Date: Apr 28, 1999 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Apr 1999 to 27 Apr 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Apr 1999 to 27 Apr 1999
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There are 3 messages totalling 495 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

3. The documentary on Shamlou's


Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 11:51:48 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

Vol. 2, No. 17, 26 April 1999

A Review of Developments in Iran Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.

At a 12 April White House event, President Bill Clinton
said: "I think it is important to recognize, however, that
Iran, because of its enormous geopolitical importance over
time, has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from
various Western nations. And I think sometimes it's quite
important to tell people, look, you have a right to be angry
at something my country or my culture or others that are
generally allied with us today did to you 50 or 60 or 100 or
150 years ago." Many observers interpreted this as partial
fulfillment of the Iranian demand that the U.S. apologize for
what Tehran views as American misdeeds.
But this hope was dampened two days later, when U.S.
Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Martin Indyk
described America's "interest in seeing a constructive and
productive relationship develop with Iran," according to
Agence France Press. Indyk said for this to occur, all Iran
has to do is address three issues: "One: Iran's program to
develop weapons of mass destruction and missiles; two:
opposition to the peace process, and three: support for
terrorist activities and subversion."
The initial Iranian response to Clinton's comments came
from the Friday Prayer leaders, most of whom are appointed by
the Office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in
their 16 February sermons. In Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati
said: "They are repeating what they have been saying all
along. What kind of double-standard policy is this?"
In Qom, Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini-Najafabadi said: "maybe
some simple-minded people will say thank God that Clinton has
now confessed. ...Our people are not going to believe this
before they see action from America...Have the Iranian people
seen any action on your part to prove that you are telling
the truth and not lying? These are acts of deceit and
trickery. One of their plots is the radios that they have set
up...They have set up [Radio Free Europe/] Radio Liberty for
propaganda. They provoke our domestic enemies to weaken the
Islamic system."
Another response from the Supreme Leader's office came
through "Keyhan," a daily it supervises, on 19 April. It
described preparations for celebrations of the 19th
anniversary of the failed hostage rescue mission, when eight
Americans died in the Tabas desert in Khorasan Province.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on 21 April that a
rapprochement depended on a "practical change" in
Washington's attitude. Interior Ministry deputy Mustafa
Tajzadeh said on 17 April that "[Clinton's] admission speech
could be assessed as a new U.S initiative in regard to the
Islamic Republic of Iran."
Parliamentarian Hojatoleslam Majid Ansari, who has
favored dialog with the U.S. in the past, said: "American
statesmen should take brave and realistic actions to make up
for their wrong behavior towards the Iranian people and the
Iranian revolution." The conservative parliamentarian
Mohammad Javad Bahonar, reflecting on Clinton's words, said:
"We believe it is necessary to say such things. They had to
be said and they were said too late. However, we do not
believe that they are enough. We are waiting for a change in
the American statesmen's behavior towards Iranian affairs and
the sacred system of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Tehran University Professor Ebrahim Motaghi told "Iran"
newspaper on 19 April that after so many years, Clinton's
comments were noteworthy. Professor Davud Hermidas Banvand
said: "it is expedient that Iran should reply suitably on the
formation of a new horizon for a constructive relationship."
But not all Iranian academics think this way. In a 17 April
interview with Iranian state television, Professor Najafqoli
Habibi complained about America's pursuit of hegemonic
Overall, positive reactions were in the minority. Abbas
Abdi, who last summer met in Paris with one of the hostages
ast summer met in Paris with one of the hostages
he had taken in 1979 and who has been severely criticized for
the meeting, said the only people who trust America are
undemocratic, "Arya" reported on 18 April. "Before we look at
words, we look at actions, and these people have shown that
not only will they kiss America's hand they will go lower."
An editorial in the pro-Khatami daily "Salam" concluded
that Clinton's comments were insufficient and in any case had
been said before. What was needed, the paper said, was more
than understanding the anger of Iran: America must
"officially apologize to the Iranian people." "Sobh-i Imruz"
said: "Iranian officials should not underestimate U.S.
willingness for the resumption of ties." Clinton and Indyk's
comments were contradictory, "Jomhuri-yi Islami" said, which
"unveils the U.S.'s mischievous policies with respect to
Iran." Another editorial in the same daily said "bitter
experience" shows that American officials hope to use the
"deceitful policies of the past." This time, however,
"'Satan's co-singers' inside Iran will now sing in union with
Iran does not need America, "Resalat" editorialized on
19 April, because it has good relations with its neighbors
and with Europe. The conservative daily "Qods" said on 20
April that Clinton's comments were nothing new and were not a
specific message to Iran. "Qods" complained that the U.S.
wants other countries to terminate commercial relations with
Iran, and it is pressuring Moscow to do so. Another sign of
American duplicity, "Qods" said, is the anti-Iranian
broadcasts of "Radio Azadi" (RFE/RL).
Mohammad Mehdi Faqihi of the new conservative daily
"Entekhab" told "Tehran Times" on 20 April that "Clinton's
overture is a political tactic in order to deceive the
Iranian nation." He went on to say that it was a commercial
decision, because "American companies are suffering financial
losses" as their rivals establish ties with Iran. Masoud
Rezai of the conservative "Arzesh-ha" cited as another
example of U.S. efforts to establish ties the occasion when
former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane visited
Iran. Rezai did not say that McFarlane's trip was intended to
secure the release of American hostages held by Lebanon's
Hizballah. (Bill Samii)

