Date: Mar 5, 1999 [ 14: 16: 46]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1999 to 5 Mar 1999 - Special issue

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There are 18 messages totalling 1221 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 4
2. Vienna Court Gives MKO Member a 5 Month Jail Term
3. Latest Result of Council Elections in Tehran
4. Iran Charity Fears Lives Endangered by UK Probe
5. Religious Court Bans Mention of Iranian Cleric
6. Toward an Imperfect Democracy (Part 1)
7. Toward an Imperfect Democracy (Part2)
8. Iranians Want Release of Scholar
9. Fischer Backs Iran in Opposing US Sanctions
10. Celebrating Iran's Fajr Film Fest
11. Iranian Exiles Ask Pope To Shun Khatami
12. Aviation Co. Shipped Parts to Iran
13. Latest Council Election Results in Tehran
14. No Politics, Senior Iran Cleric Tells Councillors(Reuters)
15. Iran rejects Gulf Arab condemnation of manoeuvres
16. US politicians concerned at Italian deal with Iran
17. No politics, senior Iran cleric tells councillors
18. Iranian ``Color of God'' a simple delight

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 14:35:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 4

PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 4
=============================


03:44 a.m. Mar 04, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 4 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in Iranian newspapers on Thursday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

SALAM

- The Portuguese foreign minister is due to arrive in Tehran on
Friday, heading a political and economic delegation.

JOMHURI-YE ESLAMI

- Azerbaijan's foreign minister is expected in Iran on March 12
for four days of talks on bilateral ties and the Caspian sea,
which both countries share.
IRAN

- Recent rain and snowfall has caused floods in a number of
areas in Iran, despite an overall 50 percent drop in rain this
year. Heavy rain shut schools in certain districts of the
northeastern province of Khorasan.

AKHBAR

- An oil ministry official said Iran has gas reserves for
another 500 years. Nosrat Rahimi said the ministry expects to
discover new gas reserves.

- Police General Ali Shafi'i said police have arrested more than
70,000 drug traffickers over the past 11 months.

ABRAR

- Iran's Export Promotion Centre has set up its annual spring
shopping fair, allowing producers to sell goods direct at
knock-down prices. Shopkeepers' guilds have protested.

- Tehran's long awaited metro railway is due to be opened by
President Mohammad Khatami next Sunday, with an initial line
running to the western satellite town of Karaj.

HAMSHAHRI

- President Khatami welcomed cooperation between Iran and the
United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), in a meeting with
the UNEP head currently in Tehran.

JAHAN-E EQTESAD

- Iran and Kuwait agreed to sign memoranda soon paving the way
for bilateral cooperation in customs, tourism and investment.
The agreement followed the second meeting of the Iran-Kuwait
Joint Commercial Commission.

((Tehran newsroom +9821 229 4856))


Cop.

((Tehran newsroom +9821 229 4856))


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:19:58 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Vienna Court Gives MKO Member a 5 Month Jail Term

Vienna Court Gives MKO Member a 5 Month Jail Term
=================================================

thr 028
mko-trial
vienna court gives mko member a 5 month jail term
vienna, march 4, irna -- member of the terrorist mojahedeen khalq
organization (mko) ja'far soleymani, has been convicted on the charge
of attacking the automobile of an iranian delegation which was in
vienna to hold tian delegation which was in
vienna to hold tian delegation which was in
vienna to hold talks with the european union's (eu) troika.
the 36 year old soleymani, a member of the mko branch in germany,
was given five months of suspended jail term.
vienna prosecutor franz steif said at the trial session on
wednesday that evidence shows that demonstrators were all ready to
take violent measures and they did so during demonstrations.
judge gerhard szaal sentenced soleymani to a five month
suspended jail term for inflicting considerable damage on others'
property.
szaal at the court session also issued a warning to the
''professional demonstrators'' coming to austria from germany or
other countries just to stage demonstrations.
prosecutor steif termed the ruling ''weak'' and said he will
fight the ruling.
steif put the damage inflicted on the iranian delegation's car
at about 80,000 to 200,000 schillings.
two police officers testified that soleymani along with six
others, who managed to escape, attacked the iranian delegations
car.
bg/mr
end
::irna 04/03/99 15:00

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:21:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Latest Result of Council Elections in Tehran

Latest Result of Council Elections in Tehran
============================================


thr 018
elections-result
latest result of islamic council elections in tehran
tehran, march 4, irna -- a total of 717,920 votes have been counted
for tehran islamic council elections as of 11:00 hours wednesday.
according to reports from the main elections headquarters in
tehran, the names of the 21 candidates who have the majority of votes
at councils elections are as follows:
1-abdollah nouri 273,361 votes
2-saeed hajjarian 172,976
3-jamileh kadivar 167,465
4-fatemeh jalaipour 156,551
5-mohammad ebrahim asgharzadeh 156,341
6-mohammad atrianfar 144,969
7-ahmad hakimipour 136,928
8-mohammad hossein doroodian 125,365
9-seyyed mahmoud alizadeh tabatabaie 117,342
10-gholamreza forouzesh 108,293
11-morteza lotfi 102,531
12-rahmatollah khosravi 99,528
13-seyyed mohammad gharazi 96,405
14-seddiqeh vasmaqi
14-seddiqeh vasmaqi 94,816
15-abbas doozdoozani 92,003
16-hassan abedini 89,185
17-yahya al-e eshaq 87,881
18-mansour razavi 87,810
19-davood soleymani 86,436
20-mohammad-hossein haqiqi 79,939
21-mohammad-kazem seyfian 79,894
bg/mr
end
::irna 04/03/99 12:29

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:21:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Charity Fears Lives Endangered by UK Probe

Iran charity fears lives endangered by UK probe
===============================================

12:44 p.m. Mar 04, 1999 Eastern
LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - Supporters of a charity established
to provide aid to victims of alleged persecution by Iran said on
Thursday an investigation by a British charity watchdog could
endanger the lives of hundreds of Iranians.

