Date: Apr 15, 1999 [ 10: 21: 15]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Apr 1999 to 15 Apr 1999 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Apr 1999 to 15 Apr 1999 - Special issue
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There are 21 messages totalling 1339 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Oil Prices Boosted By Balkan Crisis, Iran Output C
2. Britain, Iran Close To Renewing Relations -Uk Fori
3. Iran'S Khatami Says To Visit Saudi Arabia Soon
4. The Television Showed Footage Of The Missile Test
5. Interview-Japanese Eye Iran Oil Despite Sanctions
6. Iran, Russia Ministers Discuss Oil Cooperation
7. Iran Says Successfully Tests Anti-Aircraft Missile
8. Iran, Russia Agree On Oil And Gas Cooperation
9. U.S. Disowns Iranian Group On Assassination
10. INTERVIEW-ARCO Pushes For Future Iran Oil Deal
11. Iranian Stoned To Death For Killing His Three Sons
12. TEHRAN ANGRY AT WEST'S SILENCE OVER ASSASSINATION
13. Trial Of Dissident Cleric Opens In Tehran
14. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - April 14
15. Iran Praises Saudi Over Oil, Differences Remain
16. Iran State Body Blocks Liberal Free Trade Zone Law
17. Iran Dissident Cleric'S Trial Tests Freedom Limits
18. Egypt'S Parliament Speaker Has Rejected To Visit I
19. Clinton's Remarks "An Admission" To Unjust Iran-U.
20. Yazdi Reiterates Full Support For Velayat-E Faqih
21. On Trial Of Kadivar

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Oil Prices Boosted By Balkan Crisis, Iran Output C

Oil Prices Boosted By Balkan Crisis, Iran Output Cut
====================================================


05:26 p.m Apr 13, 1999 Eastern
By Haitham Haddadin

NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - Oil rose on a combination of
bullish headlines on Tuesday, including fears of a widening
Balkans crisis as well as production and export cuts by Iran and
Saudi Arabia, traders said.

There was also some support from speculative traders buying back
contracts they had previously sold, pushing the May contract on
the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle 32 cents higher at
$16.72 a barrel.

Traders were also looking ahead to the weekly U.S. crude
inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) to
be issued after markets closed on Tuesday, and Wednesday
morning's more reliable Energy Department figures.

Traders said they expected stocks of the two main refined
product classes, gasoline and distillates -- mainly diesel and
heating oil, to decline while crude inventory rises.

``The more direct issue for crude oil will be this afternoon's
inventory report, where we see risk of a moderate increase in
stocks,'' said Tim Evans of Pegasus Econometrics.
The gains brought crude within striking distance of end March
levels just over the psychologically important $17.00 level,
where the market stalled after six weeks of gains as major oil
producers agreed to cut output sharply.

On Tuesday, crude again began to inch up aafter reports that
Serbian forces had briefly crossed the border into neighbouring
Albania, action that prompted Washington to warn Yugoslavia of
``serious consequences'' if it widened the conflict over Kosovo.

``All those issues with Kosovo or Iran, provided the
rationalisation for the advance,'' Richard Redash, head of
energy futures research at Refco Energy Corp, said.

The Iran news referred to was a Monday report from the Middle
East Economic Survey that Tehran cut crude production by 121,000
barrels per das per day in March from 3.96 million to 3.84 million bpd,
indicating it would comply with its pledge to cut output. It was
one of the countries which last year scuppered efforts to cut
the world oil glut because of a disagreement over its quota.
Saudi Arabia, which is spearheading efforts to boost oil prices
through a series of global production cuts, has notified buyers
that May contracts in Asia and Europe will be cut by between 17
and 25 percent, more than had been expected.

Also on Tuesday, reports that Iraq fired at U.S. and British
jets patrolling a no-fly zone in southern Iraq apparently had
little effect on the market but refined petroluem products
futures were said to be supported by Monday's late headlines
that the U.S. Defence Deparment would buy 48 million gallons of
jet fuel, a large extra purchase linked to its ongoing air wars
against Iraq and Serbia.
May heating oil settled 0.80 cent higher at 42.80 cents a
gallon, and May gasoline settled up 1.07 cents at 52.24 cents a
gallon.

``On a longer term basis as the situation in Yugoslavia
continues, jet fuel and heating oil may become more expensive,''
Refco's Redash said, though he expected that could take time.

Meanwhile, oil shares were mixed, with the Standard & Poors Oil
and Gas Index (.SPOILP) rising in line with oil prices by 1.25
percent to 55.28, while the major integrated oil company index,
the S&P Oil International (.SPOILI) index slipped 0.70 to
894.99, in line with the broader share market.

((New York Energy Desk, Tel 212-859 1895, fax 212-859-1629))


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:02:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Britain, Iran Close To Renewing Relations -Uk Fori

Britain, Iran Close To Renewing Relations -Uk Foriegn Office
============================================================


01:02 p.m Apr 13, 1999 Eastern
LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - Britain and Iran will end years of
diplomatic squabbling with the imminent appointment of
ambassadors in each other's capitals, a British Foreign Office
spokesman said on Tuesday.

``We remain committed to an agreement to exchange ambassadors,''
said a Foreign Office spokesman. ``We hope to exchange
ambassadors shortly.''

Likely candidates for the posts include Nick Browne, Britain's
point-man in Tehran; and Gholamreza Ansari, his counterpart in
London.

The appointments would formally revive the two countries'
political and economic relations, severed when Iran's late
leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a death decree on British
author Salman Rushdie.