Iran's approach to the Kosova crisis and NATO air
strikes against Yugoslavia, entering their fifth week,
remained essentially unchanged. Iran is making a greater
display of acting in its role as head of the Org
anization of
the Islamic Conference. Iran is still trying to exert
influence through its Russian allies. And state media varies
in its portrayal of the crisis, sometimes showing anti-
Western items, and other times carrying items that portray
the refugees' perspective.
On 19 April a delegation from the OIC Contact Group-
Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Senegal, and Turkey-headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi, went to Moscow to discuss the crisis with Russian
officials. Iran's ambassador to Moscow, Mehdi Safari, told
the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that "holding talks
with Russian officials is in light of the traditional
influence of Russia over Yugoslavia, as well as its permanent
membership in the UN Security Council." Safari said the OIC
calls for "cessation of NATO attacks, immediate return of the
Kosovar refugees to their homeland, and resumption of peace
talks between the belligerent parties." Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov promised, according to the dpa news
agency on 20 April, to discuss the Kosova Liberation Army as
a source of potential danger to European and Islamic states.
And Kharrazi observed that "the UN Security Council had not
yet fulfilled the role that was expected of it."
From Moscow, Kharrazi and the OIC delegation went to
Rome and then Tirana, where they visited refugee camps. On 21
April, Kharrazi announced that the OIC will continue its
humanitarian aid to the refugees, but the solution lies in
their repatriation. This, in turn, "depends on retreat of the
Yugoslav forces from Kosovo and reaching a diplomatic
solution to end the crisis."
IRNA continues a tendency which emerged recently. This
means that some reports about the refugees include their
demands for continued NATO airstrikes. A 17 April interview
with refugees in Albania said, for example: the refugees are
in total support of the continuation of NATO bombings until
Kosova is free." Other reports use the refugees to make a
point. An example of this is the report on 17 April that 117
Kosovar Albanians are being housed by Israel in a former
Palestinian village. But, "Palestinians see little difference
between what the Serbs are doing to the Kosovars these days
and what the Zionists did to the Palestinians 50 years ago."
IRNA also carries stories that cast the Kosova crisis in
starkly anti-Western terms. On 20 April British
parliamentarian Alice Mahon was quoted as saying the bombings
played a "big part" in the escalation of ethnic cleansing.
Another report on the same day referred to "NATO's war," in
connection with Western arms sales. Islamic Republic of Iran
Broadcasting continues to portray the airstrikes as the cause
of the refugee crisis. (Bill Samii)

