Date: Mar 3, 1999 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Mar 1999 to 2 Mar 1999

From: Automatic digest processor


Return-Path: <owner-DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>
Delivered-To: farhad@ALGONET.SE
Received: (qmail 11379 invoked from network); 3 Mar 1999 09:00:21 +0100
Received: from simorgh.gpg.com (205.158.6.22)
by tomei.algonet.se with SMTP; 3 Mar 1999 09:00:21 +0100
Received: from simorgh (simorgh [205.158.6.22])
by simorgh.gpg.com (8.8.6/8.8.6) with ESMTP id AAA18152;
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:00:02 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199903030800.AAA18152@simorgh.gpg.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:00:01 -0800
Reply-To: dni-disc@D-N-I.ORG
Sender: DNI news list <DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>
From: Automatic digest processor <D-N-I@D-N-I.ORG>
Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Mar 1999 to 2 Mar 1999
To: Recipients of DNI-NEWS digests <DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>

There are 24 messages totalling 1195 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Gulf Arabs Calls Emergency Meeting on Iran Dispute
2. Iran Says Oil Contract is Defeat for U.S
3. Iran Foreign Minister in Saudi Arabia for Talks
4. U.S Oil Firms Seeking Iran Sanctions End.
5. Press Digest - Iran - March 2
6. UAE Complains to Arab League over Islands Dispute
7. ELF, ENI Sign $1 Billion Iran Oil Contract.
8. Iran Holds Doctors Over Illegal Abortion Clinic.
9. Press Digest - Iran - March 1
10. U.S Worried By Iran Oil Deal With European Firms
11. Iran says trial of German businessman in final stages
12. Liberal cleric in Iran thrown into jail
13. Reformers leading count in Iranian municipal elections
14. Tehran rejects US report on human rights
15. Iranian reformers maintain lead in landmark local elections
16. Hard-Liners Lose in Iran Elections
17. Iranian FM to visit Saudi Arabia
18. Iranian students protest against liberal cleric's arrest
19. Iran blasts Arab League condemnation of military maneuvers
20. Khatami's sister wins Iranian council seat
21. Iran's municipal elections a resounding success for women
22. Gulf foreign ministers to hold emergency talks on Iran
23. Iranian foreign minister holds oil talks in Saudi Arabia
24. Australian minister calls for end to "stereotyping" of Iran

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:33:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Gulf Arabs Calls Emergency Meeting on Iran Dispute

Gulf Arabs call emergency meeting on Iran dispute
=================================================

06:44 a.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
ABU DHABI, March 2 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates on
Tuesday called an emergency meeting with its Gulf Arab allies to
discuss Iranian military exercises near three disputed islands.

``The UAE called for an emergency meeting of the ministerial
council of the Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss Iran's
violations and the military manoeuvres in the UAE's territorial
waters,'' the official WAM news agency said.

It said UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Abdullah
al-Nuaimi would chair the meeting which would be held in the UAE
capital of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Iran's navy began nine-day war games on Saturday near the Gulf
island of Abu Musa close to the Greater and Lesser Tunb islands.

The three islands are claimed by both Iran and the UAE but
controlled by Iran.

An Iranian navy spokesman said the air force would also join the
exercises, code-named ``Fateh (Victor) 77.''

Iran's relations with its Gulf Arab neighbours have improved
since moderate President Mohammad Khatami came to power nearly
two years ago.

But the long-running dispute over the three islands, located
near strategic shipping lanes in the Gulf, continues to block
full normalisation of relations.

Iran claims sovereignty over the islands and has refused UAE
calls to take the dispute to international arbitration.

The UAE recently complained to the United Nations about Iran's
opening of a town hall on Abu Musa.

The Arab League has criticised Iran's military manoeuvres near
the islands.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:35:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Says Oil Contract is Defeat for U.S

Iran says oil contract is defeat for U.S
========================================

06:38 a.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 2 (Reuters) - Iran on Tuesday described an oil
contract this week with two European companies as a triumph for
its efforts to attract foreign investment and a defeat for U.S.
attempts to isolate it.

French oil company Elf Aquitaine and Italy's ENI signed a $1
billion deal on Monday to develop Iran's offshore Doroud
oilfield.

``The deal is yet another success for Iran in boosting political
and economic relations with other countries and defeat for the
White House to isolate our country through sanctions,'' state
radio said.

``Through its logical diplomacy and despite U.S. threats, Iran
has been able to attract many foreign companies, especially from
the european Union, to invest in economic projects, including
oil and gas,'' it said.

``This success is the result of the detente policies of the past
several years and our economic advances during the past
decade.''

Iran has signed a string of oil or gas contracts with foreign
companies, frustrating Washington which has mounted a campaign
to isolate the Islamic republic.

Such efforts, prompted by charges that Iran sponsors
international terrorism and seeks to develop weapons of mass
destruction, have excluded U.S. firms from the race for
lucrative energy openings in Iran.

A senior executive with U.S. oil major Conoco Inc. said on

Monday that American oil firms would continue efforts to get
Washington to end unilateral sanctions barring them from
investing in Iran.

