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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 1999
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There are 6 messages totalling 519 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Oil production cuts agreed
2. Italy Visit May Help Khatami
3. Puzzled Pope Gets TV Mini-Series
4. Oil Ministers Agree To Reduce Production
5. The Kurds An Identity Denied, A Dream Thwarted
6. Iran's 20-year culture war draws to an end


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:04:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Oil production cuts agreed

Oil production cuts agreed

BBC Business: The Economy
Friday, March 12, 1999 Published at 15:34 GMT

The price of oil has rebounded from a 30-year low in the past

Some of the world's largest oil producers plan to make
substantial cuts in output in a bid to boost depressed prices.
Members of Opec ended a two-day meeting in Amsterdam by agreeing
to a major cut in oil production in advance of their official
meeting on 23 March.

The cut of at least 2m barrels per day (bpd) will be implemented
from 1 April, according to the Saudi Oil Minister Ali ibn
Ibrahim Nuaimi.

The price of oil jumped sharply on international markets as
dealers responded to the news.

Oil prices touched a 30-year low of about $10 a barrel in
January, but have since risen by some 25%.

The benchmark price of Brent crude for April delivery rose to
$13.00 a barrel, up from $12.47 on Wednesday.

Surprise meeting

The meeting in the Netherlands of representatives from
Venezuela, Mexico, Iran, Algeria and Norway was called by the
world's largest producer, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis had already reached agreement with other producers
among the Gulf states to cut production.

The other Gulf producers include Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
They have been desperate to stem the collapse of their income
caused by the fall in prices.

Last year's cuts of 3m bpd failed to prevent steep falls in the
price of crude oil.

That put pressure on the economies of many oil producing states,
including even Saudi Arabia, which was forced to cut its budget
and defend its currency.

Latin stumbling block

The main stumbling block to implementing an agreement may rest
with Latin American producers as their countries' economies are
even more fragile this year following Brazil's devaluation.

Venezuela's position is crucial because it competes head-on with
Saudi Arabia and Mexico to supply the pivotal United States
marMexico to supply the pivotal United States

"Even if (other producers cut) I don't think we are in a
position to cut any more," said a Venezuelan government source
before the meeting.

Last year's agreement was believed to be marred by
non-compliance by several states who did not implement the
agreed cuts.


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:03:54 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Italy Visit May Help Khatami

Italy Visit May Help Khatami

An AP News Analysis
By Anwar Faruqi
Associated Press Writer
Friday, March 12, 1999; 3:53 p.m. EST

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami's groundbreaking visit to Italy could strengthen his
hand against rivals who abhor his push for democratic reforms
and ties to the West.

The moderate cleric's three-day trip, which ended Thursday, was
hailed by Iran and Italy as a success that will lead to better
relations between Tehran and the European Union. And Khatami's
talks with Pope John Paul II could help relations between
Christianity and Islam.

At home, however, Khatami's political rivals likely will try to
minimize the political and economic gains made by the president.

Khatami, whose trip marked the first state visit to the West by
an Iranian leader since the 1979 Islamic revolution, appeared to
suggest that he is aware of them -- and of U.S. officials who
are not pleased to see relations warm between Iran and Europe.

``Some circles and powers'' are opposed to Iran's increasing
links with the West, he was quoted by Tehran radio as saying
late Thursday. They have ``resorted to some mischief.''
Khatami did not elaborate, but hard-liners in the ruling clergy
openly have opposed his social and economic reforms and his
openness to the West. He also could have been referring to the
United States, which has laws banning U.S. companies from
investing more than $20 million apiece in Iran.
Hard-liners control powerful institutions including Parliament,
the military, the judiciary and broadcast networks, but are
struggling for survival in the face of Khatami's popularity.

If Khatami is to maintain that popular support and weaken his
opponents, he will need to improve economic conditions for
Iran's 60 million people. With Western help, he could do just

Iran has been hit hard by oil prices that have fallen to record
lows this year; the current budget has a projected $3 billion
deficit. Last month, Iran was forced to reschedule $2 billion in
foreign debt repayments, and seek $1.3 billion in new loans.

With 40 million of Iran's 60 million people younger than 15,
foreign investment is badly needed. His trip to Italy eventually
could pay off in jobs.
Iranian officials said Italy's state energy company, ENI,
expressed a willingness to invest up to $3 billion in the
Iranian oil industry. Already on March 1, ENI and Elf Aquitaine
of France signed a $540 million energy deal with the state-run
National Iranian Oil Co.

