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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 28 Mar 1999 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 28 Mar 1999 - Special issue
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There are 18 messages totalling 1253 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Iran, Turkmenistan Sign Cultural Cooperation Proto
2. Iran's Minister Says Satisfied with OPEC Oil Cuts
3. Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal With Rogue State
4. Iran's Idyllic Isfahan Romances
5. Bipartisan Group Launches US Sanctions Reform Driv
6. Pinochet Backers, Foes Claim Victory with Ruling
7. Britain Backs Bullet Proof Vests for Iran
8. Iran-Contra Counsel Backs Law
9. Kazakhstan Says Azeris Seized Their MiGs
10. Hajj Nears Climax
11. Dutch Weigh DNA Tests For Immigrants' Lineage
12. Iran Says Attacks on Yugoslavia Will Worsen Crisis
13. Kosovo divides Muslim world
14. Iranian Free Style Wrestling Team Leaves for U.S.
15. Former Hostage Wants Better U.S.-Iran Relations
16. Iraqi Kurdish Leader Mocks US Plan to Oust Saddam
17. Iranian Pilgrims Denounce Israel, US at Haj Rally
18. Taleban Told to Keep Talking Peace


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:19:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Turkmenistan Sign Cultural Cooperation Proto

Iran, Turkmenistan Sign Cultural Cooperation Protocol

thr 026
Iran, turkmenistan sign cultural cooperation protocol
ashkhabad, march 24, irna -- visiting iranian culture and islamic
guidance minister ata'ollah mohajerani signed a protocol for cultural
cooperation between tehran and ashkhabad here on wednesday.
the 13-point protocol, signed by mohajerani and his turkmen
counterpart orazgeldi aydogdyyev, stresses full enforcement of the
provisions of a cultural accord signed between iran and turkmenistan
in 1992, and calls for cooperation between iran and turkmenistan in
the areas of press and news.
the protocol envisages facilitating organization of conferences in
iran and turkmenistan in memory of makhtumqoli and abusaeed abolkheyr,
and of cultural weeks in turkmenistan during triumph anniversary of
iran's islamic revolution and in iran on anniversary of turkmenistan's
independence, and iran's arranging tours to cities of tehran, isfahan,
mashhad (khorasan province), shiraz (fars province) and kish
(hormuzgan province) for turkmen cultural personalities on two
different occasions.
it also calls for joint venture production of movie films, dubbing
of films, exchange of technical services, facilitating organization of
film festivals in either country, iran's dispatch of a team of
manuscript experts to turkmenistan to help the republic list persian
books and repair its manuscripts as per the note four of a cultural
accord signed between the two sides in 1992.
under the agreement iran is to contribute to organization of
festivals in turkmenistan in 2000, marking 2,500th establishment
anniversary of turkmen city, merv.
iran and turkmenistan agreed to arrange week-long visits for
their deputy culture ministers in charge of arts affairs.
mohajerani invited all professors and persian language students
of makhtumqoli university and a group of ten turkmen musicians to
attend inaugural ceremony of makhtumqoli memorial building in
golestan province in june, 1999.
he also invited aydogdyyev to take part at the international fajr
film festival.
mohajerani, who arrived here on march 10, is to leave turkmenistan
for home on wednesday, being officially seen off by aydogdyyev and a
number of turkmen cultural, arts and scientific figures.
::irna 24/03/99 19:22


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:20:20 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran's Minister Says Satisfied with OPEC Oil Cuts

Iran's Minister Says Satisfied with OPEC Oil Cuts
01:55 a.m. Mar 24, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 24 (Reuters) - Iran's oil minister said in remarks
published on Wednesday he was satisfied with an OPEC agreement
to cut crude production in order to stabilise prices.

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh spoke to Iran's official news agency IRNA
a day earlier saying the deal by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to
cut 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) proved the cartel was able
to overcome a crisis in the oil market.

IRNA said the minister ``expressed satisfaction'' with the deal
and hoped commitments would be honoured.

``Another point worth noting is the cooperation between four
non-OPEC oil producers and OPEC...This marks the first time that
non-OPEC oil producers cooperate with OPEC at such (a) level,''
he told the IRNA.

Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries
signed a deal on Tuesday to cut about 1.7 million bpd from the
oil market. Oil producers outside the cartel Mexico, Oman,
Norway and Russia joined in with cuts of some 388,000 bpd.

Iran's contribution was 264,000 bpd, reducing its OPEC quota
from April to 3.359 million bpd.

OPEC led two rounds of cuts which included some non-OPEC
producers last year, but those cuts failed to lift prices. The
latest round of cuts has boost to prices in the glutted market.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:20:10 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal With Rogue State

Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal With Rogue States

Hoover Institution Announces Release of Essay in Public Policy:
Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal With Rogue States by Thomas H.
07:48 p.m Mar 23, 1999 Eastern
STANFORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 23, 1999--The peace
that was expected when the Cold War ended a decade ago has been
replaced with threats from rogue states such as Iraq, North
Korea, Iran, and others.

