Date: Mar 15, 1999 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 1999 to 14 Mar 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 1999 to 14 Mar 1999
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There are 5 messages totalling 246 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

2. Iran executes killer of prison chief
3. Iranian police nab 170 tonnes of drugs
4. US wary of Iranian president's visit to Italy
5. Iranian opposition says it fought off ambush in Iraq


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 15:52:57 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <Farhad.Abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>


By Monica Eng. Monica Eng is a Tribune staff writer.

On a cold afternoon last November in Frankfurt, Germany, Arash Fourouhar
took his son and daughter to see the animated film "Mulan." As they
traveled home from the cinema, the Iranian dissident told the children
about how their grandparents, like Mulan, were heroes who fought against
cruelty and violence in their own country of Iran. There Fourouhar's
parents were prominent prodemocracy activists in the Iran Nation Party,
suffering numerous jail terms and reprisals over the years. When Fourouhar
got home that night, he would learn that his parents had been punished for
their activism for the last time. "My sister called me and she was
crying," he remembered during a recent visit to Chicago. "She said someone
called and told her that our
parents were assassinated. I said, `Don't worry, I will make some phone
calls and find out,' because we had heard rumors in the past that they had
been killed and it wasn't true. After that my best friend in Dallas called
me and he was crying and he couldn't talk. He just said `listen' and put
the phone to the radio and it was the voice of my aunt on 24-hour Iranian
radio. She was screaming, `They killed them, killed them, there's blood
everywhere.' "The previous day, Nov. 22, Fourouhar's parents had been
stabbed to death in their Tehran home. His father, Dariush, 70, had
sustained 11 knife wounds before his corpse was propped up in a chair and
turned toward Mecca. His
mother, Parvaneh, 58, was found in another room with more than 20 stab
wounds in her body. Fourouhar, who had been living as a political refugee
in Germany for three years, returned to Iran three days later with the help
of German and Iranian consular officials sympathetic to his loss. The
slayings were not an isolated case. Three dissident writers also were
killed in the following weeks. The government announced last month that the
killers had been agents of the country's Intelligence Ministry, run largely
by Iran's conservative clerics. But the investigative committee refused to
name the killers, calling them only rogue elements in the ministry who
acted on their own and with no political motives. Authorities said several
suspects had been detained but did not say how many. The moderate President
Mohammad Khatami
removed the intelligence minister and named the cleric who led the
investigation as his replacement. For Fourouhar and his sister, Parastou,
this conclusion was unacceptable. So for the last two months, they have
been touring Europe and the U.S., appealing to Iranian-American groups and
international organizations for help. They want an independent
international committee of jurists to go to Iran and investigate the
killings. Twenty years after its revolution, Iran is a nation in a fight
for its soul. Deeply entrenched clerics compete for influence with moderate
reformers such as Khatami. The U.S. has declared that Iran no longer is a
"rogue state," and the State Department has pursued a policy of engagement
to encourage reformers. Yet zealots still burned an effigy of Uncle Sam
during the Feb. 11
anniversary celebration. Fourouhar, 30, paints a picture of an Iranian
public outraged by the recent murders and unafraid to risk their lives to
protest a leadership with which they no longer identify. A secretly taped
video showed tens of thousands of Iranian men and women marching through
Tehran streets to mourn the martyrs and protest the government. "There
were more than 100,000 (published accounts vary) people and demonstrators
there, but the official newspaper in the Islamic Republic said there were
500 people
there," he said. "They were carrying the national flag with no symbol of
the Islamic Republic on it. In fact they put a black X where the Islamic
Republic's symbol would have been. . . . "These people risked their lives
to come to this funeral. They carried no pictures of mullahs or even Khatami.
Instead, there were pictures of Dr. (Mohammed) Mossadeq (Iran's nationalist
prime minister from 1951-53 whose philosophy the Fourouhars continue) and
my parents, and slogans `freedom, democracy, security, that's what our
nation wants,' and `long live Dariush and Parvaneh.' One German official
when he saw the video said, `it's another revolution.' But I'm surprised
that there was almost nothing in the newspapers." Like a lot of opposition
members and
intellectuals at the time, Fourouhar's father supported the revolution.
Dariush Fourouhar even served as the labor minister under the provisional
government that was replaced before the hostage crisis. But as the founder
of the pro-democratic Iran Nation Party, Dariush Fourouhar quickly became
disenchanted with the extreme positions of the Shiite Islamic Republic.
"They all celebrated freedom and democracy, but (conservative clerics)
tried to steal the revolution and the revolutionary values," Arash
Fourouhar said.
"Actually, my parents could see it before the victory, before the
revolution, but there was nothing that they could do about it. The
religious leaders abused power to get at the hearts of the people so there
was nothing they could do." So Dariush and Parvaneh Fourouhar became
opposition activists again, continuing their illegal but tolerated Iran
Nation Party and suffering reprisals and jail sentences. Although Dariush's
jail time was only five
months under the revolutionary regime, torture and harsh prison conditions
made the sentence harder than all the 14 years he served in prison under
the shah's reign, according to his son. Fourouhar believes his parents'
slayings were designed to thwart Khatami's campaign toward more openness
and moderation, but he doesn't see a strong link between the victims and
the president. "What my parents and the writers were doing was nothing to
really support Khatami," he explained. "They were doing their work before
he was elected. It was a movement to achieve freedom and democracy. It
existed before Khatami, but with him it spread further and further. "In
Iran the students say that Khatami is just a name, but we can use him to go
further and further and get what we want, which is to get the separation of
and state and get the freedom to express our ideas and to have democracy.
Khatami is a bridge that we can use to go over. " Although Fourouhar's
father sent him to live in Germany three years ago to protect his son's
life, Fourouhar says that, after this trip, his place will be in Iran
carrying on his parents' fight. "I wanted to stay in Iran after the
funeral but the students wouldn't let me," he said. "They thought that now
I would be more useful outside Iran than inside Iran. But when I am done
with my job here--and it's not going to take long--I will return to Iran. I
don't care what happens. I'll go back regardless of what happens with the
case. If I have to, I will wear my kafan (death shawl) and go in the
streets and be ready to die. But I am sure that my people will be behind me."

