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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Mar 1999 to 21 Mar 1999
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There are 11 messages totalling 659 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iranian Traditional Music Festival in Ashkhabad
2. Iranian Diplomat Hails Saudis for Facilitating Haj
3. S.Arabia Expects No Iranian Disturbance at Haj
4. Khatami's New Year Message
5. Exiled Afghan King marks Nauruz Festival
6. Operations to Transfer Pilgrims Back Home to Start
7. 2 Women Die, 3 Women, a Man Injured at ...
8. OPEC Expected to OK Production Cuts
10. Israeli PM Leaves for Three CIS Countries
11. 2 Nuclear Accords Expected


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 14:24:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Traditional Music Festival in Ashkhabad

Iranian Traditional Music Festival in Ashkhabad

thr 006
iranian traditional music festival in ashkhabad
ashkhabad, march 21, irna -- an iranian traditional music festival
was held here on saturday in the presence of the visiting iranian
culture and islamic guidance minister ataollah mohajerani and his
turkmen counterpart orazgeldi aydogdyyev.
the iranian music group 'golbang' performed pieces of traditional
music of iran for a large group of people who had gathered at molla
nafas hall on the occasion of norouz, marking start of the new
iranian year.
mohajerani and aydogdyyev congratulated the audience as well as
the iranian, turkmen and regional nations on norouz.
foreign diplomats based in turkmenistan, turkish religious
attache, head of turkmenistan's religious council, chancellors of
turkmen universities and turkmen grand mufrkmen universities and turkmen
grand mufti were present in the
::irna 21/03/99 11:05


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 14:24:28 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Diplomat Hails Saudis for Facilitating Haj

Iranian Diplomat Hails Saudis for Facilitating Hajj Rituals

thr 005
s. arabia-iran-sobhani
iranian diplomat hails saudis for facilitating hajj rituals
holy mecca, march 21, irna -- iranian ambassador to jordan mohammad-
ali sobhani termed as ''valuable and noteworthy'' the services
rendered to pilgrims to the house of god by the saudi government.
the saudi-based english-language daily 'riyadh daily' wrote on
saturday that sobhani upon crossing tabouk border to preform
hajj prilgrimage praised the magnificence of masjid al-haram in holy
mecca and masjid ul-nabi in holy medina as well as extensive efforts
of the saudi government to facilitate hajj rituals.
::irna 21/03/99 11:05


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 14:24:36 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: S.Arabia Expects No Iranian Disturbance at Haj

S.Arabia Expects No Iranian Disturbance at Haj


MECCA, Saudi Arabia, March 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on
Saturday it did not expect Iranian pilgrims to carry out any
rallies that could disturb the annual haj pilgrimage.

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, who also heads a
committee that oversees the annual pilgrimage, gave an assurance
that Saudi authorities would be discreet in activities to
maintain security.

"I believe that nothing will come out from the Iranian brothers
that would disturb the pilgrims to God's house," Prince Nayef
told a news conference in Mecca when asked if Iranian pilgrims
were planning to hold a rally at the haj.

An Iranian official in charge of his country's pilgrims said in
the Moslem holy city of Mecca on Friday that the annual rally to
denounce the United States and Israel would be held at the peak
of the haj pilgrimage on March 26.

In the past, political rallies by Iranian pilgrims during the
haj have been a source of tension between Tehran and Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia prohibits political demonstrations at haj,
insisting that the ritual should be strictly religious.

In 1987, 402 pilgrims, mostly Iranians, died in clashes with
Saudi security forces at an Iranian-led rally in Mecca. Iran
boycotted the haj for three years.

Iranian pilgrims have in recent years held low-key rallies
within their own compound and Saudi authorities have not

"We do not participate in anything that happens inside the
houses or tents...We do not enter houses to learn about
something," Prince Nayef told the news conference.

Some two million Moslem pilgrims from around the world perform
the pilgrimage, a pillar of the Islamic faith.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 14:24:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Khatami's New Year Message

