Date: Mar 12, 1999 [ 3: 28: 33]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Mar 1999 to 12 Mar 1999 - Special issue

From: Automatic digest processor


Return-Path: <owner-DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>
Delivered-To: farhad@ALGONET.SE
Received: (qmail 27344 invoked from network); 12 Mar 1999 12:28:43 +0100
Received: from simorgh.gpg.com (205.158.6.22)
by tung.algonet.se with SMTP; 12 Mar 1999 12:28:43 +0100
Received: from simorgh (simorgh [205.158.6.22])
by simorgh.gpg.com (8.8.6/8.8.6) with ESMTP id DAA28744;
Fri, 12 Mar 1999 03:28:33 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199903121128.DAA28744@simorgh.gpg.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 03:28:33 -0800
Reply-To: dni-disc@D-N-I.ORG
Sender: DNI news list <DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>
From: Automatic digest processor <D-N-I@D-N-I.ORG>
Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Mar 1999 to 12 Mar 1999 - Special issue
To: Recipients of DNI-NEWS digests <DNI-NEWS@D-N-I.ORG>

There are 18 messages totalling 1207 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Lack of Peace Root Cause of All Conflicts in World
2. Focus-Pope Calls Khatami Meeting ''Promising''
3. Closing Visit, Iran's President Stresses Bonds Bet
4. Pope Blesses Iran President
5. Khatami Meets Pope in Culmination of Call for...
6. Italy presses West to back Khatami
7. Analysis-Italy Visit a Breakthrough for Khatami
8. Dini Says Italy Wants to Boost Trade with Iran
9. Khatami Meets Italian Industrialists
10. Iran, Italy Discuss Support For Investment ...
11. Khatami rebukes Europe for backing Rushdie
12. Italian FM Regrets Coincidental Rushdie's Visit
13. Vatican Prime Minister Receives Iranian President
14. Khatami Chats with Iranian Resident Students
15. Khatami Returns Home from Ground-Breaking Visit
16. European Countries Interested in Ties with Iran
17. Cohen Says U.S. Arms Sales Help Mideast Stability
18. Iran forges closer ties with Africa

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:52:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Lack of Peace Root Cause of All Conflicts in World

Lack of Peace Root Cause of All Conflicts in World
==================================================


thr 046
hatami-pope
khatami: lack of peace root cause of all conflicts in world
rome, mar. 11, irna -- president mohammad khatami in a meeting with
pope john paul ii, leader of world catholics, lauded his role and his
responsibilities in the world of christianity, and stressed the need
to prevent qods from becoming a center of racism and jewish symbols.
khatami, the current chairman of the organization of the islamic
conference (oic) also emphasized the common bonds shared by divine
religions.
he also stressed that humanity needs peace, saying that the
root of all conflict is lack of peace based on justice in the
international arenas.
he added, ''if the western man has overcome fascism and
proletariat dictatorship, despotism and prejudice still persists in
the international affairs. hence to achieve a lasting peace,
injustice has to be removed and divine religions should be at the
forefront of the call for administration of justice.''
''the essence of the message of prophet jesus is compassion and
the sura 113 of the holy quran begins with the phrase 'in the name
of god the compassionate, the merciful'. so our goal is one and
the same,'' khatami remarked.
in the meeting, the head of the roman catholic church, pope john
paul while recalling the maligns which humanity has gone through said
that peace is the need of the times.
in his talks with the chairman of the organization of the islamic
conference (oic), the pope stressed the dialogue between islam and
christianity as a means to put forward a better life for mankind.
the pope also emphasized on pursuing the strategy of understanding
and dialogue while looking to the future.
international radio and television networks had reporters on the
scene to give an extensive coverage to the meeting between president
khatami and pope john paul ii.
the french news agency afp in a detailed report described the
meeting as cordial. according to the report, the pope greeted
president khatami by saying, "today is an important day with good
tidings."
at the end of the meeting president khatami hoped for the eventual
victory for mortality, peace and calm.
according to reports, vatican spokesman said the talks was held in
a friendly atmosphere filled with the spirit of dialogue between islam
and christianity.
while bidding farewell, president khatami asked for the pope's
blessings to which the pope reciprocated and khatami replied ''i will
pray for you i hope the almighty grants you success and health. i am
ending my visit to italy with fond memories of our meeting.''
an iranian correspondent based in italy, ahmad raf'at told the
british broadcasting corporation that the meeting between pope john
paul ii the leader of the world's one billion catholics and
president khatami the head of the oic at the vatican was an 'historic
event'.
according to afp, about 50 members of the terrorist mujahidin-e
khalq organization has gathered in the st. peter's basilica square to
protest the meeting.
the agency said the meeting between president khatami and pope
john paul ii was the last leg of his visit to italy.
ah/dh
end
::irna 11/03/99 20:34

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:52:16 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Focus-Pope Calls Khatami Meeting ''Promising''

Focus-Pope Calls Khatami Meeting ''Promising''
==============================================

Reuters
11-MAR-99

VATICAN CITY, March 11 (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Thursday held
what he called "important and promising" talks with Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami in his highest level meeting with a
post-revolutionary leader from the Islamic state.