Copyright Chicago Tribune


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 20:30:13 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran executes killer of prison chief

TEHRAN, March 14 (AFP) - Iran has executed the killer of former
prison chief Assadollah Lajevardi who was slain in August, Tehran's
revolutionary court announced on Sunday.
Ali Asghar Ghazanfarnejad Jolodar, said to be a member of Iran's
main armed opposition movement the People's Mujahedeen, was executed
Saturday at Tehran's Evin prison, the court said in a statement, the
official IRNA news agency reported.
It said the "terrorist" had been sentenced to death on charges
of "war against the Islamic republic" as well as involvement in the
Lajevardi, 63, and two other justice officials were shot dead in
Tehran's bazaar on August 22.
The attack was claimed at the time by the Baghdad-based


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 20:30:26 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian police nab 170 tonnes of drugs

TEHRAN, March 13 (AFP) - Iranian police have seized 170 tonnes
of drugs over the past 11 months, according to the country's top
anti-drug official.
"The use of drugs in the country is on the rise, and the
authorities should do their utmost to overcome this menace,"
Mohammad Fallah said, the official IRNA news agency reported
Around 360 billion rials (about 200 million dollars at official
exchange rates) has been allocated for the fight against drug
trafficking for the next Iranian year that starts March 20, he
Tehran adopted a tough anti-drug law in 1989 providing for the
death penalty for anyone found with more than 30 grams (just over
one ounce) of heroin or more than five kilos (11 pounds) of opium.
Some 2,000 people have been tried on drugs charges in Iran since
then, according to official figures, but authorities no longer
release statistics on the numbers of those convicted who are put to
Officials estimate the number of drug users at around three
million, many of them young people.
Iran is a key transshipment point for drugs from Afghanistan,
Pakistan and central Asia intended for the Arab world and Europe.


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 20:30:45 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: US wary of Iranian president's visit to Italy

WASHINGTON, March 11 (AFP) - The United States expressed worry
Thursday that Iran might try to use its president's visit to Italy
to promote its international trade.
"We believe Iran should not enjoy the benefits of normal
international commerical relations until it ceases activities that
violate international norms," a State Department official said.
The official, noting that Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was
ending his landmark visit to Italy later Thursday after meetings
with Pope John Paul II and Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema,
said Washington and Rome were in agreement over policy toward
"The United States and Italy agree on the need for Iran to
change its policies regarding support for terrorism, development of
missiles of mass destruction and the need to improve Iran's human
rights record," the official said.
Khatami's visit, the first by an Iranian leader to western
Europe since the 1979 Islamic revolution, was met by protests from
Iranian opposition groups.
However, Khatami -- seen by many in the West as a moderate --
spoke out after his meeting with D'Alema in favor of worldwide
democracy worldwide and an end to terrorism.
On Thursday Khatami called for dialogue with the United States
"on equal terms," in an interview published in the Italian daily
"In the field of sport and culture we have had numerous
exchanges with the United States but as far as inter-government
relations are concerned, we shall never submit to force," said
He called for Washington to "carry out an in-depth review of
their attitude and make a fresh start for a healthy relationship
with today's world, a free world which wants its independence and
its autonomy."


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 20:30:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian opposition says it fought off ambush in Iraq

BAGHDAD, March 11 (AFP) - Iranian-backed "terrorists" ambushed a
convoy of the main armed Iranian opposition movement, the People's
Mujahedeen, as it was travelling through southern Iraq, the group
said Thursday.
At least one "terrorist" was killed in Wednesday's attack near
Amara, some 300 kilometres (190 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the
Mujahedeen said in a statement without specifying if any of its
members were killed or injured.
The "terrorists" attacked the convoy with "machine gun fire and
launched RPG-7 rockets" The Mujahedeen returned fire and the
attackers fled the scene, according to the statement received here.
"The assailants left behind a number of RPG-7 rockets, an MK-47
machine gun and a number of grenades," the opposition group said.
Seventeen years after being chased from Iran, the Baghdad-based
Mujahedeen, with a formidable propaganda machine abroad, continues
to pose the most significant armed challenge to the Iranian
With its military bases, materiel and tens of thousands of
fighters, the group is today considered the world's largest army in
exile, claiming to have carried out hundreds of operations against
the Iranian army.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 13 Mar 1999 to 14 Mar 1999