The closure of "Zan" daily and the trial of its
publisher, parliamentarian Faezeh Hashemi, were just salvos
in an offensive against freedom of expression by hard-liners
in the Iranian government. Hashemi questioned the
admissibility of her being tried before a revolutionary
court, since she was faced with a press-related offense, but
the court ruled that publishing letters from the ex-empress
was a "counterrevolutionary act and propaganda on behalf of
the monarchy." The Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture
spoke out on her behalf, saying that the press court should
hear the case. Addressing parliament, Hashemi said the
conservatives were out of touch and unrepresentative. Some
parliamentarians responded by preparing a motion to eject
Hashemi from parliament and revoke her credentials, the
conservative daily "Abrar" reported on 22 April.
The Iranian Journalists' Association said the "Zan"
closure was "devoid of legal grounds," IRNA reported on 12
April. Also, many journalists lost their livelihoods and
others would no longer feel secure in theirs, the association
warned. In a letter to President Mohammad Khatami, 320
independent journalists requested his protection and support.
In a roundtable described by "Neshat" on 20 April, 10
journalists roundly condemned the closure. "Khordad" began
publishing a column called "Zan in Khordad" in a gesture of
defiance, and another called "Zan in Jahan-i Islam" appeared.
But the Judiciary's anti-press onslaught continued
throughout the country. The publisher of Sanandaj's Kurdish-
language "Sirwan" weekly was summoned "for publishing
falsehoods and slander against an adviser of the head of the
judiciary." It seems more likely that the real issue is
publication of an article about financial mismanagement in
the Kurdistan Province governorate, "Hamshahri" reported on
14 April. In Gilan Province, seven journalists were
imprisoned, "Neshat" reported on 17 April. Such incidents may
explain columnist and Khatami-supporter Amaoldin Baghi's
observation that the judiciary is operating politically and
is answerable to no authority, "Khordad" reported on 21
On 16 April, Kerman Friday Prayer leader Hojatoleslam
Seyyed Yahya Jafari sermonized that the press is causing
disunity in the country. The Interior Ministry filed a
complaint against the dailaint against the dailies "Qods" and "Keyhan,"
and the
weeklies "Yalisarat Al-Hussein," "Jebheh," "Sobh," and
"Siyasat." Newspapers attacked each other, too. "Neshat"
filed a complaint against "Qods," and "Qods" complained about
"Neshat" in a column.
Nasser Safarian, the daily "Salam's" movie critic, was
held for two days and questioned for signing a letter
demanding answers to the murders of dissidents and
intellectuals. He was released on the road to Behesht-i Zahra
cemetery, he told "Neshat" on 17 April. "Neshat" Director
Latif Safari had to appear before the Tehran revolutionary
court on charges of questioning the Islamic Revolution and
supporting the motion and
supporting the monarchy, "Qods" reported on 18 April.
Conservative figures are blaming the press for the
country's problems. Parliamentarian Ahmad Rasulinejad said
that some domestic publications held the clue to the recent
assassination of an Army general, "Abrar" reported on 17
April. Iranian Revolutionaryil. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
General Yahya Rahim
Safavi said: "The influence of the anti-revolutionary
elements in the country's press should be stopped." Four
senior ayatollahs wrote to President Mohammad Khatami, asking
him to confront the press's "violation of religious
principles, efforts to undermine Islamic belief, and
distortion of ethics," "Jomhuri-yi Islami" and "Keyhan"
reported on 19 April. The Student Basij of Tehran
Universities also complained about press excesses, "Sobh-i
Imruz" reported on 20 April.
But just as some publications are closed, some new ones
emerge. Islamic Guidance and Culture Ministry official Issa
Sarkhiz said 15 new publications have been licensed, IRNA
reported on 19 April. Eight of them will be produced by the
Islamic Propagation Organization, and two will be produced by
the IRGC. (Bill Samii)