Rushdie was accused of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammad in
his novel ``The Satanic Verses.''

The deal will be finalized when Derek Fatchett, the Foreign
Office minister for the Middle East, visits Tehran -- the first
visit by a British minister since the Islamic revolution in
1979.

``(Fatchett) hopes to visit soon but no dates have yet been
set,'' the spokesman said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran'S Khatami Says To Visit Saudi Arabia Soon

Iran'S Khatami Says To Visit Saudi Arabia Soon
==============================================

11:12 a.m. Apr 13, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 13 (Reuters) - Iran's President Mohammad Khatami
told Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on
Tuesday that he hoped to visit the kingdom in the near future,
Iranian state media reported.

But Prince Saudi ended his two-day visit without a date being
announced for the long-awaited trip, which would be the
highest-ranking by an Iranian official since the 1979 Islamic
revolution.

Prince Saud had quipped to reporters on Monday that he would not
leave Iran without a date for Khatami's visit.

``The president, responding to the Saudi invitation, said he
would in the near future visit Saudi Arabia to visit holy sites
and meet Saudi officials and people,'' Iranian television said.

It said Khatami made his comment at a meeting with Prince Saud,
who met Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi twice during his
visit.

Khatami said further cooperation between the two powerful
regional countries on oil issues would benefit the two top world
oil producers.

The two countries recently settled a dispute over Iranian oil
production levels, paving the way for a broader deal to cut
production by oil producers to raise low prices.

``The agreement showed that such cooperation can limit further
damage and bring great benefits to both countries and all oil
producers and the region,'' Khatami said.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia turned sour after the
revolution that toppled Iran's Western-backed monarchy.

Ties have improved since Khatami, a moderate Shi'ite Moslem
cleric, took office in 1997 and promoted the policy of breaking
Iran's regional isolation.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said Prince Saud expressed
satisfaction with his talks which he said focused on
Tehran-Riyadh cooperation and OPEC issues.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: The Television Showed Footage Of The Missile Test

The Television Showed Footage Of The Missile Test
=================================================


06:17 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
The television showed footage of the missile test, apparently
carried out in a remote region.

The military spokesman said the missile was a locally built

``advanced anti-aircraft missile,'' adding that it would satisfy
Iran's requirements for such medium and long-range weapons, the
television said. It did not give the missile's range.

Iran in July test-fired its medium-range Shehab-3 missile, whose
1,300 km (800 miles) range puts Israel within its reach.

The United States and Israel have repeatedly voiced concern over
Iran's missile capacity, urging Russia and China to stop any
transfers of technology to the Islamic republic. Tehran denies
receiving any foreign help for its missile programme which it
says has deterrent purposes.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:16 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Interview-Japanese Eye Iran Oil Despite Sanctions

Interview-Japanese Eye Iran Oil Despite Sanctions
=================================================


10:41 a.m. Apr 13, 1999 Eastern
By Michael Georgy

MANAMA, April 13 (Reuters) - Japanese companies are losing
patience with the threat of U.S. sanctions against firms that
invest in Iran and are considering ways of doing big business
there, a Japanese oil official said on Tuesday.
``I am not sure Japanese companies can wait until the U.S.
government lifts sanctions completely,'' Ikuro Sugawara, general
manager of Japan National Oil Corp (JNOC), told Reuters in an
interview on the sidelines of an oil conference in Bahrain.

``They are thinking seriously of entering the Iranian projects.
They think that if they can get (Japanese) government support
for their oil projects they will do business,'' he said.

JNOC is a government-funded corporation created to back Japanese
companies' oil projects.

Based in Washington, Sugawara is a key liaison man between the
U.S. government, the Japanese government and Japanese oil
companies on U.S. sanctions.

On Thursday, he will travel to Tehran to feel out what Japanese
companies want their government to do about the continued threat
of U.S. sanctions.

``So many Japanese companies will come to see me about what's
going on in the United States and what's going on in the
Japanese government (concerning the sanctions),'' he said.

``They are losing their patience. But they can't do without
Japanese backing because in terms of the oil business, right now
they don't have enough money to invest,'' he said.

Washington last year awarded French company Total a waiver from
the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) which threatens action
against firms investing in the energy sectors of Iran or Libya.

Sugawara said there were other signs that ILSA was eroding.

International oil companies have recently signed major oil deals
with Iran.
Japanese companies have been more cautious than European firms
when approaching investment opportunities in Iran uder the
country's biggest oil and gas auction in 20 years.

``We have trade frictions. If we do something to make the U.S.
government or Congress angry, by for instance entering the
Iranian market they will be quite pleased to punish in other
areas,'' said Sugawara.

But he said the idea of the Tokyo government persuading
Washington to waive sanctions on Japanese firms interested in
investing in Iranian energy projects had been floated
unofficially.

But Sugawara added the answer from Washington was clear: ``Don't
do that.''


((Michael Georgy, Dubai mobile +97150-4522014))

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:48 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Russia Ministers Discuss Oil Cooperation

Iran, Russia Ministers Discuss Oil Cooperation
==============================================

01:19 p.m Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - The oil ministers of Iran and
Russia held talks on Wednesday on cooperation in the areas of
exploration, development of Iranian gas and oilfields and
technology transfer, Iranian state television reported.

It said visiting Russian Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei
Generalov called in his talks with Oil Minister Bijan Namdar
Zanganeh for expanding technical cooperation between the two
countries.

Generalov also voiced support for efforts by the Organisation of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries to stabilise oil markets and
boost prices, it added.