Iran, a major player in the Organisation of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), wants to attract Western funds and
technology to help exploration and rejuvenate ageing fields.

The country owns the second largest gas reserves in the world
after Russia, many of which are untapped.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:37:14 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Foreign Minister in Saudi Arabia for Talks

Iran foreign minister in Saudi Arabia for talks
===============================================

04:57 a.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
RIYADH, March 2 (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister arrived in
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks on weak oil prices and a
forthcoming visit to the kingdom by the Iranian president.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was met at the airport by Saudi
Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Iranian diplomats said.

An Iranian embassy official said Kharrazi, on his second visit
to the kingdom since November, was due to meet King Fahd to
deliver a message from President Mohammad Khatami. He would also
meet Crown Prince Abdullah.

``We are not sure yet when he will meet them,'' the official
told Reuters. ``Depending on that, the minister might leave
tonight or tomorrow.

``He will not be meeting the oil minister. Our ambassador has
already met the oil minister,'' he said. ``He will probably not
get into too many oil details. The discussion would be generally
about weak prices and how to work to shore them up.''

``He will discuss many regional issues like Iraq, Afghanistan
and the Middle East issue. He will also discuss how to further
develop bilateral relations,'' he said.

Relations between the two regional powers, often tense since
Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, have improved considerably since
Khatami's election in 1997 and his stated policy of better
cooperation with Arab neighbours.

Kharrazi discussed oil prices with Saudi officials during a
visit to Riyadh in November. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi
went to Tehran for talks with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar
Zanganeh.

Tehran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Reza Nouri, who met
Naimi on Sunday, said the two countries were making efforts to
``exit from the crisis'' of the current weak oil price which is
hovering around 22-year lows.

Raza Nouri said that Iran wanted further OPEC production cuts to
help stabilise the world oil market.

Kharrazi was expected to lay the ground for a landmark visit by
Khatami -- the first by an Iranian president to the powerful
kingdom since the revolution.

The Iranian ambassador told Reuters no firm date had been set
for Khatami's visit.

Oil traders are closely watching for news of Khatami's arrival
date in Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to discuss the
sensitive issue of the baseline from which Iran cuts its oil
output under an OPEC pact designed to rescue flagging prices.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:39:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: U.S Oil Firms Seeking Iran Sanctions End.

U.S. oil firms seeking Iran sanctions end, Conoco exec says
===========================================================

05:55 a.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
By Haitham Haddadin

NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. oil firms are continuing
efforts to get Washington to end unilateral sanctions barring
American investment in Iran's lucrative oil and gas sector, a
senior executive with U.S. oil major Conoco Inc. said on Monday.

``We're continuing to work on that, but we don't see anything on
the horizon so far,'' said Ted Davis, Conoco's president of
exploration production in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

``Primarily we are trying to use our influence in Washington to
explain that the unilateral sanctions are not the right way to
go,'' he told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of a two-day
Iran/Iraq oil and gas conference in New York. The meeting was
attended by analysts, diplomats and industry executives.

Due to the sanctions, Conoco has lost a lucrative $1 billion
investment in Iran's South Pars gas project in 1995.

France's Total SA, Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas
stepped into the breach, signing up a total of $2 billion in
investments in the project.

President Bill Clinton last year waived penalties against the
three firms under the Iran-Libya Santions Act of 1996, which
states the president can punish non-U.S. firms that invest $20
million or more a year in either country's energy sector.

Davis said the sanctions were putting U.S. companies at an
economic disadvantange.

``When we left that (South Pars) project, it was immediately
taken up by Total. It certainly does put us at a disadvantage,
just that we are not able to do the projects,'' said Davis, of
Conoco, which went public last autumn when 30 percent of its
shares were spun off in the largest-ever U.S. initial public
offering. DuPont Co., which still owns 70 percent of Conoco, has
said it hope to spin off the rest of it this year.

``I hope they would be lifted quickly, but I know of no
immediate event that would make it happen so we are probably
totally stuck until 2001 (when ILSA expires),'' he added.

For now, U.S. companies can just look -- but not touch -- any of
the 40 or so attractive investment projects that Iran offered to
international firms last summer, he said.

The conference, entitled ``Oil and Gas in Re-emerging Middle
East Markets: Iran and Iraq,'' will continue Tuesday in New
York.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:41:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Press Digest - Iran - March 2

PRESS DIGEST- Iran- March 2
===========================

05:35 a.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 2 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in Iranian newspapers on Tuesday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

AKHBAR

- Iran's new Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi was formally
introduced to his ministry, with a number of senior officials
and clerics attending the ceremony.

SALAM

- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami stressed the need to expand
relations between Iran and Pakistan. Traditionally sound
relations between the neighbours have been troubled by the
conflict in Afghanistan and the sectarian violence in Pakistan.
Khatami made the remarks at a briefing with Iran's ambassador to
Islamabad, Serajeddin Musavi.

- Azerbaijan's foreign minister is due to visit Tehran,
according to a Baku newspaper. No date has been set for the
visit.

ABRAR

- The judiciary charged the state inspectorate to deal with
bounced cheques, the second most frequent offence in Iran after
drug offences.

