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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Aug 1999 to 10 Aug 1999 - Special issue
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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Aug 1999 to 10 Aug 1999 - Special issue
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There are 12 messages totalling 1237 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. Turkey, Iran discuss security
2. Iran releases captive Turkish soldiers ahead of security meeting
3. Iran blames Iraq for POW talks breakdown as war of words escalates
4. The Resolutions of the Second Demonstration of Iranians in San Jose
5. Khatami says Iran must learn to understand the West
6. RESOLUTION IN DEFENSE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
7. PUBLIC MEETINGS
8. fwd: Azar Nafisi & Laingen's testimony in US senate - PART 4
9. Iran to appoint new judiciary head next week
10. fwd: Azar Nafisi & Laingen's testimony in US senate - PART 3
11. [onelist_announce] The ONElist Community Update - August 10, 1999
12. AUGUST 11/ JOIN IHRWG/NY
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 09:36:22 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Turkey, Iran discuss security
ANKARA, Aug 10 (AFP) - Turkish and Iranian officials on Tuesday
began a two-day meeting here on security issues following renewed
tension over Tehran's claims of Turkish aggression, the NTV news
"We have a long border with Iran. It is natural that we
encounter problems. We will try to solve them," Turkish Interior
Ministry Undersecretary Yahya Gur said before the talks.
The delegations, headed by Gur on the Turkish side and Iranian
deputy Interior Minister Gulem Hussein Bolandiyan for Iran, are
expected to discuss accelerating existing mechanisms between the two
countries to ensure cooperation on border security.
The main point of the talks will be Ankara's accusations on
alleged support by Tehran to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
fighting for Kurdish self-rule on Turkish territory.
The meeting came after an ease in bilateral relations following
the release on Monday of two Turkish soldiers who had been detained
by Iran for over two weeks.
Iran was claiming the soldiers were part of a larger group which
penetrated Iranian territory and were forced to withdraw by Iranian
armed forces while Ankara argued that they had crossed the border
Turkish-Iranian ties were strained when Iran claimed that
Turkish warplanes bombed its its Piranshahr region on July 18,
killing five people and wounding 10 others.
Turkey rejected the charges, saying its planes had carried out
an air-raid in northern Iraq, not Iran, and countered by accusing
the Tehran administration of backing PKK rebels.
A Turkish team of investigators visited Piranshahr in late July
to look into the bombing claims and is expected to file a report in
the coming days.
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 09:36:42 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran releases captive Turkish soldiers ahead of security meeting
ANKARA, Aug 9 (AFP) - Iran on Monday handed over two Turkish
soldiers it was holding captive to Turkish authorities at the
Kapikoy border gate ahead of a security meeting between the two
countries in Turkey.
A Turkish delegation from the province's Baskale town flew to
the border gate in the eastern Anatolian province of Van by
helicopter to oversee the handover of the two soldiers at 3:00 p.m.
(1200 GMT), the Anatolia news agency reported.
"Our soldiers are in good condition. We will take them back to
their barracks in Baskale," the governor of the town, Sevket Cinbir,
told the news agency.
The two soldiers had been detained by Iran in late July after
crossing the border to Iranian territory.
Tehran said the detained troops were part of a bigger group that
tried to penetrate the region of Qator and were repulsed by the
Iranian armed forces on July 23.
But Ankara insisted from the outset that the soldiers had
crossed the border unintentionally and demanded their immediate
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said last week that the
two soldiers would be released as a sign of good intentions
following Turkey's assurances that the border violation was
"The release took place on humanitarian grounds and after Ankara
had assured Tehran that the aggression was not intentional," the
Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement announcing the releases
reported by the official IRNA news agency.
"We express satisfaction that the issue, which was neither
intentional nor caused by ill intentions, has been resolved within
good neighbourly ties," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a
It added that Turkish Foreign Minister Cem telephoned Kharazi to
express his gratitude over his efforts for a peaceful settlement of
The soldiers' release marked a decrease in tension between the
two neighbours following a mounting war of words in recent weeks.
Iran accused Turkish warplanes of bombing the Piranshahr region
on July 18, killing five people and wounding 10 others.
But Turkey insisted it bombed northern Iraq, not Iran, and in
turn accused Iran of supporting rebels of the Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK) fighting against the Ankara government.
Turkey is expected to bring up its accusations of Iranian
support for the PKK during a two-day security meeting with an
Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Interior Minister Gulem Hussein
Bolandiyan, which opens Tuesday.