On 21 April, 31 parliamentarians submitted a motion for
the interpellation of Islamic Guidance and Culture Minister
Ataollah Mohajerani. The motion said Mohajerani had not
restrained the press sufficiently and had questioned the
Judiciary's performance. He had advocated separation of
religion and politics, as well as establishment of relations
with the U.S. Mohajerani was also guilty of founding the
writers' association. "The Ministry failed to support
intellectual and cultural movies and instead films were
produced with aim of making profits" and fewer movies about
the Sacred Defense (Iran-Iraq War) were produced. Finally, he
was accused of misappropriating funds deposited for the minor
pilgrimage (Hajj). Mohajerani must appear before the Majlis
for questioning within ten days, IRNA reported.
Mohajerani explained to "Iran News" on 22 April that if
interpellated, he will run for parliament. Tabriz
parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Milani said Mohajerani is seen
as a political opportunist without a concrete stance. If
interpellated, Milani said, Mohajerani will become a martyr,
and if given a vote of confidence, he will be strengthened.
Also, supporters of President Khatami may close ranks around

<< Continued to next message >>>


Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 11:55:28 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

A possible replacement for Mohajerani is Islamic
Guidance and Culture Ministry deputy Ahmad Masjidjamehi,
"Arya" reported on 22 April. (Bill Samii)

Hojatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar was sentenced by the Special
Court for the Clergy to 18 months in prison, IRNA reported on
21 April. Kadivar's lawyer, Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Musavi-
Tabrizi , said they will appeal the conviction. Kadivar was
tried on 14-15 April for spreading propaganda against the
system of the Islamic Republic, spreading fabricatiystem of the Islamic
Republic, spreading fabricatiRepublic, spreading fabrications, and
causing public anxiety.
Perhaps to head off the criticism that would emerge over
the Kadivar conviction, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
ordered the release of Hojatoleslam Assadollah Bayat, the
"Tehran Times" reported on 20 April.
Kadivar is not the only clerical intellectual who has
had run-ins with the Special Court recently. Hojatoleslam
Mohammad Taqi Fazel-Meybodi's departure for the pilgrimage
was delayed when the Special Court ordered he be held at
Mehrabad Airport, "Neshat" reported on 7 April. Fazel-Meybodi
also has the kind of thinking which is threatening to Iranian
hard-liners. For example, in a 14 December interview with
"Khordad," he said: "Violence has been tested in various
societies throughout history, and no government has been able
to continue its rule by relying on threats and
assassinations. From the religious point of view, there is no
justification for such actions. In Islam everyone has the
right to state his view." He also spoke out in Khatami's
On the day of the Kadivar conviction, "Neshat"
editorialized that the Special Court had been created at the
time of Mehdi Hashemi's arrest (1986). It was necessary
because of the circumstances at the time to create a court
that would "secure the respect and prestige of the clergy."
But now the court was illegal, the editorial said, although
it did not explain why. "Sobh-i Imruz" said on 17 April that
the legality of the Special Court is in question. Mohammad
Salamati of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution
Organization (not to be confused with the Iraq-based
Mujahedin Khalq Organization) also questioned the Special
Court's legality, "Iran" daily reported on 22 April.
"Hamshahri" wanted to know why the Islamic Human Rights
Commission was kept out of Kadivar's trial if the Special
Court is so irreproachable.
Kadivar said a cell at Evin Prison is like a cleric's
room at the front. For him, therefore, being in prison is
equal to being at the front, "Khordad" reported on 18 April.
(Bill Sae front, "Khordad" reported on 18 April.
(Bill Sae front, "Khordad" reported on 18 April.
(Bill Samii)

