Date: Mar 11, 1999 [ 6: 36: 37]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Mar 1999 to 11 Mar 1999 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Mar 1999 to 11 Mar 1999 - Special issue
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There are 17 messages totalling 1273 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Abolhassan Ebtehaj
2. Khatami Receives Rome's Golden Medal
3. Khatami-Italy Bridge Between Islam & Christianity
4. Khatami Pays Respects to `Unknown Soldier' in Rome
5. Rome Supports Iran's Detente Policy
6. Iranian President Visits Italy
7. Iran, Italy Sign Accord
8. Iran, Italy Sign Agreements for Mutual Economic Co
9. No Decision Imminent on US Farm Sales to Iran
10. U.S. Urges Italy Over Iran Visit
11. Pope And Iran's Khatami Confer At Vatican
12. Pope to Hold Landmark Meeting with Iran's Khatami
13. Iran's President Meets With Pope
14. Iran's Press Condemns Italy Over Rushdie Visit
15. FEATURE-Spectre of Nationalism Haunts Iran
16. KHATAMI ARRIVES IN ROME TO A CONTROVERSIAL HISTORI
17. LET'S INTERNATIONALISE DEMOCRACY

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 13:06:42 GMT
From: Jamshid Naghizadeh <janakgf1@W200ZRZ.ZRZ.TU-BERLIN.DE>
Subject: Abolhassan Ebtehaj

Abolhassan Ebtehaj, a former head of Bank Melli Iran
and director of the Plan Oraganization died at the age of
99 in London on March 2, 1999.
Ebtehaj reorganized Bank Melli in Reza Shah's time and
transformed it into a central Bank which supervised the
national banking system in addition to publishing bank
notes.

In 1937 he published an article in Bank Melli Journal
proposing that development programs within the country
must follow a macroeconomic paln. He is thus credited to
be the father of planning and plan Oraganization in Iran.
He was later appointed as the head of plan organization and
had a significant role in postwar development of Iran.

In later years he disagreed with Shahs insistence on
allocating large sums of oil income to military purchases
and resigned from the directorship of plan organization.

Ebtehaj is credited to be the founder of modern management
in Iran. He employed many young and educated Iranian as
his co-workers in Bank Melli and Plan organization. Many
of these were promoted to higher managerial posts in later years.

--jamshid

--jamshid

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:21:14 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Receives Rome's Golden Medal

Khatami Receives Rome's Golden Medal
================================

thr 041
italy-iran-khatami
khatami receives rome's golden medal
rome, march 10, irna -- iran's president mohammad khatami here
wednesday expressed pleasure over visiting the ancient and historic
city of rome and over getting further acquainted with the ancient
civilization and history of italy.
khatami made the remark in a ceremony at rome municipality
where he was awarded the golden medal of rome city by the rome
mayor francesco rutteli.
he expressed hope that exchange of visits between the two
countries' officials will lead to further recognition of the two
sides' cultures and civilizations.
referring to historical sites and architectural monuments
throughout italy, in rome particularly, he said that these are
indications of italian nation's willingness to maintain their links
with their country's history and culture.
as to historical sites and ancient buildings in different parts
of the islamic republic, the president said such sites are a proof to
common historical and civil points between iranian and italian
nations.
the iranian city of isfahan and florence have recently been
declared sister cities, he said adding that this is a good example of
such links between the two countries.
the iranian president voiced his country's interest to benefit
from italy's experiences in the area of reconstruction and revival
of historical monuments.
he expressed hope that exchange of visits between the two
countries tourists will lead to exchange of culture and civilization
between the two nations.
khatami concluded by inviting mayor of rome to pay a visit to
iran.
fs/ks
more
::irna 10/03/99 14:54

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:01:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami-Italy Bridge Between Islam & Christianity

Khatami-Italy Bridge Between Islam and Christianity
===================================================