Khatami's New Year Message

thr 001
new year-president
president congratulates leader, iranian nation on norouz
tehran, march 21, irna -- in his new year message, president mohammad
khatami here on sunday congratulated the leader of islamic
revolution, ayatollah ali khamenei, the iranian nation and all those
who appreciate norouz and iranian culture, on the start of the new
iranian year.
president khatami expressed hope that people from various walks of
life would start and leave behind the coming year together with
solidarity, tolerance and cooperation.
the president hailed norouz as a symbol of solidarity among the
noble iranian people with various races, colors, religions and
ethnic origins and as an occasion for unity of hearts.
''we are proud of islam, which has invited us to monotheism,
freedom and independence. we are proud of our revolution, the
revolution which served as harbinger of independence and freedom
coupled with spirituality and morals and which opened a new way
before our nation.
''we are proud of our late imam (khomeini); the imam who taught
us the lesson of dignity and freedom ... it is said that the year
1378 marks the 100th birthday anniversary of the late imam ... in
the new year the iranian nation and government would commemorate the
late imam.
''we are proud of the great iranian nation; the nation which
founded a civilization and brought honors for us.
''we are proud of the devotions and courage of the children of
this homeland ... we are proud of the martyrs of our revolution; the
dear ones who resisted the enemy with empty hands but with hearts
filled with faith and determination to defend our religion, thoughts,
country and territorial integrity.
''we are proud of our dear disabled war veterans, of the great
freedom lovers, who proved iran's majesty through their manly
resistance, and of all the bereaved families of these dear ones.
''we are proud of the country's young generation; a generation who
is our future hopes.
''with such a spiritual and financial assets, one can defend
national interests proudly and speak of peace based on justice,
dialogue based on logic and detente, independence without abandoning
principles, values and national interests.
''thanks to the outstanding status of the islamic public at the
international level, we have been capable of attracting dlrs nine
billion in investments on a buy-back basis without any commitment
for the iranian government and nation... we plan to follow the same
policy in the coming year ... although economic consequences of this
move might not be revealed in the short run but we should bear in
mind that production and transfer of technology are backbone of
the country's economy and development.
''oil price slump created problems for all producers, including
iran. thanks to the iranian government's efforts and cooperation
among members of the organization of petroleum exporting countries
(opec) we managed to reach agreements on the last days of the
previous year which would be implemented in a near future.
''city/village islamic council elections, which represented the
most important message of us and of the government, i.e. political
development, were held in the last month of the previous year.
''dear youth, you should be after your identity; the identity
which has its roots in your history; be in communion with your
religious, national and cultural identity and take it as a basis for
building up your future ... get acquainted with status of the
present world; be alert for the challenges of the contemporary
world by relying on your identity ... build a future better
than today and yesterday using all facilities of the modern world.''
::irna 21/03/99 09:16


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Exiled Afghan King marks Nauruz Festival

Exiled Afghan King marks Nauruz Festival

BBC World: South Asia
Sunday, March 21, 1999 Published at 00:38 GMT

The exiled former King of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, has issued a
message of greeting to Afghan nationals around the world to mark
the celebration of Nauruz, the traditional New Year.
The king, speaking from Rome, said the year had been marked by
sadness, including a military attack on Afghanistan by what he
described as a big friend, the United States, and threats from a
brother Islamic neighbour, Iran.

He said the Afghan people were paying with their blood for the
designs of external forces, and he called upon Afghans to unite
against what he called their common enemies who threatened
national integrity.The Taleban movement, which controls most of
the country, has banned public festivities to mark Nauruz, but
says it can be celebrated privately at home. Only two festivals,
Eid-al-Qurban and eid-al-Fitr have been appointed as Muslim days
of celebration.
Nauruz has its roots in the ancient Zoroastrian religion which
venerated fire.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:06 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Operations to Transfer Pilgrims Back Home to Start

Operations to Transfer Pilgrims Back Home to Start on April 1

thr 008
iran-s. arabian-pilgrims
operations to transfer pilgrims back home to start on april 1
holy mecca, march 21, irna -- operations to transfer iranian hajj
pilgrims back home would start from april 1, the official in charge
of transportation at the mecca-based hajj headquarters mohammad-ali
torabian told irna here on sunday.
torabian said that transfer of iranian pilgrims from tehran to
mecca started on march 4 and would be completed on sunday.
he said that after completion of hajj rituals about 5,000 pilgrims
would be flown back to iran from medina daily.
::irna 21/03/99 13:38


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: 2 Women Die, 3 Women, a Man Injured at ...

