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There are 9 messages totalling 511 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Gazprom, Iran to Sign Agreement on S Pars Oil Fiel
2. Khatami's Visit to Italy Ushers New Epoch
3. Iranian Opposition Charges Ambush
4. Iranian Women Cast Off Yoke Of The Ayatollahs
5. Iran Leader Gives Upbeat View of Italy Trip
6. The White House: to the Congress of the United Sta
7. Rafsanjani Says KHATAMI'S Visit to Italy Successfu
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands: OPEC Meeting.
9. Focus-Oil Well up as Producers Promise Big Cuts

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:56:28 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Gazprom, Iran to Sign Agreement on S Pars Oil Fiel

Gazprom, Iran to Sign Agreement on S Pars Oil Field.
====================================================


Itar-Tass
11-MAR-99

MOSCOW, March 11 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Gazprom public joint-stock
company is planning to sign an agreement with Iran in April on the
right to develop the 4th and 5th sectors of the South Pars oil field,
Pyotr Rodionov, First Deputy Chairman of Gazprom, has told
journalists, the PRIME-TASS news agency reports.

Rodionov said that subsequently Gazprom is likely to draw not more
than two partners into participation in the project. Investments in
the two sectors of the oil field are expected to amount to 1,500
million U.S. dollars.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:56:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami's Visit to Italy Ushers New Epoch

Jordan Times: Khatami's Visit to Italy Ushers New Epoch in
Iranian-Western Ties
==========================================================


thr 019
iran-jordan press
jordan times: khatami's visit to italy ushers new epoch in
iranian-western ties
athens, march 11, irna --- iranian president mohammad khatami's visit
to italy has been rightly hailed as a breakthrough in iranian
relations with the west, said the english-language jordan times in its
thursday's editorial.
president khatami's talks with the italian president and prime
minister as well as pope john paul ii could serve as a prelude to
greater and more extensive dialogue between tehran and other western
capitals, said the daily.
''washington has responded favourably, but cautiously, to iranian
overtures in the wake of the election of the moderate khatami, and
europe has been engaged in a positive, though low-key dialogue with
iran.''
''europe is, therefore, going full speed towards restoring normal
ties with iran while the u.s. maintains its guarded stance.''
''the iranian president arrived in rome with solid credentials,
not only as a moderate who advocates east-west dialogue but also as
the duly-elected leader in a free and democratic contest,'' noted the
paper.
it said that president khatami's standing and position were
boosted last week by his supporters' showings in municipal elections.
''iran, the west realises, is a very crucial state for regional
security and stability. ostracising it for much longer would only lend
support to radicalism and insecurity in the area. ''
''no wonder khatami's visit to italy is being viewed as ushering
in a new epoch in iranian-western relations. '' nk/ks
end
::irna 11/03/99 12:19

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:56:54 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Opposition Charges Ambush

Iranian Opposition Charges Ambush
=================================


By Waiel Faleh
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, March 11, 1999; 10:02 a.m. EST

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- An Iranian opposition group in exile said
Thursday that armed gunmen ambushed its members traveling in a convoy
in southern Iraq, and that one assailant was killed in retaliatory
fire.

The attackers, who worked for the Iranian government, fired machine
guns and rocket-propelled grenades on the vehicles Wednesday near
Amara, 250 miles southeast of Baghdad, the Iraq-based Mujahedeen
Khalq Organization said in a statement.

The Mujahedeen returned fire and one assailant was killed while the
others fled, the statement said. It said they left behind several
grenade launchers, grenades and one MK-47 machine gun.

Officials in Tehran did not immediately comment on the report, which
could not be independently verified.

The reported attack took place near one of several bases operated by
the Mujahedeen Khalq with the approval of the Iraqi government.

Iran also allows the Iraqi opposition to operate in its country, one
of the issues plaguing relations between the two nations, which
fought a war from 1980-1988. The two sides accuse each other of
allowing infiltrators to sneak across their borders for acts of
sabotage.