American companies have not been part of such deals because of a
U.S. economic embargo in force since the U.S.-backed shah was
deposed in 1979, and strengthened since then. Washington accuses
Iran of sponsoring international terrorism.

Khatami's hard-line rivals, who hold a slight majority in the
powerful Parliament, insist on maintaining the present economic
system, which is dominated by state-run enterprises and powerful
merchants who mainly conservatives.

To what lengths hard-liners will go to stop the president from
easing their conservative grip on Iran remains uncertain.

Still, Khatami appears ready to forge ahead with his
rapprochement with the West: He is to visit Germany and France
this summer, and senior Iranian officials have said they expect
more investment agreements with European Union nations to


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:05:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Puzzled Pope Gets TV Mini-Series

Puzzled Pope Gets TV Mini-Series

8:01 a.m. ET (1302 GMT) March 12, 1999

VATICAN CITY - It is not often that Pope John Paul gets videos
of a television mini-series as a gift from a visiting head of

That was one of the three gifts Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami came bearing Thursday when he visited the Pope at the
end of his landmark visit to Italy.

Speaking through an interpreter at a photo session after a
private audience, Khatami gave the six video cassettes to a
slightly puzzled Pope.

Khatami explained that the series was broadcast on Iranian
television and described the trials and tribulations of early
Christians who were persecuted by Romans in what is now Iran.

"I hope you will find it interesting,'' Khatami said.

Khatami also brought the Pope more traditional gifts of a
framed, hand-made tapestry depicting St Mark's Square in Venice
and a book of Islamic poems.

The Pope, who aides say hardly ever watches television but does
enjoy an occasional movie, gave Khatami a framed bronze relief
depicting the apostles Peter and Paul, and commemorative medals
of his pontificate in pearly white boxes.
1999, News America Digital Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Fox News
All rights reserved. Fox News is a registered trademark of 20th
Century Fox Film Corp.
Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:05:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Oil Ministers Agree To Reduce Production

Oil Ministers Agree To Reduce Production

By Martha M. Hamilton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 13, 1999; Page E01

Major oil producers meeting in Amsterdam yesterday reached a
preliminary agreement to cut world oil production by more than 2
million barrels a day, a move that if implemented could lead to
significantly higher oil prices and slightly slower U.S.
economic growth by the end of the year.

Oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and 12 other oil-producing
nations agreed to cut production by about 2.7 percent beginning
on April 1. The agreement will have to be ratified at a March 23
meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries,
and the often-wrangling nations have repeatedly failed in the
past year to quickly follow through on their commitments. But
analysts said there now appeared to be more of a will to work
together toward higher prices than there has been in the past.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said that all OPEC members except
Iraq had agreed to the cuts, along with non-members Mexico and
Oman. He also said talks were underway with other non-OPEC
nations about potential cuts.

Oil prices have been moving up over the past several weeks in
anticipation of such a move. But previous agreements by
oil-producing nations to cut production, such as one initiated
almost exactly a year ago by Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela,
have produced slower than anticipated results that undid the
rallies they started.

Oil prices have been depressed for the past year by large
inventories and slow demand. In addition to warmer winters than
normal in the United States and Western Europe, the economic
slowdown that spread from Asia to other parts of the globe
reduced demand for oil.

Prices have been rising recently as inventories have declined
and in anticipation of the OPEC meeting. The price for crude oil
for April delivery jumped briefly yesterday to more than $15 a
barrel, before closing at $14.49, up 18 cents a barrel from
Thursday. It was the highest price for oil since Oct. 7.

"I'm pretty confident that oil prices have bottomed out and are
going to be moving up," said Joel Prakken, chairman of
Macroeconomic Advisers. "The only question is how much."

Prakken said that if oil prices rose to $20 a barrel, that
increase could trim two-tenths to three-tenths of a percentage
point off U.S. economic growth. The United States has benefited
from low oil prices that have helped hold down inflation over
the past year. But those low oil prices also have reduced oil
production in the United States, increasing the nation's
reliance on imported oil.

Oil prices, adjusted for inflation, hit the lowest levels since
the 1940s, driving gasoline prices to record lows, said John H.
Lichtblau of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, which
is funded by the industry.

Analysts said that resolve on the part of Saudi Arabia to make
the cuts work and its efforts to win Iran's cooperation give
yesterday's agreement a chance of working.

