billion cubic meters (350,000 billion cubic feet) of natural
gas.
Iran intends to use the gas field to increase its exports of
non-oil products -- plastics and chemicals -- as well as for energy
production.
Iran has total reserves of more than 24,000 billion cubic meters
(840,000 billion cubic feet) of gas, about 15 percent of the world
total, second only to Russia.
Most of Iran's gas reserves are still untapped, mainly for lack
of finance and facilities for transporting it to consumer
countries.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:25 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian president visits controversial nuclear power site

TEHRAN, Feb 19 (AFP) - President Mohammed Khatami has paid a
visit to Iran's controversial Bushehr nuclear power plant and called
for a faster completion of the site's initial construction phase.
Khatami said "more efforts" should be made to finish
construction of the first stage "as soon as possible" following his
announcement Wednesday that the government was looking to the plant
to help boost Iran's flagging economy.
Khatami said Wednesday that Iran would make Bushehr "a brilliant
star in our economy and if God wills it the plant will create 3,500
jobs." He visited the plant on Thursday, the official IRNA news
agency said.
Khatami said that when the facility begins operation, "the
people of Iran will show they are capable of making progress in all
domains."
The Bushehr plant -- which will provide some 1,000 megawatts of
electricity after completion of the first phase -- is being built by
Russian engineers and both Tehran and Moscow insist it is solely for
civil purposes and conforms to international laws and nuclear
non-proliferation accords.
Under a cooperation accord it signed with Iran in 1995, Russia
agreed to build two pressurised water reactors at Bushehr. Under a
new accord signed last November, Moscow agreed to speed up
completion of the plants.
The project was originally started in the 1970s by the KWU
nuclear subsidiary of giant German combine Siemens but they withdrew
under pressure from Bonn following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Washington is strongly opposed to Moscow's technologicial
collaboration with Tehran, charging that it has resulted in the
transfer of nuclear and missile technology.
But Tehran has pressed ahead with the project and advertisements
in the Tehran press last month from the Iranian Atomic Energy
Organization said a total of 225 engineers were needed with
expertise in the fields of nuclear physics, physics, mechanical
engineering and computer science.
The adverts said that the applicants must be Iranian nationals
and that the successful candidates will be sent to Russia for
training after a short period of preparation in Iran.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:32:44 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UAE newspaper accuses Iran of suppressing Sunni Moslems

ABU DHABI, Feb 21 (AFP) - A United Arab Emirates (UAE) newspaper
on Sunday said Iran could not condemn Iraq's suppression of Shiite
Moslems as long as it continued to suppress its own Sunni Moslem
population.
"It is everyone's right to worry about what is happening in
Iraq, and it is certainly the Islamic world's right to express
concern for the fate of all those who make up the Iraqi population,"
the official Al-Ittihad daily said.
"But the fact that Iran and (its spiritual guide Ayatollah Ali)
Khamenei snivel about the fate of Iraq's Shiites leads to the
question of whether the Islamic republic has ended all forms of
religious discrimination," it said.
"End the discrimination between the sons of the same religion,"
the newspaper said. "The Iraqi Shiite's situation is surely better
than that of the Sunni in Iran."
"Those in glass house shouldn't throw stones," the newspaper
concluded.
Iran's Sunni community represents about eight percent of the
population, with the rest mostly Shiite. They are not considered a
minority faith and have none of the special rights given to other
faiths like Christianity and Judaism.
Ties between Abu Dhabi and Tehran are tense following a dispute
over Iran's occupation of three Gulf islands claimed by the UAE.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:53 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Ocalan sought asylum in Iran: report

