Date: Mar 10, 1999 [ 12: 9: 31]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999 to 10 Mar 1999 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999 to 10 Mar 1999 - Special issue
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There are 13 messages totalling 1226 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. THOSE WHO ARE AWARE OF THE TRUTH AND DENY IT ARE COMPLICIT
2. FOCUS-Iran's Khatami Makes Anti-Nuclear Pledge
3. Iran Hails Khatami Italy Visit as Turning Point
4. GCC Oil Ministers to Discuss Saudi-Iran Oil Deal
5. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 10
6. FOCUS-Iran's Khatami, Italy PM to Discuss Rights
7. Iranian Leader Khatami To Meet Pope
8. World Is Tired Of Terrorism -Iran's Khatami
9. Khatami to Visit Pope; A Mmullah in the Vatican
10. Iran Opens Up -- on Web and Slopes
11. US Improves Combat Ability in Gulf
12. Iran Signals New Direction
13. Khatemi Calls For Closer Ties to West

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 13:43:52 EST
From: CHAIRNGO@AOL.COM
Subject: THOSE WHO ARE AWARE OF THE TRUTH AND DENY IT ARE COMPLICIT

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF IRANIAN REFUGEES (IFIR)
For Release March 10, 1999
Press Release

THOSE WHO ARE AWARE OF THE TRUTH
AND DENY IT ARE COMPLICIT IN
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Khatami, the current president and former censorship minister of
the Islamic Republic of Iran, is in Italy for a three-day visit at the
invitation of the Italian government. Italian foreign minister, Lamberto
Dini, has stated that Iran’s "democracy and stability are important to
the entire Middle East." Khatami has been hailed as a moderate elected
by the people, though everyone knows that the candidates involved in
the sham elections were hand-picked by the Council of Guardians and
the supreme spiritual leader, Khamenei.

Calling Iran a democracy reveals a truth about what democracy really
stands for in the world today. It is a government which is stable
(or repressive enough to prevent revolts and revolutions in the third world).
It is also a government "of the capitalist, for the capitalist and by the
capitalist" (often called a democracy "of the people, for the people,
and by the people," if any sort of "elections" can be held).

Democracy, and if not that, at least stability, are the only things
Western governments hope to create to facilitate business as usual.
The Italian government does not hide these reasons - after all their
main topic of conversation was business. An Italian energy group
and a French oil company just signed a billion dollar contract to
develop the Dorood oil field. It is, therefore, clear why Italy and
European governments (Khatami will be going to France next) have
opened their hearts and their pocket books to the "new" and
"transformed" Islamic Republic of Iran. If only it was that simple.

The Italian foreign minister must still allude to rights, saying that
Italy will "be very careful to condemn abuses of human rights
and democracy in Iran." The Italian ruling class must get rich as
it is in the "interest of modernization." Ditches with human beings
buried in them and stoned to death will eventually be respected as
a cultural and religious peculiarity, while big money just pours in.

But unfortunately for them, it isn’t so simple. Until there exists a
system which profits on the repression of human beings, people will
struggle for a life worthy of them. People in Iran are fighting for that
change, against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its partners in crime,
Western governments. The West knows that the regime of Islam is
falling flat on its face. The recent demonstrations of tens of thousands
in Iranian Kurdistan, women pulling off their compulsory veils, and
increased workers’ strikes are all signs of another revolution. Once
more, these governments want to stifle it and change its course as
before.

The day this regime falls, the realities of its barbarity and Western
governments’ collusion will be another dark mark on humanity.

The International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR) calls on all
who are outraged to protest against European government complicity
and the Islamic Republic of Iran.


For more Information
Contact: Maryam Namazie
Tel: 212-747-1046
Fax: 212-425-7260
E-mail: ifiric@aol.com

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:32:30 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: FOCUS-Iran's Khatami Makes Anti-Nuclear Pledge

FOCUS-Iran's Khatami Makes Anti-Nuclear Pledge
==============================================

06:28 p.m Mar 09, 1999 Eastern
By Steve Pagani

ROME, March 9 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, on
his first state visit to the West since winning power, said on
Tuesday Iran would work to oppose the spread of nuclear arms and
weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking at a banquet hosted by Italian President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro, Khatami said the Islamic state was also intent on
countering all forms of aggression, including terrorism.

``Iran and Italy...can work together towards...opposing all
forms of violence, aggression, terrorism, racial and ethnic
discrimination, as well as the proliferation of nuclear arms and
weapons of mass destruction,'' he said.

Khatami's comments were certain to please his Italian hosts,
especially government ministers concerned at Iran's human rights
record and claims Tehran was seeking to acquire nuclear and
missiles programmes.

His address was also clearly directed at the United States,
which has said it will only see Iran reintegrated into the
international community if it improved human rights and rejected
terrorism and all attempts to develop a nuclear capability.

Extending an olive branch to nations prepared to forge ties with
Iran on an equal footing, Khatami said: ``Peace and freedom
cannot be obtained other than through a dialogue in which each
party respects the other and regards the other as an equal.''

Scalfaro, a devout Roman Catholic, raised the question of
freedom of expression, which he said was a value inherent in
countries like Italy and Iran born of ancient civilisations.