Although not an OPEC member, Russia has joined oil output cuts
by the cartel to rein in supply.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Says Successfully Tests Anti-Aircraft Missile

Iran Says Successfully Tests Anti-Aircraft Missile
==================================================


05:56 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Iran on Wednesday successfully
tested what it called an ``advanced anti-aircraft missile,''
Iranian state television reported.

``It was fired this morning (Wednesday) and it successfully hit
and destroyed a mock enemy target,'' the television quoted a
military spokesman as saying.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:04:16 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran, Russia Agree On Oil And Gas Cooperation

Iran, Russia Agree On Oil And Gas Cooperation
=============================================


04:48 p.m Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Iran and Russia reached an initial
agreement on Wednesday to cooperate on oil and gas projects and
in the field of petrochemicals, Iranian state television
reported.

It said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and his
visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Generalov signed a
memorandum of understanding on projects in oil and gas
exploration and development.

The memorandum covered the delivery of services for such
projects, the purchase of equipment and chemicals, cooperation
in petrochemical ventures, and the constructiuon
of underground
gas storage facilities, the television said. It gave no further
details.

Generalov earlier held talks with Zanganeh and called for
expanding energy cooperation between the two countries.

He also voiced support for efforts by the Organisation of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries to stabilise oil markets and boost
prices, it added.

Although not an OPEC member, Russia has joined oil output cuts
by the cartel to rein in supply.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:02:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: U.S. Disowns Iranian Group On Assassination

U.S. Disowns Iranian Group On Assassination
===========================================


04:34 p.m Apr 13, 1999 Eastern
WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday
condemned the assassination of an Iranian general in Tehran and
denied it was sheltering the Mujahideen Khalq organisation,
which claimed responsibility for the attack.

``We condemn what we consider to be an act of terrorism and we
hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice,'' State
Department James Foley told a daily briefing.

Gunmen disguised as street cleaners shot and killed
Lieutenant-General Ali Sayyad Shirazi in Tehran on Saturday as
he left home for work. Shirazi was deputy chief of staff of the
armed forces and a hero of the eight-year war with Iraq.

The Mujahideen said they killed the general as a war criminal
who had repressed the people of Iranian Kurdistan and massacred
hundr massacred
hundreds of Mujahideen members in west massacred
hundreds of Mujahideen members in western Iran.

Foley noted that the Mujahideen has been on a U.S. list of
``terrorist'' organisations since 1997 -- a designation which
freezes the group'
s assets and deprives members of visas.

``We reject any suggestion that the U.S. government supports
these terrorists ... The U.S. does not provide any safe haven to
any terrorist groups,'' he added.

In practice the Mujahideen has a press office in Washington and
supporters of the group operate openly in the United States
through the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella
opposition group dominated by the Mujahideen.

The Mujahideen, which has widespread support in the U.S.
Congress, says it preparing a legal challenge to its designation
as a ``terrorist'' o
rganisation.

It says the designation is a covert attempt to please the
Iranian government, which continues to resist U.S. attempts to
open government-to-government contacts with Washington.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:05:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: INTERVIEW-ARCO Pushes For Future Iran Oil Deal

INTERVIEW-ARCO Pushes For Future Iran Oil Deal
==============================================

09:24 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
By Michael Georgy

MANAMA, April 14 (Reuters) - U.S. energy major Atlantic
Richfield Co (ARCO) said it was pressing forward with
negotiations on developing oilfields in Iran and expressed hope
of clinching a deal once U.S. sanctions are lifted.

ARCO Executive Vice-President Don Voelte said his firm was
encouraged by the National Iranian Oil Company's (NIOC) positive
assessment of ARCO's oil production capabilities concerning some
of the oilfields on offer in Iran.

``Based on that level of interest in our technology and our
project management capability we have furthered our talks in
Iran and at this time we are entering a phase of negotiations on
certain onshore fields,'' he told Reuters in an interview late
on Tuesday at an oil conference in Bahrain.

The United States imposed a trade ban on Iran in 1995, barring
its companies from a fierce race for huge energy deals in the
Islamic republic.

European competitors, meanwhile, have entrenched themselves in
Iran, which last year enticed foreign firms with its biggest oil
and gas opening since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

ARCO, an outspoken critic of U.S. policy on Iran, has been
negotiating with Iran within the limits of U.S. law.

It has purchased data on some of the over 40 projects worth
billions of dollars offered by Iran and bid on two Iranian
oilfield developments, subject to the lifting of sanctions.

Voelte said ARCO expressed interest in ``several onshore fields
and a couple of offshore fields.''

``In one field we had a development profile that was about twice
the peak production rate of other submitted proposals,'' he
said.

Negotiating with Iran is sensitive for U.S companies.

While U.S. firms boast of superior technology, for instance,
Washington prohibits them from giving Iran details of their
state-of-the-art know-how.

``If the opportunity is limited to our technology, because we
can't share that technology, they (Iranians) may choose to save
the field for us at that time (after sanctions are lifted) if we
are able to conclude a contract,'' said Voelte.

He is taking a realistic approach to the competition for deals
in Iran, owner of the world's second largest natural gas and
fifth largest pool of oil reserves.

``We thought at one time we could provide an opportunity (to the
Iranians) that may be so good that they would save the
opportunity for us for some day,'' he said.

Now Voelte acknowledges ``somebody else can step in our shoes
and take the deal from us and we understand that risk.''

ARCO is hoping the lifting of sanctions will coincide with the
company clinching deals in Iran.