2 Women Die, 3 Women, a Man Injured at Hazrat Masoomeh's Shrine

thr 010
holy shrine-toll
2 women die, 3 women, a man injured at hazrat masoomeh's shrine
qom, march 21, irna -- two pilgrims visiting holy shrine of
hazrat fatima masoomeh (a.s.), the noble sister of the eight imam of
prophet mohammad's (pbuh) infallible household hazrat ali ibn mousa
al-redha (a.s.), lost their lives in the midst of the dense crowd.
a local emergency official cited suffocation and break of
bones as the reasons for death of zahra nowroozi, 23, and monireh
taheri, 27.
the source said that three women and a man had also been hurt
during the incident and are in a satisfactory condition.
one of the pilgrims was from kermanshah and another from qom, said
an official of the shrine mohammad-reza mohammadi.
::irna 21/03/99 14:59


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:30 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: OPEC Expected to OK Production Cuts

OPEC Expected to OK Production Cuts

By Bruce Stanley
AP Business Writer
Sunday, March 21, 1999; 6:02 a.m. EST

LONDON (AP) -- Now comes the hard part.
Saudi Arabia and other key OPEC members, which recently agreed
to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day, must find a
way to back up their bold words with action to keep crude prices

Ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries,
meeting Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, will be under pressure to
honor the commitment if they are to end the global oil glut that
has sent prices plunging to a 12-year low.
The conference is something of an anticlimax, however, since
Saudi Arabia and other members announced March 12 after a
meeting in the Netherlands that they had agreed with two
non-OPEC exporters to slash production.

The meeting has ``had the wind taken out of its sails by prior
agreement between some major players, and all that's left for
the conference is to get some kind of ratification,'' said Leo
Drollas, chief economist at the Center for Global Energy Studies
in London.

If, as expected, the oil ministers formally approve the new
output caps, analysts will be anxious to see whether OPEC can
muster the will to enforce them, and for how long. Cheating on
production quotas has been a chronic problem.

``Talk is cheap. Whether OPEC can really make these cuts remains
to be seen,'' said Mark Redway of the London brokerage T. Hoare
and Co.

The conference comes at a time of slack global demand for oil,
due largely to financial turmoil in Asia and a mild winter that
lessened demand for heating oil in North America and Western

Iraq has contributed to an excess supply of crude by exporting
larger volumes under a U.N.-sponsored oil-for-food program. Iraq
is barred from freely exporting its oil by United Nations
sanctions imposed after its invasion in 1990 of Kuwait, a fellow
OPEC member.
Overall oil inventories in January were only slightly lower than
October's record level of 2.82 billion barrels, said David
Knapp, editor of a monthly market report for the Paris-based
International Energy Agency.

``Without some action,'' he said, oil tankers ``are going to
start backing up at the ports because nobody wants them.''

The cuts agreed to by OPEC members would take effect April 1.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi has said they would be added to
existing OPEC and non-OPEC reductions of 3.1 million barrels a
day set last June.

Cartel members Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria and Venezuela,
together with Mexico, which is not a member, thrashed out the
production-cut agreement, and Oman -- also not a member -- has
committed to it, Naimi said.

``The surprise has been the willingness of Saudi Arabia to take
the lead in initiating cutbacks,'' said Mehdi Varzi, an analyst
with the investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

Saudi Arabia would take the biggest production cut -- 585,000
barrels a day, according to OPEC sources. At the same time, the
kingdom seems to have accepted the argument that Iran should be
allowed to make its cut from a base level of 3.9 million barrels
a day instead of Iran's official quota of 3.6 million barrels a

This Saudi concession to Iran, the cartel's No. 2 producer, was
the key to the agreement, analysts say.

Under the new quotas, which have yet to be made official, the 11
OPEC members would produce a total of 25.4 million barrels a

Crude prices have jumped almost $2 a barrel since the accord was
announced, and some analysts foresee a possible rise to $16 a
barrel by the end of the year.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for April
delivery rose 24 cents to $15.46 a barrel on Friday.

``I think it's a bit premature, all this excitement,'' Drollas

Among the possible pitfalls to firmer prices would be a decision
by Indonesia, Nigeria or Venezuela to break ranks and continue
producing at current levels or beyond.

These three countries are seen as the OPEC members with the
biggest immediate needs for money from oil sales, due to
economic crises in Indonesia and Nigeria and the strength of oil
worker unions in Venezuela. Yet each of them has apparently
committed to curtailing production.

``I think they may have seen the wisdom of the longer-term
deal,'' said Barney Gray, an oil analyst with the brokerage
Williams De Broe. ``The second quarter's going to be tough, but
perhaps by the end of the year, they'll start to see the

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>


FRANKFURT 20TH MAR. (IPS) In a most moving message, Ms. Parastou
and Mr. Arash Foruhar, the daughter and the son of the murdered
Dariush and Parvaneh Foruhar invited the Iranian people to
alight a candle and place it on their windows in remembrance of
the birthday of their assassinated mother as well as the
nationalisation of oil industries in Iran by the late Dr
Mohammad Mosadeq, Iran's nationalist Prime Minister and a close
friend of the family.