To protect the benefits gained from free international markets
and growing democracies, the United States must combine force
with diplomatic pressure to keep threats from escalating,
according to Hoover Senior Fellow Thomas Henriksen in Using
Power and Diplomacy to Deal with Rogue States, a new Hoover
Institution Essay in Public Policy.
An inclination toward violence, and the possibility that rogue
governments may possess chemical or nuclear weapons, highlights
the danger they pose to the world's stability. Furthermore,
Henriksen states, law and diplomacy alone are unlikely to have
any effect on their actions.

The following four policy options should be used in combination
with each other to confront rogue states, in spite of occasional
disagreements that may come from our allies:

-- Sanctions and isolation to inflict economic damage,
-- International courts and domestic prosecution to bring
to justice,
-- Armed interventions to coerce or eliminate rogue regimes,
-- Support for opposition movements or covert operations to
rogue figures.
If threats from rogue states are not met with force and
diplomacy, Henriksen predicts the new millennium will bring
growing global anarchy, deteriorating progress toward economic
development, and declining political reform.

In addition to his role as a senior fellow, Henriksen is also
the associate director for program development, executive
secretary of the National Fellows Program, and coordinator of
the Media Fellows Program at the Hoover Institution. His current
research focuses on United States foreign policy and
international political affairs. Previously, he studied
revolution and economic and political change in the Third World.

Copies of this essay are available for $5 each from the Hoover
Institution Press, 1-800-935-2882.

Copyright 1999, Business Wire


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:21:00 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran's Idyllic Isfahan Romances

Iran's Idyllic Isfahan Romances

By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
ISFAHAN, Iran -- Young couples huddle in the arches of the
bridges of Isfahan, quietly defying their government's moral
edicts and recalling the days when this 400-year-old city was
said to be made expressly for love.

On weekends, families hold picnics along the Zayandeh River,
which in Persian means "giver of life." They sip tea in the many
teahouses along the embankment and enjoy a puff on traditional
water pipes.

A city of only a few million inhabitants (Tehran, the congested
Iranian capital, teems with 10 million), Isfahan lives up to its
reputation for splendid architectural monuments and an
atmosphere that manages to be both politically charged and
socially relaxed.
There is a saying here that Tehran is the brain of Iran. The
city of Qom, with its Islamic seminaries, is Iran's soul, and
Isfahan is its heart.
Since the 1979 revolution, foreign visitors have been able to
enjoy Isfahan's sites in almost solitary splendor. But that may
not remain the case for long. In the past few years, Americans
have been trickling back, enticed by historic sites that rival
Greece, China and Egypt; low prices; and the thrill that comes
from feeling like a pioneer.

Although the United States and Iran still lack formal diplomatic
relations and Iran's legal system lacks U.S. guarantees,
tourists were encouraged when Iran's president, Mohammed
Khatami, called last year for more people-to-people ties. A
handful of U.S. tour companies now are actively promoting the
attractions of the 2,500-year-old Persian civilization.

Tourism in this city has a long history. Seventeenth century
French traveler Jean Chardin was so taken with Isfahan's
graceful architecture and lush gardens that he wrote that the
city "was expressly made for the delights of love."

The Persian capital for more than 100 years, Isfahan was the
creation of Shah Abbas the Great, who rid Iran of Mongol and
Turkish invaders and ruled from 1587 until 1629.

Under his patronage, Islamic architects created a low-rise city
of sand-colored bricks, dozens of inns, known as caravanserai, a
tree-lined main street called Four Gardens and a central square
that in its day was said to be the largest in the world.

For that reason, Iranians used to call Isfahan "Nisf-e-Jahan" or
"half the world," and so it must have seemed to those entering
the square for the first time. Now called "Imam Square" after
the late revolutionary leader or Imam of Iran, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, this open place measures 500 by 160 yards --
large but of more human proportions than Moscow's Red Square or
Beijing's Tiananmen.

On a Friday afternoon, horse cabs dash around the square. Young
men lounge on the grass or play soccer where once the Shah's
retainers played polo, a Persian invention.

To the north of the square lies the old marketplace or bazaar,
where merchants known for their tough bargaining skills sell
handcrafted enamelware, tablecloths and painted boxes. To the
south is one of the world's most beautiful religious buildings,
called the Shah mosque before the Islamic revolution and now
renamed for Imam Khomeini.

To walk beneath its portals is like entering a living Persian
carpet. Each surface is covered with tiles of brilliant
turquoise, navy and yellow. Water burbles quietly in the central
fountain, and a soft light radiates from the mosaic swirls.

Not far away lies a magnificent 17th century pavilion known as
the "Forty Pillars," built by Shah Abbas as a reception hall for
foreign dignitaries. In fact, it has only 20 pillars, which are
doubled in their reflection in a long rectangular pool. A
coffered, painted ceiling leads to an arched entrance studded
with stalactites made of pieces of mirror that seem to reflect
the many facets of yesterday's -- and today's -- Iran.
Known as a political weathervane as well as for its monuments,
Isfahan was among the most fervent supporters of the 1979
Islamic revolution but now backs Iran's relatively less
doctrinaire president.