The organisation is concerned that records held by Iran Aid, a
London-based charity, could fall into Tehran's hands and spark
reprisals after the Charity Commission launched an investigation
last May.

The probe followed anonymous tip-offs that the charity's money
was being used to finance opposition groups in Iran.

``Iran Aid is adamant that the Charity Commission should not
divulge details of those who have been receiving its support,''
Sir John Vinelot, a retired High Court judge and member of
Friends of Iran Aid told a news conference.

Iran Aid supporters claimed PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which was
appointed as its receivers by the commission last July, had as
its senior representative in Tehran a former minister of the
Iranian government with close links to the regime.

PriceWaterhouse would make no comment.

The Charity Commission said Iran Aid volunteers occupying the
charity's office were denying the commission access to its
records.

``This action is seriously impeding the progress of the
commission's inquiry,'' a spokesman said.

The charity said the Iranian government executed some 3,000
political prisoners in 1988 in less than two months and was
persecuting the victims' families.

Iran Aid was set up after the Iranian revolution two decades ago
to channel aid through a secret distribution network to the
families of thousands of Iranian who had been executed or
imprisoned.

Britain's efforts to forge closer diplomatic and commercial ties
with Iran were condemned by a majority of members of parliament
last month, who said Britain should not have instituted a thaw
in relations until there was clear evidence of greater freedom
of expression and human rights.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:22:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Religious Court Bans Mention of Iranian Cleric

Religious court bans mention of Iranian cleric
==============================================

TEHRAN, March 4 (AFP) - Iran's Islamic hardliners launched a
fresh crackdown on a prominent liberal dissident as pressure
mounted Thursday for the release of one of his jailed
associates.
A special religious court barred Iran's newspapers from citing
Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, a leading dissident who has
regu dissident who has
regularly denounced the conservatives' stranglehold over the
Iranian regime, press reports said.

The court, in an offical ruling submitted to the ministry of
culture and Islamic guidance, warned that any paper which even
mentions Montazeri will be prosecuted.

Montazeri, who has been under police surveillance for years, was
once tipped as successor to become the nation's next supreme
leader after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, founder of the Islamic
republic.

But his liberal views alienated him from the regime and after
Khomeini's death he was passed over in favour of current supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The special court, which operates independently of the judicial
system and reports directly to Khamenei, last week ordered the
arrest of liberal cleric and close Montazeri associate Moshen
Kadivar.

Editors of several moderate papers sent reformist President
Mohammad Khatami a joint letter condemning the "convulsive and
devastating" attitudes behind Kadivar's detention, the
English-language Iran News reported Thursday.

They said Kadivar's arrest was "a blow to the realm of freedom
of expression" in Iran, adding that he had been detained for "no
reason."

A leading Islamic scholar said the arrest was a warning to other
dissident clerics not to challenge the religious court's
authority as students and journalists pressed for Kadivar's
release.

"Kadivar is an Islamic cleric and thus free to express his
theological views, whatever they are. But his treatment is a
warning for other clerics that their opinions should not go
against the views" of the court, Emadeddin Baqi told the Neshat
newspaper.

Kadivar was reportedly detained for issuing pro-Montazeri
"propaganda" and "insulting" Khamenei though he has not been
officially charged.

The case has preoccupied the nation's press following the
Islamic republic's first-ever municipal elections last Friday.

Kadivar's sister Jamileh seems assured of a seat on Tehran's
municipal council once vote-counting in the capital is completed
in the next few days.

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:22:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Toward an Imperfect Democracy (Part 1)

***This Article is sent in 2 parts***

Toward an Imperfect Democracy
=============================

by Patrick Lawrence Smith
Thursday, March 04, 1999
Comments: 12 posts


The results of the nationwide local elections held in Iran last
week are not yet final. But it is already clear that they mark a
significant step forward for President Mohammad Khatami, the
reformist leader who won the presidency two years ago by an
unexpectedly wide margin.
When all the votes are counted from the Feb. 26 polls, Iranians
will send some 200,000 village, town, and city officials to
office in the nation's first such elections in 20 years. Turnout
was so heavy that some polling booths ran out of ballots. Early
returns suggest that Khatami's supporters will deliver Iran's
conservative clerics another stinging defeat.

The Western example

Shall we also count the election as another in a string of
triumphs for Western values? Look around: Nigeria also held
elections last weekend, ending a decade and a half of military
rule. South Africans will go to the polls this spring. Has
America finally made the world safe for democracy -- so
fulfilling its declared Cold War ambition?