``We believe that the conditions are ripe for change in the
relationship between the U.S. and Iran. Our company believes
that working with other companies and the people of the U.S. we
have a good chance to support a rapprochement with Iran.''

Although he recognised that there was some opposition in Iran to
welcoming U.S. companies, Voelte said ARCO had no problems doing
business in the country.

``We have received nothing but red carpet treatment. They have
not restricted our movements in talking to different people or
different factions of the government,'' he said.

``There is opposition but we don't go over there with armed
guards or anything like that. I have frankly felt safer in
Tehran than I have in a few other places around the world,
including a few in the U.S.,'' he said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:04:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Stoned To Death For Killing His Three Sons

Iranian Stoned To Death For Killing His Three Sons
==================================================


03:24 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - An Iranian man was stoned to death
in northern Iran for killing his three sons who he thought would
hinder his plans to marry his mistress, a newspaper reported on
Wednesday.

The sentence was carried out in public in Babol, a town
bordering the Caspian Sea, on Tuesday, Qods daily said.

Ahmad Asqarpour had killed his sons, aged between seven and 12,
because he thought they would stand in the way of his plans to
divorce his wife and marry his mistress.

He received 60 lashes before his execution, which began when the
judge who sentenced him to death threw the first stone.

``The people who threw most stones were the murderer's wife and
her brother, who threw them at his head in fury,'' Qods said.
Iran's Islamic law allows relatives of murdered victims to take
partvictims to take
part in the execution of the killer.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:05:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: TEHRAN ANGRY AT WEST'S SILENCE OVER ASSASSINATION

TEHRAN ANGRY AT WEST'S SILENCE OVER ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL
============================================================


PARIS 13THAPR. (IPS) As if they were living on another planet, as if
they
were ignoring the tragedy that is befallen on the ethnic Albanians of
Kosovo, a great majority of them Muslims, as if they don't see the
hundreds
of thousands of Albanians, mostly elderly and children, kicked out from
their ancestral land by in the most brutal way by the Serbs, the Islamic
authorities of Iran strongly criticised the West and the European Union
for
not having condemned the assassination of a high ranking Iranian officer
by
the Mujahedeen Khalq Organisation (MKO).

In an authorised commentary that reflects the views of the ruling
clerics,
Tehran Radio expressed Tuesday surprise that no European nation, namely
Germany, France, Italy and England that "are looking to expand their
relations with the Islamic Republic" have shown no reaction to the
assassination of General Ali Sayyad Shirazi, the Deputy Chief of Joint
Services of the Iranian regular army.

A hero of the eight years Iran-Iraq War, General Sayyad Shirazi was shot
dead with three bullets fired at close range early Saturday 10thApril at
the
doorstep of his residence in Tehran by unidentified gunman disguised as
a
street cleaner.

The Baghdad-based, Iraqi financed and equipped MKO immediately claimed
responsibility for the assassination.

"The non condemnation by European countries of this blatant act of
terrorism
that happened in our country encourages the view that these nations lack
the
will to fight terrorism seriously or their claim to combat terrorism is
nothing but propaganda and a tool against other nations of the world",
the
commentary pointed out.

Iranian analysts and observers were puzzled by the commentary, as it
content
is obviously out of place and present circumstances.

"It is not clear what the ruling Iranian mullahs wants to achieve by
such
statements at a time that the whole word is busy with the tragic events
in
Kosovo. Do they not understand that it is just a shame to bring this
issue
at a time that a million of Kosovars have been thrown out of their
houses
and villages by the Serbs, at a time that the whole world, except the
Muslims, the Arabs and the Iranians, is mobilised in an unprecedented
surge
of sympathy for these poor, miserable people?" noted one Iranian
observer in
Tehran.

"May be one reason that the European countries have not condemned the
assassination of General Sayyad Shirazi is because they believe in the
thesis of superiority of race and consider opposing terrorism is
necessary
only when a Westerner or Western interests are targeted", the commentary
added.

Senior Iranian clerics, chief among them the ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i,
the
leader of the Islamic regime of Iran lambasted the West, including the
USA,
for "harbouring, helping and supporting the Munafeqin"(hypocrites), a
Coranic word the Iranians use to designate members of the outlawed
Stanist-Islamist organisation.

Tehran Radio, an authority that like the television is directly
controlled
by the ayatollah Khameneh'i said the silence of the European countries
about
the recent event "in a way" is a prove of the lack of sincerity of the
European Union for co-operation with Tehran.

"The expectation of our people in such circumstances is that the
Europeans
should have condemned this event immediately and confront the
terrorists,
but not only they have done nothing, the munafeqin continue their happy,
quiet existence in Europe", the Radio said

After hoping that the EU will curtail the activities of the Mujahedeens
on
its territory, the Tehran Radio commentary warned the West that if it
does
not stop terrorism now, "itself may soon became a victim but tomorrow
will
be late". ENDS 1359923

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:03:42 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Trial Of Dissident Cleric Opens In Tehran

Trial Of Dissident Cleric Opens In Tehran
=========================================


04:32 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - The trial of dissident theologian
Mohsen Kadivar opened before Tehran's Special Court for Clergy
on Wednesday, in a case expected to test the limits of freedom
of thought under Iran's Islamic system.

Judges for the normally secretive court broke with tradition and
allowed members of Kadivar's family and selected representatives
of Iranian media to attend. Foreign correspondents were denied
access to the courtroom.