Some here also favor a religious leader, Ayatollah Ali
Montazeri, who was supposed to succeed Khomeini but was cast
aside just before Khomeini's death in 1989. Montazeri remains
confined to his home in Qom.

In January, hard-line toughs allegedly sent by Khatami opponents
broke up a prayer session addressed by the local prayer leader,
Ayatollah Jalaledin Taheri, who had expressed support for

Government officials were nervous about letting an American
reporter visit the mosque recently during noon prayers on a
Friday, the Muslim Sabbath.

But the services on the day of the visit were uneventful, and
the reception anything but hostile.

A trio of young Isfahani sisters, who said they came to the
square on weekends just to pass the time, seemed thrilled to
meet their first American. Noting that their president had
called for a "dialogue of civilizations" among nations, they
bombarded the visitor with questions about everything from
whether violent U.S. movies reflect American reality to what
kind of eyeliner the woman reporter was wearing.
"They never tell us about the good things, about how advanced
your technology is and how well the students study," said one
sister, Zohreh Nazemi, 20, wearing a green head covering and a
long black coat in accordance with Iran's Islamic dress code.
"We approve of our president starting this conversation. We have
a saying: 'The hearts have roads to each other.' "


The many ways to take a magic carpet ride
By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY

The era of the big package tour has not yet returned. Perhaps
because of that, Iran's allure is growing for a select group of
Americans who have been to all the other great ancient
civilizations and who are not dissuaded by Iran's Islamic
regulations that forbid the possession of alcohol and require
women to cover their hair and bodies. At least three U.S. tour
operators offer a wide variety of itineraries and departure
dates this year:

Geographic Expeditions ran the first U.S. tour in
post-revolutionary Iran in 1993 and returned in force in 1997.
Its three-week Treasures of Persia tour, leaving April 3, May 8,
Sept. 4 and Oct. 2, costs $3,890 per person, double occupancy,
for a group of 10 to 16 (not including airfare to Iran, which
can run $1,400 to $1,900). The same price applies to an 18-day
Riding the Magic Carpet tour that begins in the Central Asian
republic of Turkmenistan. Departure dates are April 8, June 17,
Sept. 23 and Oct. 14. The company also offers customized tours
and a 10-day tour, leaving Aug. 4, to view the millennium's last
solar eclipse. "Iran will be the best place to view (it)," says
the firm's Ann Aylwin. "It has the longest period in which the
sun is eclipsed." Information: 415-922-0448.

Absolute Asia also offers customized tours with local Iranian
guides. A single traveler can spend 15 nights in Iran for
$4,555, not including international airfare. Group tours are
limited to 18 and start at $2,625 per person, double occupancy.
The company's 15-day, 11-stop Persian Trail tour departs April
18, May 16, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. Information: 212-627-1950.

Distant Horizons charges $4,990 per person, double occupancy,
for an 18-day tour that includes air travel from the East Coast
on Lufthansa and a U.S. scholar of ancient Persia as an escort.
Departure dates include May 5, May 12, Oct. 7 and Oct. 9. The
only trouble the company has experienced is when someone brought
in some small airplane-sized bottles of alcohol, which required
several hours of negotiation at Tehran airport before the
culprit was let go. Other than that incident, "it's such an easy
country to operate in compared to other places we go, like Yemen
or Mongolia," says Janet Moore, the company's president. "It's
not five-star, but the infrastructure is strong and the sites
speak for themselves. It's a warm country and pro-American
sentiment is strong." Information: 800-333-1240.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:21:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Bipartisan Group Launches US Sanctions Reform Driv

Bipartisan Group Launches US Sanctions Reform Drive

07:59 p.m Mar 24, 1999 Eastern
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. House and Senate lawmakers
from both parties on Wednesday launched a new effort to make it
more difficult for the United States to impose unilateral trade
sanctions that they said too often fall short of their aims.

At a press conference crowded with supporters from the
agriculture and business community, Representative Philip Crane,
an Illinois Republican, said the legislation would require both
Congress and the president to ask certain ``common sense''
questions before imposing sanctions in isolation.

The House and Senate bills, which differ only slightly, would
also require a thorough analysis of the costs and benefits of
proposed unilateral sanctions and a clear statement of what they
are intended to achieve.

Other provisions would allow companies to fulfil existing
contracts, unless they threatened national security, and
terminate any new unilateral sanctions after two years unless
reauthorized by Congress or the president.

``The proliferation of unilateral economic sanctions is causing
lasting damage to America's reputation as a reliable supplier,''
said Crane, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee
subcommittee on trade. ``We need to find ways to increase
exports, not limit them.''

USA Engage, a coalition of business groups that favour sanctions
reform, has estimated that current sanctions cost the United
States $15 billion to $19 billion annually in lost exports. That
means a loss of 200,000 high-wage U.S. jobs.

Neither the House or Senate version of the bill would remove
existing unilateral sanctions, such as those on Cuba or Iran.
But both bills would exclude food and medicine from future
unilateral sanctions. This would be a boon to farmers who
complain they are often the most hurt by trade bans.

