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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999
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There are 4 messages totalling 160 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iranian parliamentary delegation leaves for Morocco
2. Iranian president arrives in Rome for landmark European trip
3. Iranian opposition from "across Europe" gathers in Rome: IRNA
4. Iranian president greeted by protests on landmark European trip

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Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 05:07:06 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian parliamentary delegation leaves for Morocco

TEHRAN, March 9 (AFP) - Iranian parliamentary vice president
Hassan Ruhani left Tehran on Tuesday for a three-day visit to
Morocco, Iran state radio said.
Ruhani, who is also secretary of Iran's national security
council, is accompanied by a parliamentary delegation and will meet
with Morocco's King Hassan II and other government officials.
Tehran and Rabat have improved relations in recent years
following Morocco's support for Baghdad in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq
war.
The two nations hold cooperation agreements in the petroleum and
phosphate sectors.

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Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 05:07:22 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian president arrives in Rome for landmark European trip

ROME, March 9 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami arrived in Rome
Tuesday, airport officials said, to conduct the first visit by an
Iranian leader to a western European nation since the 1979 Islamic
revolution.
Khatami is accompanied by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and
Mines and Metals Minister Eshagh Jahanghri.
In a brief statement before leaving Tehran, Khatami said he
hoped his trip would lead to better relations between Iran and Italy
as well as Europe.
The trip will focus on economic relations at a time when Iran is
suffering from a slump in the price of its main commodity, oil.
Tehran newspapers Tuesday hailed the trip as a turning point in
relations between Iran and Europe, which has resisted joining the
United States in its goal of isolating the Islamic regime for its
alleged support of terrorism.
Khatami's agenda includes meetings with Italian President Oscar
Luigi Scalfaro on Tuesday, Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema on
Wednesday and Pope John Paul II on Thursday.
He will also visit Florence, where he will make a speech at the
European University Institute.
Khatami is scheduled to visit France next month.

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Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 05:07:16 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian opposition from "across Europe" gathers in Rome: IRNA

TEHRAN, March 9 (AFP) - Members of Iran's opposition People's
Mujahedeen have gathered in Rome from across Europe to protest the
visit of President Mohammad Khatami, the official news agency IRNA
said Tuesday.
"They are planning a protest in the centre of Rome against the
Iranian head of state's visit," IRNA said, adding that members of
the opposition group, which is banned in Iran, had come "from across
Europe."
Their presence is "very noteworthy," IRNA said.
Several thousand Iranian dissidents are expected to demonstrate
late Tuesday morning in the centre of the capital, demonstration
organisers in Rome said.
Rome police said Monday they plan to create "protected roads"
closed to cars and pedestrians, which will not be revealed until the
last minute.
At least seven bus routes will be diverted and a number of roads
in the city's historic centre will be shut on Tuesday and
Wednesday.
Khatami arrived Tuesday to begin a high-profile three-day visit,
the first by an Iranian head of state to a western European nation
since the 1979 Islamic revoltuion.
He is scheduled to meet with Italian President Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro, Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Pope John Paul II.

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

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 05:07:29 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian president greeted by protests on landmark European trip

ROME, March 9 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on
Tuesday met with Italian leaders against a backdrop of protests,
during the first visit by an Iranian leader to western Europe since
the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Italy's foreign minister Lamberto Dini greeted Khatami after the
Iranian leader's plane landed at Ciampino military airport at 10:15
a.m. (0915 GMT).
Khatami was then whisked by helicopter to central Rome, where he
met with Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro under heightened
police guard, with roads closed to traffic and surveillance
helicopters humming overhead.
In Rome, between 4,000 and 5,000 demonstrators, mostly Iranians
living in exile, protested Khatami's visit as he headed to the
Italian Senate and parliament after his morning meetings.
Organizers said more than 5,000 people had responded to appeals
by the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedeen and Italian right-wing
opposition parties Forza Italia and the National Alliance to
protest.
"The West is wrong to think it is welcoming a new Gorbachev,"
Behzad Naziri, a representative of the People's Mujahedeen, told
AFP.
"Khatami is not there to overturn the Islamic Revolution but to
prevent it from being swept away," Naziri said.
But Dini earlier Tuesday defended the decision to meet with
Khatami, insisting that Iran had decreased its financing of
terrorism.
Khatami, he said, "has condemned terrorism as a tool in
political battles."
But Naziri called the West "naive" and pointed out that since
Khatami's election in May 1997, Iran had been the site of "320
public hangings, nine stonings and the assassination of eight
writers."
Among the protesters were many Iranian women, their heads
uncovered or dressed in brightly colored scarves, carrying portraits
of People's Mujahedeen leader Massud Rajavi, president of the
National Resistance Council, and his wife Myriam.
"The mullah Khatami does not represent the Iranian people,"
Mitra Bagheri, the Resistance representative in Italy, told the
crowd.
"He is one of the key men of the theocratic Iranian regime and
he shares the responsibility for all of the crimes committed since
the beginning of the Islamic revolution in 1979," he added.
A number of Italian deputies also participated in the protest,
including Sandra Fei of the National Alliance, who called the visit
"scandalous" and decried the regime's "discrimination against
women."
Seven Iranians occupied the Paris embassy with another 20-30
outside. Police said the occupation was peaceful.
Before leaving Tehran, Khatami, who is accompanied by Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharazi and Mines and Metals Minister Eshagh
Jahanghri, said he hoped his trip would lead to better relations
with Italy and Europe.
The trip is to focus on economic relations at a time when Iran
is suffering from a slump in the price of its main export commodity,
oil.
Tehran newspapers Tuesday hailed the trip as a turning point in
relations between Iran and Europe, which has resisted joining the
United States in its campaign to isolate the Islamic regime for its
alleged support of terrorism.
Khatami's agenda includes meetings with Italian President Oscar
Luigi Scalfaro on Tuesday, Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema on
Wednesday and Pope John Paul II on Thursday.
He will also visit Florence, where he will make a speech at the
European University Institute.
Khatami is scheduled to visit France next month.

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Mar 1999
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