It is over three months since the identification of MOIS
personnel involved in the murders of dissident politicians
and intellectuals Dariush and Parvaneh Foruhar, Mohammad
Jafar Pouyandeh, and Mohammad Mokhtari. Although Prosecutor
Hojatoleslam Mohammad Niazi delivered the files to the Tehran
military court, "Zan" daily reported on 4 April, nothing has
yet been done.
There is increasing dissatisfaction with the lack of
answers. "Khordad" reported on 18 April that a group of
(unnamed) Iranian religious and political figures sent a
letter to President Khatami's office in which they requested
a complete account of the recent murders as well as the
speedy trial of the murderers.
There was another hint that some are unhappy with
related to the security services. "Qods" asked if the MOIS
should be eliminated due to the "murder of two-three writers"
or because it could not prevent the assassination of a
military officer, "Arya" reported on 17 April.
In what might be a clue to the identity of one of the
killers of intellectuals and dissidents, "Zan" reported on 6
April about the resignation of MOIS Deputy Director Pour-
Mohammadi. Eleven days later, "Salam" reported that one of
the killers, a ten-year veteran of the Ministry of
Intelligence and Security, was a foreign agent. Although the
first intelligence minister, Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi
Reyshahri, never trusted this official, his successor, Ali
Fallahian-Khuzestani, trusted the official and made him a
department director.
Niazi tried to deflect criticism by saying on 21 April
that experts are working on the case "round-the-clock," and
the evidence would be made public at the "appropriate time."
As might be expected, Niazi said there is much evidence of
"foreign hands being at work."
Niazi also dismissed allegations about the failed
attempt in January to assassinate Tehran Justice Department
chief Hojatoleslam Ali Razini. Niazi was referring to a
reports in the pro-Khatami daily "Salam" on 17 April and the
conservative "Jahan-i Islam" on 18 April that several men
associated with the Hojjatiyeh Society are behind the murder
attempt. Founded in the 1950s as an anti-Bahai organization,
it is believed that many members of the Hojjatiyeh Society
entered government service after the Islamic revolutioned government
service after the Islamic revolutioned government service after the
Islamic revolutioned government service after the Islamic revolutioned
government service after the Islamic revolutioned government service
after the Islamic revolutioned government service after the Islamic
revolutioned government service after the Islam
Around 1983 there was debate that the society opposed the
concept of Vilayat-i Faqih, and eventually its founder,
Sheikh Mahmud Halabi, was forced to withdraw to Mashhad. The
Hojattiyeh Society ceased its activities in 1983 and its
members were absorbed into the Islamic Coalition Association
(Jamiyat-i Motalifih-yi Islami), which is one of the main
conservative pressure groups.
The unsuccessful assassins believed that as long as
those responsible to the Islamic Republic are in power,
"Salam" said, the Imam of the Age (who is in occultation)
will not return. They had, therefore, drawn up a list of
names for elimination. Several of the accused, the daily
reported, were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
Corps. Also, there are allegations that the network had Basij
ties. An objection to the "Salam" allegation of IRGC
involvement was published in "Keyhan" on 20 April. The
conservative "Qods" daily reported on 17 April that the
would-be killers were independent operators not associated
with any group.
In a related issue, the "Tehran Times" reported on 15
April that former Minister of Intelligence and Security
Hojatoleslam Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi is likely to succeed
Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani as spokesman of the Council
of Guaras spokesman of the Council
of Guardians. Emami-Kashani recently resigned for health
reasons. Dori-Najafabadi is secretary of the Assembly of
Experts. (Bill Samii)

Copyright (c) 1999. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 17:03:55 EDT
Subject: The documentary on Shamlou's

Hi all,

Here is the information about the International Film and Video Center that
could help those interested in acquiring and showing the documentary film on

Film: Ahmad Shamlou: Master Poet of Liberty
Dr. Bahman Maghsoudlou: Film producer
Internationls Film and video center
989 First Avenue
New York NY 10022
Tel: 212-826-8848




End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Apr 1999 to 27 Apr 1999