KHORDAD

- Iran's embassy in Ankara rejected Turkish newspaper reports of
Iran assisting the Kurdish separatist PKK group following a
number of violent protests by Iranian Kurds in Iran against
Turkey's capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. The embassy
denied that there were any PKK guerrillas in Iran.

IRAN DAILY

- The Construction Jihad Ministry, in charge of development,
urged the government to take stock of the environmental cost of
development projects. The reformist Khatami has given
environmental concerns greater prominence on the government
agenda.

- Australian Trade Minister Tim Fischer said that some 50
Australian companies are ready to cooperate with Iranians in
various sectors including oil, gas, mining, healthcare and
telecommunications. Fischer spoke in Tehran at the 7th meeting
of the Iran-Australia Economic Commission, which fosters
economic links.

JOMHURIYEH ISLAMI

- Vice-President Hassan Habibi, in Dhaka for the second summit
of Moslem D-8 countries, said the organisation will help promote
economic cooperation between member states - which include
Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia.

ABRAR-E EQTESADI

- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad called for the
exchange of commercial and technical information between Iran
and Malaysia to help develop bilateral relations. His remarks
were made at a meeting with Iranian Vice-President Habibi.

((Tehran newsroom +9821 229 4856))


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:43:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: UAE Complains to Arab League over Islands Dispute

UAE complains to Arab League over islands dispute
=================================================

11:54 a.m. Mar 01, 1999 Eastern
CAIRO, March 1 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates lodged a
complaint at the Cairo-based Arab League on Monday over what it
called ``provocative'' Iranian actions on disputed Gulf islands.

Iran and the UAE dispute sovereignty over Abu Musa and two other
Gulf islands, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, which are controlled
by Tehran.

``The UAE views all past and future actions by Iran on the
islands as undue provocations,'' UAE ambassador in Cairo Mohamed
Ahmed al-Mahmoud told reporters after filing the protest.

``The UAE sees these practices as violations of the memorandum
of understanding between the UAE and Iran...and a bid to
consecrate the occupation and change the demographic state by
force,'' he added.

The ambassador said his country was upset because Iran had
opened a municipality building and educational complex on Abu
Musa. He did not say when the action took place.

Mahmoud urged Iran to settle the dispute through bilateral
negotiations or international arbitration.

``We hope Iran will respond positively to repeated and peaceful
calls by the UAE president to solve these issues
bilaterally...or at the Internationl Court of Justice,'' he
said.

The dispute has hampered efforts by Iran to improve ties with
its southern Arab neighbours, with whose cooperation the Islamic
republic seeks to establish regional security.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:44:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: ELF, ENI Sign $1 Billion Iran Oil Contract.

Elf, Eni sign $1 billion Iran oil contract
==========================================

03:25 p.m Mar 01, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 1 (Reuters) - French oil company Elf Aquitaine
(ELF.PA) and Italy's ENI (ENI.MI) signed a $1 billion deal on
Monday to redevelop Iran's offshore Doroud oilfield, Iranian
state media and Elf reported.

Iranian state television showed footage of the signing ceremony
in Tehran between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and a
consortium of the two foreign oil companies.

It said the buy-back contract, worth $1 billion, would take 49
months to carry out and would raise Doroud's output to 220,000
barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

Elf said it would own a 55-percent share in the buy-back
contract with ENI subsidiary Agip taking 45 percent to carry out
the work aimed at increasing Doroud's recoverable reserves by
900 million barrels to 1.5 billion.

Elf said the total cost of the projects was $998 million
including capital expenditures of $540 million, financial
charges and remuneration to the consortium.

The contract provides for the two companies to be reimbursed and
paid in the form of crude from the Gulf field over a period of
ten years.

The companies are expected to increase production from Doroud by
reinjecting gas from the field.

NIOC said in February it had decided to award the contract to
Elf and ENI after offering it to international investors in 1995
as part of its first financial opening since the 1979 Islamic
revolution.

Iran now has four contracts with international investment
consortiums stemming from the 1995 tender and is negotiating
terms for more deals from a second tender launched last year.

The foreign deals are frustrating for the United States, which
has mounted an aggressive campaign to isolate the Islamic
republic -- efforts which have excluded U.S. firms from the race
for lucrative energy openings in Iran.

Washington last year awarded French oil company Total (TOTF.PA)
a waiver from the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act which threatens
action against firms investing in Iran's energy sector.

Iran, a major player in the Organisation of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), wants to attract Western technology
and investment to help exploration and rejuvenate ageing fields.

Its economy is currently under siege from collapsed oil prices.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:45:48 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Holds Doctors Over Illegal Abortion Clinic.

Iran holds doctors over illegal abortion clinic
===============================================

11:01 a.m. Mar 01, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 1 (Reuters) - Iranian police arrested three
doctors and two midwives for running an illegal abortion clinic
at an abandoned hospital building in Tehran, a newspaper
reported on Monday.

The arrests were made after a young woman died at the backstreet
clinic following an abortion, reported the daily Iran, which is
published by the official news agency IRNA.

Iran bans abortions except when the mother's life is in danger,
but it has been actively encouraging contraception in recent
years to curb population growth.