He said one had a duty to encourage a country to develop human
rights and democracy without becoming its judge.

Scalfaro praised Khatami for what he called ``the direction he
had given to his country's policies and to the relations Iran
intends to have with other peoples.''

``We are aware of the difficulties and obstacles to be overcome.
But, for this, we appreciate the intelligent commitment,
patience and tenacity in which you are leading your political
and spiritual battle,'' he told Khatami.

Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, who meets Khatami on
Wednesday, and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini have said the West
had to show support for Khatami's reformist policies in the face
of opposition from conservatives and traditionalist clergy.

Khatami's three day visit to Italy and the Vatican was seen as
the opening of a new era in the Iran's ties with the West.

Trade talks were also expected to focus on Iran's oil and gas
sector following a $1 billion deal with Iran by Italian energy
giant ENI and France's Elf-Aquitaine.

But the Iranian president used the first day of the visit to lay
out his vision for the new millennium on his hopes for peace and
equality between all nations.

``To want true peace, we have to want justice, harmony, an
exchange of opinions and behaviour based on such values,'' he
said in an address earlier to parliamentarians.

Without naming any one country, Khatami said there was a
tendency towards world hegemony and an attempt to absorb all
cultures and social structures under one dominant system.
``It is necessary, therefore, to think, with a critical eye on
past experience of international relations, of a future in which
all of humanity and all societies can take part,'' he said.

Chamber of Deputies President Luciano Violante appealed to
Khatami to continue his efforts to safeguard human rights.

But Iranian opposition activists and Italian supporters
protested against the visit, claiming little had changed since
Khatami came to power. They alleged that since his election more
than 300 people had been publicly executed, nine people stoned
to death and 28 dissidents assassinated abroad.

Khatami, a scholar of Western philosophy, has written a book
entitled ``Religion, Freedom and Democracy,'' which comes out in
Italian translation during his visit.

``Sprituality and faith are an elixir that can transform the
uncertainty and anxiety of man into security and tranquility,''
said Khatami, who meets Pope John Paul on Thursday.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:32:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Hails Khatami Italy Visit as Turning Point

Iran Hails Khatami Italy Visit as Turning Point
===============================================
11:48 a.m. Mar 09, 1999 Eastern
By Mehrdad Balali

TEHRAN, March 9 (Reuters) - Iranian officials and newspapers on
Tuesday hailed President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Italy as
the beginning of the end of two decades of antagonistic
relations with the West.

``The Islamic republic, having reached maturity, is more
prepared to expand such relations. With good will, we can have
better ties,'' Khatami said before his departure to Rome, making
him the first Iranian leader to pay a state visit to a Western
European country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Since his landslide election as president 22 months ago,
Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Moslem cleric, has campaigned for
better ties with the rest of the world, mainly the West, long
seen here as a threat to Islam and the revolution.

In a marked contrast to Iran's old radical definition of the
West as a ``bastion of decadence,'' the president described
Italy as a ``centre for thoughts, democracy and civilisation,''
values highlighted in his vision of a future Iran.

Khatami is boosted by a string of recent political successes at
home, notably the clear-cut win of his followers against
religious conservatives in Iran's first local polls last month.
Iranian media have seized on Khatami's visit to Italy to call
for a clear shift in foreign policy and better relations with
Europe, which has only recently emerged from a long period of
troubled relationship with the Islamic republic.

``Iran to come out of international isolation,'' was a banner
headline ran by the liberal daily Neshat, quoting European
officials.

Many officials and the mainstream media do not speak of Iran's
policy change in those terms, at least in public. Khatami's
supporters seek to justify the diplomatic about-face with what
they say is a change of attitude towards Iran in the West since
Khatami's election.

``The trip to Italy marks the end of a misconception in Europe
about Iran. Italy, before any other country in Europe, has begun
to value cooperation with the Islamic republic,'' said Deputy
Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi.

Tehran-Rome ties began to develop in 1994, and they have
accelerated during the past year under Khatami's presidency.

Italy reluctantly joined a decision by the European Union to
suspend what it called a ``critical dialogue'' with Iran and
freeze official exchanges in the wake of a 1997 ruling by a
German court implicating Tehran in the assassination of
dissidents in Berlin. Iran denied the accusation.

Rome helped ease the stand-off between Iran and the EU a year
ago with a visit to Tehran by Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini,
followed in June by then prime minister Romano Prodi.

Italy became Iran's top commercial partner in 1998 and bilateral
trade stood at around $2 billion. Iranian officials hope to
receive investments of up to $3 billion from Italy in the
future.

Khatami is also due to travel to France in early spring and
maybe even to Germany, which was once Iran's top trade partner
before ties soured two years ago.