Kadivar, a mid-ranking Moslem Shi'ite cleric and popular
seminary lecturer, stands accused of using his writings to
defame Iran's Islamic system and confuse public opinion.

His supporters say he is being deprived of the traditional right
of trained Shi'ite clerics to reinterpret the faith. The Special
Court, they say, is little more than an inquisition.

Before the hearing got underway, the defendant's sister Jamileh
Kadivar, elected in February to the new Tehran city council,
denounced officials for their handling of the case and compared
the proceedings to summary courts under the monarchy.

``I have not seen a single positive person in this court,'' she
told one official outside the court building in a north Tehran
neighbourhood. ``You have been worse than the Shah's military
courts.''

The case, which began with Kadivar's arrest in late February,
has plunged the little-known thinker into the centre of a
factional firestorm, pitting reformists backing President
Mohammad Khatami against the conservative clerical
establishment.

At issue are the religious underpinnings of Iran's system of
supreme clerical rule, a system increasingly under attack by
popular demands for greater political participation and expanded
democratic rights.

``My arrest is the price we pay for freedom,'' Kadivar, 40, told
his family from his jail cell, where he has been held without
bail since his arrest.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:04:56 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - Iran - April 14

PRESS DIGEST - Iran - April 14
==============================


04:50 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in Iranian newspapers on Wednesday. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

IRAN NEWS

- Iran's Interior Ministry said there is no justification for
rejecting the eligibility of elected candidates for the
country's first local polls last February. A conservative
watchdog body says some elected members, mainly supporters of
reformist President Mohammad Khatami, cannot stand for office.

IRAN DAILY

- The German embassy is organising an opera recital on Thursday
at one of Tehran's theatres to mark improving Iran-German
relations.

QODS

- A senior military official said that about 90 percent of spare
parts and military equipment needed by the Iranian army will be
produced at home in the current Iranian year that began on March
21.

- Iran destroys an annual 50,000 hectares of forestland.

HAMSHAHRI

- The interior minister called on municipal recruitment officers
not to investigate peoples' opinions or private lives when
considering job applications. Civil servants and senior
officials in Iran are usually expected to be devout Moslems.

ABRAR-E EQTESADI

- A new commuter railway line linking Tehran with the western
town of Karaj will work more hours to meet rising demand. The
line, built to cut traffic and pollution in and around the
capital, will extend operating time from eight to 18 hours a
day.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:05:10 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Praises Saudi Over Oil, Differences Remain

Iran Praises Saudi Over Oil, Differences Remain
===============================================
11:49 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
By Mehrdad Balali

TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Iranian leaders and media have
heaped praise on Saudi Arabia for helping lift oil prices, but
conservative newspapers said on Wednesday sharp differences
still hampered full rapprochment between the former rivals.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal won wide praise
during his Iran visit this week for his country's role in
boosting oil prices, a big help in easing Tehran's cash crisis.

``The agreement showed that such cooperation can limit further
damage and bring great benefits to both countries and all oil
producers and the region,'' President Mohammad Khatami was
quoted as telling Prince Saud on Tuesday.

Tehran and Riyadh settled a dispute over Iranian production
levels, paving the way for March's broader deal among producers
from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

``I thank God that our relations are on a track leading to good
for our two countries and the whole region and the Islamic
world,'' Khatami added.

The accord was a key achievement for the two major oil
producers, who have only recently recovered from two decades of
political rivalry and strained relations.

Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, still influential as
a the head of a top state body, was equally ecstatic: ``If Saudi
Arabia and Iran adopt a single policy within OPEC,... other
producers will also be encouraged to cooperate.''

The positive mood toward Riyadh was echoed in newspapers of all
political leanings on Wednesday.

``Tehran-Riyadh, a new chapter in relations,'' said a banner
headline in the conservative Qods newspaper.

Despite the kind words, the prince was apparently unable to
secure a date for Khatami's planned visit to Saudi Arabia, which
would be the highest-ranking by an Iranian official since the
1979 Islamic revolution.

Khatami was again vague on the date of his trip, saying on
Tuesday he would go there soon.

Last month, a Tehran newspaper linked the hesitation to Riyadh's
firm support for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in its
territorial dispute with Iran.

Qods warned in an editorial that the subject was one of the two
major issues keeping the two countries apart.

``Part of the objection Iran made in talks with Saud al-Faisal
was that Riyadh is not doing enough to stop the UAE from
stirring up tension,'' it said. ``Through mediation, Saudi
Arabia could prevent an atmosphere of tension between Tehran and
these (Gulf Arab) countries.''

Qods also cited Riyadh's ties with the ruling Moslem Taleban
militia in Afghanistan, which Iran has shunned. Saudi Arabia is
one of only three states which recognise the Taleban government.

``A relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Taleban is harmful
to regional peace and stability and Riyadh should be aware of
the consequences,'' it said.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:04:30 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran State Body Blocks Liberal Free Trade Zone Law

Iran State Body Blocks Liberal Free Trade Zone Law
==================================================


03:25 p.m Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - A clergy-based Iranian state body
on Wednesday rejected a liberal law that would draw f
n
investment to Iran's free trade zones, the official news agency
IRNA reported.
The conservative Guardian Council's rejection of the law, which
would guarantee foreign investment and allow foreign banks in
the zones, may set the stage for the bill to be reviewed by a
higher body that arbitrates between the council and parliament.

IRNA said the Guardian Council, a body of Moslem clerics and
lawyers that vets bills passed by parliament, renewed its
objections to the law and returned it to parliament for the
second time since January.