thr 093
khatami-italy-banquet
italy bridge between islam and christianity: khatami
rome, march 9, irna -- president hojatoleslam seyyed mohammad khatami
declared here tuesday that iran has no enmity or hostility with anyone
and is for rational and sound relations with all countries on the
basis of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs.
addressing a banquet hosted in his honor by the italian president
luigi scalfaro, he said he believes that consolidation and expansion
of ties between iran and italy manifests iran's policy of developing
ties with the world community and is a success of the enforcement of
the policy of detente.
he said that peace and freedom will not be attained except in the
light of dialogue only if the two sides respect each other's honor,
dignity and equality.
''for this reason the islamic republic of iran has taken all its
endeavors to establish constructive dialogue and promote the idea of
dialogue between civilizations and cultures,''declared president
khatami.
both iran and italy as two great nations have contributed to the
human society through their rich ancient civilizations, history,
thought, art and human civility, he added.
president khatami stated, ''given the
special importance i place
on irano-italian ties and in view of italy's status as the bridge
between islam and christianity as well as the major role played by
italy in the european union (eu), i have chosen italy for my first
european tour because of its importance and beauty. ties and
cooperation between the two countries can serve as a symbol and model
for the proximity between east and west and islam and christianity.''
by relying on their common views, the president went on, iran and
italy can constructively cooperate and make joint efforts towards
achieving real peace, observing human rights and providing for the
principle of human equity everywhere worldwide, opposition to any kind
of violence, aggression, terrorism, racialism and negative ethnicity.
they can also cooperate internationally in combatting the
production and proliferation of nuclear armaments and weapons of mass
destruction as well as making reforms in the loan repayment
procedure for the third world countries, he stated.
''the vast and productive land of iran has played a spectacular
role in laying the foundations of civility even though this bright
civilization and culture, in the course of history, has withstood the
strong waves of colonialism and undue foreign interference. by relying
on its rich culture and genuine identity, the great iranian nation has
resisted these adversities,'' said president khatami.
''the glorious islamic revolution, by relying on logic and faith,
not arms and force, brought about a great change and put up with the
strains and sanctions the eight-year iraqi imposed war (1980-1988).
anyway some of the european countries supported these sanctions
against the islamic republic of iran,'' he declared.
now the iranian nation, encouraged by its national identity,
through deep insight into other civilizations, is pursuing the path of
political development and fulfilling a civil society, khatami said.
he further went on to say that in spite of certain difficulties,
iran is progressing towards strengthening the foundations of
independence and realizing its political and social destiny by using
legitimate freedom and massive public participation.
he further added the shock and distres
s of the current century,
the most importants of the current century,
the most important factors of which were the two world wars, the
increasing threat posed by various conventional and nuclear weapons
and the use of force and violent meaninued to deprive
hus, have continued to deprive
humanity of the opportunity to achieve security and lasting peace.
in the coming century, more than anything else, he pointed out,
humanity is in need of lofty values and morality to fill this vacuum.
spirituality and faith is the manna which will turn the humiliation
and anxiety of mankind into security and tranquility. it will also
bring forth the tidings of dignity and wisdom, he noted.
ah\dh
end
::irna 09/03/99 23:48

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:01:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Pays Respects to `Unknown Soldier' in Rome

President Khatami Pays Respects to `Unknown Soldier' in Rome
============================================================



thr 031
iran-italy-khatami
president khatami pays respects to `unknown soldier' in rome
rome, march 10, irna -- iranian president seyed mohammad khatami
wednesday visited the tomb of the unknown soldier at piazza
venezia square here and paid his respects by laying a wreath of
flower.
during the magnificent ceremony, the national anthems of the two
countries were played and then the president, accompanied by the
italian defense minister, reviewed the guard of honor.
at the end of the ceremony, the national anthems of the two
countries were played again.
the president who is here at the head of a high-ranking
political and economic delegation on a landmark state visit, is to
meet the mayor of rome and receive a badge of honor later today.
president khatami arrived here tuesday and received a red carpet
welcome at the quirinale presidential palace where he inspected a
guard of honor.
he held talks with the italian president oscar luigi scarlfaro
and speakers of the senate and chamber of deputies. he also addressed
the italian mps at the parliament minutes before a banquet thrown in
his honor by the italian president.
president khatami's visit to italy has drawn extensive
international coverage.
president khatami and prime minister massimo d'alema are to
hold a joint press conference after signing documents in the
presence of mediapersons today.
the italian prime minister will then throw a luncheon in president
khatami's honor.
later this afternoon, the president will visit florence where
he is to address a group of academics at the european university
of the city. ys/ks
end
::irna 10/03/99 13:12

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:01:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Rome Supports Iran's Detente Policy

Rome Supports Iran's Detente Policy, Italian President
======================================================


thr 010
italy-iran-scalfaro
rome supports iran's detente policy, italian president
rome, march 10, irna -- italian president oscar luigi scalfaro said
here tuesday night that rome supports the islamic republic's policy of
detente.
making the remark at a banquet hosted in honor of his iranian
counterpart president mohammad khatami, he said that by enjoying
common viewpoints, iran and italy have started an exemplary
cooperation at the threshold of the new millennium and in order to
attract international participation in line with dialog among
civilizations.

the expanding trend of tehran-rome relations is a proof to both
countries' interests to promote ties, he said.
terming president khatami's visit to rome as a crucial event
which plays a key role in expansion of bilateral relations, scalfaro
praised the great efforts made by the iranian president during his
term in office.
underlining the importance of freedom, democracy and belief in
religion in human societies, he voiced sup
religion in human societies, he voiced support for materialization
of objectives of dialog among civilizations.
referring to the islamic republic as an ancient and historic
country, the italian president expressed his satisfaction over
expansion of cooperation with iran.
khatami arrived here tuesday on a three-day landmark visit,
the first to west by an iranian president in two decades.
fs/ks
end
::irna 10/03/99 10:06

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:02:06 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian President Visits Italy

Iranian President Visits Italy
==============================


By Afshin Valinejad
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 10, 1999; 2:31 a.m. EST

ROME (AP) -- Iran is ready for a new era of East-West
friendship, President Mohammad Khatami said in a groundbreaking
visit to Italy, the first Western trip by an Iranian leader
since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Khatami arrived in Italy on Tuesday to a warm welcome and the
tightest security the capital has seen in years. He was to meet
today with Italy's premier and has an audience with the pope on
Thursday.

Khatami declared he had come to Italy ``to make our relations a
symbol and pattern for friendship between East and West and
Islam and Christianity,'' during a state dinner in his honor
Tuesday hosted by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.

The trip signaled a new policy of detente that would see Iran
building relations with other nations, Khatami said.

``The Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of hostilities
with any country or anybody,'' he said, according to a text
released in advance of the banquet, which was closed to
reporters.