In the past, though, even when nations have agreed to reduce
production, the cutbacks have been slow to materialize or the
agreement has run into other problems.

"The only problem is that the higher the price, the more
temptation there is to cheat and increase production because you
can make a lot more money if you push another couple of hundred
barrels into the market," Lichtblau said.

If the OPEC agreement were to fall apart, prices would collapse,
Lichtblau said. But, he added, the oil-exporting nations "have
too much at stake now to let it fall apart."

Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:04:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: The Kurds An Identity Denied, A Dream Thwarted

The Kurds An Identity Denied, A Dream Thwarted

By Josh Friedman, Staff Writer

United Nations -- When I go on a trip, I like to bring back
something special for my daughter. She loves music, so when I
traveled to Dyarbakir, the largest city in predominantly Kurdish
southeastern Turkey, I went to a music store for the most
popular tape among Kurdish teenagers. The owner reached under
the counter, pulled out a cassette wrapped in plain brown paper
and slipped it to me conspiratorially.
At that time, several years ago, Kurds in Turkey were forbidden
to publish or sell anything in the Kurdish language, even to
teach their children Kurdish in schools. Insisting they were not
entitled to a separate culture, the government even referred to
them as "mountain Turks."

War on Kurds on Culture
The suppression of Kurdish culture has been part of a 15- year
armed struggle that has killed at least 37,000 civilians and
soldiers and destroyed thousands of villages, forcing an
uncounted number of Kurds to move to Turkish cities or to cities
in Europe. Half a million live in Germany, alone.

Because of Turkish restrictions on the press, this war has been
almost invisible to the outside world. But it surfaced last
month when Turkish commandos captured Kurdish military leader
Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya. When the Turkish military released
vivid videotaped pictures of Ocalan in captivity, Kurdish exiles
staged violent demonstrations throughout Europe.

Roots of the Struggle
But in America, where there are very few Kurds, many people are
confused by this struggle. Here is a brief attempt to explain

First of all, the last name of captured Kurdish guerrilla
Abdullah Ocalan is pronounced OH-ja-lan. The Turks, who switched
from Arabic letters to Roman letters to write their language,
use "c" to express a j sound. How the Turks write their language
may seem a little off the subject, but it's actually a good
place to start explaining this story. The Turks adopted Arabic
religious customs (Islam) and Arabic writing centuries ago, when
the vast Turkish empire stretched from the Middle East to the
gates of Vienna. The genius of the Turks, who had migrated from
the Far East, was to both tolerate and emulate the customs of
the groups they conquered.

Over the years, however, the Turkish Empire began to crumble.
After World War I, in which Turkey fought on the losing side,
the victors in the war, including the United States, broke up
the empire into separate countries like Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

WWI Promise
The Kurds, who trace their history back thousands of years, were
among the subject peoples of the former empire promised their
own countries. But Kamal Ataturk, the George Washington of
Turkey, managed to prevent Kurdistan from coming into existence
as part of his successful struggle to preserve what is now
Turkey out of the empire's remnants.

Ataturk created a modern constitutional country. Impressed by
more secular (nonreligious) Western values, he limited the power
of religious leaders, increased the rights of women and rewrote
the Turkish language in Roman characters. Above all, he left a
powerful military to protect Turkey from any further
disintegration. Rights and opportunity were promised to all in
Turkey regardless of ethnicity. But, in return, they had to
pledge to be Turks.

Fast forward to the early 1980s: Nationalism is bubbling among
the 20 million to 25 million Kurds whose large, extended
families are based in mountain farming villages scattered across
Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. These countries, still uneasy with
the borders set up after World War I, use Kurdish national hopes
for their own purposes.

Political Pawns
Iran, Israel and the United States armed and supported Iraqi
Kurds in their struggle for independence in the 1970s, for
example, to pressure Baghdad to give Iran, then an American
ally, more territory. They abandoned the Iraqi Kurds as soon as
Iran got what it wanted.

Syria armed, trained and gave sanctuary to Turkish Kurds who
called themselves the Kurdish People's Party or PKK in 1984. Led
by Ocalan, a university-educated Turkish Kurd from a little town
on the Syrian-Turkish border, the PKK wanted to create a
separate country called Kurdistan in southeastern Turkey.