Yes and no. Democratic rule and the other great principles of
the French and American revolutions have more currency around
the world now than ever before in history. But elections such as
Iran's also fundamentally challenge the global leadership
America presumes to exercise. A new era being born at the
primitive polling stations across Iran's parched landscape.

For the whole of the modern age, democracy has been understood
as a set of v ealues, institutions, and practices that emanate
from America and Europe -- like an export. This reflected the
Enlightenment view of human progress. Westerners were not the
only ones to make such assumptions; a generation of Third World
leaders did the same during the 1950s and 1960s -- the great era
of independence in the developing world. Even those who went the
socialist route were traveling the Enlightenment's path.

Yet today this essential notion is repudiated in nation after
nation. True, democratic government is making great strides as a
universal principle. But in the era whose edge we stand upon its
origin and character will be indigenous. Yes, the West will
remain as a great, even hallowed, influence. But it will have no
say in how democracy works in individual nations.

This is excellent news -- providing we are prepared to applaud
the spread of authentic democratic institutions. But that is a
considerable proviso. It will require acknowledgment of certain
fundamental mistakes in Western thinking -- and in the post-Cold
War era, in American thinking most of all.

The democratic paradox

As stated, America's Cold War mission was fundamentally flawed
from the start. No nation can give democracy to another. Working
democracies are by definition homegrown: Given their history,
Americans ought to understand this principle as well as anyone.

Here let us also make an important distinction -- between the
stated mission and the actual goal. From the earliest years of
the postwar era, accurate history indicates that the Cold War
agenda had less to do with democracy than with securing
America's global economic interests -- and then vastly expanding
them.

Benjamin Schwarz, a scholar at the World Policy Institute, made
this distinction plain in "Why America Thinks It Has to Run the
World," an excellent essay published in the June 1996 edition of
The Atlantic Monthly. Consider this passage: "In 'scaring hell
out of the American people,' as Senator Arthur Vandenberg said
in 1947, the U.S.-Soviet rivalry helped secure domestic support
for Washington's ambition to create a U.S.-dominated world
order."

It was mostly about markets, then. A democracy came to be
defined in a rather slovenly, even fraudulent fashion: It
required only an election of one kind or another and open access
for foreign investment. The preposterous conclusions could be
viewed in those colored maps periodically produced by such
institutions as Freedom House: Indonesia under Suharto was given
the democratic hue. So was Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, swaths of
decidedly undemocratic Latin America, and so on. Apartheid South
Africa was democratic with an asterisk.

Putting a new spin on democracy

This is why Khatami, and the elections he fought against the
religious establishment to stage, mark so significant a
departure. In a single phrase, he has launched Iran upon a
redefinition of democracy that is part of a new but discernible
global phenomenon -- whose consequences are likely to prove
far-reaching.

Iran today is a model of nothing too appealing. Political and
institutional resistance to Khatami is powerful. A few months
ago, Iranian intelligence officials assassinated five critics of
the religious establishment.

But it is just as evident that the nation has begun moving in a
new direction. We know this because Khatami was elected in 1997
with 69% of the vote -- and because the democratic will has just
been measured in elections no one has assailed as corrupt or
unclean.

Khatami spent years in the political wilderness prior to his
recent re-emergence in Iranian politics. And he did something
during those years that will turn out to threaten the American
vision more than any terrorist bomb: He read us. Thoroughly
schooled in Islamic philosophy and law, he then set about
examining the West's great books -- everything from Plato and
Aristotle to Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the Enlightenment
philosophes. He wrestled with the West's most fundamental
conundrums: liberty, morality, the individual and the community.
Now he proposes to apply our sacred texts in a non-Western
context. In Islam, Liberty and Development, a collection of his
writings, he rejects equally both "Westoxicity" and enslavement
to indigenous tradition. "We are by no means doomed to dissolve
into modern civilization, but we cannot ignore its many great
scientific, social, and political achievements," Khatami writes.
"Why can't we transcend our current circumstances and achieve a
new vision, becoming the source of a new civilization which,
while resting on our historical identity, and benefiting from
the accomplishments of modern civilization, could inaugurate a
new chapter in human life?"

I believe Westerners dismiss such thoughts at a cost to their
own understanding. I count Khatami among an emerging generation
of non-Western leaders who are important not because they
possess some new ideology, but because they implicitly challenge
us to revalue the one by which we live. Nelson Mandela is
another such leader. In the European context, so is Vaclav
Havel.
For perspective's sake, it is tempting to view these figures as
something akin to the Nehrus, Sukarnos, Nassers, and Nkrumahs of
their time. None of those postwar giants could be counted the
perfect democrat -- far from it. But they struggled with the
large questions of their era -- so defining it in no small way.

Patrick Smith, a correspondent overseas for many years, is the
author of Japan: A Reinterpretation, which was recently issued
in a Vintage paperback edition. He is a contributing editor for
IntellectualCapital.com.

What, if anything, can be learned about the state of democracy
worldwide as a result of elections in places like Iran? How, if
at all, has the United States influenced the transition to
democracy in other nations? How do their ideas of that
government form differ from ours, and are those ideas good or
bad?