But Iran ``demands rational and healthy relations with all
countries based on mutual respect and noninterference in each
others' affairs,'' he said.
The 56-year-old cleric has presented himself as a believer in
increased social and political freedom at home and an advocate
of dialogue, not confrontation, with the West. His statements on
the visit have been a far cry from the hard line espoused by his
predecessors.

Khatami's schedule today has him meeting with Premier Massimo
D'Alema, followed by a trip to Florence for an address to the
European University.

In Washington on Tuesday, the State Department expressed hope
that Italian officials would raise U.S. concerns about terrorism
and other issues during Khatami's visit.
Italy, a major trading partner and buyer of Iranian oil, is
trying hard to encourage Khatami's overtures to the West. It is
trying just as hard to make sure his visit goes smoothly.

Thousands of police officers were deployed Tuesday in a massive
security operation that tangled Rome's traffic.

Scalfaro gave Khatami a red-carpet welcome complete with honor
guard and brass band. In the shadow of Rome's Colosseum,
thousands of Iranian dissidents gathered in protest.

Carrying banners, torches and pictures of executed loved ones,
they heard a series of speakers, including Italian politicians,
who share their distrust of Khatami.

Among them was Marco Taradash, a legislator from the
conservative Forza Italia party, who accused the center-left
government of choosing business deals over human rights.

Iran wants more investment and hopes to renegotiate some of its
debt. Italy is interested in Iran's huge oil and gas reserves
and wants to sell it more food, agricultural products and
pharmaceuticals.

The Iranian resistance say Khatami is nothing more than a
figurehead for a regime that remains oppressive and dangerous.

``He puts on this smile to show that he's different. But he's
not,'' said Alireza Jafarzadeh, a member of the resistance's
foreign relations committee.

He said Pope John Paul II should have refused to see Khatami.

``The ayatollahs want to use this meeting to appear tolerant,''
he said.

Iran's chairmanship of the 54-nation Islamic Conference gives
extra weight to the meeting between leaders of the world's two
largest religions. Both Islam and the Roman Catholic Church
claim some 1 billion adherents.

The pope is expected to press Khatami to allow Iran's small
Christian minority more rights. Italian leaders say they'll
press him on Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, as well
as on the issues of terrorism and human rights.


Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:02:22 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Italy Sign Accord

Iran, Italy Sign Accord
=======================


By Afshin Valinejad
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 10, 1999; 10:53 a.m. EST

ROME (AP) -- Iran's president, the first Iranian leader to make
a state visit to the West since the 1979 Islamic Revolution,
today praised both democracy and the start of dialogue between
nations.
Italy's premier, flanked by President Mohammed Khatami after two
hours of private talks, made clear any openness toward the West
must be coupled with respect for human rights and freedom.

Khatami, a 56-year-old cleric considered a moderate for Iran,
said: ``There's an absolute necessity to install democracy and
to end all forms of dictatorship.''

Khatami also spoke of the ``need to free the world of the
perpetuation of violence and terrorism.''

``I am quite proud that at the end of the 20th century I have
begun a sort of dialogue between civilizations and countries and
different people and cultures,'' Khatami told reporters.

Neither Massimo D'Alema nor Khatami made any direct reference to
human rights problems in Iran. But the Italian premier indicated
the West would be watching Iran's domestic situation.

``We are looking with interest at the new openness with which
Iran is looking at Europe,'' D'Alema said.

``For us the respect of human rights and liberties are the
irrevokable elements upon which we base dialogue.''

Added D'Alema: ``I think that our relationship can grow in a
very productive and rich way,'' and the three-day visit was
already showing fruits.

Italy and Iran today signed a general cooperation accord, a pact
for mutual promotion and protection of investments, a memorandum
of understanding to fight drug trafficking and another to
increase scientific and technological cooperation.

The agreements follow closely a $540 million energy deal signed
on March 1 by Elf Aquitaine of France and ENI, Italy's
state-controlled energy company, with the state-run National
Iranian Oil Co.

Despite security tighter than the Italian capital has seen in
years, eggs were smashed on Khatami's car as the president was
driven through downtown Rome.

Police reported that five Iranian protesters were detained but
no arrests were made for the egg-throwing.

Earlier, three Iranians were detained in a square near central
Piazza Venezia, where Khatami, in a ceremony with Italy's
defense minister, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier.

At a dinner Tuesday night, Khatami declared he had come to Italy
``to make our relations a symbol and pattern for friendship
between East and West and Islam and Christianity.''

Khatami stuck to that theme today.

``Our principles are based on respect of democracy and
morality,'' Khatami said.

In Washington on Tuesday, the State Department expressed hope
that Italian officials would raise U.S. concerns about terrorism
and other issues during Khatami's visit.

Italy, a major trading partner and buyer of Iranian oil, is
trying hard to encourage his overtures to the West.

Thursday's visit shifts attention to the Vatican, where Khatami
is to meet with the pope.

Many of the protesters, among them Iranians living in
self-exile, have criticized the pope for agreeing to receive
Khatami.




Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:02:30 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Italy Sign Agreements for Mutual Economic Co

Iran, Italy Sign Agreements for Mutual Economic Cooperation
===========================================================

thr 058
iran-italy-khatami
iran, italy sign agreements for mutual economic cooperation
rome, march 10, irna -- iran and italy signed three memoranda of
understanding and one agreement for expansion of tehran-rome economic
cooperation here on wednesday.
the agreements were signed immediately after the first round of
talks between president mohammad khatami and italian prime minister
massimo d'alema.
iranian foreign minister kamal kharrazi and his italian
counterpart lamberto dini also signed a memorandum of understanding
for mutual scientific and technological cooperation as well as joint
fight against drug trafficking.
heads of iran-italy joint commissions, the mines and metals
minister eshaq jahangiri and italian foreign trade minister piero
fassino, inked another memorandum of understanding on joint
investments.
bg/rr
end
::irna 10/03/99 17:19

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:02:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: No Decision Imminent on US Farm Sales to Iran

No Decision Imminent on US Farm Sales to Iran
=============================================


03:14 p.m Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite growing pressure from farm-state
lawmakers, the Clinton Administration is not close to a decision
on a request to waive trade sanctions that would allow Iran to
buy more than $500 million in U.S. farm goods, administration
officials said Wednesday.

The waiver, requested by Niki Trading Co., is seen by farmers
and grain traders as an important step in opening up new export
markets for overflowing American grain bins.

Farm leaders were heartened by Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami's visit to Italy this week, the first trip to a Western
country by an Iranian leader since the revolution in 1979.
Khatami called for better relations with the West.

But administration sources, speaking on condition of anonymity,
tried to dampen any hopes of quick action.

``We're certainly continuing to look at this,'' said one U.S.
official, adding ``there won't be anything soon'' in terms of a
decision. ``This is moving at a snail's pace,'' he said.

Rumors that the huge shipment of American farm goods was about
to be approved sent wheat futures sharply higher on the Chicago
Board of Trade. Prices were 5-3/4 cents to 7-1/2 cents per
bushel higher at midday as rumors swept the trading floor.

A spokeswoman for Niki Trading said the company was still
waiting to hear if it had been granted the waiver.

``We are very hopeful that there will be official word soon
because we know the Iranians will not be sitting around forever
waiting for the sale,'' she added.

The proposed sale of 3.5 million tonnes of products would be
made up mostly of wheat, plus smaller amounts of corn, rice,
soybeans and sugar.

The Clinton Administration has repeatedly said approval of the
deal could not happen until Tehran makes enough changes in its
policies regarding terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and
the Mideast peace process.

Republican senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and Pat Roberts of
Kansas have joined democrats from farm states in pressing the
administration to move on the requested waiver of trade
sanctions.

Other nations are profiting from sales to Iran while U.S.
farmers must sit on the sidelines, they contend.
But while there is aggressive farm lobbying to permit the deal,
there is also pressure from Rep. Benjamin Gilman, the Republican
head of the House International Relations committee, to sit
tight until Iran stops supporting terrorism.

Sales to Iran have been barred since 1995, when Clinton
tightened existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:02:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: U.S. Urges Italy Over Iran Visit

U.S. Urges Italy Over Iran Visit
================================


Tuesday, March 9, 1999; 5:42 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department expressed hope Tuesday
that Italian officials will raise with Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami U.S. concerns about terrorism and other issues
during his visit to Rome.

Spokesman James P. Rubin said the supports Iranian
reintregration into the international community but in
conjunction ``with changes in Iranian policies and practices
with respect to support for terrorism and pursuit of weapons of
mass destruction.''

The United States ``expects and trusts that the Italian
government will convey these same concerns to their Iranian
guest,'' Rubin added. Khatami arrived in Rome on Tuesday.

``We and our European allies all believe that we would like to
see improvements in that area,'' Rubin said. ``There have been
some, but we believe there is still a long way to go.''

He called the recent elections in Iran a positive development,
saying the United States had no reason to dispute the turnout
and the results. Pro-Khatami reformers won the large majority of
the seats in Tehran City Council elections and made strong
showings elsewhere in the country.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:03:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Pope And Iran's Khatami Confer At Vatican

Pope And Iran's Khatami Confer At Vatican
=========================================


06:54 a.m. Mar 11, 1999 Eastern
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul met Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami at the Vatican Thursday in the highest level
encounter between the Pontiff and a post-revolutionary leader
from the Islamic state.

Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Muslim cleric, also became Iran's
most senior religious leader to visit the Pope.

The Pope greeted Khatami at the entrance of his private study in
the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and the two men walked in
together for private talks.

``Welcome, good morning,'' the Pope said in English as he
greeted Khatami, who is making the first visit to Western Europe
by an Iranian president.

Khatami, who arrived in Italy Tuesday for a state visit, has
appealed to Western nations to treat Iran and Islamic states as
international equals but stressed that Tehran was open to
dialogue and to work toward global security.

He also wants to promote his ideas for a ``dialogue of
civilizations'' and closer contact between Islam and
Christianity. The Pope, too, has often appealed for greater
collaboration between the world's great faiths.

As the Pope and Khatami held their talks, around 50 Iranian
opposition activists gathered on the fringes of St Peter's
Square, holding banners and shouting anti-Khatami slogans.

Witnesses said police detained four women and two men and tried
to prevent photographers from using their cameras.

St Peter's Square itself was deserted apart from a huge police
presence ensuring tight security for the visit by the Iranian
delegation.

``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 the Vatican missionary arm news agency Fides.