JERUSALEM, Feb 22 (AFP) - Western intelligence agencies tracked
Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan throughout his hunt for asylum
in recent months, including during a previously unreported stay in
Iran, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Monday.
Zeev Schiff, the respected military correspondant for Haaretz,
said Ocalan travelled from his long-time refuge in Syria to Iran
last autumn in a move organized by Syrian authorities.
Ocalan, head of the Kurdistan Workers' Party which has been
waging a bloody separatist war in southeast Turkey, was forced to
leave Syria in November under a secret deal between Damascus and
Ankara.
According to Schiff, Ocalan wanted to go first to Russia, but
was refused asylum by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.
He instead went to Iran, from where he planned to travel to
western Europe in hopes of finding shelter in the large Kurdish
community there.
But he was arrested at Rome airport in November after Italian
authorities were tipped off to his imminent arrival by Western
intelligence agencies, Schiff said.
While Italian officials sought a new haven for the rebel leader
and fought off a demand for his extradition to Turkey, a villa was
prepared for him outside Rome, he said.
But it was discovered the building was under surveillance by
"more than one intelligence service" and Ocalan was eventually
spirited out of the country.
Ocalan was captured last week by Turkish agents after hiding out
at the Greek ambassador's residence in Nairobi, Kenya. He is
currently in a Turkish prison awaiting trial on charges of treason
and murder.
International press reports have said Israel's Mossad
intelligence service was one of the agencies involved in tracking
Ocalan, although Israeli officials have categorically denied any
role in his capture.
Rumors of an Israeli role led Kurdish protestors to attack
Israel's consulate in Berlin last Wednesday. Israeli guards opened
fire on the protestors, killing three and wounding 16.
US newspapers reported this weekend that American intelligence
agencies tracked Ocalan and ultimately signalled to Turkey his
presence in Nairobi, where dozens of US agents were present
investigating the bombing of the US embassy last August.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:31:45 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Clashes continue 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.
Rioting was continuing in Iraq following the murder of a top
Shiite Moslem cleric, said Ayatollah Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim, head of
the Tehran-based Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in
Iraq.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:35:10 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian officials allow Elf, Eni operating licence

PARIS, Feb 18 (AFP) - The supreme economic council in Iran has
given approval in principle for the French oil company Elf
Aquitaine, in association with Eni of Italy, to produce oil, Elf
said on Thursday.
A company spokesman, confirming reports in the Wall Street
Journal Europe and Le Figaro Economie, said that "the contract is
still not signed" and would not be signed for some time.
The decision of the council removes an obstacle to conclusion of
a contract.
Elf and Eni have been negotiating for months to obtain a
contract to increase production at Dorood off Kharg island in the
Gulf.
The two companies expect to invest about 450 million euros
(508.5 million dollars). Elf would be the operator, holding an
interest of 55 percent and Eni 45 percent.
Le Figaro reported that use of new technology would more than
double the amount of recoverable oil from 600 million barrels to 1.5
billion barrels.
The field now procures 140,000 barrels per day and might produce
220,000 barrels per day for four years.
On Tuesday Iran signed an agreement with the oil groups Bow
Valley of Canada and Premier Oil of Britain for development and
operation of fields at Balal in the Gulf.

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

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 21:34:52 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Death penalty for Iran's drug traffickers ineffective: official

TEHRAN, Feb 18 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami's
representative to the Iranian narcotics control authority said that
capital punishment for drug traffickers has been ineffective, the
official news agency IRNA said Thursday.
"In many instances, the relatives of drug convicts have taken
over the task of trafficking after the execution of their
relatives," Mahmud Alizadeh Tabatabai said.
He said people found with as little as 30 grammes of drugs can
be given the death sentence since a stiffening of penalties 10 years
ago and suggested that "electronic nets" along the borders of the
Islamic republic "would certainly prove a more effective
deterrent."
Some 2,000 people have been tried on drugs charges in Iran since
1989, according to official figures, but authorities no longer
release statistics on the numbers of thos convicted who are put to
death.
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 21:35:04 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Forty-five people held after attack on brother of Iranian spiritual
guide

TEHRAN, Feb 18 (AFP) - Forty-five people in Iran have been
arrested in connection with last week's attack on Hadi Khamenei,
brother of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the official IRNA
news agency reported Thursday.
Hadi Khamenei, an adviser to reformist President Mohammad
Khatami, was beaten up by fundamentalist activists at the
Mohammadiyeh mosque in the holy city of Qom last Thursday.
Authorities in Qom said the arrests had been made "with the
people's assistance" and the case had been forwarded to a special
investigation committee handling the incident.
Hadi Khamenei has attracted controversy for taking political
positions different from those of his brother, a religious
conservative. He is the publisher of the radical daily
Jahan-e-Islam, which supports Khatami.
Newspaper reports last week said the people who attacked him
also broke windows in the mosque, hauled down portraits of the
president and shouted "Death to Khatami."
Khamenei was treated in hospital for his injuries but was able
to go home.
One of his close associates, Rasul Montajabnia, was also
reported to have been beaten up the same day in Qom.
There has been a wave of attacks recently against pro-Khatami
politicians ahead of next week's first-ever municipal elections in
the Islamic republic.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Feb 1999
************************************