Khatami, wrapping up the first state visit to the West by an Iranian
president since 1979, said he was hopeful for what he called "the
victory of monotheism, ethics and morality."

The Iranian president also told the Pope he was returning home from
his landmark visit "full of hope for the future."

Later, in separate talks, the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal
Angelo Sodano, raised the issue of human rights with the Iranian
president.

The two religious leaders, both wearing their traditional robes,
spoke through interpreters for 25 minutes in the Catholic leader's
private study in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

As the Pope and Khatami spoke, 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 was deserted apart from a huge police presence
ensuring tight security for the visit by the Iranian delegation.

Inside the the Pope's frescoed study, the Pontiff and Khatami held
talks described in a Vatican statement as cordial and focusing on
dialogue between Christianity and Islam.

"This was a very important, promising day," the 78-year-old Pope said
at a picture taking session during the public part of the audience.

Khatami told the Pope: "The hope is for the victory of monotheism, of
ethics, of morals together with peace and reconciliation. May God
protect you."

Khatami, a moderate Moslem Shi'ite cleric, asked the Pope to pray for
him and promised that he would pray for the Pope's "success and
health."

"This was a truly beautiful day...I am returning to my home full of
hope for the future," Khatami told the Pope.

Later, in separate talks, Khatami and Cardinal Sodano discussed
Iran's human rights record, the Middle East and the situation of
minority Catholics in Iran, the Vatican said. The statement gave no
details of the human rights discussion.

During his landmark visit to Italy, Khatami appealed to Western
nations to treat Iran and Islamic states as international equals but
stressed that Tehran was open to dialogue and to work towards global
security.
He also promoted his ideas for a "dialogue of civilisations" and
closer contact between Islam and Christianity. The Pope, too, has
often appealed for greater collaboration between the world's great
faiths.

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.

Conditions for Iran's tiny Catholic minority of 13,000 have improved
significantly in the past several years after an initial crackdown
following the Islamic revolution.

In his comments in Italy, Khatami touched upon many of the issues
troubling Washington and Europe and hindering progress towards Iran's
full return into the international fold. He said the Islamic world
wanted to be treated as an equal international partner by the West
and he pledged that Iran would work towards opposing terrorism and
the spread of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:52:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Closing Visit, Iran's President Stresses Bonds Bet

Closing Visit, Iran's President Stresses Bonds Between Faiths
=============================================================


AP
11-MAR-99

FIESOLE, Italy (AP) -- Closing his Western visit, Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami sought common ground among the world's religions,
declaring ahead of an audience with the pope that all faiths are not
"quintessentially different."

After reaching out to the West during his Italy trip, Khatami was
doing the same for followers of Western religions -- in tones far
more moderate than the West has been accustomed to hearing from
Iranian leaders.

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

Pope John Paul II long has 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 tording 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 fl
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 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: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:53:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Pope Blesses Iran President

Pope Blesses Iran President
===========================


By Candice Hughes
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, March 11, 1999; 1:55 p.m. EST
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Proclaiming it an ``important and promising
day,'' Pope John Paul II blessed Iran's reform-minded president on
Thursday at the end of his groundbreaking visit to the West.

President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric, came bearing
a message
of detente and dialogue that was warmly received. But the Vatican
also raised the issue of human rights, as did the president's Italian
hosts.

John Paul and the Iranian president spent 25 minutes together in the
pope's private library.

``At the end of my stay in Italy, and after this meeting with you, I
return to my country and people full of hope for the future,''
Khatami said afterward.

His three-day trip is the first state visit to a Western nation by an
Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The emphasis Thursday was on a greater understanding between Islam
and Christianity, part of Khatami's call for a ``dialogue among
civilizations, cultures and religions.''

The 78-year-old pope and the 56-year-old Muslim cleric had much
common ground.

Both were students of philosophy as well as theology, and their
writings reveal a deep mystical streak. Both see religion as the only
antidote to the ills of modern life.

``The hope is for the final victory of monotheism, morality, peace
and reconciliation,'' Khatami said.
The Vatican was clearly pleased with the meeting; its official
communique called it a warm encounter based on ``a spirit of dialogue
between Muslims and Christians.''

Khatami's visit also bore more prosaic -- but highly important --
fruit.
Iran's deputy oil minister, Mehdi Hosseini, said Italy's state energy
company ENI had proposed oil production deals worth $2 billion to $3
billion. Hosseini also said petrochemical projects were discussed.