Since the beginning of his papacy a year before the Islamic
revolution toppled the Shah of Iran in 1979, the Pope has held
talks with senior Iranian ministers, including Foreign Minister
Kamal Kharrazi last year, at the Vatican.

The highest level meeting between the Vatican and Iran before
Thursday's encounter took place in November 1970 when Pope Paul
VI met the Shah at a stopover at Tehran airport.

While conditions for Iran's tiny Roman Catholic minority of
13,000 have improved significantly in the past several years
after an initial crackdown following the Islamic revolution, the
Pope said in 1997 he wanted to see more progress from Iran on
the defense of ``fundamental human rights...first of all freedom
of religion.''

The Vatican has urged Iran, with its huge influence in the
Muslim world, to disown international terrorism, improve its
human rights record and open up to the West.

In his public comments in Italy, Khatami has touched upon many
of the issues troubling Washington and Europe and hindering
progress toward Iran's full return into the international fold.
He told students at the European University Institute outside
Florence Wednesday that the Islamic world was weary of being the
object of intellectual and academic study and wanted to be a
fully fledged partner in any serious dialogue.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:03:20 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Pope to Hold Landmark Meeting with Iran's Khatami

Pope to Hold Landmark Meeting with Iran's Khatami
=================================================


07:12 p.m Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - President Mohammad Khatami,
blazing a trail of a new openness in Iran, takes his message of
peace and dialogue to the home of the Roman Catholic faith on
Thursday in an historic meeting with Pope John Paul.

In Italy, Khatami made the first state visit by an Iranian
president to the West since the 1979 Islamic revolution. At the
Vatican, he becomes Iran's most senior religious leader to visit
the Pope, who was elected a year before the fall of the Shah.

``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 the Vatican missionary arm news agency Fides.

Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite cleric and scholar of Western
philosophy, has also promoted his ideas for a ``dialogue of
civilisations'' during his two days meeting Italian leaders.
The Pope, too, has often appealed for greater collaboration
between the world's great faiths. Their meeting was scheduled to
begin at around 11:00 a.m. (1000 GMT).

While conditions for Iran's tiny Roman Catholic minority of
13,000 have improved significantly since the Islamic revolution,
the Pope said in 1997 he wanted to see more progress from Iran
on the defence of ``fundamental human rights...first of all
freedom of religion.''

The Vatican has also urged Iran, with its huge influence in the
Moslem world, to disown international terrorism, improve its
human rights record and open up to the West.

In his public comments in Italy, Khatami has touched upon many
of the issues troubling Washington and Europe and hindering
progress towards bringing Iran fully into the international
fold. He has also made clear that Iran is open to an honest
dialogue but only if it is treated as an international equal.

He told students at the European University Institute outside
Florence on Wednesday that the Islamic world was weary of being
the object of intellectual and academic study and wanted to be a
fully fledged partner in any serious dialogue.

``This is a very important step that Europe and America need to
take towards bringing about dialogue among nations,'' he said.

The aim of Islam's dialogue with the West was ``to call on
Europe and America to exercise more equilibrium, serenity and
contemplation in their conduct'' so as to contribute to world
peace and security, he said.

Despite softening its stance towards Iran since Khatami's
election, U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration still
accuses Tehran of supporting terrorism and seeking to acquire
weapons of mass destruction. It has also criticised Iran's human
rights record.
``The Islamic republic of Iran is not hostile towards any
country and will pursue honest and rational relations with all
nations on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in
the internal affairs of other countries,'' Khatami told a state
banquet hosted by President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on Tuesday.

After talks with Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema on
Wednesday, Khatami said the world was tired of violence and
terrorism and wanted peace based on mutual respect.

Khatami, who has condemned terrorism on several occasions,
pledged that Iran would work to oppose the spread of nuclear
arms and weapons of mass destruction.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:03:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran's President Meets With Pope

Iran's President Meets With Pope
================================


By Victor L. Simpson
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, March 11, 1999; 6:10 a.m. EST

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Amid some of the tightest security in
memory here, Pope John Paul II welcomed Iran's president today,
receiving him for private talks that could lay ground for better
relations between Christianity and Islam.
``Welcome,'' John Paul said to President Mohammad Khatami in
English, ushering him into his private studio for talks.

St. Peter's Square was off-limits to tourists as part of
extremely tight security, but somehow about 50 chanting
anti-Khatami protesters got into the square and were surrounded
by about as many police officers.

Khatami, a moderate cleric, spoke Wednesday in a conciliatory
way toward Western religions.

``All the divine religions are not quintessentially different,''
Khatami declared in an address at the European University
Institute at Fiesole, outside Florence.

The pope has long made his own efforts to stress the common
bonds and beliefs in Christianity, Islam and other faiths.

There has been speculation that today's scheduled audience could
be a prelude to a brief papal stopover in Iran during an
expected trip to Asia later this year.

Pope Paul VI stopped in Tehran in 1970, when the country was
ruled by the shah.

Khatami, 56, is pushing for more social and political freedom in
Iran, but faces stiff opposition from the conservative clerics
who control parliament, the security forces and the judiciary.

He visited the United Nations last year, but the Italy trip is
the first official visit by an Iranian leader to a Western
nation since his country's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Iran's chairmanship of the 54-nation Islamic Conference gives
extra weight to the pope's meeting with Khatami, a mid-level
Shiite cleric. Islam and the Roman Catholic Church claim 1
billion adherents each.