An Iraqi opposition group based in Iran claimed Thursday that its
fighters attacked two Iraqi armored battalions and seven other
military positions in Amara and the southern city of Basra on
Tuesday.
In a statement received in Cairo, Egypt, the Supreme Council for the
Islamic Revolution in Iraq said the attack was to avenge the killing
last month of Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Mohammed al-Sader.
No group has claimed responsibility for the killing but Iraqi
opposition groups have pointed the finger at President Saddam
Hussein's government, which is overwhelmingly made up of Sunni
Muslims.

The Supreme Council said its guerrillas fired rocket-propelled
grenades and destroyed at least eight tanks, inflicting heavy losses.


The report could not be independently confirmed. The Iraqi government
did not respond to the claim.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 14:57:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Women Cast Off Yoke Of The Ayatollahs

Iranian Women Cast Off Yoke Of The Ayatollahs
=============================================


Thursday 11 March 1999
By Alan Philps in Teheran

IRANIAN women are feeling more confident, sensing a political
breakthrough after 20 years of second-class citizenship under the
rule of the arch-conservative Shia Muslim clergy.

They did spectacularly well in recent local elections, seen by many
as a "Teheran Spring" of grassroots democracy that has loosened the
grip of the religious hierarchy. Women took a majority of seats in 20
cities and swept the board on four town councils. Although the final
results are not yet in, one reformist politician has predicted that
women will come close to getting half of all the seats in the
country.

All Iranian women have to cover up from head to toe when they go out,
with only the face and the hands allowed to show. Hair, seen as a
temptation to men, must be hidden and all make-up is banned under
strictures of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against the "painted dolls"
who flourished under the regime of the Shah.

But there are clear signs in Teheran of a relaxation. The women who
drive around the capital's smart suburbs often let their black
scarves slip back to reveal a glimpse of hair. The Islamic enforcers
who used to harass "indecently dressed" women are less in evidence.
Despite the image in the West of all women dressed in black and
chanting "death to America", much is changing. Contraception is
freely available and birth control lessons are given to all married
couples.

Thanks to the reformist President Mohammad Khatami, women can now ask
for a divorce from a criminal or drug-addicted man, whereas
previously they needed their husband's permission. Women lawyers are
seen increasingly in court and there is a boom in women's sports -
though they remain rigidly segregated from men.

But the old guard is not happy. "Freedom is a slippery word, and what
foreigners see as freedom does not accord with our traditions," says
Mrs Shahla Habibi, a former government adviser on women's rights and
now editor of a fashion magazine called Pushesh (The Veil). "I see
this as a disturbing trend, giving people the right to be a bit more
reckless."
But even Mrs Habibi realises that the time is not right for brutal
enforcement of moral norms. She said: "We should not waste our time
fighting details. I am not in favour of sending militants into the
parks to stop teenagers holding hands." Her magazine is full of
patterns designed to put a touch of fun and femininity into the dour
Islamic uniform. The latest chadors feature some daring polka-dot
cuffs and headbands, peekaboo sleeves and pretty embroidery around
the chin.

No one will yet predict when a woman will be able to walk down the
street bare-headed. "Our priorities are more basic," said a Teheran
housewife. "We care about education, civil rights, divorce law and
child custody, which usually goes to the husband. If we have full
rights at home, it is not too much of a burden for us to wear the
hejab (Islamic cover) on the street. It would be odd indeed if we
were to campaign for the right to wear a mini-skirt before we can get
a decent job or have custody of our children."

Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 1999.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 22:48:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Leader Gives Upbeat View of Italy Trip

Iran Leader Gives Upbeat View of Italy Trip
===========================================


Reuters
12-MAR-99

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami described
as "positive" his landmark visit to Italy this week, saying he
managed to put across his country's new direction and ambitions,
state television reported Friday.
But a prominent Iranian official criticized the West for seeking
to portray the trip as a result of Iranian weakness.

"Altogether, I felt that our goals materialized relatively
well," the president said on his return from his three-day trip,
the first state visit by an Iranian president to a West European
country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"The issue was mainly to inform them of Iran's situation,
decisions and the progress it wants to make," he said. "We are
interested to have relations with a country like Italy. They,
too, seem greatly interested in cooperation on various levels."

Khatami, who has sought to get away from Iran's radical past an
d
cultivate an image of the country as a peace-maker, said Tehran
and Rome had common views on issues including the conflicts in
Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

"We communicated our desire for relations in a comprehensive
package, given the extraordinary advantages Iran offers for such
cooperation," the president added. "In all, I think the trip
will have positive results for both countries."