Even Khatami's conservative opponents, who always caution the
president against taking a soft line towards the West, now seem
upbeat about better ties with the EU, hoping to make the bloc
into an ally against U.S. efforts to isolate Iran.
``Khatami's trip to Europe is a diplomatic offensive to reduce
the importance of the United States in international
equations,'' the conservative daily Qods said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:33:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: GCC Oil Ministers to Discuss Saudi-Iran Oil Deal

GCC Oil Ministers to Discuss Saudi-Iran Oil Deal
================================================


02:34 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
RIYADH, March 10 (Reuters) - Gulf Arab oil ministers were
travelling on Wednesday to Saudi Arabia, where they are expected
to discuss a Saudi-Iranian compromise accord that could help
OPEC launch a fresh assault on low oil prices.

Officially, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) oil ministers
will attend the inauguration of Saudi Arabia's Shaybah oilfield
in the desolate Empty Quarter desert.

But the most important business of the day will come when they
sit down to discuss the Saudi-Iranian accord which was reached
after months of bitter wrangling over how much oil output Iran
is obliged to cut under an OPEC pact.

Saudi Arabia will present the agreement to its fellow Gulf oil
ministers on the sidelines of the Shaybah ceremony, a Gulf
source said.

The deal was reached between Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and
his Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh in talks in Riyadh on
Sunday, the Gulf source said.

No precise details have emerged on the agreement but news of the
deal lifted oil market spirits on Tuesday, with benchmark Brent
making sharp gains as high as $11.99 in London before falling
back down to $11.57 a barrel.

Oil markets will be watching closely for the reaction of OPEC
kingpin Saudi Arabia's fellow Gulf Arab states to the accord.

The first clues came from Kuwait, a staunch supporter of further
OPEC production cuts, and Qatar, which has repeatedly said it
would back any moves to rescue oil prices.

``First there must be full compliance with earlier agreed cuts.
Then we look at further cuts to stabilise the market,'' Kuwaiti
Oil Minister Sheikh Saud al-Nasser told reporters before flying
to Saudi Arabia.

``We are flexible on this issue,'' he said, when asked whether
Kuwait was willing to take further production cuts. ``The main
thing is improving (world oil) prices.''

Kuwait has made repeated attempts to rally support for further
output cuts, a move that Saudi Arabia and key producer the
United Arab Emirates have said should not come before securing
full compliance with previous supply curb pacts.

Sheikh Saud noted that there are now ``positive stands'' among
some countries ``whose positions were somewhat rigid concerning
reduction of production.''

``The issue of Iran is not a problem,'' he said.

The vexed question of the baseline from which Iran should cut
output has blocked fresh steps by OPEC to revive oil prices.

Qatar indicated on Wednesday that it would back the Saudi-Iran
compromise accord. But Qatari oil officials stressed that the
agreement needed approval from all OPEC states.

``We are going to support the accord,'' an oil official close to
Qatari policy told Reuters.

The GCC comprises OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab
Emirates (UAE) and Qatar and non-OPEC Oman and Bahrain.

The UAE was not attending the Shaybah meeting due to
``scheduling problems,'' a regional source said, adding that it
had no objections to the agenda.

A UAE oil official declined to comment on the Saudi-Iranian
accord, saying a position would be stated once full details on
the deal were available.
((Gulf newsroom +9714 607 1222, fax +9714 626982,
dubai.newsroom+reuters.com))


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:33:22 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 10

PRESS DIGEST - Iran - March 10
==============================


08:18 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 10 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in Iranian newspapers on Wednesday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

QODS

- Delays on Iran Air flights dropped to an average of 11 minutes
per flight in the nine months to December 21, down 43 percent
from a year earlier. The state airline has blamed the delays
partly on its ageing fleet and U.S. sanctions which make its ageing
fleet and U.S. sanctions which make it
difficult for Iran to purchase Western aircraft.

IRAN NEWS

- Azerbaijan's foreign minister is to arrive in Tehran on Friday
for talks, according to an ``informed source.'' He is expected
to meet President Mohammad Khatami, Parliament speaker Ali Akbar
Nateq-Nouri and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.

JOMHURI-YE ESLAMI

- Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told the visiting
Pakistani parliament speaker that a peaceful resolution of the
conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan was a priority in
developing closer ties between Iran and Pakistan. The two
countries support opposing sides in the Afghan civil war.

KAR VA KARGAR

- The head of Iran's state inspectorate said municipalities, the
Health Ministry and tax authorities were among state bodies
drawing the largest number of public complaints.

AKHBAR
- Some 3,000 model factory workers will be allowed to buy up to
120,000 company shares, the Labour Ministry said.

ABRAR-E EQTESADI

- The Tehran Stock Exchange suspended trading on 11 loss-making
firms, including canned food producer Chin Chin.

- An official at the Industry Ministry called for more efficient
energy use by industry, saying it currently uses the equivalent
of 700 million barrels of oil a year. Masoud Homayunfar said a
10 percent cut in consumption would save the country an annual
$170 million.

TEHRAN TIMES

- Judiciary head Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi named Mohammad Niazi,
a Shi'ite Moslem cleric who held the post of military prosecutor
in Tehran, to head Iran's military tribunals. Niazi replaces Ali
Yunesi, who was appointed intelligence minister last month.

- Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani, a leading member of the
powerful Guardian Council, has been hospitalised because of a
heart ailment.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:34:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: FOCUS-Iran's Khatami, Italy PM to Discuss Rights

FOCUS-Iran's Khatami, Italy PM to Discuss Rights
================================================


06:12 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Steve Pagani

ROME, March 10 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami,
sounding a theme of peace and reconciliation on his state visit
to Italy, was expected to discuss human rights with Prime
Minister Massimo D'Alema on Wednesday.

D'Alema, a former communist, has signalled that while he
believes the West and Iran should push harder towards a firm
rapprochement, he will also make clear to Khatami that more must
be done to combat human rights abuses.

In his speeches on Tuesday, Khatami, Iran's first president to
make a state visit to the West since the 1979 Islamic
revolution, spoke of detente and pledged that Iran would oppose
terrorism and the spread of nuclear arms and weapons of mass
destruction.

``The Islamic republic of Iran is not hostile towards any
country and on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference
in the internal affairs of other countries, will pursue honest
and rational relations with all nations,'' Khatami told a state
banquet hosted by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.

His comments, sure to please his Italian hosts, were clearly
aimed at the United States, which has said it will see Iran
re-integrated into the international community only if it
improves human rights and rejects terrorism and all attempts to
develop a nuclear capability.

``Iran and Italy...can work together towards...opposing all
forms of violence, aggression, terrorism, racial and ethnic
discrimination, as well as the proliferation of nuclear arms and
weapons of mass destruction,'' he said.
``Khatami seeks dialogue,'' said one headline in Milan's
Corriere della Sera daily. ``Khatami and Scalfaro: Let's work
together for human rights,'' said Rome's la Repubblica.

Khatami's first official duty on the second day of his three-day
visit to Italy and the Vatican was to lay a wreath at the tomb
of the unknown soldier in Piazza Venezia.

Despite huge security operations that have clogged Rome's
streets with traffic, protesters managed to throw an
paint-filled egg at Khatami's car as it travelled from his hotel
in Rome's smart Via Veneto area.

No arrests over the incident were reported but three Iranians
holding banners denouncing Khatami's visit were detained by
police near Piazza Venezia.

The Iranian president also met Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli at
the Campidoglio city hall before his encounter with D'Alema.

Iran's economy, hard hit by low oil prices, needs foreign
investment and the Iranian delegation will be talking trade, and
possibly loans, with Italian officials.

Trade talks were expected to focus on Iran's oil and gas sector
following a $1 billion deal with Iran by Italian energy giant
ENI and France's Elf-Aquitaine.

Scalfaro told Khatami it was the duty of nations to encourage a
country to improve human rights but not to be its judge.

``We are aware of the difficulties and obstacles to be overcome.
But, for this, we appreciate the intelligent commitment,
patience and tenacity in which you are leading your political
and spiritual battle,'' he told Khatami.
D'Alema and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini have said the West
had to show support for Khatami's reformist policies in the face
of opposition from conservatives and traditionalist clergy.

A reformist Shi'ite cleric, Khatami is also a scholar of Western
philosophy and his book ``Religion, Freedom and Democracy''
comes out in Italian this week. He meets Pope John Paul on
Thursday.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:33:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Leader Khatami To Meet Pope

Iranian Leader Khatami To Meet Pope
===================================


05:01 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
takes his revolution of openness to the Vatican Thursday for a
historic meeting with Pope John Paul.

Making the first state visit to the West by an Iranian president
since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Khatami also becomes Iran's
most senior religious leader to visit the Pope.

Since his election in 1997, Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Muslim
cleric and scholar of Western philosophy, has often called for a
``dialogue of civilizations.''
He perhaps will find no more fitting a place for that than at
the Vatican, a cradle of Christian culture.

Since there are no major outstanding problems between the
Vatican and Iran, whose only 13,000 Roman Catholics would fit
into a Vatican hall, the visit is expected to be more one of
sweeping symbolism than substance.

The Vatican wants Iran, which has vast influence in the Muslim
world, to open up more to the West, disown international
terrorism and improve its human rights record.

``The meeting between the Iranian president and the Pope is of
primary importance for dialogue between Islam and
Christianity,'' Archbishop Romeo Panciroli, the Vatican's envoy
to Tehran, told Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's
missionary arm.

``Iran is a leader of the Islamic world, with a great influence
over the Middle East.''

Khatami will be the first president of the 55-nation
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to meet the Pontiff,
Panciroli said.

``The significance of this meeting for relations between the two
religions is truly great,'' he said.
Relations between Catholicism and Islam around the world are
mixed. Unlike Catholicism, Islam has no central structure and
inter-faith relations can be good in one nation, bad in another.

Relations between Muslims and the Christian minority in Iran are
generally good, but officials hope the meeting between the Pope
and Khatami will have broader, long-term results.

``A meeting of this kind does not bear immediate fruit but in
the long term it creates a fertile ground for dialogue. There is
a change of attitude toward Christians which leads one to be
hopeful,'' Panciroli said.
In an interview with Reuters, Iran's ambassador to the Vatican
Mohammad Hadi Abedekhoda'i said Iran was certainly opening up to
the West but the West was also rediscovering Iran.

``The West certainly has realized that in the Middle East, Iran
is a great country endowed with precious resources and great
potential in an area that is geographically strategic and very
politically and socially important,'' he said. ``This is why the
West wants to improve relations with it.''