End of Part 1/2
-------------------

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 15:23:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Toward an Imperfect Democracy (Part2)

Toward an Imperfect Democracy (Part 2/2)
=============================

Below are the ten most recent comments.
Click here to view the full comment history.


3/4/99 5:45:06 PM Kourosh Keyvani KK@nospam.com
In my humble opinion, the foreign governments complaining the
most about Iran's politics and human rights have the least
credibility thanks to their own backgrounds. I'd like to see
them subject to the same level of scrutiny as Iran.And yes,
Mohammad Khatami was one of 4 "approved" candidates - but Bill
Clinton was one of two "approved" candidates. Whether the
"approval" process is an overt legalistic process, or an
institutionalizedtutionalized extra-legal process based on wealth,
patrimony
and backroom party politics, makes little difference. There is
no such thing as a "perfect" democracy - in the end, all that
counts is that after 100 years of frustration, Iran has broken
out of the "glitzy third-worldism" and is moving forward -
stumbling, perhaps falling now and then, but it is moving
forward and finding its own way and developing its own political
culture - on its own. And this perhaps presents a bigger threat
to Pax Americana than any weapon of mass destruction, because it
fundamentally challenges the American paradigm of the world
order.

3/4/99 5:02:53 PM alanH
I think some of the posters are confusing process with outcome.
There is nothing inherently superior about democracy, and an
objectionable foreign policy has nothing to do with whether or
not a government is democratic. I'd rather live under a king who
guaranteed my rights, rather than under a majority rule where my
rights were not respected.

3/4/99 4:13:13 PM reflection reflection@bigfoot.com
Do you suppose the author could pause long enough in his
patronizing, anti-American harangue long enough to explain how
Nehru, Sukarno, Nasser, and Nkrumah were "imperfect democrats"
rather than politicians with nearly superhuman capacities for
hypocrisy--not to mention impressive abilities in bringing
disasters upon the people they ruled?

3/4/99 2:09:33 PM Hooshmand hafsar@hrblock.com
I arrived at Tehran Mehrabad ariport in May of 1997 two days
after Khatami's election. Based on my limited experience and
contact, people were clearly excited about his election. The
youth had heavily participated in his presidentail campaign. My
nieces and nephews were sharing with me how exciting it was to
work for Khatami's campaign and distribute his flyers and
stickers at major intersections in Tehran. Elementary school
students had come up with songs rediculing Khatami's opponent
(Nategh-Noori) and saying that they would not give him their
vote. I was impressed with how people understood and appreciated
the "power of vote." Whatever you want to call this political
phenomenon in Iran (democracy, limited democracy, undemocratic,
etc.) the fact is that it involves popular participation along
with a clear alternative to the "traditional" establishment. In
my mind, that is a big step in a constructive political
direction. It is still far from the Western standards of
democracy considering the fact that the spectrum of acceptable
candidates who are allowed to run as a candidate is very much
limited. On the other hand, the fact that more conservative
circles were forced to accept Abdollah Noori (Khatami's former
Interior minister forced out by conservative forces in the
Parliament) as a legitimate candidate for Tehran's city council
and his subsequent wide-margin victory as the front-runner may
have put a dent into that conservative control process.

3/4/99 1:11:39 PM Kevin C
Larry Iles: You said: "Smiths argument about the Cold War is
WRONG. The leftist fear/hatred of the so-called
Military/Industrial Complex drives them to say it's all about
money and markets. It was all about provoking people to choose
democracy over socialism." I have to say, Larry, if a frank
assessment of US Cold War policy is "leftist," paint me a dirty
pinko. Do you mean to tell me that the US backed men like the
Shah of Iran, for example, in an effort to instruct the Third
World on democracy? The people of Iran hated him; the US
supported him and was an accomplice in oppressing the will of
the Iranian people. It was about oil and Cold War strategy, not
democracy.

3/4/99 12:53:50 PM Shahin
Unfortunately this journalist, just like 95% of journalists, has
a very narrow vision of history. In the western world democracy
means it only at home! France was a democratic country inside
the country but tortured pooralgerians outside, sold weapons to
Iran and Iraq at the same time, controlled some countries in
Africa forits own interest. A longer list can be set for the US
or any other country that has some power. That's how it's always
been but today it's more subtle and much more hypocritical! The
"democracy" in Iran does notexist if you ask people inside iran.
Don't forget that Khatami was among the 5 candidates allowed to
run for president out of 250. But for the western world that now
wants to do business for Iran, there is a new trend supported by
blind journalists, saying that iran is getting democratic and
that we can start getting big bucks from them.

3/4/99 12:39:10 PM Mark Wilson
Larry: With Germany and Japan, it took foreign occupation for
about a generation. Though in this day and age, there is nobody
who would have the stomach for that solution. (not even me, so
don't get started) About the only thing I can think of would be
constructive engagement. As many cultural exchanges as they are
willing to tolerate. Discreet support of the reformers. We can't
do too much, otherwise we run the risk of making those we
support look like American puppets. A good way to end your
career, if not your life.