A doctor performing an illegal abortion at an advanced stage of
pregnancy faces a possible death sentence.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 00:46:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Press Digest - Iran - March 1

PRESS DIGEST -Iran-March 1
==========================

04:07 a.m. Mar 01, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 1 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in Iranian newspapers on Monday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

SALAM

- Iran's deputy interior minister said the country's first local
council elections successfully handed power to a second
generation of Iranians since the 1979 revolution. Mostafa
Tajzadeh, considered a moderate, said candidates of all
political persuasions managed to gain seats.

- South Korean company Daewoo DWGR.CN began the construction of
a 158,000 tonne oil tanker for Iran on Sunday. The ``Sanandaj''
is he second of five tankers Iran has ordered from South Korea.

ABRAR

- Iranian deputy Alireza Mahjoub said economic insecurity has
cost the country an annual $4 billion in capital flight over the
past decade. He slammed the state economic sector and said only
about four million of Iran's 37 million-strong workforce do any
real work.

- Pakistan's parliamentary speaker is due to arrive in Iran next
Friday for three days of talks on regional and international
issues. Traditionally cordial Iran-Pakistani relations have
deteriorated as each side supports opposing warring factions in
neighbouring Afghanistan.

AKHBAR

- Tehran, one of the world's most congested cities, will once
again try to deploy parking meters in the city in the Iranian
new year beginning on March 21, after a four-year interruption.
The rates will be set by the newly installed city council.

ARYA

- The Culture Ministry is allowing the formation of 14 art and
cultural institutes. Galleries, culture centres and publications
have proliferated under the moderate ministry of Ataollah
Mohajerani, a Khatami ally.

HAMSHAHRI

- The government plans to supervise consumer product prices over
the holiday period leading to the Iranian new year. It plans to
freeze prices to prevent 'speculative' price hikes by
shopkeepers. Consumers are bracing themselves for another round
of price rises next year to follow a 75 percent increase in
petrol prices.

IRAN

- Tehran consumers will be able to buy basic foodtstuffs with a
10-15 percent discount during the new year holiday period. the
move is to cushion low-income groups from high prices.
Unofficial estimates put the inflation rate at between 30 and 40
percent.

((Tehran newsroom +9821 229 4856))


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 02:04:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: U.S Worried By Iran Oil Deal With European Firms

U.S. Worried By Iran Oil Deal With European Firms
=================================================

12:04 p.m. Mar 02, 1999 Eastern
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said Tuesday it was ``disappointed and
concerned'' by a $1 billion oil deal between Iran and two European oil compani
es that flouts U.S. sanctions policy against Iran.

A State Department official said the U.S. government would closely examine the
contract signed Monday by the National Iranian Oil Company, French oil firm Elf
Aquitaine and Italy's ENI and consider appropriate action.

``The United States is strongly opposed to investment in Iran's petroleum secto
r and we have repeatedly urged the governments of France and Italy at the most
senior level to discourage this investment,'' the official said.

The administration will assess the implications of the contract under the Iran-
Libya Sanctions Act, which threatens sanctions against any country investing mo
re than $20 million in either Libya or Iran.

``If sanctionable activity is found to have occurred then we will decide upon a
nd take appropriate action according to our own national interests -- whether t
hat is to impose sanctions, waive them or delay action,'' the official said, de
clining to comment further.

Last year, the Clinton administration agreed not to apply sanctions against ano
ther French oil company, Total, which went ahead with a $2 billion gas explorat
ion contract in Iran in 1997.

Under the latest deal, the Franco-Italian consortium will redevelop Iran's offs
hore Doroud oilfield, raising its output to 220,000 barrels per day of crude oi
l.

Iran, which has signed a string of oil or gas contracts with foreign companies,
Tuesday hailed the new oil contract as a triumph for its efforts to attract fo
reign investment and a defeat for U.S. attempts to isolate it.

``The deal is yet another success for Iran in boosting political and economic r
elations with other countries and defeat for the White House to isolate our cou
ntry through sanctions,'' Iranian state radio said.

The United States, which accuses Iran of sponsoring international terrorism and
trying to acquire nuclear weapons, banned U.S. firms from virtually all trade
and investment in the country in 1995.

Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Iran after the 1979 Islamic revo
lution when militant Islamic students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They h
eld 52 Americans hostage for more than a year.

Relations have slightly thawed between the United States and Iran since moderat
e president Mohammad Khatami called for increased people-to-people exchanges mo
re than a year ago.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:15:35 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran says trial of German businessman in final stages

TEHRAN, Feb 28 (AFP) - The trial of a German businessman accused
of having an affair with a Moslem Iranian women is entering its
final stages, Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi said
Sunday.
Yazdi told the Abrar newspaper that the supreme court last week
quashed the death sentence against Helmut Hofer because of "flaws."
"The case of will be reexamined in another court," he added.
Hofer, 57, was arrested in September 1997 on charges of breaking
an Iranian law banning sexual relations between Moslems and
non-Moslems. He was sentenced to death by hanging in January last
year.
He 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.
Ties between Iran and Germany, its largest European trading
partner, have been strained for two years after a German court
accused the Iranian regime of involvement in the murders of Kurdish
political opponents in Berlin in 1992.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:15:31 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Liberal cleric in Iran thrown into jail