``Today, the countries of the world intend to establish more
relations with Iran, because they have understood the importance
of this nation,'' said Abedekhoda'i, an Islamic theologian.

The exiled opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran
wrote to the Pope asking him not to meet Khatami and listing
3,208 political prisoners it says have been killed in Iran.

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.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:33:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: World Is Tired Of Terrorism -Iran's Khatami

World Is Tired Of Terrorism -Iran's Khatami
===========================================


10:33 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Steve Pagani

ROME (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, reaching
out to the West in a fresh spirit of openness, said Wednesday
the world was tired of violence and terrorism and wanted peace
based on mutual respect and justice.

Khatami, who held nearly two hours of talks with Prime Minister
Massimo D'Alema on the second of a three-day state visit to
Italy, said there had to be the will among all nations to ensure
freedom, democracy and human rights took root.

``We agree that the world, now more than at any other time,
needs peace and concord,'' Khatami, speaking through an
interpreter, told reporters after his talks with D'Alema.

``The world is tired of seeing the perpetuation of violence and
terrorism, but the effort to create a real peace needs to go
hand in hand with the struggle to restore justice,'' he added.

The reformist Shi'ite cleric said Iranians were choosing ``a new
way'' which he was sure would be successful in the future.

The Italian government, while voicing its reservations over
human rights, has urged the West to back Khatami and his
supporters who face opposition from powerful conservatives and
traditionalist clergy.

``I am proud that at the end of the 20th century, I, as
president of my country, have begun a dialogue between
civilizations and different peoples,'' Khatami said.

A scholar of Western philosophy, Khatami is also using his visit
to promote his idea of a closer dialogue between civilizations
and between Islam and Christianity, which he is expected to
discuss in his meeting with Pope John Paul Thursday.

But Khatami, on the first state visit to the West by an Iranian
leader since the 1979 Islamic revolution, has so far been
talking politics. His central message is that Iran is ready to
end its isolation and open up dialogue with all nations, but
that relations have to be conducted on an equal footing.

In two lengthy speeches and a statement to reporters since his
arrival Tuesday, Khatami has not mentioned the United States
once but his comments were clearly directed at Washington and
other countries that consider Iran a pariah nation.

The Clinton administration has softened its stance since
Khatami's election 21 months ago and described local election
results, in which Khatami candidates did well, as positive.

But Washington accuses Iran of supporting terrorism and seeking
to acquire weapons of mass destruction and has criticized its
record on human rights. Only when it has evidence to the
contrary will the United States begin to forge new ties.

Khatami, who has condemned terrorism on several occasions,
pledged Tuesday that Iran would work to oppose the spread of
nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. On the Middle East
peace process, Iran has shifted its opposition to the Oslo
agreement and maintains it will back an agreement that is
satisfactory to the Palestinians.

Khatami said his talks with D'Alema had been frank and open and
there had been differences of opinion on ``the analysis of
certain issues.'' He did not elaborate.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:34:22 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami to Visit Pope; A Mmullah in the Vatican

Khatami to Visit Pope; A Mmullah in the Vatican
===============================================
07:25 a.m. Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, March 10 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami takes his revolution of openness to the Vatican on
Thursday, stepping from one divinely inspired state to another
as he holds a historic meeting with Pope John Paul.
Making the first state visit to the West by an Iranian president
since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Khatami also becomes Iran's
most senior religious leader to visit the Pope.

Since his election in 1997, Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Moslem
cleric and scholar of Western philosophy, has often called for a
``dialogue of civilisations.''

He perhaps will find no more fitting a place for that than at
the Vatican, a cradle of Christian culture, where every frescoed
room he will walk through in the Apostolic Palace tells a story
of religious culture.

Iran's tiny Roman Catholic community of 13,000 would fit into a
Vatican hall and conditions for the minority have improved
significantly since the 1979 Revolution, when most Church
institutions were nationalised, according to Fides, the news
agency of the Vatican's missionary arm.

Fides said in a new report on Iran on Wednesday that in the past
two years it has become easier for Catholic missionaries to
obtain visas to work in Iran.

The Vatican wants Iran, which has vast influence in the Moslem
world, to open up more to the West, disown international
terrorism and improve its human rights record.

When he received the letters of credential of Iran's ambassador
to the Vatican in 1997, the Pope said he wanted to see more
collaboration on the defence of ``fundamental human
rights...first of all freedom of religion.''

At the time, the Pope also said he hoped Iran would open up more
to the outside world.

Vatican and Iranian officials say Thursday's meeting will be
highly symbolic.

``The meeting between the Iranian president and the Pope is of
primary importance for dialogue between Islam and
Christianity,'' Archbishop Romeo Panciroli, the Vatican's envoy
to Tehran, told Fides.
``Iran is a leader of the Islamic world, with a great influence
over the Middle East.''

Khatami will be the first president of the 55-nation
Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to meet the Pontiff,
Panciroli said.

``The significance of this meeting for relations between the two
religions is truly great,'' he said.