Iranian officials and much of the media hailed the trip as a
major step to end two decades of troubled relations with the
West, and defeat U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran. Khatami is due
to visit France in April, and may also travel to Germany soon.

Khatami, a Shi'ite Muslim theologian and a scholar of Western
philosophy, also described as "very important" his landmark
meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican Thursday.

"We had very good talks with the pope and discussed common
interests between Islam and Christianity," he said. "We agreed
that a spiritual vacuum threatens the world today, that it may
even destroy the new civilization's material gains."

Despite Khatami's positive words, some here denounced what they
called efforts in the West to distort the aim of the visit.

"We take a human look at such exchanges, as a move to enhance
understanding and ease tension. But you (the West) make it
appear as though Iran is acting from a position of weakness,"
former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a sermon at
Friday prayers in Tehran, broadcast on state radio.

"You say the trip is a bid to secure help to address our
economic needs and to emerge from isolation. But Iran has never
been isolated. This is not true. Iran does not need you. You are
more dependent on our market and resources," Rafsanjani said.

Rafsanjani, still influential as a top adviser to supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also criticized Italian authorities for
not doing more to restrain opposition exiles, who attempted to
undermine Khatami's visit.

Opposition protesters threw paint at Khatami's motorcade in Rome
and also tried to disrupt his meeting with the pope.

Another irritation to Iran was British author Salman Rushdie's
presence in Italy during Khatami's visit. Iran's press called it
an insult.

Iran's official news agency IRNA said Italian Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini, in a letter to his Iranian counterpart Thursday,
expressed regret that the two visits had coincided.

Rushdie, still the target of a 1989 death sentence by Iran's
late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for
alleged blasphemy against Islam in his book "The Satanic
Verses," was in Turin to receive an honorary university degree.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 22:49:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: The White House: to the Congress of the United Sta

The White House: to the Congress of the United States
=====================================================


M2 Communications
12-MAR-99

MAR 12, 1999, M2 Communications - Section 202(d) of the National
Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic
termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the
anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in
the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice
stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the
anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent
the enclosed notice, stating that the national emergency
declared with respect to Iran on March 15, 1995, pursuant to the
International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C.
1701-1706) is to continue in effect beyond March 15, 1999, to
the Federal Register for publication. This emergency is separate
from that declared on November 14, 1979, in connection with the
Iranian hostage crisis and therefore requires separate renewal
of emergency authorities. The last notice of continuation was
published in the Federal Register on March 6, 1998.

The factors that led me to declare a national emergency with
respect to Iran on March 15, 1995, have not been resolved. The
actions and policies of the Government of Iran, including
support for international terrorism, its efforts to undermine
the Middle East peace process, and its acquisition of weapons of
mass destruction and the means to deliver them, continue to
threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of
the United States. Accordingly, I have determined that it is
necessary to maintain in force the broad programs I have
authorized pursuant to the March 15, 1995, declaration of
emergency.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON

*M2 COMMUNICATIONS DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY FOR INFORMATION
PROVIDED WITHIN M2 PRESSWIRE. DATA SUPPLIED BY NAMED
PARTY/PARTIES.*



(C)1994-99 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 22:49:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Rafsanjani Says KHATAMI'S Visit to Italy Successfu

Rafsanjani Says KHATAMI'S Visit to Italy Successful
===================================================


Xinhua
12-MAR-99

TEHRAN (March 12) XINHUA - Former Iranian President Hashemi
Rafsanjani here Friday said President Mohammad Khatami's
landmark visit to Italy was "successful and fruitful."

Speaking at the Friday prayers congregation at downtown Tehran
University, Rafsanjani blamed the West for its "imprecise
analysis" of the visit, the first by an Iranian head of state to
a Western country in the 20 years of Islamic Revolution.

"The Westerners are interpreting Khatami's trip to Italy as a
necessity to get the Islamic Republic of Iran out of economic
problems and isolation," Rafsanjani said, "We want to ask the
West when Iran was isolated?"