TEHRAN, Feb 28 (AFP) - A liberal cleric close to Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami, was arrested late Saturday and jailed at
Evin prison in Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported
Sunday.
Hojatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar, is also close to liberal circles
and to dissident Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who was once
tipped to become the nation's spiritual "guide" but who fell into
disgrace in 1989.
Kadivar's arrest was ordered by a special religious tribunal set
up in 1985 by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeiny, to rule on offences implicating members of the
Shiite clergy in Iran.
Kadivar is thought to have been arrested after implicitly
criticising Khomeiny's successor as top religious authority,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Last week, Kadivar was summoned several times to appear before
the tribunal "to provide explanations about his interviews and his
speeches", IRNA said, without elaborating.
On Sunday, several Tehran daililes supportive of Khatami, also
reported the arrest of Kadivar who comes from a prominent religious
family from Shiraz, in southern Iran.
The daily, Jahan-e-Eslam, which is close to the government, said
Kadivar had been detained "for having insulted" Khomeiny and his
successor Khamenei and "for having spread propaganda in support of
Ayatollah Montazeri".
Montazeri, who was once designated to succeed Khomeiny, has been
under police surveillance for several years.
Montazeri, supported by reformers, regularly denounces the
conservatives' stranglehold over the Iranian regime and has called
for Khatami to be given more power.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:15:41 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Reformers leading count in Iranian municipal elections

TEHRAN, Feb 28 (AFP) - Reformers close to Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami seem headed for a decisive victory in the Islamic
republic's first-ever municipal elections, leading by a 3-1 margin
according to preliminary results released Sunday.
Reformers have won 74 municipal seats compared to 23 for
conservatives and 12 for independents, according to initial interior
ministry tallies from some two dozen of Iran's largest towns
published in newspapers here.
Final results from another 50 small villages also gave the edge
to reformers in Friday's vote, which was preceeded by bitter and
sometimes violent rivalry between the regime's hardliners and
backers of the reformist president vying for some 200,000 seats
nationwide.
In the capital, the main battleground between the two factions
where 15 council seats are at stake, Khatami supporters headed by
former interior minister Abdollah Nuri are leading in the polling.
Reformers Mohammad Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, involved in the 1979
hostage-taking at the US embassy, former intelligence ministry chief
Said Hajarian and former deputy interior minister Mohammad Atrianfar
are also faring well.
Candidates from the Islamic liberal opposition are also "very
well placed," sources close to the interior ministry said, adding
that sociology professor Gholamabbas Tavassoli seems certain to win
a seat on the Tehran council.
Tavassoli and three other Tehran candidates represented the
banned Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), the first time since the 1979
Islamic Revolution that the opposition group has been allowed to
field hopefuls for office.
In the opposition stronghold city of Isfahan, reformers appear
to have won handily and are also leading in the provinical capital
of Sari on the Caspian Sea.
Women candidates also fared well overall with Jamileh Kadivar,
wife of Culture Minister Atoallah Mohajerani, getting strong support
in Tehran and others enjoying good results in Bahar in the Western
province of Hamedan.
The victories signal good news for reformers, who may have the
opportunity to wrest control of parliament from hardliners in next
spring's parliamentary elections.
But the interior ministry said Saturday it would take several
days before final results were published and all results must be
approved by the hardliner-dominated Supervisory Council.
The council, which evaluated each candidate and barred a number
of prominent moderates from standing, tried to block a dozen
reformers, including Nuri, from candidate lists on the eve of the
election.
They were allowed to run only after a last-minute ruling from
Khatami, in a sign that no matter what the final results, the deep
schism between the battling factions is certain to continue.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:15:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran rejects US report on human rights

TEHRAN, Feb 28 (AFP) - Iran on Sunday rejected as "tendentious
and unfounded" a US report on the human rights situation in the
country.
"The publication of this tendentious and unfounded report shows
yet again US hostility towards Iran and the identity of the Iranian
people," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi, quoted
by the radio.
In its annual report on human rights worldwide published Friday,
the US State Department gave Iran bad marks in spite of "some
improvements made in a small number of areas," including freedom of
expression. It says that even there there was a slowdown towards the
end of the year.
Assefi said the report "proved a lack of good will in
recognising development and progress in Iran."
He also attacked another report on the country written by UN
human rights rapporteur Maurice Copithorne, saying it "went against
the facts."
In a report published in Geneva Friday, Copithorne recommended
the abolition of the country's powerful cleric's court, or at least
its transformation into a purely theological body.
"At this point in the Islamic republic's history, it is
difficult to justify the continued existence of such an apparently
arbitrary and secretive tribunal," Copithorne wrote.
The tribunal was set up in 1985 to rule on crimes committed by
members of the Shiite clergy.
"This report demonstrates a lack of information about the
realities of Iranian society and understanding of Islam," Assefi
said.
Copithorne was not authorised to investigate inside Iran.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:15:59 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian reformers maintain lead in landmark local elections