Relations between Catholicism and Islam around the world are
mixed. Unlike Catholicism, Islam has no central structure and
inter-faith relations can be good in one nation, bad in another.

Officials on both side hope the meeting between the Pope and
Khatami will have broader, long-term results.

``A meeting of this kind does not bear immediate fruit but in
the long term it creates a fertile ground for dialogue. There is
a change of attitude towards Christians which leads one to be
hopeful,'' Panciroli said.

In an interview with Reuters, Iran's ambassador to the Vatican
Mohammad Hadi Abedekhoda'i said Iran was certainly opening up to
the West but the West was also rediscovering Iran.
``The West certainly has realised that in the Middle East, Iran
is a great country endowed with precious resources and great
potential in an area that is geographically strategic and very
politically and socially important,'' he said. ``This is why the
West wants to improve relations with it.''

``Today, the countries of the world intend to establish more
relations with Iran,o establish more
relations with Iran, because they have understood the importance
of this nation,'' said Abedekhoda'i, an Islamic theologian.

The exiled opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran
wrote to the Pope asking him not to meet Khatami and listing
3,208 political prisoners it says have been killed in Iran.

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.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:35:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Opens Up -- on Web and Slopes

Letter From Iran
Iran Opens Up -- on Web and Slopes
==================================


By Howard Schneider
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, March 10, 1999; Page A18

TEHRAN—"In the name of God, welcome to Ibrahim Zadeh's computer.
With hope full for nice days."

The synthesis of religion and modernity that often defines Iran
under Mohammed Khatemi, its reform-minded president, is neatly
captured by the screen saver on Ibrahim Zadeh's terminal in the
basement of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic
Guidance.

With a bright smile beaming from within the hood of her black
chador, Zadeh is the technician who makes sure that foreign
journalists visiting the Islamic Republic of Iran have access to
the Internet. She provides it from their own computers in their
hotel rooms over a local phone line, at no charge.

If there are software problems, she'll fix them, adjusting phone
numbers and modem settings as the situation requires. It is a
service not only sanctioned, but encouraged by her boss, Hossein
Nosrat, who chuckles with satisfaction as he invites reporters
into his office to try out the new connection, fooling with
phone lines and tinkering with things himself.

It's all a bit disorienting. Iran's clerical leaders have long
warned of the threat to their Islamic revolution posed by the
"Western cultural invasion" -- in other words, everything the
Internet seems to represent.

But the government's embrace of the Internet raises few eyebrows
here. Increasingly, surprises such as local Internet access --
and competent staff to support it -- are becoming the norm.

Iran is hardly an open society. Although Iranians can set up
their own Internet accounts, they typically have to state a
"legitimate" business or professional purpose for doing so. Some
providers censor their service using U.S.-made software that
screens out Web sites dealing with alcohol, pornography and
violence.

Still, the availability of the Internet here is an important
step -- and one mirrored elsewhere in Iranian life. Signs of
increasing openness include the resurrection of an old blackface
theater style at one local restaurant -- where the chief
character wiggles his bottom freely before a mixed-sex audience
and cracks bawdy jokes -- and the reappearance (to loud
applause) of previously discouraged nationalist songs in musical
performances. There are even reports of revealing bathing suits
in the women's section of a popular Persian Gulf resort.

"At the beginning of the revolution, such a type of theater was
forbidden, but little by little it has changed," said Gholam
Baboteh, one of the actors in the three-person "black play," a
centuries-old theater form in which a tyrannical master is
outwitted by his seemingly buffoonish slave.

The slow opening of Iranian society is even evident in the
streets. It is possible, for example, to see young, unmarried
couples holding hands in public parks and restaurants apparently
without fear of harassment by the notorious morality police.
Khatemi has explicitly put those forces on notice to leave
people alone.

Such gains are always subject to reversal in Iran, where several
liberal intellectuals recently have been killed by assassins
described by the government as rogue intelligence agents.
Nevertheless, according to the latest U.N. Human Rights
Commission report on Iran: "Progress continued to be made toward
President Khatemi's goal of a civil society -- tolerant, diverse
and operating within the rule of law."

The change in atmosphere is evident on the ski slopes of Dizin,
a resort in the Alborz Mountains near Tehran, where skiers of
both sexes interact with surprising nonchalance, largely
ignoring rules that supposedly restrict them to segregated lifts
and slopes.

Female heads are still covered, but not with the traditional
scarves and hoods. The dress is strictly ski-resort chic --
bright vests and wool hats -- and the makeup is sometimes thick.

In the privacy of the lifts, young men talk about Dizin as a
place where the girls can look their most beautiful. The son of
a diplomat told how young people's parties are lasting later
into the night, with less and less intrusion.

Compared with some other Middle East cities, even internal
security seems in some ways relaxed. About 30 miles outside
Tehran recently, a policeman appeared and ordered a cab carrying
an American journalist to the side of the road, prompting
everyone to begin reaching for their passports and visas and
permission slips and identity cards. But not to worry. The
policeman was not interested in any of that. He just wanted to
remind the cabbie that his vehicle inspection sticker had
expired.