But the symbolism-packed Vatican meeting was the highlight.

The scene when the pope greeted Khatami's delegation, which included
three dark-robed Muslim clerics, was striking. One cleric even kissed
John Paul on the cheek -- after asking his permission.

There was also a ritual exchange of gifts: A painting of Sts. Peter
and Paul for the president; a Persian rug depicting St. Mark's
Basilica in Venice for the pope.

Khatami said he'd pray for the pope -- and asked John Paul to pray
for him.

The Iranian president is fighting a tough battle back home, where the
conservative clerics who control parliament, the security forces and
the judiciary bitterly oppose many of his reforms.

Iran's economy is also in trouble because of the slump in oil prices,
and the trip was aimed at improving relations with the entire
European Union. He plans to visit France soon.

Throughout his visit, Khatami worked hard to portray Iran as a young,
dynamic nation eager to embrace progress and democracy while
remaining true to its faith and traditions.

He painted a vision of an Islam of love and tolerance -- a far cry
from the strident rhetoric of some of his predecessors -- and
disavowed terrorism and violence.

Vatican concerns over human rights in Iran and the treatment of its
tiny Catholic community were discussed during Khatami's meeting with
the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, following the
papal audience.

There are about 120,000 Christians in Iran, about 13,000 of them
Catholics.

Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary arm, says Iranian
Christians are free to worship inside their churches but their
activities are watched and they are barred from serving in the
government and armed forces.
St. Peter's Square was off-limits to tourists as part of extremely
tight security, but somehow about 50 chanting anti-Khatami protesters
got in and were surrounded by about as many police officers.

The Iranian opposition in exile staged demonstrations throughout the
trip. Several protesters were arrested.



Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:51:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Meets Pope in Culmination of Call for...

Iran's President Meets Pope in Culmination of Call for Dialogue
===============================================================


AP
11-MAR-99

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Proclaiming it an "important and promising
day," Pope John Paul II blessed Iran's reform-minded president
on Thursday at the end of his groundbreaking visit to the West.
President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate cleric, came bearing a
message of detente and dialogue that was warmly received. But
the Vatican also raised the issue of human rights, as did the
president's Italian hosts.

John Paul and the Iranian president spent 25 minutes together in
the pope's private library.

"At the end of my stay in Italy, and after this meeting with
you, I return to my country and people full of hope for the
future," Khatami said afterward.

His three-day trip is the first state visit to a Western nation
by an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The emphasis Thursday was on a greater understanding between
Islam and Christianity, part of Khatami's call for a "dialogue
among civilizations, cultures and religions."

The 78-year-old pope and the 56-year-old Muslim cleric had much
common ground.

Both were students of philosophy as well as theology, and their
writings reveal a deep mystical streak. Both see religion as the
only antidote to the ills of modern life.

"The hope is for the final victory of monotheism, morality,
peace and reconciliation," Khatami said.

The Vatican was clearly pleased with the meeting; its official
communique called it a warm encounter based on "a spirit of
dialogue between Muslims and Christians."

Khatami's visit also bore more prosaic -- but highly important _
fruit.

Iran's deputy oil minister, Mehdi Hosseini, said Italy's state
energy company ENI had proposed oil production deals worth $2
billion to $3 billion. Hosseini also said petrochemical projects
were discussed.

But the symbolism-packed Vatican meeting was the highlight.

The scene when the pope greeted Khatami's delegation, which
included three dark-robed Muslim clerics, was st
riking. One
cleric even kissed John Paul on the cheek -- after asking his
permission.

There was also a ritual exchange of gifts: A painting of Sts.
Peter and Paul for the president; a Persian rug depicting St.
Mark's Basilica in Venice for the pope.

Khatami said he'd pray for the pope -- and asked John Paul to
pray for him.

The Iranian president is fighting a tough battle back home,
where the conservative clerics who control parliament, the
security forces and the judiciary bitterly oppose many of his
reforms.

Iran's economy is also in trouble because of the slump in oil
prices, and the trip was aimed at improving relations with the
e trip was aimed at improving relations with the
entire European Union. He plans to visit France soon.

Throughout his visit, Khatami worked hard to portray Iran as a
young, dynamic nation eager to embrace progress and democracy
while remaining true to its faith and traditions.

He painted a vision of an Islam of love and tolerance -- a far
cry from the strident rhetoric of some of his predecessors --
and disavowed terrorism and violence.

Vatican concerns over human rights in Iran and the treatment of
its tiny Catholic community were discussed during Khatami's
meeting with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo
Sodano, following the papal audience.

There are about 120,000 Christians in Iran, about 13,000 of them
Catholics.

Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary arm, says
Iranian Christians are free to worship inside their churches but
their activities are watched and they are barred from serving in
the government and armed forces.

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

The Iranian opposition in exile staged demonstrations throughout
the trip. Several protesters were arrested.