"Such political analysis are imprecise," he added. "If you want
to assess the visit, it would be better that you take into
account the humanitarian side of the issue and that such visits
are meant to defuse tension, promote mutual understanding and
world peace," he said.

Khatami concluded his three-day visit to Rome on Thursday,
during which he appealed that Western nations treat Iran and
Islamic states as international equals.

He encouraged other Wester power to follow Italy and open dialog
and expand relations with Iran.

Reiterating his policy of detente, Khatami reaffirmed Tehran's
determination to fight terrorism and the spread of nuclear arms
and weapons of mass destruction.

Rafsanjani, however, also criticized the Italy for allowing
Iranian dissidents to demonstrate in "disrespect" of Khatami.
The protesters managed to throw a paint-filled egg at Khatami's
limousine during his visit in Rome.

In proest of the visit, a number of overseas Iranians occupied
the Italian consulate in Amsterdam and the Italian embassy in
Paris for several minutes, reports said.

Rafsanjani, currently the chairman of the powerful advisory
State Expediency Council, said that such incidents seemed to be
pre-planned.

"You allow such incidents to take place in the name of freedom
and you should also know that there are people who could also do
the same things here at the time of your visits," he warned.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 22:49:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Amsterdam, Netherlands: OPEC Meeting.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: OPEC Meeting.
=====================================


AP
12-MAR-99
cents to $12.96 per barrel in midday trading at the
International Petroleum Exchange in London.
Further details of the cuts were expected to be released later
today.

The issue of Iran's production had been one of the major
obstacles to a new agreement on further output cuts by both the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC
countries.

Iran has insisted that any cuts be made from a base production
level of 3.925 million barrels a day, while other oil producers
claim that figure should actually be 3.623 million barrels a
day.

In the past week, consultations between Saudi Arabia and Iran
and also between Gulf Cooperation Council members appear to have
broken the stalemate.

Copyright 1999& The Associated Press.

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

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 22:49:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Focus-Oil Well up as Producers Promise Big Cuts

Focus-Oil Well up as Producers Promise Big Cuts
===============================================
Reuters
12-MAR-99

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - World oil prices strode higher
early on Friday as an emergency producers' meeting declared that
a big output cut deal was imminent to lighten worlg output cut deal was
imminent to lighten worlg output cut deal was imminent to lighten world
oversupply.

International benchmark Brent was up 42 cents at $12.60 a barrel
by 1105 GMT, regaining ground lost late on Thursday as a first
day of talks broke up inconclusively.

Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that he expected
the five producer powers meeting in The Hague to come up with an
agreement later on Friday.
"It is a significant cut. It will definitely remove the glut and
would definitely improve the price," he said.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela and Algeria, together
with non-OPEC Mexico were discussing new output cuts of 1.5
million to two million barrels per day (bpd), a Mexican official
at the talks said.

This would be buttressed by a further 305,000 bpd of reductions
to cover for previous cuts not implemented by Iran. Tehran has
now convinced other producers that the baseline for those cuts
was overestimated.

Prices have already got a tonic from the renewed producer
efforts and are now back near their highest level since early
November, some $3 above 25-year lows in real terms set late last
year.

"This is good for the supply-demand balance but it does raise
expectations, and the question as always with OPEC is can they
translate words into deeds," said a London futures broker.

Moderate compliance with existing three million total producer
cut package helped pressure prices to the historic lows.

The Mexican official said that the ministers were trying to
strike a balance between "a spectacular new agreement to boost
oil prices and one that was realistic enough for oil markets to
find credible."

Any new agreement is expected to involve all 10 OPEC members
already linked in a 2.6 million bpd cutback deal, and will need
approval from OPEC's ministerial meeting on March 23 in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia is ready to take on a quarter of a new cuts,
potentially sacrifing 500,000 bpd as part of a two million bpd
total reduction, a Gulf source said. Riyadh would also take a
large share of the extra cuts to accomodate Iran, he added.

Non-OPEC Mexico, Norway and Oman, which also agreed to restrain
output last year, are again expected to be involved in the new
deal.
Norway's Oil and Energy Minister Marit Arnstad said on Friday
that Norway might consider deeper cuts if an agreement was
reached in The Hague.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 12 Mar 1999
************************************