TEHRAN, March 1 (AFP) - Iranian reformers close to moderate
President Mohammad Khatami maintained a strong lead in the country's
first-ever municipal elections according to latest results published
by the interior ministry Monday.
In the capital the leading members of the main reformist list
headed by former vice president Abdollah Nuri were all leading their
conservative opponents in Friday's landmark poll by wide margins,
the ministry said.
And in the provinces, reformers appeared well-placed in all of
the three-quarters of councils which had published some results by
Monday.
Apart from Nuri, a former interior minister impeached by the
conservative parliament last year after allowing pro-Khatami
demonstrations which led to clashes with hardliners, four other top
aides of the president were also well ahead in the capital, the
interior ministry said.
Jamileh Kadivar, wife of Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani,
former deputy intelligence Said Hajarian, former deputy interior
minister Mohammad Atrianfar, and leading left-winger and former US
hostage taker Mohammad Ibrahim Asqarzadeh, were all likely to win
election to the capital's 15 member city council, it said.
But the ministry made no mention of another pro-Khatami list in
the capital which for the first time in the history of the Islamic
Republic included four members of the banned but tolerated liberal
Islamic opposition.
Sources close to the ministry told AFP Sunday that the
candidates from the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) were "very well
placed" and that one of them, sociology professor Gholamabbas
Tavassoli, seemed certain of election.
The reformers appeared to have benefited from a large turnout,
which the interior ministry estimated at over 60 percent.
Out of around 40 million eligible voters, as many as 25 million
cast their votes, the ministry said in the first official estimate
of turnout.
The full official results will not be available until later this
week, the ministry said.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:09 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Hard-Liners Lose in Iran Elections

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Hard-line opponents of moderate President
Mohammad Khatami failed to win a single seat in Iran's capital, the
key district in the nation's first local elections, according to
preliminary results published today.
Khatami loyalists won 12 of the 15 seats contested in Tehran in
Friday's vote. The other three went to independents, results
showed.
The city -- the intellectual, commercial and political center of
the country -- is seen as a focus in the fierce struggle between
hard-liners and moderates with in the Islamic government.
Women were front-runners in at least 20 cities, the results
showed. Nearly all of them are supporters of Khatami, who has
encouraged women to play a bigger role in Iran's political life.
Election officials had counted nearly 10 million votes, or 40
percent of the ballots, by Sunday night, Tehran radio reported,
quoting the Interior Ministry which is supervising the poll.
The ministry says final results may not come before Friday,
especially in larger cities like Tehran. In some towns and cities,
the turnout was so high that polling stations ran out of ballots
and voting hours had to be extended twice.
About 330,000 candidates ran for some 200,000 seats on municipal
councils in the election, the first such vote since the 1979
revolution. Some seats were unopposed.
Khatami supporters were ahead in 11 of Iran's 28 provinces, the
moderate newspaper, Akhbar, reported Sunday.
In Tehran, former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, a well-known
Khatami loyalist, received the largest number of votes, according
to the results published in Iranian newspapers.
Hard-liners in Parliament forced Nouri from the Interior
Ministry last year over his support for Khatami's policy of greater
social, political and cultural freedom. They unsuccessfully tried
to disqualify Nouri from running in the local elections.
Early results showed pro-Khatami women were doing well in cities
such as Orumiyeh, Kermanshah, Sari and Masjed Soleyman. In Saveh, a
city about 60 miles southeast of Tehran, four women were among the
front-runners for seven seats.
Women have looked to Khatami, a moderate cleric, to improve
their social standing. They were instrumental in Khatami's victory
against a hard-line rival in the May 1997 presidential election.
Since taking office, Khatami has appointed a woman as a
vice-president and chosen several other women as advisers.
But in the Majlis, or parliament, which was elected in 1996,
only 14 women serve among 270 members.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:15 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian FM to visit Saudi Arabia

TEHRAN, March 1 (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
is to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss the plunge in crude
oil prices and bilateral issues with Saudi leaders, a foreign
ministry spokesman said.
Iranian radio quoted spokesman Hamidreza Assefi as saying
Kharazi's talks would focus on "ways to prevent a further fall in
oil prices" on international markets.
Kharazi's visit comes ahead of a possible trip to Saudi Arabia
by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
Iran's ambassador to Riyadh, Mohammad Reza Nuri, said last week
that Khatami would make his first visit to Saudi Arabia around the
time of the annual Moslem pilgrimage to Mecca at the end of March.
Relations between Tehran and Riyadh have improved since the
election in May 1997 of the reformist Khatami and a summit of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran in December of that
year.
Iran is the second-largest oil producer in OPEC and its economy
has been reeling because of the drop in the price of crude.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:20 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian students protest against liberal cleric's arrest