3/4/99 12:32:52 PM Mark Wilson
The current president of Iran is far from the only reformer,
merely the most popular of the current crop. If he were to be
assisinated, I suspect there would be a backlash against the
hardliners. While the gains made by the Iranian people in recent
years can be reversed (just look at the reversals we've suffered
over the last 60 years), it will take a lot more than just one
bullet to affect that reversal.

3/4/99 9:31:56 AM alanH
I think its enormously premature to start thinking of Iran as a
democracy, when one bullet could yet undo what's begun.

3/4/99 9:19:34 AM Larry Iles
Mr. Smiths argument about the Cold War is WRONG. The leftist
fear/hatred of the so-called Military/Industrial Complex drives
them to say it's all about money and markets. It was all about
provoking people to choose democracy over socialism. The fringe
benefits of democratic capitalism were an attractive lure to
entice people to choose our way of life. The Soviets and Chinese
used the same tactics, only military might and marxist rhetoric
served as their enticement. The fact that global markets
expanded is only a natural result of the tactics we employed. As
for Iranian democracy being some sort of threat to our own, when
has any other democracy ever followed the American pattern? None
of the other Democratic forms around the world have harmed ours.
No one has the power to harm American Government except
Americans. Benjamin Franklin was right when responding to the
question of what form of Goverment the Founders had given us. "A
Republic, If YOU Can Keep It".

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:11:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranians Want Release of Scholar

Iranians Want Release of Scholar
================================


Wednesday, March 3, 1999; 10:48 a.m. EST

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian journalists and students urged
President Mohammad Khatami to press for the release of a
reformist religious scholar, saying Wednesday that his detention
was a blow to freedom of expression.

The Association of Islamic Students demanded that Khatami
abolish the Special Clerical Court that detained Mohsen Kadivar
on Saturday for questioning. The court, a conservative-led body
that reports only to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
operates independently from Iran's judicial system.

``Students and free-thinking people expect the honorable
president to abolish this illegal body as soon as possible,'' a
statement by the student movement said.

Kadivar, who has backed reforms, was detained by the court on
charges of ``confusing public opinion'' in interviews with the
press and in his lectures, according to the official Islamic
Republic News Agency.

``No reason can be traced'' for Kadivar's arrest, said a letter
by managing directors of Iran's major daily newspapers. Kadivar,
a university lecturer, is a ``sincere and hard working''
promoter of religious beliefs, IRNA quoted the letter as saying.

It said his arrest was ``a blow to the realm of freedom of
expression and the press.''



Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:11:36 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Fischer Backs Iran in Opposing US Sanctions

Fischer backs Iran in opposing US sanctions
===========================================


By ROSS DUNN
TEHERAN, WEDNESDAY

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tim Fischer, has backed Iran in
its opposition to United States trade sanctions and has praised
reform moves by President Mohammad Khatami.

His comments came after talks in Teheran with Iranian officials,
including Mr Khatami. Mr Fischer's visit is the highest-level
Australian diplomatic contact with Iran since the Islamic
revolution 20 years ago.

Mr Fischer briefly raised allegations of state-sponsored
terrorism and human rights abuses, but said his talks were
primarily on trade and investment.

Mr Khatami told Mr Fischer Iran was ready for more open
relations with the West, but the United States should first end
its program of sanctions.


``He (Mr Khatami) said words to the effect that Iran stands
ready to advance relations with Europe, USA and elsewhere, but
there has to be changes (in US sanctions against Iran),'' Mr
Fischer said. He said Australia stood with Iran in opposing the
US Government's decision to impose secondary sanctions against
firms from other countries doing business with Iran.

Mr Khatami described the US sanctions legislation as ``an abuse
of power over smaller economies''.

The moderate Iranian president's comments to Mr Fischer are
expected to be analysed closely by the US administration, which
has been looking for signals from Teheran to begin a new
dialogue with the Islamic republic.

But Mr Khatami, who came to power in 1997 on a wave of popular
support, indicated to Mr Fischer that the US should make the
first move by scrapping the sanctions.

Mr Khatami said he was pleased about recent local government
elections that had expanded the democratic process in Iran.

Mr Fischer praised Mr Khatami's efforts to enable Iranians to
vote for municipal representatives for the first time in 20
years.

He raised with Mr Khatami the issue of fighting in Lebanon and
Iranian funding of the militant Islamic group Hezbollah, which
is at war with Israel.

In response, the Iranian president said Israel was ``an
occupying power in southern Lebanon''.


``We are for a permanent peace in different parts of the world,
including the Middle East, and we believe that peace should be
based on perpetual justice,'' Mr Khatami said.

``No peace can be achieved at a time when the real owners of the
occupied territories are deprived of their legitimate rights to
decide about their fate.''


Mr Fischer made only passing reference to Iran's poor record on
human rights and claims it wants to develop weapons of mass
destruction. ``The main focus of my visit here was trade,
investment and tourism,'' he said.

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:11:58 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Celebrating Iran's Fajr Film Fest

Culture Wares

Celebrating Iran's Fajr Film Fest
=================================

by Jordan Flaherty


In Tehran's majestic Freedom Square, a crowd of revelers a
million strong commemorated the 20th anniversary of their
independence, chanting "Death to America" and burning American
flags. The previous evening, at the glamorous Vahdat Hall, it
was awards night for the 17th Fajr International Film Festival,
and a different sort of festivity reigned. Attendees cheered the
news that Iranian director Majid Majidi, at the festival with
his new film, Color of God, had been nominated for an Oscar for
his previous effort, Children of Heaven.