Copyright 1999& The Associated Press.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:53:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Italy presses West to back Khatami

Italy presses West to back Khatami
==================================


Thursday 11 March 1999
By Bruce Johnston in Rome


IRAN'S President Mohammad Khatami, in Rome on the first trip to
Europe by a leader from his country in 20 years, was trying to "step
over a line drawn by the West" which had "demonised his country",
Italy said yesterday. He had to be helped by the West, not excluded.

The appeal not to isolate Teheran was made by Lamberto Dini, Italy's
Foreign Minister, on the second day of Mr Khatami's visit, which will
culminate in a meeting with the Pope today. Vatican and Iranian
officials are treating the event as one of extreme importance. One
Vatican department said it could serve to "take the rough edges away"
from relations between Christians and Muslims.

Mr Dini, writing in the International Herald Tribune, said Mr Khatami
was seeking to "reconcile Iran with modernity, and should be given
international encouragement". He predicted that America would
eventually follow Europe in recognising Iran's "potential for
stability in the Middle East".
President Khatami's second day in Italy coincided with a ceremony in
Turin in which an honorary degree was conferred on Salman Rushdie,
whose novel The Satanic Verses earned him a fatwah (death sentence)
pronounced by the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

Yesterday morning the blue Maserati carrying the president was pelted
with eggs and paint thrown by dissidents, as he was driven to the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Rome's central Piazza Venezia. Police
detained 13 people, as dissidents demonstrated with Italian MPs near
the Colosseum. After paying his respects at the tomb, the Iranian
leader met the mayor of Rome, Francesco Rutelli, and later saw
Massimo D'Alema, the Prime Minister.

Mr D'Alema said he would press Mr Khatami to combat human rights
abuses in Iran. The Pope, too, is expected to broach the subject. On
Tuesday Mr Khatami pledged that his country would oppose terrorism
and the spread of nuclear arms and those of mass destruction.

At a banquet hosted by President Oscar Scalfaro, Mr Khatami said:
"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." But although Iran's press yesterday hailed its
president as "a messenger of peace", it made no mention of a request
by Mr Scalfaro at the banquet for Iran to improve its human rights
record.

However, Mr Khatami's visit to Italy and, from tomorrow, France is
mainly motivated by economic considerations, as he tries to salvage
an economy weakened by huge debt, US sanctions and a weak oil price.
Iran's ambassador to the Holy See, Mohammed Dai Abd Khoda'i, said Mr
Khatami would offer the Pope "an alliance" with the Vatican in
"defence of human life, the fight against poverty and, above all, the
safeguarding of the priciples of religion, ethics and morality".

The Pope is expected to bring up the question of religious freedom
for the 70,000 Christians in Iran, including 10,000 Catholics,
although the ambassador insisted that Christians there enjoyed a
"freedom without comparison in other countries". Yet conversion of
Muslims to Christianity - which is punishable by death - remained "an
issue of Iranian internal policy", he said.

Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:54:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Analysis-Italy Visit a Breakthrough for Khatami

Analysis-Italy Visit a Breakthrough for Khatami
===============================================
Reuters
11-MAR-99

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - He came, he saw, he conquered.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami achieved a foreign policy
triumph with his three-day state visit to Italy, impressing Pope
John Paul, charming Italian leaders and reaching out beyond Rome
to the rest of Europe and the United States.

On the first visit by an Iranian head of state to a Western
capital since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Khatami sought to
reassure the West by pledging to promote democracy, fight
terrorism and combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Yet he also reassured his domestic audience by insisting the
Islamic Republic must be treated as an equal on a world stage
where it has long been treated by the United States as a "rogue
state".

"Khatami presented a completely different image of Iran. This
will lead to further invitations to Europe and make it harder
for the Americans to go on trying to isolate Iran," a West
European diplomat said.

Coming on top of a triumph for his reformist supporters in local
elections, and the replacement of Iran's intelligence minister
after the admission that rogue security agents had killed
dissident intellectuals, the Rome trip should further strengthen
Khatami's hand against hardline opponents at home.

Significantly, the U.S. State Department did not criticise the
visit but asked Italy to press concerns about alleged Iranian
support for terrorism, reported efforts to develop nuclear
weapons and hostility to the Middle East peace process.

Khatami sought to pre-empt such complaints, and Western
criticism of Iran's human rights record, by addressing them
himself in a series of carefully crafted speeches and comments.

His Italian hosts and the Vatican said they raised human rights
with him but they did not embarrass him by detailing their
concerns in public.

Pope John Paul said of their landmark meeting: "This was a very
important, promising day."

Khatami, who advocates a "dialogue among civilisations", said he
was returning home full of hope for the future.
Even the apparent coincidence of British author Salman Rushdie
being in Italy simultaneously to receive an honorary doctorate
from Turin University failed to trigger a diplomatic incident.