``Extensive research has shown that unilateral economic
sanctions rarely succeed in convincing a target country to
change its behaviour'' and often harm the United States more
than the intended target, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman
Richard Lugar said in a statement.

The Indiana Republican has been a driving force behind sanctions
reform, but was unable to attend the Wednesday news conference
because of his mother's death.

Last year, the Senate narrowly rejected a similar bill offered
by Lugar. Nonetheless, there is a growing recognition in
Congress that ``unilateral sanctions don't work'' because other
countries can easily fill the gap left by the United States,
said Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat.

In the House, the sanctions reform bill has picked up about 50
co-sponsors, including House Majority Leader Richard Armey, a
Texas Republican. Senate Majority Trent Lott, a Mississippi
Republican, is one of nearly 30 co-sponsors in the Senate.

The Clinton administration has not endorsed the bills because of
its concerns that the restrictions on the president are greater
than those on Congress. Lugar disagrees with that view, but has
been working with the administration to find as much common
ground as possible, an aide to the senator said.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:22:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Pinochet Backers, Foes Claim Victory with Ruling

Pinochet Backers, Foes Claim Victory with Ruling

Relatives of those who disappeared or were detained during
Pinochet's regime hug each other after Wednesday's ruling

Court negates most charges lodged by Spain

March 24, 1999
Web posted at: 4:13 p.m. EDT (1613 GMT)


Pinochet 'very happy'

Should extradition proceed?

'Not a black-and-white ruling'


SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) -- Both supporters and critics of former
Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet cheered Wednesday's
ruling by Britain's top court, which denied him immunity from
prosecution but limited a bid to extradite him to Spain to face
charges of crimes against humanity.

Human rights activists in Chile's capital, Santiago, clapped and
cheered when the seven-man panel of Law Lords opted 6-1 not to
allow Pinochet immunity simply because he is a former head of

The ruling appeared to mark the first time a national court had
denied a non-British head of state immunity from prosecution,
Lord Chief Justice Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson said. Many experts
have suggested that successful prosecution of Pinochet would
render all world leaders vulnerable to charges filed by other

rable to charges filed by other

rable to charges filed by other

"We are incredibly happy Pinochet is going to remain under
arrest in Britain," said Sola Sierra, president of Families of
the Detained/Disappeared. "They are crimes that cannot be
permitted or allowed immunity in any country."

Pinochet's critics planned victory marches on the streets of
Santiago later Wednesday.

Pinochet says he has immunity from prosecution because he is a
former head of state

Pinochet 'very happy'

Pinochet's supporters also cheered the decision because the
Lords ruled that the retired general was answerable only to
charges stemming from crimes committed after 1988, when Britain
signed an international law banning torture.

The tribunal threw out all but three of the 30 charges in a
Spanish arrest warrant seeking Pinochet's extradition. The
judges said Pinochet, 83, can be prosecuted for three counts
alleging numerous cases of conspiracy to torture and one case
each of torture and murder conspiracy.

"He is very happy because this ruling has made justice," said
retired Gen. Luis Cortes, who talked to Pinochet by phone from
Chile. "He now has no doubts whatsoever that he will come back

Pinochet supporters at the Pinochet Foundation -- which gives
military scholarships and works to build the general's image --
hugged each other and danced in Santiago's streets, waving flags
and singing the national anthem.

"The ruling is justice done. It was what we Chileans were
expecting," said one Pinochet backer at the foundation's

Lord Chief Justice Nicholas Browne-Wilkinson reads the verdict

163K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

293k/21 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Should extradition proceed?

Browne-Wilkinson said that due to the substantial reduction in
charg in
charges, Home Secretary Jack Straw should reconsider whether the
extradition request should proceed. Pinochet must stay in
Britain during the battle over his extradition.

Immediately after the ruling, Pinochet's lawyers filed an appeal
of Straw's December decision to allow the extradition process to
move forward. The High Court said it would be considered Monday.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a long-
time Pinochet ally, called on Straw to allow Pinochet to return
to Chile.

"The law lords have now confirmed that almost all the charges
brought against Senator Pinochet are inadmissible," Thatcher
said. "In these circumstances, it is quite wrong to keep him

Straw's office said he would have no comment.

'Not a black-and-white ruling'

Chile's President Eduardo Frei also withheld comment on the
ruling. Frei's government supported Pinochet by arguing
sovereign immunity in the case.

"I am not going to give any opinion on the ruling or what is
going on in London," said government spokesman Jorge Arrate.
"The government is not going to give an opinion until a rigorous
analysis is concluded."

A Pinochet supporter in Santiago toasts with champagne after the
verdict is read

"It is not a black-and-white ruling," said Christian Democrat
legislator Gutenberg Martinez. "Pinochet is not going to be
freed, but it is not clear if he is going to be extradited
because we all know that the majority of human rights violations
happened before 1988."
Pinochet was arrested October 16 on the Spanish warrant, which
alleged abuses committed by his secret police after he toppled
Chile's elected president, Marxist Salvador Allende, in a bloody
1973 coup.