Government officials have expressed hope the Expediency Council,
which can overrule the Guardian Council, will ratify the law.

The Guardian Council has said the law, which would also allow
foreign insurance companies and private Iranian banks and
insurance firms, violates the Iranian constitution. The
constitution, passed after the Islamic revolution in 1979 when
banks and insurance firms were nationalised, requires state
control over such institutions.

The Guardian Council has not formally objected to the bill's
main section in which Iran pledges to refund foreign investment
in the zones in case of seizures by the state.

Officials say the zones have drawn no more than $300 million in
foreign funds -- much less than rival zones in Gulf Arab states
-- because of a lack of such guarantees.

Iran in 1989 set up free trade zones on the Gulf islands of Kish
and Qeshm and at the southeastern port of Chahbahar to draw
much-needed foreign investment.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:04:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Dissident Cleric'S Trial Tests Freedom Limits

Iran Dissident Cleric'S Trial Tests Freedom Limits
==================================================


09:15 a.m. Apr 14, 1999 Eastern
TEHRAN, April 14 (Reuters) - The trial of Iranian dissident
theologian Mohsen Kadivar opened before a clerical court in
Tehran on Wednesday, in a case expected to test the limits of
freedom of thought in the Islamic republic.

The defendant's sister Jamileh Kadivar, elected recently to a
seat in Tehran's new city council, told reporters outside the
courtroom the panel of judges had repeatedly interrupted the
defence on the opening day and appeared intent on convicting her
brother.

``Judging from their attitude there is a possibility that they
will decide to convict him,'' she said.
She said the charges were linked to Kadivar's speeches and press
interviews, strengthening defence arguments that the case
belonged before a jury in the Press Court .

Judges for the normally secretive Special Court for Clergy broke
with tradition and allowed members of Kadivar's family and
selected representatives of Iranian media to attend. Foreign
correspondents were denied access to the trial.

Kadivar, a Shi'ite Moslem cleric and popular seminary lecturer,
stands accused of defaming Iran's Islamic system and confuse
public opinion through speeches and press interviews.

Newspapers say prosecutors are focusing on a comparison Kadivar
made in an article between contemporary Iran and the repressive
controls on freedom of expression under the late shah, who was
toppled by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

His supporters say he is being deprived of the traditional right
of trained Shi'ite clerics to reinterpret the faith. The Special
Court, they say, is little more than an inquisition.

The official IRNA news agency, one of a handful of media
organisations allowed inside the courtroom, quoted Kadivar as
challenging the right of the Clergy Court to hear a case he said
revolves around press articles and political analyses.

``In accordance with...the constitution, political and press
charges must be dealt with in the presence of a jury and in
front of a competent court that is part of the judicial system,
and the Special Court for Clergy is not part of the judicial
system,'' IRNA quoted Kadivar as telling the presiding judge.

But Judge Mohammad Salimi, like Kadivar a mid-ranking cleric,
dismissed the defence as a subjective view and said the Clergy
Court had jurisdiction.


Kadivar's lawyer, Ayatollah Hossein Mousavi-Tabrizi, said
on Tuesday most clerics agreed that under Shi'ite Islam there
could be no monopoly on religious interpretation. The argument
is expected to be a key element in the defence case.
``Ninety percent of the ulama (learned clergy) in the holy city
of Qom agree with Kadivar,'' the lawyer told reporters.

Shortly after Kadivar's arrest in February, a number of Iran's
most senior clerics signed a protest letter, saying his work
represented legitimate inquiry into Shi'ite jurisprudence.

The case has put the little-known thinker at the centre of a
factional storm, pitting moderates backing President Mohammad
Khatami against the conservative clerical establishment.

At issue are the underpinnings of Iran's system of supreme
clerical rule, increasingly under attack by popular demands for
greater political participation and democratic rights.

``My arrest is the price we pay for freedom,'' Kadivar, 40, told
his family from his jail cell.

Late on Tuesday, moderate students held a candle-light vigil in
support of Kadivar in the hills overlooking Tehran's Evin
prison, where the theologian is being held without bail.

They chanted: ``Freedom of Thought, Forever, Forever,'' and
released doves as a symbol of liberty, newspapers reported.


Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:47:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Egypt'S Parliament Speaker Has Rejected To Visit I

Egypt'S Parliament Speaker Has Rejected To Visit Iran
=====================================================

Xinhua
13-APR-99

CAIRO (April 13) XINHUA - Egypt's parliament speaker has
rejected an invitation to visit Iran because a main street in
Iranian capital Tehran is named after the assassin of the late
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Ahmed Fathi Sorour, speaker of the Peo.

Ahmed Fathi Sorour, speaker of the People's Assembly
(parliament) said the invitation was extended to him by an
Iranian parliamentary delegation he met in Brussels, Belgium,
where he is attending an international parliamentary conference,
the Arabic El-Messa daily reported Tuesday.

Sorour said he will not go to Iran as long as the name of
Sadat's assassin, Khaled al-Islamboli, is on any street there.

Tehran severed diplomatic ties with Cairo in 1979 after Egypt
signed a peace treaty with Israel.

Iran later further angered Egypt by naming a main street in
Tehran after Khaled al-Islamboli, a Muslim militant who shot
dead Sadat in 1981 over the peace treaty.

The street name is one of the thorny issues preventing closer
ties between Egypt and Iran although the two countries have
expressed readiness to improve bilateral relations and exchanged
visits by cultural and economic delegations.

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:47:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Clinton's Remarks "An Admission" To Unjust Iran-U.