"We are holding meetings on resolving the problems with Iran
over the PKK. We are very sensitive on this issue," Turkish Prime
Minister Bulent Ecevit told reporters Monday.
The Turkish interior ministry said in a written statement that
the Ankara meeting would focus on accelerating the existing
mechanisms to ensure security cooperation between the two
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 09:36:01 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran blames Iraq for POW talks breakdown as war of words escalates
TEHRAN, Aug 10 (AFP) - A top Iranian commander blamed Iraq on
Tuesday for the breakdown in their POW talks as a new war of words
erupted between the two nations following a threatening speech from
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Tehran papers denounced Saddam as a murderous dictator after he
threatened to use force against Iran while in Baghdad a daily run by
Saddam's son said the Iranian leadership needed to get over its
General Abdollah Najafi, the head of Iran's committee on POWs
from the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, accused Baghdad of intentionally
blocking last month's talks on one of the thorniest issues between
"Iraqi officials very obviously engineered the breakdown in the
talks which began July 24 in Baghdad," Najafi told reporters here.
"After the second day we knew that their political officials
were looking to block the talks. The negotiations went nowhere and
that was exclusively the fault of the Iraqi authorities," he said.
He accused Iraqi officials of trying to alter a final report on
the 10 days of talks without the permission of the Iranian
delegation and said in the end they had refused to sign the report
The charge comes two days after Saddam made a provocative "Great
Victory Day" speech marking the 11th anniversary of the war's end in
which he hinted Iraq might use force to resolve outstanding issues
between the two nations, which have yet to sign a peace treaty.
He accused Tehran of repeatedly rejecting Iraqi offers to
conclude a peace agreement, which has in part been blocked by
ongoing wrangling over the POW question.
The hardline Jomhuri Eslami paper said Tuesday that the speech
was "purely for internal politics. He is afraid the Iraqi people
will revolt, so he takes every opportunity to show off his
The pro-government Iran paper denounced Saddam as an
"executioner" and "faded dictator" and said Iran's armed forces had
laughed off his threats as a "late-summer joke."
But in Baghdad the Babel daily, run by Saddam's son Uday, called
the speech "an appeal to Iranian leaders to free themselves of their
inferiority complexes and their feelings of impotence."
Saddam's comments showed "goodwill," it said, urging Iran's
rulers to look to the future "after freeing themselves of the
feelings of jealousy which pushed them to follow a policy of
aggression and destruction."
Al-Iraq, the newspaper of Kurdish parties loyal to Saddam,
asked: "When will Iran's leaders see reason and fulfil the
requirements for peace, good neighbourliness and stability?"
Iranian officials and the press have repeatedly lambasted Saddam
since the speech, calling him a "pest" who has terrorised the Iraqi
people and the Middle East.
"He has wielded the sword with all the finesse of a blind
drunkard," the Iran Daily said Monday, noting Saddam's 1990 invasion
of Kuwait which led to the Gulf War and 10 years of harsh UN
sanctions that have crippled the nation.
"What he has done to the Iraqi people themselves is a still
unfolding story of some of the most brutal human behavior in the
annals of history," it said.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said the speech was
"inspired by a feeling of failure and humiliation."
Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Baghdad remain at the
level of charge d'affaires since the bloody war, which left hundreds
of thousands dead on both sides.
Najafi said Baghdad had given him a list of 2,952 Iraqis it
claimed were still being held by Iran.
Meanwhile said he had given the Iraqi delegation the names of
2,922 Iranian POWs allegedly still in prison, although Baghdad has
said it released all Iranian prisoners except 64 "criminals" it says
took part in a 1991 uprising.
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 09:38:54 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: The Resolutions of the Second Demonstration of Iranians in San Jose
of the Second Demonstration of Iranians in San Jose
In Solidarity With The Students Movement in Iran
Sunday, August 8, 1999
From July 8 to July 12, 1999, the Islamic Republic's police, agents and
paramilitary personnel in civilian clothes used the most barbaric and bloody
methods to suppress the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations of the students
in Iran. While this bloody suppression of the Iranian Students Movement has
failed to crush the Movement, it has inflicted numerous atrocities on these
brave students including more than a dozen killed, thousands arrested, public
"confessions" derived after torture and numerous cases of disappearance. These
atrocities are continuing to this day.