After Pinochet was arrested while recovering from back surgery
in a London hospital, his lawyers immediately challenged his
detention, contending a former head of state cannot be
prosecuted in a foreign court for acts committee while in power.

Pinochet prevailed in the High Court on October 28, but
prosecutors then appealed to the House of Lords.

During a 12-day hearing that ended February 4, lawyers for Spain
and human rights groups argued that the abuses Pinochet was
accused of constituted such grievous crimes that they fell
outside international immunity protections.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:22:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Britain Backs Bullet Proof Vests for Iran

Britain Backs Bullet Proof Vests for Iran

BBC World: Middle East
Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 15:32 GMT

The British government is donating three-hundred-thousand
dollars to the United Nations Drug Control programme to buy
bullet proof vests to help Iran's frontier guards to combat drug

A Foreign Office spokesman said the bullet proof vests would
help to enhance the capacity of the frontier guards to fight
trafficking and reduce the number of casualties they were

Iran is on the key drugs route from Afghanistan to Europe.

The Foreign Office said Iran's efforts to combat drug
trafficking deservd to be recognised.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:22:24 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran-Contra Counsel Backs Law

[AP] Iran-Contra Counsel Backs Law Iran-Contra Counsel Backs Law
by Laurie Kellman


Iran-Contra Counsel Backs Law By LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress should narrow but not kill the law
that authorizes independent counsels to investigate high-ranking
government officials, Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh said

Walsh, whose seven-year inquiry into arms-for-hostages trading
by the Reagan administration turned many Republicans against the
1978 law, told a Senate committee the Watergate-inspired law
gave credibility to investigations of presidents.

Letting the Independent Counsel Act expire on June 30 would lead
to a conflict of interest in presidential investigations because
the attorney general, who is appointed by the president, would
oversee the inquiry, Walsh told the Senate Governmental Affairs

Many Democrats angered by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's
investigation of President Clinton and the subsequent Senate
impeachment trial have joined GOP colleagues in opposing the
law's renewal.

Except for a small group of moderates, the law appears to have
little support.

Sen. Fred Thompson, the committee chairman, suggested Congress
might consider putting the issue aside until the partisan
passions from the trial subside.

``Perhaps regardless of what we do, we should wait and not try
to meet the June 30 deadline,'' said Thompson, R-Tenn.
Former Sen. Howard Baker, a one-time chief of staff to Reagan,
made the same recommendation last month.

But Walsh said the public would not trust an independent
prosecutor's findings without some form of the current law. A
special counsel should have the power only to investigate
allegations of abuse of office made against presidents and
attorneys general for actions during their terms, Walsh said.

The Justice Department could handle cases involving other
officials, Walsh said.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:22:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Kazakhstan Says Azeris Seized Their MiGs

Kazakhstan Says Azeris Seized Their MiGs

March 24, 1999
Web posted at: 10:49 PM EST (0349 GMT)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (Reuters) -- Kazakhstan said Wednesday that
six MiG fighters seized in the Azeri capital baku on board a
Russian cargo jet were not bound for Yugoslavia in violation of
an international arms embargo.

Kazakhstan confirmed it owned the fighters, which were seized on
a huge plane belonging to a Russian company after it stopped to
refuel last week.

A senior Azeri official said Tuesday the fighters were bound for
Yugoslavia despite the international arms embargo. Other sources
said they were headed for North Korea.

But Lev Tarakov, head of Kazakhstan's presidential press
service, told Reuters by telephone from the capital Astana:
"Reports that the military cargo was heading for Yugoslavia or
for North Korea are not true."

"The plane flew from Taldykorgan (in southern Kazakhstan) with a
cargo consisting of six 'MiG-21s' and equipment belonging to
them," a Foreign Ministry statement quoting Kazakh Foreign
Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev said.
The statement said the fighters had been sold to Czech arms firm
Agroplast in October 1998, under a contract that stipulated they
be transported to the Czech Republic.

The National Security Ministry and State Customs Committee said
in a statement that customs documents showed the fighters
themselves were headed for the Czech Republic and the equipment
accompanying the jets for Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.

The question of whether Russia or another country has helped arm
Yugoslavia is especially sensitive as NATO prepares air strikes
after Belgrade refused to sign up for a Kosovo peace deal.

Azeri authorities said in a statement Wednesday the plane
carrying the fighters, and 34 passengers on board were being
held pending an investigation.

Polyot, the Russian company that owns the cargo plane
transporting the fighters, issued a statement in Moscow saying
Azeri authorities had violated regular procedures by detaining
the aircraft, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Tass quoted the company as saying the planes had not been bound
for Yugoslavia.

Copyright 1999 Reuters.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:23:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Hajj Nears Climax

Hajj Nears Climax

Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 12:17 GMT

BBC World: Middle East

For the sake of safety, Saudi officials are trying to keep the
numbers down

By Frank Gardner in Dubai
Around two million Muslim pilgrims have begun converging on a
vast tented city in western Saudi Arabia for the climax of this
year's Hajj pilgrimage.