Both husband and wife, leaders of the nationalist and secular
Iranian People's Party were savagely assassinated in their
modest residence in central Tehran on 21 of November by
unidentified official agents of the Islamic Intelligence and
Security services.

The authorities say they have arrested the murderers, but so
far, they have failed to identify them, disclose their ranks and
most important of all, to spell out who among the top religious
rulers, issued the fatwas, or religious orders to kill and which
organisation carried out the orders.

Since then, she and her brother are running a campaign to have
the Islamic authorities of Iran agree with the coming of an
international mission made of independent lawyers and jurist to
investigate the murder of their parents as well as all other
dissidents assassinated at the hands of agents of the Islamic
government of Iran.

Here are excerpts of the message of Ms. Parastou and Mr. Arash

"29 of Esfand (20 March) is again arriving and this time, the
path of Mosadeq is red painted with the blood of two of his
closest disciples, the blood of Dariush and Parvaneh.

"29 of Esfand has again arrived and this is the birthday of
Parvaneh, the birthday of an Iranian woman that so strongly
mixed efforts and hope that no dagger can ever destroy

"Those who killed Dariush and Parvaneh have brought upon
themselves the eternal and everlasting hate and shame of the
Iranians, and the two heroes of our nation will always remain
the live conscience of our times. They lived with the sacred
principles of our people, principles that can not be touched by
the hands of death

"29 of Esfand is again around.

"Let's celebrate the industrialisation (of oil industries),
let's celebrate the birthday of Parvaneh, with wishes of better
days, better months, better years, better Norouz";

"Wherever you are in this big world, let's celebrate these two
events on the night of 29 Esfand, let's have a candle light on
your windows, let's those little, dancing flames to become all
over the world a symbol of the sacred fire of hope in the heart
of all of us, let's those little lights take us to the dawn.


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:13:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Israeli PM Leaves for Three CIS Countries

Israeli PM Leaves for Three CIS Countries


JERUSALEM (March 21) XINHUA - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu left Sunday morning for a three-day visit to Ukraine,
Russia and Georgia in an effort to boost bilateral ties and halt
alleged Russia's weapon technology transfer to Iran.

The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement Saturday night,
denying criticism from opposition parties that the trip is meant
to boost Netanyahu's standing with over 700,000 Russian-speaking
voters in Israel in the May elections.
There are important diplomatic matters on the agenda topped by
the issue of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons programs in
Iran, the statement said.

Netanyahu will express Israel's concern to Russian Prime
Minister Yevgeny Primakov over the alleged technology transfer
to Iran by Russian companies and research institutions.

Israel views Iran's ability to develop ballistic missiles and
non-conventional weapons as a long-term threat to its security.

He will also discuss Israel's trade relations with the three
former Soviet Union republics and its connection with Jewish
communities there, the statement said.

During his visit to Ukraine, the first stop of his trip,
Netanyahu is scheduled to sign with President Leonid Kuchma a
joint security memorandum.

In Georgia, he and Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon will meet
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and participate in
festivities marking the 2,500 years of Jewish community life in
the country.


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 17:14:16 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: 2 Nuclear Accords Expected

2 Nuclear Accords Expected

U.S.-Russia Pact Involves Uranium Buy
By Thomas W. Lippman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 21, 1999; Page A25

Russia and the United States expect to finalize two nuclear
security agreements this week that will pump hundreds of
millions of dollars into the Russian treasury and ease tensions
over Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran, according to
officials of both countries.

The deals are scheduled to be completed during a crucial visit
to Washington by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who is coming
primarily in hopes of persuading the International Monetary Fund
to grant new loans to shore up Russia's crippled economy but
will also take up security and foreign policy issues.

Primakov is nominally coming to Washington in his capacity as
Russian co-chairman of the binational commission formerly known
as Gore-Chernomyrdin, after its creators, Vice President Gore
and former Russian prime minster Viktor Chernomyrdin. But
because of the prolonged illness of President Boris Yeltsin,
Primakov is the day-to-day leader of Russia, grappling with its
political paralysis and economic free fall.

The stakes also are high for Gore, as he prepares for his own
presidential campaign next year and the likelihood of having to
defend his handling of the Russia portfolio.