Clinton's Remarks "An Admission" To Unjust Iran-U.S. Relations,
FM Spokesman
===============================================================

thr 045
iran-u.s.-asefi
clinton's remarks "an admission" to unjust iran-u.s. relations,
fm spokesman
tehran, april 15, irna -- reacting to the remarks made by the u.s.
president bill clinton at the white house on wednesday, iran's foreign
ministry spokesman said here thursday that clinton's statement was an
admission to washington's "unjust relations" with tehran over the
past decades.
hamid reza asefi said: "this is a matter tehran has been stressing
upon over the past 20 years."
asefi added: "these remarks are an admission of the miseries and
agonies the u.s. has imposed on the noble and honest people of iran
over the past 50 years." the past 50 years."

he said the remarks made by the u.s. president also indicated a
change in the statements of the u.s. officials and "they contain
traces of a kind of realism towards the islamic republic of iran and
its rich culture. however, the yardstick in relations between
countries is the behavior of states."
"for the great people of iran what is important is a practical
change in the u.s. policies and behaviors towards the islamic republic
and the basis of evaluation is practical and tangible steps that the
u.s. government should take towards iran."
president clinton on wednesday admitted that the islamic republic
of iran may have been disfavored by the western countries, including
the united states in the past. he said the iranian people had the
right to be indignat at what "my country, my culture or my allies may
have done to them 50 years or 150 years ago."
the united states broke off diplomatic ties with iran in 1980
after the takeover of the u.s. embassy in tehran by the muslim
students following the imam's line. over the past two decades, the
u.s. has nabbed every opportunity to undermine the islamic system in
iran.
sd/ks
end
::irna 15/04/99 18:52

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:49:04 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Yazdi Reiterates Full Support For Velayat-E Faqih

Yazdi Reiterates Full Support For Velayat-E Faqih
=================================================


thr 033
yazdi-velayat
yazdi reiterates full support for velayat-e faqih
tehran, april 15, irna -- judiciary chief, ayatollah mohammad yazdi,
here thursday underlined the crucial role of velayat-e faqih (supreme
religious jurisprudent) in the society and called it as the strongest
backbone of the sensitive state organizations and specially the armed
forces of the islamic republic of iran.
addressing the concluding ceremony of a gathering of the army
commanders, he said in the face of crisis, valiye faqih has the final
say in the absence of the infallible household of the prophet (s.a.).
he further underlined the need for people to obey valiye faqih to
whom people have made allegiance.
in performing religious teachings people can imitate every alim
they want but in administrative affairs they should obey only the
supreme religious jurisprudent, he said.
yazdi recalled the statement made by the late imam khomeini who
once said as far as velayat-e faqih is supported the country
will be immune.
the judiciary chief called on the ulema, seminaries and cultural
officials to encounter those who try to weaken velayat-e faqih.
referring to the importance of hierarchy in the army and the
armed forces of the islamic republic, yazdi said the reason behind
the victory of iran in the imposed iraqi war (1980-88) was
observance of the hierarchy in the army as well as people's devotions
and presence in the scene.
sd/ks
end
::irna 15/04/99 15:52

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

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 20:48:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: On Trial Of Kadivar