Beneath a blazing sun in temperatures of over 35C, a huge
moving tide pilgrims has been advancing towards the tent city of

The pilgrims, who come from around 100 countries, will offer
prayers before moving from Mena to Mount Arafat.

Past disasters

With this year's Hajj now in its final days, the Saudi
authorities have taken steps to avoid a repetition of previous
years' disasters at this critical stage.

After a fire swept through the camp at Mena two years ago,
killing 343 people, Hajj organisers commissioned special
fireproof tents and banned gas cooking cylinders.

Pilgrims arriving from the holy city of Mecca are now being
housed in a total of nearly 30,000 of these fibreglass tents,
each equipped with water-sprinklers and alarms.

Up to 10,000 medical staff have also been put on standby, with
5,000 hospital beds made ready for emergencies.

Perhaps the biggest difference to this year's Hajj is that for
the first time Saudi residents have been restricted to making
the pilgrimage only once every five years, in an effort to keep
down numbers.

Iraq's snub

But if this year's Hajj has been largely free of accidents so
far, it has not escaped from regional politics.

Saudi newspapers are continuing to criticise Iraq for recalling
thousands of pilgrims it sent to Mecca last week.

The Saudi authorities refused Baghdad's demand to pay the
pilgrims' expenses out of Iraqi funds frozen since 1990.

Saudi Arabia offered to pay the Iraqi pilgrims' expenses, but
Iraq declined the offer.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:23:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Dutch Weigh DNA Tests For Immigrants' Lineage

Dutch Weigh DNA Tests For Immigrants' Lineage

12:34 a.m. Mar 26, 1999 Eastern
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government, suspicious of the
number of immigrants entering the Netherlands to join relatives,
is planning to introduce voluntary DNA testing for applicants,
the Justice Ministry said Thursday.

``In the area of family reunions, we've come to a point where
such a large number of people applied...that the question pops
up: Are they really all part of the same family?'' Justice
Ministry spokeswoman Maud Bredero said.

Thousands of foreigners are granted staying permits in the
Netherlands every year on the grounds of family reunion, but it
was unknown how many had faked their lineage, she said.

DNA testing would remove doubt, Bredero said, adding that
samples could be easily obtained by rubbing a cotton swab along
the inside of the cheek.

``In principle, the DNA tests will be introduced this summer, on
a voluntary basis,'' she said.

Junior justice minister Job Cohen is to present the DNA testing
possibilities to parliament, which may eventually opt for
obligatory DNA lineage tests for all immigrants who want to
enter the Netherlands on family grounds, Bredero said.

In January Cohen said the Dutch asylum system was threatened
with collapse due to a high influx of immigrants. In 1998 The
Netherlands received an estimated 48,000 asylum applications as
refugees flowed in from Kosovo, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Iraq.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:23:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Says Attacks on Yugoslavia Will Worsen Crisis

Iran Says Attacks on Yugoslavia Will Worsen Crisis

07:45 a.m. Mar 25, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, March 25 (Reuters) - Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman
said on Thursday military action against Yugoslavia would only
worsen the crisis in the region, Iranian radio reported.

``Any conflict, tension or military attack will only worsen the
crisis in the Balkans and make it more complicated, the radio
quoted'' Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.
NATO forces launched air strikes on Yugoslavia on Thursday aimed
at preventing Yugoslav troops and police from harming civilians
while fighting Kosovo's ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:23:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Kosovo divides Muslim world

Kosovo divides Muslim world

BBC World: Middle East
Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 17:28 GMT

By Roger Hardy and Jim Muir
In the Arab and Muslim world, the conflict in Kosovo - like the
earlier war in Bosnia - has strong religious overtones.

Inevitably, their sympathies are with the Muslim Kosovo
Albanians struggling against the Christian Serbs.

"For me, Kosovo is as important as Bosnia," says Heba Rauf
Ezzat, a young Islamist in Cairo. Egyptians are following the
issue closely in the media.

But she adds that many Muslims feel powerless to influence the
course of events.

Is the West serious?

As they watch the escalation of the current crisis, Muslims are
reminded of Western intervention elsewhere - in Iraq, for

And just as there's scepticism about Western policy in the
Middle East, so there are doubts over what bombing in Kosovo
will achieve in the long run.

Ahmed Versi is the editor of Muslim News, a newspaper for
British Muslims. He worries that if the West bombs the Serbs and
then withdraws, the Kosovo Albanians will be left to the mercy
of a vengeful Serbia.

He also points out that, so far, the Serbs have not allowed
Muslim aid agencies to go into Kosovo.

Some individual Muslim volunteers have got in, he says, but the
tightening of Kosovo's borders has made this increasingly

The Bosnian conflict became a burning issue in the Muslim world.
Muslims donated money, signed up as volunteers and put pressure
on their governments to take an active stand - for example,
through the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the main
body bringing together the countries of the Muslim world.

So far, the Kosovo issue is not mobilising Muslim opinion to the
same extent.

But as the crisis unfolds, Muslims are watching it closely. Even
if they are thousands of miles away from the Balkans, they see
the issue as an important test for Nato and the West.