The late Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini condemned Rushdie to death in 1989 for blaspheming
Islam in his novel "The Satanic Verses", but Khatami's
government has formally dissociated itself from that order.

Iranian newspapers lashed out at Italy for admitting Rushdie,
apparently unaware that as a British citizen he needs no visa to
enter a European Union country. But the juxtaposition of the two
visits can have done Khatami no harm in the West.

The philosopher-president had economic as well as political and
religious grounds to be delighted with the trip.
His visit followed a second major European investment in Iran's
energy sector, involving Italy's ENI and French oil giant Elf
Aquitaine, which blew a further hole in U.S. sanctions against
Tehran.

Under strong pressure from the European Union, President Bill
Clinton agreed last year to waive the extraterritorial sanctions
against French energy major Total when it led a big investment
in Iran's gas sector.

U.S. officials have criticised the Elf-ENI deal and said they
will study it, but diplomats said it was politically
inconceivable that Washington could slap sanctions on now, given
Iran's progress on democracy and foreign relations.

"A second successful breach means the sanctions are effectively
dead," one U.S. official conceded.

Khatami's next foreign venture could well be a landmark trip to
Saudi Arabia to mend fences with I
's most important oil
produci's most important oil
produci's most important oil
produci's most important oil
produci's most important oil
produci's most important oil
producing neighbour across the Gulf, diplomats say.

After that, an invitation to France beckons and diplomats
believe he could also be welcomed in Germany by the end of the
year, providing a German businessman sentenced to death in Iran
for sex with a Moslem woman is freed after a pending retrial.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:54:38 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Dini Says Italy Wants to Boost Trade with Iran

Dini Says Italy Wants to Boost Trade with Iran
==============================================

Xinhua
11-MAR-99

ROME (March 11) XINHUA - Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said
Thursday that Iran is of great interest to Italian firms, noting that
trade with this Middle East nation appear to be " rebalancing".

Hosting a meeting between visiting Iranian President Mohammed Khatami
and leading Italian businessmen, Dini said he hoped that Iran will
soon ratify the accord to boost and protect Italian investments,
which was signed on Wednesday.

Italy ran up a trade deficit of almost 600 billion lire (about 350
million U.S. dollars) in the first 11 months of 1998, and it is
Iran's main trading partner after Japan.

Dini pointed out that conditions for trade with Iran are improving,
as signaled by last week's deal of one billion dollars for Italy's
oil and chemical giant Eni to develop an Iranian oil field with the
Elf firm of France.

Iran is Italy's third largest oil supplier, after Libya and Saudi
Arabia.

Dini also noted that it was in Iran's interest to create stable
conditions to attract investment.

Italy already has several projects in Iran, led by steel industry
equipment-maker Danieli, which has accrued some 1.2 billion dollars
worth of business in the country since the mid- 1980s.

Dini hailed the importance of Khatami's three-day visit to Italy,
citing "the high level of the talks" and the fact that they were
"open to all issues of common interest", as well as "the breadth of
contacts and the importance of the documents approved".

Khatami, the first Iranian leader to visit Europe since the 1979
overthrow of the Shah, was scheduled to end his visit on Thursday.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:54:14 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Meets Italian Industrialists

Khatami Meets Italian Industrialists
====================================


thr 052
italy-iran-khatami
khatami meets italian industrialists
rome, mar. 11, irna -- a group of italian industrialist met with
president mohammad khatami at the iranian embassy here thursday.
referring to iran's capabilities, specially ample human resources
and high economic standing, khatami said, ''in order to reform the
economy, the government has formulated the economic rehabilitation
plan which has been approved by the leader and the majlis.''
he added, ''the plan aims at converting oil to a value-added
commodity.''
stressing that the government has opted for reform of the economy
with more privatization, the iranian president added, ''one of the
goals is to reduce the role of the government and expand the
sovereignty of the ownership which needs economic and foreign
security as its prerequisites.''
referring to the implementation of the third development plan,
khatami stated that the plan is in line with the economic
rehabilitation plan and its preliminary work has been completed.
describing iran's relative advantage in foreign investment,
president khatami stressed iran's readiness to attract foreign
capital.
''we are the sefest country in the middle east and ties between
people and the system has led to preservation of revolution and has
eased obstacles faced by the country and we are now in the process of
experiencing people's true sovereignty,'' khatami said.
nb/ks
end
::irna 11/03/99 19:56

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:54:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Italy Discuss Support For Investment ...