TEHRAN, Mar 1 (AFP) - Iranian students staged a rally in the
southern town of Shiraz to protest the arrest of a leading liberal
cleric close to President Mohammad Khatami, sources close to
prominent reformers said Monday.
About 100 university students gathered Sunday night in Shiraz
outside the family home of Hojatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar to show their
"support and solidarity" for the detained cleric, they said.
Pro-reform newspapers on Monday blasted the arrest of Kadivar,
who was apprehended Saturday and jailed at Evin prison in Tehran.
The reformist cleric, in his 40s, is close to liberal circles as
well as dissident Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who was once
tipped to become the nation's supreme leader but was disgraced in
1989.
Kadivar's arrest was ordered by a special religious tribunal set
up in 1985 by the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, to rule on offences implicating members of the
Shiite clergy in Iran.
Kadivar is thought to have been arrested after implicitly
criticising Khomeini's successor as supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei.
Last week, Kadivar was summoned several times to appear before
the tribunal "to provide explanations about his interviews and his
speeches," the official IRNA news agency said Sunday.
The daily Jahan-e-Eslam, which is close to the government, said
Kadivar had been detained "for insulting" Khomeini and his successor
Khamenei and "for spreading propaganda in support of Ayatollah
Montazeri."
Montazeri, who regularly denounces the conservatives'
stranglehold over the Iranian regime, has been under police
surveillance for several years.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:25 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran blasts Arab League condemnation of military maneuvers

TEHRAN, Mar 1 (AFP) - Iran's foreign ministry on Monday lashed
out at the Arab League's condemnation of its military maneuvers near
three Gulf islands claimed by both Iran and the United Arab Emirates
(UAE).
"These maneuvers are essentially a use of Iran's reserve forces
to defend Iran's territorial integrity," said ministry spokesman
Hamidreza Asefi.
Such maneuvers "are the right of all nations and constitute no
threat to the region's nations. On the contrary they are aimed at
assuring the security of the strategic Persian Gulf," he said,
quoted by Iranian radio.
He said the League should "encourage the Emirates to adopt a
realistic position in regards to Iran and negotiate with the Islamic
republic instead of hurling accusations."
The League on Sunday decried the nine days of Iranian military
exercises in the Gulf which began near the islands on Saturday.
"The Arab League is following with extreme concern and with
surprise the Iranian naval manoeuvres in the Gulf near the island of
Abu Musa, which belongs the United Arab Emirates," the League said.
The pan-Arab organization warned that the exercises could "have
negative repercussions on the good ties with neighbours" that should
be established between Iran and its Gulf neighbours.
The Gulf islands of Abu Musa and the Lesser and Greater Tunbs
are claimed by both Iran and the UAE, which has called on Tehran to
accept dialogue or international arbitration to resolve the
dispute.
Tehran has repeatedly rejected calls for arbitration, claiming
the islands are part of its territory.
The UAE formally protested to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
over Tehran's opening of a new town hall earlier this month on Abu
Musa.
Iran has controlled the three islands since Britain ended its
protectorate in the region in 1971.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:32 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khatami's sister wins Iranian council seat

TEHRAN, March 2 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's
eldest sister has been elected to office in the country's first ever
municipal elections, which were marked by a strong showing from many
women candidates.
"It's still too early to say what we're going to do but what is
certain is that I want to be of service to the people," Fatemeh
Khatami told AFP on Tuesday.
The 61-year-old mother of six said she garnered 16,000 votes,
three times more than her closest rival, in the central desert town
of Ardakan where the president was born.
According to results so far from Friday's poll, many women have
been elected in cities and towns across the country even though they
made up just 4,000 of the 300,000 candidates standing.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:39 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran's municipal elections a resounding success for women

TEHRAN, March 2 (AFP) - Iranian women have put up a strong
showing in the country's first ever municipal elections, a trend
highlighted by the victory of reformist President Mohammad Khatami's
sister.
Fatemeh Khatami told AFP Tuesday she garnered 16,000 votes,
three times more than her closest rival, in the central desert town
of Ardakan, the home of the Khatami family, and where the president
was born.
"I considered that my age prevented me from undertaking such
activities, but the people encouraged me to stand," said the
61-year-old mother of six.
"I have always worked to propagate culture and religion, but now
we shall have to provide remedies for people's problems," she said.
"It's still too early to say what we're going to do but what is
certain is that I want to be of service to the people," she added.
Her election is a reflection in part of her brother's
popularity, and the respect in which the Khatami family is held
locally, but it is also symptomatic of the success of women
candidates throughout the country as shown in results so far from
Friday's poll.
The success of the women was particularly striking in that they
accounted for only were a small minority of candidates -- just 4,000
of the 300,000 hopefuls standing.
Preliminary figures indicate that two women won council seats in
the holy city of Qom, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Tehran.
Women did very well in the northern province of Gilan on the
Caspian where 25 women were elected out of the 37 standing in
various localities.
In Shiraz in the south, a woman standing as a reformist took
second place, while in Bahar, a large town in the western province
of Hamadan, women reformers came first, second and third.
In Urumiyeh, capital of the Turkish frontier province of West
Azerbaijan, a women reformer is leading the poll.
The female vote contributed largely to Khatami's success in the
1997 presidential election, and the overall results of the
municipals so far shows that his backers reformists still have the
wind in their sails.
In Tehran, seen as the key battleground between reformers and
conservatives Khatami supporters are set to win at least 12 out of
the capital's 15 seats.
Abdollah Nuri, a former interior minister impeached by the
conservative parliament last year after allowing pro-Khatami
demonstrations which led to clashes with hardliners, is leading the
count.
Apart from Nuri, four other top aides of the president were also
well ahead -- including a woman, Jamileh Kadivar, wife of Culture
Minister Ataollah Mohajerani.
And in counts in the provinces, reformers appeared well-placed
in all of the three-quarters of councils which had published some
results by Monday, giving them a solid power base from which to
challenge the conservatives' domination of parliament in general
elections next spring.
In a speech to a women's university in Tehran Tuesday Khatami
spoke once again in favour of "equality of rights between men and
women," and said women should be evaluated in their public and
professional life "in accordance with their qualities, regardless of
their sex."
Iran already has 13 women members of parliament, and one women
vice-president, Massumeh Ebtekar.
However, the selection bodies which have to vet candidates have
always turned down women standing for the presidential election or
for the Council of Experts, which appoints the country's supreme
spiritual leader.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:44 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Gulf foreign ministers to hold emergency talks on Iran