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:34:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: US Improves Combat Ability in Gulf

US Improves Combat Ability in Gulf
==================================


By John Diamond
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 10, 1999; 6:01 a.m. EST

KUWAIT (AP) -- The U.S. military is taking a series of
low-profile steps to improve its capability for ground combat in
the Persian Gulf region -- even as the high-profile air battle
over northern and southern Iraq thunders on.

The effort gained urgency when, after the U.S. airstrikes on
Iraq in December, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said he no longer
recognizes Kuwait's sovereignty. Defense Secretary William
Cohen, who winds up a six-nation tour of Gulf states today, says
America's commitment to the region is long term and goes beyond
air cover.

``The one thing that you can be sure of is that we're going to
defend Kuwait, and any attack upon Kuwait we're going to
consider as an attack upon us,'' Cohen told U.S. air crews
Tuesday at Al Jaber Air Base in the Kuwaiti desert. ``We're here
to defend their interests and our interests.''

Before leaving Kuwait for Jordan, Cohen met with Defense
Minister Sheik Salem al-Sabah and said the United States will
provide Kuwait early warning of missile launches from Iraq or
Iran.

Cohen said his talks with the Kuwaiti leadership resulted in
``several specific steps to make our strong cooperation even
stronger.''

No formal agreements were signed and Cohen did not give details
of the missile warning help. But he said Kuwait and Washington
will cooperate on improving ``our abilities to detect and defend
against chemical and biological weapons.''

Also, he said a new telephone line will link his office with
that of Kuwait's defense minister.

So far on his trip, Cohen has reached agreeme
nt with Saudi
Arabia to conduct joint military exercises involving ground
troops. In Qatar, the United States expects by next year to
complete the pre-positioning of 200 tanks and other armored
vehicles, and U.S. officials are discussing a proposal by Qatar
to expand accommodations for U.S. ground troops. In Kuwait,
regular field exercises involving Marines or Army troops
continue with equipment from another huge armored vehicle
storage center on the outskirts of Kuwait City.

Defense officials see no immediate sign that Saddam is preparing
to turn his rhetoric about Kuwait into action. Thus Cohen
portrays the massive U.S. force presence in the region in terms
beyond any immediate crisis.

``By being forward deployed, we help to stabilize regions,''
Cohen said. ``When a region is stable, what happens? Investment
starts to flow in. Any time you see any instability where
there's real conflict and turbulence, the money comes out
automatically. When the money comes out, economies collapse and
states are in danger of collapsing and you've got chaos.''

Cohen also took steps to strengthen the militaries of friendly
Gulf states, another hedge against a worsening of tension in the
region. He agreed to sell air-to-air missiles to Bahrain and
Saudi Arabia, proposed an intelligence-sharing system that would
warn allies of hostile missile launches, and discussed a major
sale of fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.

Throughout the trip, Cohen has been dealing with the political
sensitivities of the Persian Gulf where even nations that have
worked with the U.S. military for decades are anxious not to
appear too closely tied to Washington, lest they anger
fundamentalist Muslims.

Largely because of this concern, the United States has no plans
to reach agreements that would allow for permanent bases.
Servicemen who met with Cohen on Tuesday asked about this; bases
would mean whole families could move to the region. As it is, a
soldier or airman who deploys to the Gulf stays for a few months
away from family and then cycles back home. It is considered
hardship duty.

``I think much depends upon what the Kuwaiti people want, what
the other Gulf states would like to have,'' Cohen said. But
whether the bases themselves are permanent or temporary, the
U.S. military has no plans of packing for home soon. Even if
tensions with Iraq ease, ``we will still want a presence in the
region to the extent that the host countries want us here. That
has always been part of our policy. We don't go where we're not
wanted.''


© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:35:16 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Signals New Direction

Iran Signals New Direction
==========================


BBC World: Europe
Wednesday, March 10, 1999 Published at 00:08 GMT

Exiles caricature Iranian leaders during a peaceful protest

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami has called on Italy to help
oppose the spread of violence, terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction during his landmark visit to Rome.


His three-day visit, the first by an Iranian leader to a Western
country since the fundamentalist revolution in 1979, is being
heralded by both sides as opening a new chapter in Iran's
relations with Europe.

On Thursday, the moderate Shia Muslim cleric is expected to
become the first Iranian president to meet Pope John Paul II.

New era

Speaking at a state banquet held in his honour, President
Khatami told a prominent audience: "Iran and Italy...can work
together towards...opposing all forms of violence, aggression,
terrorism, racial and ethnic discrimination, as well as the
proliferation of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction."


Declaring a new era of détente, he said that peace and freedom
required "a dialogue in which each party respects the other and
regards the other as an equal".

The visit has attracted criticism from Iranians in exile, who
are opposed to the Islamic regime in Tehran, from some Italian
politicians and from the US Government.

Opposition protests

Earlier in the day, a crowd of several thousand supporters of
the Iranian opposition held a peaceful demonstration near to the
presidential palace where President Khatami was being welcomed
by his Italian counterpart Oscar Scalfaro.


In Washington, US State Department spokesman James Rubin said
Iran still had a long way to go to changing "Iranian policies
and practices with respect to support for terrorism and pursuit
of weapons of mass destruction.