Iran, Italy Discuss Support For Investment In Energy Sector
===========================================================


thr 016
iran-italy-energy
iran, italy discuss support for investment in energy sector
tehran, march 11, irna -- in talks between iranian and italian
economic delegations in the course of president mohammad khatami's
visit to italy, the two sides focused on support for investment and
cooperation in the field of energy (electricity), an iranian
economic official said.
the official told irna here that satisfactory negotiations have
been held between the two sides on support for investment.
while the italian side stressed on the transfer of its investment
capital on the basis of exchange rate of the day the iranian
side said it was practicable provided that it is implemented in three
months.
on cooperation between the italian l'ansaldo power company and
iran, the official said the company has received orders for the
construction of two 325-megawatt power units for the expansion of
bandar abbas power grid.
he further added that the new orders substitute the previous
52.8-dollar-million agreement with italy which was concluded before
the islamic revolution.
the official also pointed to the agreement already signed between
italy's agip and iran's nioc for the development of doroud oil field
in iran as a proof to growing cooperation between iran and italy.
he said that in the joint agreement between agip and france's
elf, 500 million dollars in foreign investment has been foreseen in a
period of three years. meanwhile, he added, the two companies can
retrieve their capital within ten years out of the revenues gained
through oil exports from this region.
ns/ks
end
::irna 11/03/99 11:46

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:54:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami rebukes Europe for backing Rushdie

Khatami rebukes Europe for backing Rushdie
==========================================


TEHRAN, March 11 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami broke
from his pro-Western message in Italy to deliver a stinging rebuke to
European nations which have supported author Salman Rushdie.
Khatami criticised European nations for backing "a person who has
desecrated ... the feelings of more than one billion Moslems" around
the world, the official news agency IRNA reported.

"All Moslem countries and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference"
have "confirmed" the death sentence against Rushdie, ordered in 1979
by the Islamic republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, he
said.
"The late imam Khmoeini issued the verdict as a great religious
leader of Moslems," Khatami said Wednesday, but added that Iran has
previously said it will not actively seek to see the sentence
imposed.

The world has reached a stage of "dialogue amongst civilisations and
cultures," he said.

Khomeini issued a religious decree or fatwa calling for the death of
the Indian-born British writer for alleged blasphemy in his satiric
novel "The Satanic Verses."

Rushdie was in the Italian city of Turin to receive an honorary
doctorate Wednesday as Khatami was making a high-profile visit to
Italy, in a trip marked by the Iranian leader's repeated calls for
improved relations between Europe and the Islamic republic.

The Iranian press on Thursday found the timing of Rushdie's visit
anything but coincidental.

"One cannot but reach the conclusion that at least some officials of
the Italian government fully intended to insult our president, our
nation and our religious beliefs," said the English-language Iran
News, widely read by foreign diplomats here.

"The Italian foreign ministry must be held accountable," it said.

The hardline Jomhuri Islam paper accused "pro-Zionist militants in
the Italian foreign ministry" of orchestrating the Rushdie visit and
said "Italian officials have failed to give an explanation" of his
presence.

"Iran remembers that Italy and Europe are safe havens for terrorists
that continue to attack and insult our nation," the pro-Khatami
Kar-o-Kargar paper said.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:55:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Italian FM Regrets Coincidental Rushdie's Visit

Italian FM Regrets Coincidental Rushdie's Visit
===============================================

thr 001
italy-iran-rushdie
italian fm regrets coincidental rushdie's visit
rome, march 11, irna -- the italian foreign minister lamberto dini
here thursday in a letter to his iranian counterpart kamal kharrazi
expressed regret that "the official visit of the president of the
islamic republic of iran hojjatoleslam seyyed mohammad khatami
coincided with the visit of the apostate writer of `satanic verses'
salman rushdie to his country."
the italian foreign minister then hoped that the incident would
have no adverse effect on iran's judgement regarding the on-going
bilateral talks.
"the simultaneous visit was accidental and that the italian
government had no knowledge of rushdie's visit and that the italian
university of turin acted independently," dini emphasized.
italy's foreign minister was also pleased with the outcomes of
tehran-rome talks which resulted in inking of several bilateral
accords during the three-day official visit of the iranian chief of
the executive branch.
he went on to say that khatami's visit to italy went beyond any
traditional visit and that the visit of the iranian president was
extensive.
pm/ah/dh
end
::irna 12/03/99 00:25

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:55:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Vatican Prime Minister Receives Iranian President

Vatican Prime Minister Receives Iranian President
=================================================


thr 051
vatican-iran-khatami
vatican prime minister receives iranian president
vatican, march 11, irna -- vatican's prime minister cardinal angelo
sodano on thursday prasied the new ideas of the iranian president
mohammad khatami on contact and relation among various cultures and
religions in the world.
the vatican prime minister made the comments in a meeting with
president khatami at the end of his three-stat landmark visit to
italy and the vatican.
in the meeting, he said his holiness the pope is trying to
establish a bridge to ease exchange of various ideas.
president khatami in reply underlined the joint roots between
islam and christianity and noted that this is the prior right of all
followers of divine religions to have dialogue and understanding among
themselves.
the chairman of the organization of the islamic conference (oic)
also expressed hope that the vatican would use its influence over
western christian countries and protect the rights and interests of
all muslim minorities in those countries.
in conclusion, the vatican prime minister stressed the need for
further improvement of the living standards of christians in some
muslim countries. mm/ks
end
::irna 11/03/99 19:51
::irna 11/03/99 19:51