Was Syrian ruler Hafez Al Assad devoted to the rights of Kurds?
Not really. Syria's Kurds are not allowed to have their own
country. But Assad wanted to force the Turks to abandon a plan
to dam up rivers flowing into Syria. The giant dams, which are
now starting to function, divert water needed by Syrian farmers
back into Turkey. Syria, in turn, was supported by the Soviet
Union. The Turks, members of NATO, the North American Treaty
Organization, were supported by the United States.

In October, Turkey massed 30,000 soldiers on the Syrian border.
They threatened to invade unless the Syrians expelled Ocalan and
declared the PKK an illegal terrorist group. Assad caved in
almost immediately. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Syria
felt vulnerable. With the United States the world's only
superpower, Turkey felt strong -- especially since it wields
veto power over American use of its NATO airfields to bomb
neighboring Iraq.
Ocalan went on the run. He finally landed in Greece, a
traditional enemy of Turkey's. Greece smuggled him to Nairobi,
Kenya, where Turkish commandos eventually nabbed him and took
him to a Turkish prison, where he will be tried.

Is this the end of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey? Many Turks
say so. A wave of self-congratulation has swept the country and
its press. But some Turks are warning that unless the government
gives more cultural autonomy to Kurds and helps them develop
economically, the struggle will continue.

To Learn More
THERE'S a resource on Kurds right in your backyard. The Kurdish
Library and Museum in Brooklyn, is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday
through Thrusday at 144 Underhill Ave. To contace the museum
(which currently features an exhibit on Saladin, the Muslim
sultan of Egypt and Syria), call 718-783-7930; e-mail

Copyright Newsday, Inc.


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 00:05:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran's 20-year culture war draws to an end

Iran's 20-year culture war draws to an end

By Jonathan Lyons
Saturday March 13, 5:02 PM

TEHRAN, March 13 - Iran's Islamic government has honoured
prominent writers in a public ceremony that marks a political
about-face from two decades of official hostility toward the
country's secular intellectuals.

Reformist newspapers on Saturday featured front-page coverage of
Ataollah Mohajerani, the liberal minister of culture and Islamic
guidance, handing out prizes for literary achievements since the
1979 revolution to secularists who not long ago were vilified,
harassed and even murdered.

The recognition follows last year's string of "mystery murders"
of at least four writers and nationalist politicians, later
blamed on rogue elements in the security services.

Among those honoured at Thursday's ceremony was novelist Mahmoud
Dolatabadi, long relegated to the sidelines of official Iranian
culture as a pro-western stooge.

"This marks a turning point because they are now paying
attention to people who have not been listened to for the past
20 years," writer Houshang Golshiri told Reuters. "All we have
seen in the past 20 years are curses."

The Zan daily, close to moderate President Mohammad Khatami,
hailed the event with a banner headline: "A new era in Iranian
literature begins with reconciliation between writers and the

The culture minister, himself a target of conservative critics
of Khatami's political and cultural reforms, said writers had to
feel secure in order to realise their creative talents.

"Our effort is to allow writers in this country to be able to
work in a quiet atmosphere and to be creative," state-owned Iran
daily quoted Mohajerani as saying.

"But it is natural that we live in a system that has
characteristics well-known to our writers," he said in an
oblique suggestion that restrictions on intellectual life were
unlikely to vanish altogether anytime soon.

The ceremony appeared to mark the public reversal of two decades
of official persecution of cultural figures seen as less than
supportive to Iran's Islamic system, backed up a recent decision
to allow the resurrection of the pre-revolutionary Writers

It was in that spirit, said Dolatabadi, that he and his fellow
writers accepted their prizes.

"I feel a sense of responsibility toward this trend toward
freedom, individual and social rights and negation of violence,"
the author, who was not present at the ceremony, said in a
message. "I accept the prize and I thank you."

Dolatabadi offered his prize to the families of Mohammad
Mokhtari and Mohammad Pouyandeh, two of the victims of the
mystery murders that shocked the nation and eventually brought
down the conservative-backed minister of intelligence.

Mohajerani said the new atmosphere surrounding the arts would
promote better work by Iranian artists.

The rehabilitation of the Writers' Association has drawn fire
from conservative elements. A commentary in the hardline daily
Kayhan said Mohajerani's ministry was irresponsible in allowing
the group to be reconstituted.

"With the help and support of the culture ministry, the writers
association has once again surfaced. Among it members are a
bunch of people linked to the former regime and to
anti-revolutionary currents. These are people who have no ties
to the masses," the newspaper said.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 1999