From their words and deeds, it is obvious that the tyrannical and
leaders of the regime are very alarmed and are showing their trepidation at
depth and breadth of the freedom movement and the determination of our
compatriots - especially the shapers of Iran's future - it's youth and
We have come together here, for the second time, to declare to the theocratic
leaders of Iran who adhere to some of the most inhumane values of the Dark
in human history, and to promise our beloved students and all free men and
women of the world that we will never abandon our courageous youth to the
and mercy of the despots in Iran. Here and now, we make a pact with these
brave students and the oppressed people of Iran to echo their rallying cry for
freedom and self-determination far and wide throughout the world.
We, the participants in this demonstration, demand immediate action on the
1) Immediate response to the just demands of the students.
2) Free all prisoners of conscience, including all those recently arrested.
3) Open and public trials of the real instigators and those who executed the
attacks on students.
4) Open and public trials of the real instigators and those who murdered the
intellectuals, writers and dissidents last year and in the proceeding years.
5) An end to all forms of killing, torture, abduction, execution and
6) Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and unconditional freedom of
7) Implementation of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human
Finally, we hold the regime of the Islamic Republic directly responsible for
the violence and atrocities against the students and the entire society in
Iran. We call on all individuals, human rights groups, relevant international
organizations, especially students and their organizations throughout the
world, to voice their condemnation of the violent suppression of the Iranian
students and join us in a vigorous defense of the Iranian Students Movement's
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 09:42:45 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Khatami says Iran must learn to understand the West
TEHRAN, Aug 8 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami said Iran is suffering
an "identity crisis" brought on by its failure to understand the
freedoms at the heart of Western civilisation, newspapers reported
"The two contradictory attitudes of love and hatred toward the West have
blocked us from accurately understanding the West," Khatami said in a
speech Saturday reported in Tehran newspapers.
"Our identity crisis can be said to be the most serious predicament in
the country in the past 200 years. It is partly rooted in the emergence
of the new Western civilisation, the founding principles of which have
not been clear or tangible for us," he said.
Khatami said the absence of basic liberties throughout Iran 's history
had made Iranians unable to comprehend the freedoms at the root of
"It is absolutely necessary to understand Western civilisation
correctly," he said.
"We were totally deprived of freedom in our history and people did not
have the right to determine their own fate at all.
"Despots ruled by virtue of so-called religious legitimacy for years
while the ruler himself exercised absolute authority. This has always
been the source of crises in the country," he said.
Khatami urged Iranians to distinguish between the divine values of Islam
and the historical traditions of the country in order to resolve the
"To have a past does not mean accepting whatever our predecessors have
said," he said.
Since coming to power in 1997 the reformist president has made several
high-profile overtures to the West in a bid to polish Iran 's image
internationally, which was damaged by the 1979 hostage-taking at the US
embassy just months after the Islamic revolution.
Khatami visited Italy in March, the first visit to Europe by an Iranian
head of state since the revolution, and delivered a scholary address on
the historical and philosophical roots of modern civilisations.
But a planned trip to France collapsed under a diplomatic row over
whether alcohol would be served at a state dinner in his honour.
He has repeatedly called for a "dialogue between civilisations" but has
come under fire from conservatives and hardliners opposed to any
reconciliation with the West.
His largely pro-democracy reform agenda has also come under attack, with
the closure of moderate newspapers that flourished after he took office
and the arrest of several close pro-reform allies.
Last month a student protest over the ban on a pro-Khatami paper erupted
in six days of bloody riots after demonstrators were attacked by
security forces and Islamic hardliners.
Khatami called the riots a "declaration of war" against his reform
agenda but insisted that any apparent schism in the Iranian leadership
was an "illusion."
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 13:22:05 EDT
Subject: RESOLUTION IN DEFENSE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
POLITICAL PRISONERS MUST BE RELEASED IN IRAN
· The Islamic Republic of Iran has repressed the July 1999 protests
of students and people in 18 cities in Iran;
· At least nine men and women have been killed by the regime;
· Over a thousand women, men and youth have been arrested,
subjected to prolonged interrogations, beatings, torture, and have
been forced to sign false confessions while blindfolded or to provide
videotaped confessions extracted under torture;
· There is a continued wave of arrests of former political prisoners
· The regime has threatened the protesters with execution;
· We condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for its repression and
denial of basic human rights;
· We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all
political prisoners, including those arrested during the July 1999
· We demand unconditional freedom of assembly, association and
_________________________________________ Organization's Name
Send the resolutions to Khatami and Khamenei, Iranemb@salamiran.org;
firstname.lastname@example.org with copies to email@example.com.