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:55:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Chats with Iranian Resident Students

Iranian President Chats with Iranian Resident Student
=====================================================


thr 057
italy-khatami-students
iranian president chats with iranian resident student
rome, march 11, irna -- iran's president hojjatoleslam seyyed
mohammad khatami received iranian resident students here thursday
afternoon and had a little friendly chat.
president khatami expressed exhilaration being among committed
iranian students abroad and discussed political, economic and
social issues of the nation.
dh/dh
end
::irna 11/03/99 20:55

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:55:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami Returns Home from Ground-Breaking Visit

Khatami Returns Home from Ground-Breaking Visit
===============================================
Xinhua
11-MAR-99

TEHRAN (March 11) XINHUA - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami arrived
here Thursday night after concluding his three-day state visit to
Italy, the first ever to Europe by an Iranian head of state since the
Islamic Revolution in 1979.

During his stay in Italy, Khatami appealed to the Western nations to
treat Iran and Islamic states as international equals and called on
them to follow Italy to hold dialogue and expand relations with Iran.


Reaching out to the West in a fresh spirit of openness, Khatami said
the world was tired of violence and terrorism and wanted peace based
on mutual respect and justice.
Reiterating his policy of detente, the Iranian president pledged that
Tehran would oppose terrorism and the spread of and weapons of mass
destruction.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is not hostile toward 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," he told Italian leaders.

During his visit, Khatami also met the Pope John Paul II at the
Vatican, renewing his call for dialogue among civilizations.

Public opinion has shown that Khatami's visit to Rome opened a new
chapter for Iran's relations with the west and defused the U.S.
efforts to isolate the Islamic state in the international arena.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:55:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: European Countries Interested in Ties with Iran

European Countries Interested in Ties with Iran
===============================================

thr 066
kharrazi-interview
european countries interested in ties with iran
rome, march 11, irna -- iranian foreign minister kamal kharrazi said
here thursday that president khatami's visit to italy demonstrates the
willingness and interest of european countries to develop and expand
ties with iran.
he told the italian newspaper 'la stampa' that european countries
are no longer prepared to coordinate their policies with the u.s. in
enforcing sanctions against iran.
''the u.s is imposing its policies, however it should realize
that the world has changed and the cold war had ended,'' said
kharrazi.
the time has also come for the u.s to change its attitude. the u.s
should also withdraw its forces from the persian gulf as the presence
endangers all in the region, declared kharrazi.
on the kind of relations between islam and the european union
(e.u.), he said the talks between the organization of the islamic
conference (oic), chaired by iran, and the e.u. is an urgency and
iran and italy are currently engaged in formulating constructive
dialog between iran and the european countries.
turning to iran's stance on the middle east peace process, he
stated that iran has never supported the reconciliatory plans in the
region and does not believe in it. iran, he declared, does not
recognize israel and views it as a totally illegitimate entity.
on the difference between iran and the e.u. regarding terrorism,
he said, ''in many european countries there are terrorist groups which
are active against iran. while hosting these groups, the european
countries are calling on iran to fight terrorism.''
ah\dh
end
::irna 11/03/99 23:31

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:56:06 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Cohen Says U.S. Arms Sales Help Mideast Stability

Cohen Says U.S. Arms Sales Help Mideast Stability
=================================================


Reuters
11-MAR-99

CAIRO, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen on
Thursday defended his country's arm sales to the Middle East, saying
other suppliers would step in if Washington refused requests from key
allies in the region.

Cohen said the United States would maintain its military presence in
the Gulf as long as necessary to counter perceived threats from Iraq
and Iran and preserve stability.

"We have indicated we would like a better relationship with Iran, but
this cannot take place until they renounce support for terrorism,
undercutting the Middle East peace process and trying to acquire
weapons of mass destruction," he told reporters.

He also said a U.S.-British offer on the handover of two Libyans
accused of blowing up a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in
1988 would not stay open "indefinitely".

Cohen, who later left Cairo for Israel, told reporters after talks
with Egyptian Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawy the Pentagon
was ready to sell Cairo 24 F-16 fighters, 200 M-1A1 tanks and 32
Patriot missiles worth a total of $3.2 billion, to be funded from the
$1.2 billion a year Egypt gets in U.S. military aid.

He said Egypt would feel insulted if the United States rejected its
requests for advanced military equipment.

