Date: Jul 25, 1999 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Jul 1999 to 24 Jul 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Jul 1999 to 24 Jul 1999
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There is one message totalling 75 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran's Khatami promises to defend rights, freedom

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Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 04:58:52 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran's Khatami promises to defend rights, freedom

Iran's Khatami promises to defend rights, freedom 05:47 a.m. Jul 24,
1999 Eastern

TEHRAN, July 24 (Reuters) - Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said in an
open letter to a young admirer he was determined to fight for the rights
and freedom of his people despite setbacks from recent unrest in the
streets of Tehran.

``I firmly stand by my oath to God and my people to defend their
dignity, freedom and rights,'' Khatami said in the letter, published on
Saturday, to a member of the Islamic militia, or Basij, asking him not
to lose heart.

The letter from the Basij member, which prompted Khatami's response and
which was entitled ``Seyyed, please smile again,'' also appeared in
newspapers on Saturday.

Khatami -- a Seyyed or one who is regarded as a descendant of the Moslem
Prophet Mohammad -- was elected in a landslide in 1997 on promises to
work for a freer and more democratic Iran.

He has come under mounting pressure from hardline opponents to slow the
pace of reform after student unrest led to riots in Tehran on July 13,
the country's worst rioting since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic
revolution.

The president said he was undaunted by the setbacks. ``Despite being
grieved and preoccupied, I have neither lost hope nor feel incapable and
feeble in this hazardous path to fulfil a great responsibility,'' he
wrote.

``Efforts by enemies of religion and freedom and those who stand in the
way of dignity, glory, independence and progress for this nation are in
vain.

``These winds which have no roots will subside and the sun of
independence, freedom and Islamic Republic will shine again brighter
than ever, despite all the anomalies, misdeeds and animosities,'' he
wrote.

The letters emerged as Khatami and his allies struggled to protect their
modest liberal achievements since his election on May 23, 1997, in the
face of a conservative backlash.

``Seyyed, I miss your smiles, the prophetic smiles you wore in the first
days after the May 23 epic,'' Khatami's supporter wrote. ``Seyyed,
please smile again so that blossoms will flourish again like they did on
May 23.''

Under heavy pressure from conservatives following the clampdown on this
month's unrest, Khatami's government has been forced to suspend many
democratic concessions, including the right of political assembly.

A pro-democracy student body said on Thursday its members had been
picked as targets for waves of arrests, beatings and forced confessions,
despite assurances by senior officials that the authorities would be
lenient in dealing with suspects not connected to foreign-based
dissident groups.

*--------------------------------------------*
* Farhad Abdolian, Stockholm/Sweden *
* Phone +46-8-920517 *
* http://www.algonet.se/~farhad/ *
* E-mail: farhad@algonet.se *
* farhad_abdolian@hotmail.com *
*--------------------------------------------*

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Jul 1999 to 24 Jul 1999
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