"We expect and trust that the Italian Government will convey
these same concerns to their Iran
ian guest," he said.

Both Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini have stressed human rights will be high on the
agenda, and they will urge Mr Khatami to adopt non-proliferation
policies.

End to isolation

Moderate forces in Iran see the trip as an opportunity for Mr
Khatami to boost his international prestige.




Mr Khatami's reformist supporters have just secured an
important victory in the Islamic republic's first local
elections.

Our Middle East Correspondent Jim Muir says the president
clearly believes the time has come for him to begin carrying the
message to the Western world that Iran has changed, that it has
a new, more tolerant and more outward-looking political culture.

Italy regards Iran as key to Middle East stability and has long
tried to serve as a bridge between it and the West.

Last week, the Italian oil company, ENI joined France's Elf
Aquitaine in signing a $500m deal with Iran, flouting the United
States' long-standing threat of sanctions.

Mr Khatami will also be travelling to France in April.

Since his election two years ago, Mr Khatami has visited the
West just once - on a trip to the United Nations in September.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 23:35:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatemi Calls For Closer Ties to West

Khatemi Calls For Closer Ties to West
=====================================


Iranian Leader Makes 1st Visit to Europe
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Sarah Delaney
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, March 10, 1999; Page A17

ROME, March 9—Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi began the first
visit to the West by an Iranian leader in two decades today,
telling his Italian hosts that Europe and the Islamic world
should work together to foster a civil society based on
"universal justice and liberty."

Khatemi was received with full honors by President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro and members of the Italian parliament, but several
thousand Iranian exiles staged a peaceful rally at the Coliseum
to protest the visit and demand an end to human rights abuses in
Iran. Security was tight throughout the city, and 320
legislators released a joint statement declaring that they
oppose the visit out of fear it could help legitimize the
political power of hard-line Muslim clerics in Iran.

Khatemi, a politically moderate cleric who frequently has been
at odds with hard-liners in the Iranian parliament, is the most
senior Iranian official to visit a Western country since the
Islamic Revolution ushered in Tehran's theocratic regime in
1979.

His three-day visit to Rome and the Vatican and a planned trip
to France have attracted nervous interest in Washington;
President Clinton last week asked Italian Prime Minister Massimo
D'Alema to provide him with an account of its outcome, and
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott conferred with Italian
officials about the visit this week.

U.S. officials said they have told the Italian government that
they are eager for the visit to go well so that Khatemi's
position is strengthened at home. Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini
expressed a similar view, telling a television interviewer this
week that "we must help them to come out of isolation; Iran can
be a great stabilizing force in the area."

Dini and other Italian officials have expressed pride that
Khatemi came here first and sketched out a role for Italy as a
bridge between Iran and other Western nations. They also pledged
to reiterate European demands for improvements in human rights'
protections in Iran.

But Italian conservative legislators, such as Marco Taradash, a
member of the opposition Forza Italia party, have accused the
government of "giving credit to [Iran] without asking for
anything in return. . . . Nothing has changed there as far as
human liberties go. We say business, yes -- in exchange for
human rights."

During his visit, Khatemi is scheduled to meet with Pope John
Paul II and to deliver a speech at the European University in
Florence. But if the first day is any indication, Khatemi does
not plan to announce any major policy shifts. He gave an
elliptical speech to members of parliament in which he warned
against "hegemony" by unnamed countries and suggested that "a
united world . . . is not a world based on unlimited dominion of
the great powers, a world of societies that are divided and
suffering because they are oppressed and weak."

The Clinton administration has made clear it is not enthusiastic
about Khatemi's efforts to use his trip as a way of attracting
new investment for his cash-strapped nation. Already, two
Italian and French oil firms have announced a $1 billion plan to
boost Iranian oil production, and Khatemi is slated to meet
Thursday with leaders of Italian industry to press for
additional commercial ties.

"We are both disappointed and concerned," State Department
spokesman James Foley said when the oil deal was announced last
week. He said such transactions strengthen those Iranians "who
argue that Iran can get what it wants from the West without
changing its policies." Undersecretary of State Stuart E.
Eizenstat said Monday that "at very very senior levels of our
government . . . we urged for months that [the oil deal] not go
forward."

Although the deal will be reviewed in Washington under a U.S.
law that mandates economic sanctions on firms that make large
investments in Iran's petroleum industry, officials said Clinton
is likely to waive such penalties under an agreement that
exempts European Union companies in exchange for tighter
controls on technology exports to Iran.

In congressional testimony last month, CIA director George Tenet
gave a mixed assessment of Iran's activities since Khatemi's
election in 1997, saying "some positive changes" had occurred
there that could diminish U.S.-Iranian friction. But he said
that internal conflicts in Iran are becoming sharper and
predicted the country would face more turmoil this year than any
time since the 1979 revolution.

Tenet said also that Iran is accelerating its development of a
long-range missile and continuing to work on nuclear-related
technology. He noted too that hard-liners are still in control
of key Iranian security institutions and declared: "We have yet
to see any significant reduction in Iran's support for
terrorism."


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999 to 10 Mar 1999 - Special issue
******************************************************************