"There are many potential (arms) suppliers -- Russian, Chinese,
French, British and others that seek to fulfill their requests. I
think that they would look very sceptically upon our friendship and
very strong partnership if we were to say 'I'm sorry, we have made a
decision that is superior to your decision. You don't need this and
you shouldn't have it'."

The arms sale offer was the latest of several by Cohen to U.S. Arab
allies on a nine-nation trip to the Middle East.

Asked if the United States was not fuelling a regional arms race,
Cohen said Washington remained ready to help its allies in response
to legitimate requests for military modernisation.

"We are, of course, eager to be of assistance," he said.

Earlier in his tour, Cohen offered to sell Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
advanced medium-range air-to-air "AMRAAM" missiles.

The United Arab Emirates is currently planning to buy 80 of the
earlier "Block 60" F-16s for $6 billion and a package of AMRAAM and
other air-to-air missiles for another $2 billion.

Asked about progress towards a solution of the Lockerbie dispute,
Cohen said he was not aware of any.

"I talked with President (Hosni) Mubarak and he is continuing to meet
with (Libyan leader) Muammar Gaddafi," he said. "I can't say progress
has been made. Talks continue and Gaddafi continues to weigh whether
he is going to comply."

The United States and Britain gave Libya an informal 30-day deadline
on February 26 to hand over for trial in The Netherlands two Libyans
accused of carrying out the Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people
were killed.

The two Western powers had long demanded that the two suspects be
tried on their soil, but last year accepted a Libyan demand for a
trial in a neutral country. U.N. sanctions imposed in 1992 would be
suspended once the two men are extradited.

"We believe that the offer currently on the table cannot remain there
indefinitely and that Gaddafi should accept this and move forward to
a resolution of the issue," Cohen said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:56:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran forges closer ties with Africa

Iran forges closer ties with Africa
===================================


Johannesburg, South Africa. March 11, 1999
Iran is quietly forging closer ties with Africa, including
involvement in several major oil and industrial projects.
MOYIGA NDURU reports

IRAN is forging closer ties with Africa, 20 years after the Islamic
clerics who overthrew the Shah seized power in the Persian Gulf.
"Before the revolution,'' says the Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Behrooz Kamalvandi, ''Iran didn't have any embassy in Africa except
in South Africa where the Shah regime had invested heavily in the oil
refinery industry.''

''Now we have more than 20 embassies, most of them in Sub- Saharan
Africa,'' he says.

Since his election two years ago, moderate President Mohammad
Khatami. has adopted a policy of opening up Iran to the outside
world.

In Africa, Iran, through its embassies, says Kamalvandi, is also
forging relations with the African people, through its participation
in a number of projects.

In Zimbabwe, Iran runs the multi-million Modezone Textile Factory,
which employs 3,000 people in Chitungwiza, the satellite city of
Harare, Zimbabwe's capital.

''A few months ago, Iran injected a total of 193 million Zimbabwe
dollars (5.25 million US Dollars) into the factory,'' Kamalvandi
says.

Iran is also involved in a 1.2-billion-US-Dollar oil refinery project
in the Mozambican Port of Beira. The refinery, which is still under a
feasibility study, will serve the countries in the region, like
Mozambique and land-locked Zimbabwe.

Oil makes up about 70 of Iran's export revenue. ''And since 1979,
there have been no foreigners working in the Iranian oil industry,''
Kamalvandi says.

''Every work there is handled by Iranians,'' he says. ''This is why
we are helping Libya in its oil industry.''

Iran is involved in Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Conakry and Sierra Leone in
projects ranging from agriculture to assembling tractors.

''Iran is one of the most important producers of tractors in the
world,'' Kamalvandi says. ''We have offered to Zimbabwe to establish
an assembly line to export tractors to the region.''

Like many African countries, agriculture is a major sector in Iran's
economy. Nearly all the dry farming and 80 percent of the irrigated
farming in Iran is devoted to the cultivation of wheat and barley.
The main agricultural crops in Iran are wheat, barley and rice with
an annual production of about 20 million tonnes.

Iran also produces potatoes, cotton, tea, citrus fruits, dates,
maize, sugar beet, green vegetables, almonds and a considerable
amount of various fruits.

Tehran's budget is too tight to spread around the continent and the
government is looking for partners to help it cultivate economic
relations in Africa.

''The most important thing is to attract the private sector of Iran
to invest in Africa,'' says Kamalvandi. About 30 Iranian companies
participated in a trade fair in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire last month.

To attract investors, the Iranian envoy says, Iranian embassies also
have to fight the negative stereotypes of Africa, portrayed in Iran.
''In Iran,'' he says, ''Africa is known by its wars, famine and
insecurity.''

-- IPS/Misa, March 11, 1999.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Mar 1999 to 12 Mar 1999 - Special issue
*******************************************************************