Although justifiably proud of their flourishing national cinema,
Iranians have no desire to be isolated from the world. With more
than 100 films, including an international competition with
films from Australia to Tajikistan and retrospectives on Bresson
and Tavernier, among others, the festival takes over 10 Tehran
theaters for 10 days. Furthermore, through a brisk black-market
trade, Iranians are remarkably up-to-date on American culture
(although popular musical taste seems focused on hits by Bon
Jovi and Chris De Burgh). This cultural awareness is linked to
what some are referring to as a social revolution, especially
regarding attitudes toward women's roles in society.

Tahmine Milani's Two Women, which won the best screenplay award,
is a bold yet slightly heavy-handed feminist statement.
Featuring strong performances, it contrasts the life of a
successful career woman with her unfortunate college friend, who
must contend with a cruel father, a deranged stalker, and a
loveless marriage. Milani, the only woman director in
competition this year, infuses her indictment of patriarchy with
a righteous elegance.

Audiences also embraced Ebrahim Hatamikia's starkly allegorical
The Red Ribbon, a story of three lost souls confronting each
other on a ruined farm in the center of a minefield. Dry and
intense, the film suggests an Iranian David Mamet's take on the
aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war. The similarly themed Hiva,
directed by Rassul Mollaqolipur, chronicles a woman's obsessive
effort to discover what happened to her husband who disappeared
in combat. As wartime flashbacks compete with a mournful
present, the tale builds to a powerful, if somewhat predictable,
conclusion.

While Majidi's Color of God seems to have been passionately
crafted, its saccharine subject matter feels almost calculating
in its Hollywood-readyness. (A widowed father. A blind son. Both
come to learn valuable lessons about life.) As one European
festival programmer cynically admitted, "We've got to program
it. It was made for us." In a year when heavyweights such as
Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf were notably absent, it easily won the
international jury award.

At the revolutionaryinternational jury award.

At the revolutionary celebrations less than 20 feet from where
Uncle Sam hung in effigy, a group of youths were doing a swift
business in bootleg Titanic handbags. Although the Islamic
government has successfully created one of the world's most
vital national cinemas, it's hard to compete with Leonardo
DiCaprio.
Tell us what you think. editor@villagevoice.com

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:12:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Exiles Ask Pope To Shun Khatami

Iranian Exiles Ask Pope To Shun Khatami
=======================================


ROME (Reuters) - Iranian exiles Wednesday urged Pope John Paul
not to receive Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, who is due to
visit Italy next week.

In a statement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran said
it made the appeal in a letter addressed to the Pope and given
to the Vatican's ambassador to Italy.

The letter was signed by the Council's president, Massoud
Rajavi, and included a list of the names of 3,208 political
prisoners the NCR says have been killed in Iran.

In the past, the Pope has always gone ahead with audiences with
controversial leaders despite protests and appeals from their
opponents.

The Vatican's position is that the Pope will talk to even the
most controversial figures and use the opportunity to discuss
delicate issues, such as human rights.

Khatami's visit is the first by an Iranian president to Western
Europe since the Islamic revolution 20 years ago. He is due to
meet the Pope on March 11, the last day of his three-day visit
to Italy.
Khatami, a relative moderate, was elected on a platform of
social and political reforms in 1997.
The NCR plans a big demonstration in Rome to protest against
Khatami on the first day of his visit.

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:12:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Aviation Co. Shipped Parts to Iran

Aviation Co. Shipped Parts to Iran
==================================

By Amy Westfeldt
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, March 4, 1999; 1:12 a.m. EST

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The president of an aviation company has
pleaded guilty to charges accusing him of shipping 100 Hawk
missile batteries and other military aircraft parts to Iran in
violation of arms laws.

Daniel Malloy, president and owner of International Helicopter
Inc. of Northvale, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy and
arms export law violations.

Prosecutors said Malloy tried to make it look as if he was
shipping only commercial aircraft parts.

``In this case, greed knows no boundaries,'' U.S. Attorney Faith
Hochberg said. ``The lucrative international arms business must
be stopped at the borders of rogue countries that support
terrorism.''

Malloy, 41, faces up to 90 years in prison at a sentencing
scheduled for May. He agreed to pay $2 million in fines,
including $1.8 million he earned from the sale to the Iranian
Air Force, authorities said.

Malloy allegedly made the shipments through Joseph T.B.
Balakrisha Menon, who operates Heli-World Aviation Pte. Ltd. in
Singapore. Menon, a Singaporean citizen, remains at large.

He made eight separate shipments to Singapore between January
1996 and September 1997 of spare parts for the Northrop F-5
fighter jet, a military jet engine used for the Grumman F-14A
fighter jet, and 100 batteries for the surface-to-air Hawk
missile.

Malloy bought the military jet parts from U.S. vendors.

Malloy also admitted to plotting with Menon to ship 20 missile
batteries through Singapore for the AIM-54 Phoenix missile,
which is used only on F-14A Tomcat fighter jets.

U.S. Customs officials had learned of the plot through an
anonymous fax, authorities said.



Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 16:12:20 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Latest Council Election Results in Tehran

Latest Council Election Results in Tehran
=========================================


thr 062
tehran-council-elections
latest islamic council election results in tehran
tehran, march 4, irna -- election headquarters announced on thursday
that 806,912 ballots have been counted for the islamic council
elections in tehran.
the names of the candidates who have received the majority of
votes as of 20:00 hours local time are as follows:
1. abdollah nouri 314,055 votes
2. saeed hajarian 200,320
3. jamileh kadivar 193,301
4. fatemeh jalaiepour 181,428
5. mohammad ebrahim asgharzadeh 180,762
6. mohammad atrianfar 167,681
7. ahmad hakimipour 158.392
8. mohammad hossein doroodian 145,054
9. mahmood alizadeh tabatabaie 135,616
10. gholamreza forouzesh 122,020
11. morteza lotfi 118,312
12. rahmatollah khosrawi 114,966
13. sediqeh vasmaqi 109,698
14. mohammad gharazi 108,585
15. abbass douzdouzani 106,062
16. hassan abedini 101,148
17. davood soleymani 99,882
18. mansour razavi 98,846
19. yahya al-e eshaq 98,293
20. mohammad hussein haghighi 92,234
21. mohammad-kazem seyfian 89,779
ah\dh
end
::irna 04/03/99 23:08

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

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 11:04:48 -0500
From: Ramin Amini <ramin@WORKMAIL.COM>
Subject: No Politics, Senior Iran Cleric Tells Councillors(Reuters)

Reuters05-MAR-99
TEHRAN, March 5 (Reuters) - A senior conservative cleric on Friday warned the winners of Iran's first local council elections to stay out of factional politics.
Judiciary head Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi told future local councillors, many from moderate factions supporting reformist President Mohammad Khatami, not to use their positions to further factional goals.
"Think of your town's or village's interests," Yazdi said in a sermon at the mass Friday prayers in Tehran, carried on state radio.
"I'm speaking to you gentlemen and ladies who think you are so successful and important...don't think you're the president now and can say and do anything you like," he said.
Iran's first local council elections last Friday pitted reformist and conservative factions against each other in larger cities, with mostly non-affiliated candidates running in rural areas.
In Tehran, where votes are still being counted, reformers were clearly in the lead.
The elections, involving candidates of many tendencies, were hailed as a decisive step forward toward Khatami's promised democratic civil society.
Copyright 1999 All rights reserved.


------------------------------------------------------
Get the Latest News at CNN Interactive: http://CNN.com

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

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 01:43:58 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran rejects Gulf Arab condemnation of manoeuvres

Iran rejects Gulf Arab condemnation of manoeuvres
=================================================


TEHRAN, March 5 (Reuters) - Iran on Friday rejected its Gulf
Arab neighbours' condemnation of Iranian naval exercises in the
strategic waterway.

Forway.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the
condemnation by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of the naval
exercises near three disputed Gulf islands was a ``blatant
interference in Iran's internal affairs,'' the Iranian news
agency IRNA reoprted.

An emergency meeting of the six-member GCC in Abu Dhabi on
Thursday condemned the manoeuvres as ``provocative'' and a
threat to the Gulf's stability, and urged Tehran toeat to the Gulf's
stability, and urged Tehran to halt them.
It also expressed support for the United Arab Emirates in its
dispute with Iran over the three islands.

``These manoeuvres not only do not threaten the security of the
region but will also lead to the strengthening of security and
stability in the Persian Gulf,'' Asefi said.
Military exercises ensuring defence preparedness were the right
of all nations, he said.

Abu Musa, along with the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, are
controlled by Iran but are claimed by both Iran and the UAE.

Iran's navy began nine-day-long exercises last Saturday near
Abu Musa. The three islands are located near key shipping lanes
at the mouth of the Gulf.

``It is astonishing that these unre
claims against Iran are
made at claims against Iran are
made at a time when regional countries were themselves engaged
in carrying out manoeuvres,'' Asefi said, referring to ongoing
GCC air forces exercises in the Gulf.

Iran's relations with the Gulf Arab states have improved since
moderate President Mohammad Khatami was elected in 1997, but
the islands row has blocked full normalisation of ties.

Asefi said the three islands were an ``inseparable, integral
part'' of Iran's territory and called for bilateral talks with
the UAE oled for bilateral talks with
the UAE on the dispute.

Iran has rejected UAE calls to take the dispute to
international arbitration. Besides the UAE, the GCC comprises
Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Copyright 1999 Reuters New
s Service.

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

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 01:44:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: US politicians concerned at Italian deal with Iran

US politicians concerned at Italian deal with Iran
==================================================


07:41 p.m Mar 04, 1999 Eastern
WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. congressmen Thursday
appealed to visiting Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema to
temper his country's dealings with Iran.

In a letter sent one day before D'Alema is to meet President
Clinton at the White House, they expressed concern about Italy's
invitation to have Iranian President Mohammed Khatami visit Rome
and about a $1 billiome
and about a $1 billion oil deal involving Tehran and an Italian
company.

``We are convinced that the Iranian regime remains an
international outlaw despite the apparent promises of reform
after the election of President Khatami,'' said the letter from
Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fl., Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and
other legislato
rs.