Middle East critics

But that has not meant that the Nato action against Yugoslavia
has been without its critics in the Middle East.
It's only three months since Iraq was subjected to a pounding
very similar to that being metered out to Yugoslavia and Middle
East reaction to what's happening now is divided along almost
identical lines.

For some, hostility to the sight of the Western powers once
again taking on the role of global enforces, outweighs a strong
regional tendency to sympathise with the Kosovo Muslims.
Foremost in that category is Iraq itself. It strongly condemned
the strikes on the Serbs saying they had no legitimacy from the
Security Council.
The official Iraqi newspaper, al-Thawra, quoted Saddam Hussein
as saying that the weapons the West uses to scare to world, are
not capable of changing anything.

It added that Slobodan Milosevic was following Saddam's example
in standing up to the Americans.


Libya and Algeria also condemned the Nato strikes. But press
opinion in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, both bitterly hostile to
Baghdad, bracketed the Yugoslav and Iraqi leaders together as
like-minded tyrants who had plunged their respective regions
into turmoil and left Nato no choice but to intervene.

Expressing what is probably the majority view, the Arab League
blamed Belgrade for oppressing the Kosovo Albanians and refusing
to sign the peace agreement.

Iran also held the Yugoslav leadership responsible while at the
same time denouncing the Nato action as something that would
aggravate tensions and complicate the situation.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:24:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Free Style Wrestling Team Leaves for U.S.

Iranian Free Style Wrestling Team Leaves for U.S.
Payvand's Iran News ...
Iranian free style wrestling team leaves for U.S.
Tehran, march 25, irna -- Iranian free style wrestling team left
Tehran for Washington Thursday morning to participate in the
U.S. world cup wrestling championships.
The U.S. world cup wrestling championships will be held in
Spokane, Washington state on April 3 and 4 and teams from Iran,
Russia, the U.S., Canada, Germany and Cuba will be participating
in the tournament.
The members of the Iranian team include:
Gholam Reza Mohammadi,and
Mohammad Reza Ghassemi - 54 kgs
Ali Reza Dabir, Mohammad Talaie - 58 kgs
Mehdi Bara'ati - 63 kgs
Ali Akbar-nejad - 69 kgs
Amir Tavakkolian, Pejman Dorostka - 76 kgs
Fereydoun Qanbari - 85 kgs
Ali Reza Heidari - 97 kgs
Ibrahim Mehraban - 130 kgs
The coaches of the Iranian team include Mahmoud
Moezzipour, Hassan Mohibbi, Akbar Fallah and
Mohammad Mashhadi-Aghaie. The team manager
is Aref Rabti. The referees include Rahim Jeddi and Akbar
The Iranian team will compete with wrestlers from Cuba,
Canada and Germany (in that order) on April 3 and then
go on to compete with Russia and the U.S. on April 4.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:24:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Former Hostage Wants Better U.S.-Iran Relations

Former Hostage Wants Better U.S.-Iran Relations
Ex-ambassador says now time to mend fences with Tehran, with
Ayatollah Khomeini dead

Web posted Mar. 27 at 01:19 AM

By Erik Tryggestad
Morris News Service

SAVANNAH -- Twenty years after he was held hostage by Iranians,
you'd think the last thing Bruce Laingen wants to talk about is

But the former ambassador, who was assigned to Tehran when
Iranians attacked the U.S. embassy in 1979, can't stop talking
about it.

Mr. Laingen, addressing a meeting of the Savannah Council on
World Affairs, said the four years he spent in Iran gave him a
sense of respect for the place, which continues to fascinate

He even raved about the hospitality of the Iranian people, aside
from the hostage incident, which was resolved in 1981.

That incident hasn't shaken Mr. Laingen's faith that one day the
two nations can have meaningful dialogue.

``There still exists a `hate Iran' syndrome in America'' because
of the hostage crisis, Mr. Laingen told the audience. ``You need
to get over that.''

In fact, this is the best time in the 20 years since the hostage
crisis began for both countries to start talking. The Ayatollah
Khomeini is gone, and now in charge of the theocracy is
President Mohammed Khatami, whom Mr. Laingen referred to as a

``He understands the West better than any of his predecessors,''
Mr. Laingen said of Mr. Khatami.

There's a tremendous amount to be gained from a new dialogue
with the Middle Eastern country, he said. In addition to being
rich with oil, Iran has a large population of consumers under 30
who could be persuaded to believe America is not ``the Great

For the countries to come together, it would take a ``leap of
faith and political courage, both of which seem to be in short
supply in both countries,'' he said.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:24:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iraqi Kurdish Leader Mocks US Plan to Oust Saddam

Iraqi Kurdish Leader Mocks US Plan to Oust Saddam

07:23 a.m. Mar 26, 1999 Eastern
DUBAI, March 26 (Reuters) - An Iraqi Kurdish leader was quoted
on Friday as saying it was ``wishful thinking'' for the United
States to bank on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein being
overthrown by a military coup.

Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
-- one of two Kurdish groups that run northern Iraq -- told the
London-based al-Hayat newspaper that he did not believe Iraq
would break up if Saddam was overthrown.