``The meeting with the pope, therefore, assumes capital
importance,'' the Vatican's ambassador to Iran, Archbishop Romeo
Panciroli, told Vatican Radio.

The pope is expected to press Khatami to allow Iran's small
Christian minority more rights.

At the same time, the Vatican welcomes what Khatami calls his
beginning of a ``dialogue between civilizations and countries
and different people and cultures.''

The Vatican has rejected criticism of the papal audience from
the Iranian opposition in exile.

``The pope opens his arms to all those who seek an audience,''
the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said
this week.

Christians in Iran number only 120,000. About 13,000 of them
Catholics.

According to Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary
arm, Christians in Iran are free to worship inside their
churches but their activities are strictly watched and they are
denied some civil rights -- barred from serving in the armed
forces and government posts.
In his visit, as in his presidency, Khatami has repeatedly
pushed for more open relations with the West.

``Islam and Europe must, by force of historical and geographic
circumstance, get to know one another better, and then move on
to improve their political, culture and economic relations,'' he
said in his speech Wednesday.

Twice during the roughly 30-minute address, Iranian dissidents
in exile got into the inner courtyard of the building, shouting
``Death to Khatami!'' Police dragged them away.

Earlier Wednesday, in Rome, Khatami's car was splattered with
eggs and several protesters were arrested.

Wednesday also brought an awkward overlap with an Italian visit
by Salman Rushdie, who appeared at the University of Turin to
accept an honorary degree.

In hiding frin to
accept an honorary degree.

In hiding frin to
accept an honorary degree.

In hiding from Iranian religious hard-liners' death edict,
Rushdie said Khatami gave him some hope for change in Iran --
but pointedly noted Khatami didn't represent the views of all
Iran.

Khatami was to travel back to Iran later today, ending the
three-day trip.


Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:04:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran's Press Condemns Italy Over Rushdie Visit

Iran's Press Condemns Italy Over Rushdie Visit
==============================================

08:10 a.m. Mar 11, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 11 (Reuters) - Iranian newspapers lashed out at
Italy on Thursday for hosting British author Salman Rushdie
during a state visit by Iran's President Mohammad Khatami.

``The Italian Foreign Ministry must be held accountable for not
informing its Iranian counterpart of its intention to grant a
visa to the apostate Rushdie concurrent with the visit of
President Khatami,'' said the English-language daily Iran News.

``Honouring an apostate...is a cause for revision in Iran of
what has so far been seen as Italian goodwill and friendly
intentions.''

``One cannot help but reach the conclusion that at least some in
the Italian government fully intended to insult our p
resident,
nation and religious beliefs,'' the daily added.

Rushdie, the target of a 1989 death edict issued by Iran's late
revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for alleged
blasphemy in his novel ``The Satanic Verses,'' received an
honorary degree at Italy's Turin University on Wednesday

He said afterwards his trip was not intended to coincide with
Khatami's three-day visit, due to end late Thursday.

``Zionist circles at the Italian Foreign Ministry made the move
to overshadow Mr Khatami's visit,'' said the hardline Jomhuri-ye
Eslami daily. ``The choice of this time for Rushdie's visit has
sparked the anger of Italian Moslems.''

Khatami, quoted by Iran's media, himself criticised Western
countries for supporting Rushdie.

``I am really sorry that in a situation like this a person who
has offended more than a billion Moslems should be encouraged
and keep the clash of civilisations alive,'' he was quoted as
saying at a news conference in Italy on Wednesday.
Iran's government in September publicly dissociated itself from
a $2.8 million bounty placed on Rushdie's head by an Iranian
religious charity, paving the way for better ties with Britain
and the European Union.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:04:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: FEATURE-Spectre of Nationalism Haunts Iran

FEATURE-Spectre of Nationalism Haunts Iran
==========================================


09:02 p.m Mar 10, 1999 Eastern
By Jonathan Lyons

AHMADABAD, Iran, March 11 (Reuters) - The spectre of secular
nationalism is stalking the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the accelerating revival of
the late Mohammad Mossadeq, the former prime minister who
nationalised British oil interests, advocated a policy of
non-alignment and steadily undermined the pro-Western shah only
to be brought down by a CIA coup in 1953.

Mossadeq, a seasoned politician with royal blood, has long posed
a problem for Iran's clerical establishment: his nationalist and
anti-colonialist credentials were impeccable but his lack of
religious zeal and open clashes with senior clerics have seen
him banished to revisionist limbo.

Now his ghost has returned to the political scene, particularly
among young people, forcing a re-evaluation of the Mossadeq
legacy to contemporary Iran.

In the largest such rally since the consolidation of the Islamic
revolution, more than 2,000 Iranians gathered on March 5 at the
Mossadeq family estate in the village of Ahmadabad, 115 km (70
miles) west of Tehran, to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of
his death under house arrest.

Among the usual contingent of ageing nationalists, many wearing
the Iranian tri-colour stripped of its Islamic centrepiece, was
an unusually large contingent of university students -- all too
young to remember the 1979 revolution let alone Mossadeq
himself.

``We are here today to celebrate someone like Mohammad Mossadeq.
What he did 40 years ago represents our ideals,'' said Reyhaneh
Taheri, a 19-year-old student. ``The least we can do is gather
here today.''