On Trial Of Kadivar
===================

thr 047
court-kadivar
trial of hojatoleslam kadivar starts
tehran, april 14, irna -- the first session of the public trial of
hojatoleslam mohsen kadivar was held at the second branch of the
special court for the clerics, on wednesday.
kadivar, his lawyer seyyed hussein mousavi tabrizi and his family
were present in the open session.
hojatoleslam mohammad salimi is the court's judge.
kadivar was detained on february 27 on charges of dissemination
of fabrications and disturbing public opinion.
rejecting the charges, kadivar described them as political and
press charges and claimed that the special court for the clerics
is not qualified to investigate these offenses.
he said that according to article 168 of the constitution,
investigation into political and press offenses must be carried
out in the presence of a jury and by a qualified court at the
judiciary and that the special court for the clerics is not a part
of the judiciary.
the head of the court responded, ''your charges are not political
or press offenses and that we are aware that these charges should be
looked into at a court in the presence of a jury and your defense in
this respect is a personal approach.''
mousavi tabrizi also raised the question if there is an appeal
court to probe kadivar's protest.
salimi said an appeal branch has been formed at the court whose
judges are from the supreme court. the court will try to do its best
to prevent infringement of the rights of the defendants, he added.
mousai tabrizi added that according to the procedures of the
special court for the clerics, when the cospecial court for the clerics,
when the court is looking into press
offenses, observance of majlis approvals which call for the presence
of a jury and holding of public trial is necessary.
the court has acted the least upon the parliament approvals
in this regard, he said, adding absence of a jury is one of
the shortcomings of this trial.
according to the press law, hojatoleslam salimi said,
investigation into the charges against the clerics who are managers of
publications is carried out in the presence of a jury but kadivar's
charges are not pertaining to the press.
special prosecutor of the court, hojjatoleslam mohammad ebrahim
nekunam, read the bill of indictment against kadivar including
dissemination of fabrications, disturbing public opinion and
spreading propaganda hostile to the islamic system.
hearing the charges, the head of the court, hojjatoleslam salimi,
called on kadivar to defend himself.
kadivar's lawyer argued that if the leader has approved that the
special court for the clerics deal with a press offense, then
"there is no objection on our part.
he went on to say that at least eight points of charges raised by
the special prosecutor are considered as press offenses and in case of
press offenses one should ask managing director of the publication
which published the article.
writing an article is different from launching propaganda
campaign, tabrizi said, adding the major p
arts of the charges against
kadivar falls within press offenses.
tabrizi said if writing articles is not considered as an act of
propagation then the charge to this effect should be dropped out of
the indictment.
salimi rejected the charges being press offenses and said as
kadivar is not working as a journalist, editor-in-chief or managing
irector, his offense cannot be considered as press offense.
he further added that if it is not propagation then kadivar is
acquitted and there is not need to drop out the charge.
kadivar protesting against the bill of indictment said it was
rather a political declaration. he further said the prosecutor has
insulted him in the indictment bill and that he has lodged a
complaint against the prosecutor.
the court is "not qualified to investigate these offenses,"
kadivar said calling for the court to refer the case to the justice
department.
the defendant demanding that the court properly review his
speech at jami' mosque of husseinabad said that his speech had been
distorted.
kadivar objected to his being tried at the special court of the
clerics on the ground that first, the court was not a contitutionally
legally established entity. second, the court had no jurisdiction
deciding on the violation of press laws and political issue;
therefore, the court was not qualified to undertake such a
responsibility. third, no charge has been raised by legal entity or
person and fourth, the issue of legal damages in the indictment.
the judge then said, "the two major charges raised
against you include your dissemination of false information and
stirring up the public and slanderous propaganda against the sovereign
state of the islamic republic of iran."
kadivar in his defense rejecting the charges of slanderous
propaganda said, "any form of injurious propaganda against the
sovereign state is a crime. i have full trust, belief and faith in
the sacred sovereign state of the islamic republic of iran."
"if precise scrutiny of the material is made, it will show that i
had never intended to disseminate any slanderous propaganda against
the islamic sovereign state," kadivar told the court.
the defense lawyer, mousavi tabrizi said that there was a
difference between propaganda and scientific discussion and that his
client's discussions were scientific and that they were not propaganda
directed against the islamic sovereign state.
kadivar then told the court that he had made criticism based on
the constitution of the nation and that criticism was lawful within
the frameworks of the constitution.
kadivar said that his interviews appearing in khordad daily
in the month of february 1999 were not propaganda oriented material
directed against the islamic sovereign state.
he added that all his interviews have been in support of the
islamic republic of iran and that he fully rejected monarchic regime
and considered it null and void.
"my intention in these interviews had been based on promulgation
of the good deeds and enjoining the wrong acts," said kadivar.
"i strongly object to the claims made by the attorney general in
his indictment that among the individuals, i am a sworn enemy of the
islamic sovereign state, to have taken the task of writing against
it. i consider such a charge thoroughly false," said kadivar.
"i have defended the sovereign state of the islamic republic of
iran and that i have been the sworn enemy of the monarchic regime
and that 25 years ago, i had actively taken part in trying to
overthrow the pahlevi regime and that i was detained and arrested
for it. i have all along supported the islamic republic of iran and
that i was at the war front for one year in the eight-year sacred
defense," elaborated kadivar.
"i have not taken even a single step towards the sworn enemies
of the islamic sovereign state," said kadivar.
the judge advised kadivar to stop making general statement and
continue defending himself.
the defendant then said that he had the honor to be the student
of the late imam khomeini, the father of islamic revolution and
founder of the islamic republic of iran. he said that his three
published volumes had the blessed name of the late imam.
kadivar said that he had published a book on the concept
of supreme religious jurisprudence and that he considered the
islamic republic of iran as a 'solitaire pearl'.
"i believe that the charges raised against me by the attorney
general on my being the sworn enemy of the islamic sovereign state
is definitely incorrect," deduced kadivar.
"i also outright reject the baseless charge that i have
disseminated false propaganda and stirred the public against the
state," said kadivar.
the attorney general, mohammad ibrahim nikunam said, "based on
islamic penal law article 500, any individual who disseminates
slanderous propaganda against the islamic sovereign state with the
motive of disrupting security, causing rebellion is libel form three
months to one year imprisonment."
"i consider the security members of the information ministry to
be sincere and loyal," highlighted kadivar.
"neither had i implicitly nor explicitly associated the
recent assassination to the islamic sovereign state and that i had
not stirred the public in relation to this matter," finally stated
the defendant.
hojjatoleslam mohammad salimi who had presided over the hearing
announced the closure of the court and then said that the verdict
was to be announced after a week.
the judge of the special court of clerics then said that the
decision will have to be verified by the attorney general's office.
he added that once the sentence is confirmed and the defendant is
notified, he will have the right to make an appeal at the
special higher court of clerics.
hojjatoleslam salimi said that kadivar would remain in detention
until the time that the verdict is announced.
dh/dh
end
::irna 15/04/99 00:07




Ms. Kadivar Denies Remarks Agencies Attributed To Her Brother
=============================================================


thr 060
kadivar-denial
ms. kadivar denies remarks agencies attributed to her
tehran, april 14, irna -- ms. jamileh kadivar, sister of mohsen
kadivar, whose trial began in tehran's spedial court for clerics
today categorically denied wednesday afternoon the statements which
were attributed to her.
in a telephone conversation with irna, ms. kadivar said, "i
hereby, seriously deny the remarks the reuters and afp news agencies
attributed to her.''
the two agencies quoted her today as saying outside the court and
minutes before the hearing got underway, that the court officials are
worse than shah's hangmen.
sd/rr
end
::irna 14/04/99 18:02

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Apr 1999 to 15 Apr 1999 - Special issue
*******************************************************************