The PUK is one of seven exiled Iraqi opposition groups named by
the United States in January as eligible to share $97 million
earmarked for efforts to topple the Baghdad government.

``I don't believe that the Americans have a well-thought-out
plan that can bring about a change,'' Talabani said in response
to a question on whether he thought any American plan had a
chance of changing the regime by force.

``They still persist in their thinking regarding a military
coup, which I think is wishful thinking,'' he added.

Talabani said he believed change ``comes from within through
coordination between active opposition.''

He said an alliance of Sunni Moslem Arabs in the Iraqi armed
forces with exiled Shi'ite opposition groups in Iran and Kurdish
opposition groups could bring about a change.

Asked if he agreed with the assessment that a change of regime
in Iraq would fragment Iraq, Talabani said:

``No. On the contrary, I oppose this opinion...There will be no
chaos after the change, and division is not an issue at all for
all the active Arab and Kurdish forces agree on the importance
of maintaining national unity.''

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:24:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Pilgrims Denounce Israel, US at Haj Rally

Iranian Pilgrims Denounce Israel, US at Haj Rally

05:33 a.m. Mar 26, 1999 Eastern
JABAL ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia, March 26 (Reuters) - Iranian
pilgrims denounced the United States and Israel as ``enemies of
God'' at a rally in Saudi Arabia at the climax of the annual haj
pilgrimage on Friday.

``Death to America...There is no God but God, and America is
God's enemy,'' thousands of Iranian pilgrims chanted at a
90-minute rally held inside their compound on Mount Arafat, site
of the last sermon by Prophet Mohammed 14 centuries ago.

``Israel is an enemy of God,'' they chanted.

Saudi security forces could not be seen near the encampment
during the 90-minute rally, which included a reading of one of
the sermons of the late Islamic revolutionary leader Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini.

The rally ended peacefully.

Saudi authorities, which ban political demonstrations during the
haj, have said they will not intervene in events held inside
pilgrims' compounds.
A rally to denounce the United States and Israel in 1987 led to
clashes with Saudi security forces in which 402 people, mostly
Iranians, died. Iran boycotted the haj for three years after the

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran -- the Gulf's major oil
producers -- have improved since moderate President Mohammad
Khatami came to power in landslide Iranian elections in 1997.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 02:25:08 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Taleban Told to Keep Talking Peace

Taleban Told to Keep Talking Peace

BBC World: South Asia
Friday, March 26, 1999 Published at 03:17 GMT

By Afghanistan Correspondent William Reeve
Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN's special envoy to Afghanistan, has told
the two warring Afghan sides to name a time and place for
further peace talks.

Mr Brahimi said, after a month of intense shuttle diplomacy, it
is unlikely the meeting will be in Afghanistan itself.

But before taking a break, to coincide with the Muslim festival
of Eid al-Qorban, he said the most important thing is that the
Taleban and anti-Taleban united front both say they want to
continue to talk to each other.

In recent weeks Mr Brahimi has pursued a relentless programme,
travelling from Pakistan to Iran, to Moscow, Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and to Afghanistan itself.

During this time talks were held in Ashkhabad, the Turkmen
capital, between the Taleban and their united front opponents at
which they agreed to form a shared government.
Summer fighting

No details were discussed and no ceasefire was agreed - since
then there has been sporadic fighting, and both sides have
accused the other of being the aggressor.

Mr Brahimi said he's keen for the two sides to meet again soon
as winter is now over and they're getting ready for more

He said it was being nave not to expect more fighting in
Afghanistan. The long war he said is not going to be solved in
one day.

But he said that what was remarkable about the Ashkhabad talks
was that the two sides spoke to each other in very civil terms.

Mr Brahimi visited the leader of the Taleban, Mullah Mohammad
Omar, at his headquarters in the south Afghan city of Kandahar,
on Wednesday.

Three step peace plan

Muller Omar told him that the Taleban has three objectives that
were fundamental to a solution.

Secondly, that Islam was correctly served. Thirdly and perhaps
most interestingly, that Afghanistan was preserved from

Mr Brahimi said Mullah Omar told him that if these objectives
were upheld in any resolution, then the Taleban would be happy
to go back to their religious schools or Madrassas.

Much of Mr Brahimi's time over the past month has been spent
talking to governments of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries,
several of which are intimately involved in the conflict,
supporting one side or the other.

Arms are still getting through

Mr Brahimi said they all have an interest in the system that
emerges in Afghanistan and the attitude of these neighbours to
Afghanistan, cannot be separated from their attitude to one

He said he's been persuading Pakistan and Iran in particular to
talk to each other. They support respectively the Taleban and
anti-Taleban alliance.
He said there's been some progress here, but as he put it,
plenty of arms, ammunition and fuel still get through to
Afghanistan via neighbouring countries and he said that the
United Nations won't be happy until they all speak with one
voice about Afghanistan.

Mr Brahimi said there has been no lack of peace plans for
putting an end to the conflict but that what's important is
their implementation.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 28 Mar 1999 - Special issue