THREAT TO CLERICAL POWER

After 20 years of fending off Western hostility and suspicion of
the Islamic revolution, Iran's clerical establishment is now
face-to-face with a new, homegrown threat to their exclusive
grip on power -- the compelling saga of Iranian nationalism.

Long relegated to the scrap heap of history by the ruling
clerics, the movement is nonetheless making a comeback under the
new, freer political atmosphere fostered by reformist President
Mohammad Khatami.

Taheri and hundreds of young people like her arrived at
Ahmadabad in convoys of buses from the capital Tehran, as well
as from university centres such as Tabriz and Isfahan.

The youngsters swelled the ranks of veteran mourners who spilled
out of the back garden of the Mossadeq estate or heaped fresh
flowers on the late leader's tomb. Many sang nationalist songs
long frowned-upon.

``Mossadeq's message is alive and no one can eradicate it from
the mind of society,'' said Ebrahim Yazdi, veteran head of the
banned but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement and one of the
organisers of the commemoration.

``When someone is very solid and well respected in the
consciousness of society, it will be transmitted to a new
generation,'' said Yazdi, as he surveyed the young crowd
boarding a line of chartered buses. ``It is very satisfying.''

LIFE IN DEATH

For many ordinary Iranians, Mossadeq's return to political
``life'' had its roots in the murders last November of
nationalist dissidents Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh.
Elements of Iran's secret service have been implicated in the
killings.

Their funeral broke into an impromptu nationalist rally, as
mourners chanted ``Death to tyranny'' and ``Freedom of thought
forever.'' Others sang patriotic songs and hailed Mossadeq,
whose memory inspired Forouhar and his small Iran Nation Party.

Three months later, Mossadeq's legacy got another boost, this
time from President Khatami himself, who used the 20th
anniversary of the Islamic revolution to praise the former prime
minister by deeds, if not by name.

``The oil nationalisation movement was yet another worthy effort
in the long series of the Iranian nation's anti-colonial
struggles,'' Khatami told a huge crowd in Tehran's Azadi Square.

``It opened a glorious chapter in the history of the Iranian
nation.''

Iran's first nationwide local elections in February even
featured a portrait of Mossadeq in campaign advertising
alongside a list of nationalist candidates.

HINT OF CLERICAL APPROVAL?

But perhaps the most intriguing sign that Mossadeq may at last
be on his way to full-scale rehabilitation came in a recent
interview with a leading old-guard cleric, Mehdi Karrubi.

Karrubi told a newspaper that the elder brother of the late
revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini always kept a
portrait of Mossadeq next to his picture of Khomeini himself.

Karrubi gave no details but the message was clear: the respected
brother of Khomeini honoured the two men equally.

In perhaps the ultimate accolade, the conservative press has
turned on Mossadeq, a sure indication he is no longer a marginal
figure. The hardline daily Kayhan, in an essay headlined
``Mossadeq as he really was,'' labelled the late leader a
``coward'' who once took refuge in the embassy of the hated
British.

Back at Ahmadabad, few had any doubts that the former
nationalist leader belonged securely in the Iranian political
pantheon. Hawkers sold portraits of Mossadeq to eager buyers,
while students collected money to carry on the work of the
movement he helped launch.
The good-natured crowd, said by veterans to be several times
last year's turnout, periodically broke into chants and
patriotic songs. Young students often took the lead.

``Things have changed under Khatami. There is more freedom now,
but there is also more resistance to our message,'' said
Gholamabbas Tavassoli, a senior nationalist figure and one of
the Freedom Movement's candidates for the Tehran city council.

``That so many young people turned out on their own is a hopeful
sign for the future,'' he said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:04:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: KHATAMI ARRIVES IN ROME TO A CONTROVERSIAL HISTORI

KHATAMI ARRIVES IN ROME TO A CONTROVERSIAL HISTORIC VISIT
=========================================================

By Safa Haeri

ROME 9TH MAR. (IPS)

On his arrival today at this "Eternal City", President ayatollah
Mohammad Khatami made history today as he became the first ever
Iranian president to officially set feet into a Western capital.

The ayatollah Khatami, portrayed by most European analysts and
diplomats as a "moderate and reformer" is due here for a 2 days
"historical" visit amid the stiffest, almost unprecedented
security measures rarely seen by Romans, with his hotel
completely cut off not only to the traffic but even the
pedestrians, as more than a thousand Iranians also poured in,
coming from many European cities but also as far as the United
States and Canada to demonstrate against what they perceive as
"the shame of Western values and civilisation".

In fact, the warm reception the official Italy is reserving for
this visit sharply contrasts with the cold attitude of some
Italian personalities and specially the man in the street, hence
a sharp division in the Italian leftist coalition government of
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema where one wing is welcoming hotly
the visit and the other going for a boycott, with a tiny
minority in the middle calling for moderation.

Under the title of "Why One Must Support Khatami's Ideals",
Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini wrote in the Opinion column of
the pro-Government daily "La Repubblica", that if the European
Union wanted to be a model for other nations, it should prove
that it has the ability of both understanding and respect other
nations particularities, as in the case of Iran," a country that
is instrumental for the peace and security in the Middle East".