One agreement to be signed during their meeting this week
provides for Russia to receive more than $300 million from the
United States in payment for uranium removed from Russian
nuclear weapons and for Russia to gain immediate access to the
worldwide commercial uranium market for future sales of similar
material. The United States will agree to hold its purchased
uranium off the market for 10 years, shoring up the price in a
further economic boon to Russia.

In the second deal, senior administration officials said,
Washington is prepared to accept a proposal by Atomic Energy
Minister Yevgeny Adamov to restrict the cooperation of two
Russian scientific institutes with Iran's nuclear program, in
exchange for a lifting of U.S. sanctions on the two institutes.

There is "no explicit linkage" between the two agreements, a
senior official said. But he said "the fact that we were able to
work out" the uranium payment deal "is one of the reasons why
they are relatively more willing to cooperate with us on Iran."

Adamov presented his plan for the two institutes to U.S.
officials earlier this month but surprised Washington by making
it public last week in an interview with the New York Times. The
details have not been finalized, officials said, but it calls
for an end to dealing with Iran by the Scientific Research and
Design Institute for Power Technology, known as Nikiet, which
Adamov once headed, and by the Mendeleyev University of Chemical

Fears that they were transferring technology and equipment to
Iran led the Clinton administration to impose sanctions on them
in January, cutting them off from sales to or aid from the
United States. Nikiet lost about $7 million in U.S. contracts,
mostly for technical work on safety upgrades at Russia's
remaining Chernobyl-type nuclear power plants, an official said.

Russia has not agreed to stop helping the Iranians build a
commercial nuclear power plant at Bushehr, and the Clinton
administration has grudgingly resigned itself to Russia's
determination to complete that deal, which is legal under
international nonproliferation treaty rules.

The uranium agreement should finally secure full implementation
of what has often been described as the most ambitious
swords-into-plowshares deals of the post-Cold War era. It is
designed to ensure continued disassembly of Russian nuclear
weapons, secure disposition of the bomb material and provide a
regular flow of desperately needed cash into the Russian Atomic
Energy Ministry -- all without disrupting the uranium market or
violating an earlier, unrelated U.S. trade ruling prohibiting
Russia from "dumping" uranium on the American market.

In its natural state, uranium contains less than 1 percent of
the isotope U-235, the fissionable material used to produce the
explosive cble material used to produce the
explosive chain reaction that powers nuclear electricity plants
as well as bombs. Through chemical processing, uranium for power
plants is enriched to about 4 percent U-235. Bomb-grade "highly
enriched" uranium, or HEU, is about 90 percent U-235. A small
amount can be fashioned into a nuclear explosive device with
relative ease, according to arms experts.

In 1994, Washington and Moscow signed a $12 billion, 20-year
contract providing for Russia to dilute about 500 metric tons of
the material, the equivalent of about 20,000 warheads, and ship
it to Bethesda-based U.S. Enrichment Corp. for resale to
utilities. USEC, then own by the government but now private, is
the only enrichment facility in this country.

Adamov's predecessor, Viktor Mikhailov, kept trying to
restructure the deal to get more money faster, threatening at
times to cancel the arrangement unless his terms were met. The
Clinton administration and Congress sought to accommodate him
because they regard the uranium deal as crucial to keeping
fissionable material from falling into the wrong hands and
making funds available to keep Russia's nuclear scientists
working at home rather than in Iran or Iraq.

Uranium shipments began in 1995 and have continued steadily. As
of Dec. 31, according to USEC, 50.5 metric tons of HEU had been
diluted and sent to the United States. Another shipment is due
to leave St. Petersburg on Friday.

The original contract provided for USEC to pay Russia only for
the processing component of each shipment, which would have
amounted to about $8 billion of the $12 billion total. The
remainder, from the sale of the natural uranium itself, would
not have gone to Russia until USEC could sell it, a dubious
prospect in a glutted market. It might have been 2013 before
Russia received the remaining $4 billion.

Now after this final restructuring, made possible by an act of
Congress, the United States will pay Russia $325 million --
already appropriated -- for the natural uranium that piled up in
1997 and 1998 and keep it off the market for 10 years to
stabilize prices.

Russia is scheduled to sign a contract with three commercial
nuclear fuel companies in Canada and Europe for the sale of the
natural uranium from subsequent shipments, creating immediate
revenue. USEC, responsible to its shareholders, will no longer
be required to buy natural uranium it does not need but will
continue to market the enriched uranium to its power plant

"This will put in place more stable financial relations and
guarantee the thing continuing on into the future," said Leon
Fuerth, Gore's national security adviser. "If that happens, that
will be a big deal."

Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Mar 1999 to 21 Mar 1999