``However after almost two years the evidence indicates there
have been no substantive improvements in the ruling regime's
conduct, internally or internationally,'' they wrote.

They accused Tehran of pushing ahead with a programme of
acquiring weapons of mass destruction, of accelerating
development of long-range missiles and of ``rabid opposition''
to the Middle East peac
e process.

``Unless there are substantive improvements in Tehran's conduct,
we believe that trade ties (with Iran) and official visits are
unwise and counterproductive,'' the congressmen said.

``Experience has shown us time and again that the most effective
policy to contain this rogue regime is to continue to deny Iran
any co
ncessions,'' they said.
The United States said on Tuesday it will review the $1 billion
Iran-Europe oil deal for violations of U.S. sanctions law but
the possibility of penalties that could sour trans-Atlantic ties
seemed remote.

The State Department said the administration was ``disappointed
and concerned'' about the contract signed Mond
ay between the
National Iranian Oil Company and French oil firm Elf Aquitaine
and Italy's ENI. The issue could come up in Clinton's meeting on
Friday with D'Alema.

The deal will be examined under ILSA, the 1996 Iran-Libya
Sanctions Act, which threatens sanctions against any company
investing more than $20 million in the oil or g
as sectors of
either Libya or Iran.

Despite this, the prospect of sanctions being imposed seemed
remote.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, discussing last year's
decision to waive sanctions on a $2 billion deal involving
France's Total SA and two other firms, promised more waivers f
or
European Union companies so long as the EU cooperated with
Washington on Iran policy.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 01:44:54 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: No politics, senior Iran cleric tells councillors

No politics, senior Iran cleric tells councillors
=================================================


TEHRAN, March 5 (Reuters) - A senior conservative cleric on
Friday warned the winners of Iran's first local council
elections to stay out of factional politics.

Judiciary head Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi told future local
councillors, many from moderate factions supporting reformist
President Mohammad Khatami, not to use their positions to
further factional goals.

``Think of your town's or village's interests,'' Yazdi said in
a sermon at the mass Friday prayers in Tehran, carried on state
radio.

``I'm speaking to you gentlemen and ladies who think you are so
successful and important...don't think you're the president now
and can say and do anything you like,'' he said.

Iran's first local council elections last Friday pitted
reformist and conservative factions against each other in larger
cities, with mostly non-affiliated candidates running in rural
areas.

In Tehran, where votes are still being counted, reformers were
clearly in the lead.

The elections, involving candidates of many tendencies, were
hailed as a decisive step forward toward Khatami's promised
democratic civil society.

Copyright 1999 Reuters News Service.

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

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 01:45:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian ``Color of God'' a simple delight

Iranian ``Color of God'' a simple delight
=========================================


FAJR, Iran (Variety) - After his ``Children of Paradise''
became the first Iranian film nominated for an Academy Award,
director Majid Majidi continues to ride a creative wave with
``The Color of God.''
The beautifully acted and photographed movie won best picture
in the 1999 Fajr festival's international competition. Though
ostensibly not religious, the simple, touching tale about a
blind boy whose father wants to get rid of him grabs audiences
with the elemental force of a story out of the Bible or Koran.
This should be the big Iranian film of the year in terms of
festival film of the year in terms of
festival attention and arthouse sales.

Summer vacation has arrived at an institute for blind children
in Tehran. Parents pick up all the kids except one, Mohammad
(Mohsen Ramezani), who waits for his widowed father (Hossein
Mahjub), a poor coal worker, with growing apprehension.
Finally, Dad reluctantly turns up to claim the boy and take him
home to the country.

Little in contemporary Iranian cinema, apart perhaps from
Makhmalbaf's ``Gabbeh'' and ``The Silence,'' has been
preparation for the explosion of color and joie de vivre that
follows. Around the farm where Mohammad lives with his t
wo
little sisters and granny (Salime Feizi) are vast fields of
wildflowers, picked by the children to make bright yarn dyes.

Through Mohammad Davudi's lens, the rolling hills and fields
become a paradise on earth, where the hero's blindness is no
handica
handicap. But Mohammad's morose father wants to remarry, and
fears his son is an obstacle.

Clean, swift editing contributes to the film's parable feeling.
In addition, Majidi and his cameraman manage to bring out a
sacred quality in the wild beauty of the forest and sea, and
put it in relation to the characters. Using little dialogue,
pic conveys the good and evil in human emotions.

Mohammad ........... Mohsen Ramezani

Father ............. Hossein Mahjub

Grandma ............ Salime Feizi

Little Sister ...... E
lham Sharifi

Big Sister ......... Farahnaz Safari

A Varahonar Co. production. (International sales: Varahonar,
Tehran.) Produced by Mehdi Karimi.

Directed, written by Majid Majidi. Camera (color), Mohammad
Davudi; editor, Hassan Hassandoost; music, Keyvan Ja
hanshahi;
production designer, Asghar Nezhadimani; sound, Yadollah Najafi.
Reviewed at Fajr Film Festival (international competition),
Iran, Feb. 8, 1999.

Copyright 1999 Reuters News Service.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1999 to 5 Mar 1999 - Special issue
*****************************************************************