"Italy was the first country that realised that one has to back
Mr. Khatami's (political) projects and (for this reason) was of
the idea that it is its duty to convince its partners and allies
that imagination is not enough to open up a closed society.
Thus, President Khatami's visist to Italy is not a coincidence,
but the fruit of a sustained programme of the foreign policy
conducted by Italy", Sig. Dini noted.

But what created a storm and pushed more than half the Italian
MPs of all walk to announce their decision to not attend
President Khatami's address to the Parliament was a declaration
by the Speaker of the House Luciano Violante saying that the
Iranian cleric president's political theory is "very close to
the Italian idea of democracy".

Sig. Violante has prefaced Mr. Khatami's first book ever
translated into Italian under the title of "Religion, Freedom
And Democracy". It is therefore not a coincidence if the book
was distributed only few days before the arrival of the Iranian
turbaned guest.

In an article published by Corriere Della Sera, Sig. Antonio
Martino, a former Italian Foreign Minister reminded Sig.
Violante that he should not forget that others had also prefaced
books written by people like Ceaucescu, Anvar Xoja or Kim Il
Sung.

ENDS KHATAMI VISIT 939903

Editor-in-Chief: Safa Haeri
Tel: +33 1 43805838
Fax: +33 1 43805825
e-mail: safa@iran-press-service.com

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

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 18:05:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: LET'S INTERNATIONALISE DEMOCRACY

LET'S INTERNATIONALISE DEMOCRACY, KHATAMI TELLS ITALIAN MPs
===========================================================


By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor

ROME 10TH MAR. (IPS)
The Iranian president ayatollah Mohammad Khatami made history
Monday as he became the first president of the 20 years old
Islamic Republic of Iran to set foot into a Western capital,
from where he said "if humanity wanted to enter the third
millennium proudly, it is necessary to internationalise
democracy".

Mr. Khatami, accompanied by several ministers, including those
of Foreign Affairs and Mines and Industries, landed in Rome to a
warm, red carpet welcome by Italian officials, led by Sig.
Lamberto Dini, the Italian Foreign Minister who told journalists
that while Italy supports Khatami, it is not going to make "any
discount" on human rights issues, such as the recent murders or
disappearance of political and intellectual dissidents.

The authorities threw the largest, most draconian security
measures ever seen in the Italian crowded capital, with
thousands of uniformed and plainclothes policemen guarding main
thoroughfares, helicopters hovering over the Grand Hotel, where
the Iranian president and his delegation stays.

According to Mr. Dini, the issue of human rights will be
addressed "firmly" during talks between the two sides that will
center mostly around economic matters.

Observers noted that the Iranian president arrived in Rome
barely a week after the Italian oil company Agip and the French
counterpart Elf-Aquitaine had finalised a 540 US millions
Dollars contract with the Iranian national Oil Company for the
exploitation of the Iranian off-shore oil field of Doroud, in
the northern part of the Persian Gulf.

"Top of the agenda of the talks will be fighting terrorism,
human rights and nuclear non-proliferation, in the awareness
that Khatami is opposed by a conservative and obscurantist
clergy, of which he himself has used the term religious
fascism", Italian nus
fascism", Italian news agency ANSA quoted Sig. Dini as having
told journalists.

Dini has also said that Italy would raise the case of four
opposition politicians and writers recently murdered in Iran.

Addressing the Italian Parliament in the afternoon, Mr. Khatami
warned that if one is after a real peace, "one must support
justice and equilibrium among all nations, a world not divided
between poor and rich, strong and weak, aggressor and
aggressed".

To denounce the visit, about a thousand Iranian, mostly from the
Baghdad-based, Iraqi supported Mujahedeen Khalq Organisation,
demonstrated in Rome, while members of other leftist
organisations such as the Iranian Communist Workers Party or the
Workers Path occupied briefly Italian embassies in Paris and
Amsterdam.
Mr. Khatami arrived in the Italian capital reinforced by the
landslide victory in the just completed village and city
councils elections of candidates supporting his political
programme and reforms.

During the ceremony, Senate Speaker Nicola Mancino and his
Parliament counterpart Luciano Violante urged the ayatollah
Khatami to pursue his efforts to safeguard human rights in Iran.
"Italy is sensitive and attentive to human rights, but also to
their defence and extension, without distinction of class, sex
or religion". Sig. Mancino pointed out.

Mr. Khatami criticised the present "unequal and unjust"
relations between the West and the East, the North and South and
reminded that "part of the West's past experiences with some of
the fruits of its civilisations in the form of fascism,
communism and nazism has re-emerged and was injected into
oppressed nations and societies".

"There is no doubt that international relations established on
inequality between oppressed and oppressors has produced an
armed peace, violence, tensions and terrorism", Mr. Khatami
noted.

By contrast to the warm official reception, the Italian media,
particularly the radio and television showed no enthusiasm even
though that Italy, a middleweight in the European Union, had won
the race against giants such as France and Germany in becoming
the first European and Western nation to play host to the
turbaned Iranian president.

In their main news bulletins, television stations gave no more
than 80 seconds to Mr. Khatami's visit, that included his
arrival, his meetings with the Italian president Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro and his address to the 2 houses of the Italian
Parliament.

ENDS 2 KHATAMI VISIST 1039919

Editor-in-Chief: Safa Haeri
Tel: +33 1 43805838
Fax: +33 1 43805825
e-mail: safa@iran-press-service.com

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Mar 1999 to 11 Mar 1999 - Special issue
*******************************************************************