ABU DHABI, March 2 (AFP) - Gulf Arab foreign ministers are to
hold an emergency meeting here on Wednesday to discuss Iran's
military exercises in the southern Gulf, the official Emirati news
agency WAM said.
It said the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently chairs
the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), called the meeting
"to examine the excesses of Iran and its military exercises in
Emirati territorial waters."
The GCC groups the UAE with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and
Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry hit back at Arab League
criticism of its military exercises near three islands claimed by
both Tehran and Abu Dhabi.
"These manoeuvres are essentially a use of Iran's reserve forces
to defend Iran's territorial integrity," a ministry spokesman said.
He said the League should "encourage the Emirates to adopt a
realistic position in regards to Iran and negotiate with the Islamic
republic instead of hurling accusations."
The Cairo-based Arab League expressed "extreme concern" over the
nine days of Iranian exercises which began Saturday near the
disputed islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.
On Sunday, the six Gulf Arab states launched week-long joint air
exercises of their own in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi formally protested to UN chief Kofi Annan over
Tehran's opening of a new town hall in February on Abu Musa. Iran
has controlled the three islands since Britain ended its
protectorate in the region in 1971.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:49 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian foreign minister holds oil talks in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, March 2 (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
began a visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks on the oil price
collapse, amid charges that Tehran is failing to stick to pledged
output cuts.
Kharazi held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah ibn Abdel
Aziz, Defence Minister Sultan ibn Abdel Aziz and his Saudi
counterpart Saud al-Faisal, the kingdom's official SPA news agency
said.
The talks' main emphasis was to be on ways to prevent a further
fall in oil prices, according to a foreign ministry spokesman in
Tehran.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Nuaimi, in an interview
with the Middle East Economic Survey published on Monday, renewed
charges that Iran was not keeping to agreed OPEC output cuts.
"You have 10 sovereign nations that came to an agreement and I
think nine countries are asking the 10th to live up to the June 1998
accord," he said, referring to an agreement by the 11-member OPEC.
Iran's fellow producers in the Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries regularly accuse Iran, the world's fourth
largest producer, of busting its quota.
The dispute stems from production cuts agreed by OPEC in March
1998. The cuts were based on the cartel's February production
levels, in Iran's case 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
But Iran has argued that it had technical problems during
February and its average production was about 3.9 million bpd and
this should be the baseline from which to make its pledged cut of
305,000 bpd.
Relations between Tehran and Riyadh have improved since the
election in May 1997 of reformist President Mohammad Khatami and an
Islamic summit held in Tehran in December of that year.
Iran's ambassador to Riyadh, Mohammad Reza Nuri, said last week
that Khatami would make his first visit to Saudi Arabia around the
time of the annual Moslem pilgrimage to Mecca at the end of March.

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

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:16:55 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Australian minister calls for end to "stereotyping" of Iran

TEHRAN, March 2 (AFP) - Australian Trade Minister Tim Fischer
said here Tuesday he wanted to help end the "unfair stereotyping" of
Iran.
"I return to Australia ... with a much better understanding of
Iran in 1999," he told journalists at the end of an official visit,
during which he met President Mohammad Khatami and a number of other
high ranking officials.
Fischer, who came with a large business delegation and chaired a
two-day joint Iranian-Australian ministerial commission, said 90 per
cent of his discussions dealt with trade and economic relations,
adding that both sides wanted to achieve solid cooperation.
He announced that Australia is to finance the expansion of the
Sarsheshmeh Copper Smelter in the southern province of Kerman.
Details will be finalised shortly, but 47 million dollars will
be provided by the ANZ bank, supported by Australia's official
export credit agency, EFIC.
A joint statement issued after his discussions said that
commodity trade, particularly in wheat, was of "particular
importance to both sides, with potential to develop further and to
diversify into new areas of mutual benefit."
The two sides also agreed to work to increase Iranian exports to
Australia, to close the large trade deficit between them.
Their trade amounted to some 299 million dollars in 1997-8,
dominated by Australian exports to Iran, worth 274 million, mainly
in agricultural produce and coal.
Fischer said that while recognising they had different views on
various issues, they wanted to hold a dialogue on such matters of
concern as human rights, arms control and the fight against drugs.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Mar 1999 to 2 Mar 1999
*************************************************