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 13:31:47 EDT
Subject: PUBLIC MEETINGS
THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF IRANIAN REFUGEES
(IFIR) AND THE COMMITTEE FOR HUMANITARIAN
ASSISTANCE TO IRANIAN REFUGEES (CHAIR)
IN PUBLIC MEETINGS
Discuss the current situation in Iran and participate in our
activities in defense of human, women's and refugee rights and in
opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran
At HUNTER COLLEGE
Thomas Hunter Building, Room 111
(Lexington Avenue between
68th and 69th Streets, Manhattan)
Thursday August 19, 1999 AND
Thursday September 2, 1999
7:00 - 9:00P.M.
For more information, contact Maryam Namazie or Keyvan
Javid, IFIR/CHAIR, GPO, PO Box 7051, New York, NY
10116. Tel: 212-747-1046. Fax: 212-425-7260.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web Site: www.chair.org;
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 14:52:49 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: fwd: Azar Nafisi & Laingen's testimony in US senate - PART 4
BROWNBACK: Thank you, Dr. Nafisi. That was an excellent and very passionate
statement, and I hope we can get from you the names of these freedom
fighters that are imprisoned and whose lives are in peril so that we could
put their names forward for the rest of the world to see.
NAFISI: I have already given their web site and also the names that I got
from the web site this morning, sir. I would appreciate that.
BROWNBACK: Thank you.
Dr. Green, thank you very much for joining us. The floor is yours.
GREEN: Let me begin by saying I've written a statement which I hope will be
entered into the record.
BROWNBACK: Yes, it will.
GREEN: And I don't want to go over what's in there but raise a few other
And second of all, I would like to thank you for devoting so much of your
precious time to discussing Iran, which is enormously important, and I'm
privileged and delighted to be here to share my limited insights with you.
I'm a political scientist. I began my study of Iran in the 1970s. I wrote my
Ph.D. dissertation on the Iranian revolution. I did my field work in Tehran
during the revolution and I've been back to Tehran twice since then. I've
been involved in assorted track two meetings with various Iranian officials
who are indeed officials who are monitored by Tehran and who are limited in
terms of their ability to influence change both domestically and
And one thing which I am particularly interested in and have been since 1978
is U.S. policy towards Iran. Having witnessed a rather shameful episode in
our own history in terms of our ability to deal effectively with events in
Iran in '78, '79, I'm keenly committed to trying to think as systematically
as I can about U.S.-Iran policy, which again is something that it seems
rather evident but is not always the case.
I think it can be synthesized to five points. The first is what do we want
in Iran? There are certainly three areas in which we have had significant
disagreements with the government in Tehran. The first is the use of
terrorism. Second is rejection of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and the
third is Iran's attempt to develop a WMD capability and specifically a
nuclear capability, specifically with assistance from Moscow and others.
Although there's been some progress on some of these, there's been
backsliding. And it's quite clear that by any standard, the progress has
been insufficient, although we tend to be somewhat charitable in our view of
this insufficiency largely because of President Khatami, the speech he made
to the American people on CNN, and a sense, a rather inchoate sense that
he's a good guy with good values with whom we can make a deal, although none
of this has been articulated or has been fleshed out to my satisfaction.
The other issues which are more recent is the arrest of 13 Jews in Shiraz on
charges of espionage for Israel, which have not been documented and are in
my view highly unpersuasive, and then events that are occurring in Tehran,
and not only in Tehran but in Tabriz and elsewhere throughout Iran as
described by my colleague, Dr. Nafisi.
So within this context we need to figure out what is our policy, what are
our strategic interests, what is it we would like to see happen in Iran,
what outcome would we like to see occur, and this has not been articulated
to my satisfaction.
The second is a question which we've not talked about today, but how does
our Iran policy affect our broader regional interests? One of the forces
that led to a rapprochement, very limited as it may be with Iran, was in
fact a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. It's interesting to look at Iranian
diplomacy. It's interesting to look at Iranian foreign relations. Foreign
Minister Kharrazi recently visited Amman in Jordan. There has been an
improvement in ties between Iran and Lebanon, not only Hizbollah but the
government of Lebanon in Beirut.
There was a very successful state visit to Italy and a failed state visit to
Rome, to Italy, because President Khatami was unwilling to have himself
photographed at a dinner table littered with wine bottles, and the French
being as devoted as they are to wine, were unwilling to remove the bottles,
and therefore the visit was canceled.
Germany canceled a state visit because of the arrest of the Shiraz -- the
Jewish prisoners in Shiraz. So, again...
BROWNBACK: I thought you were going to say there were beer bottles on the
table in Germany and so they wouldn't...
GREEN: Well, it's, I -- when I was writing, I was being, feeling very
eloquent talking about a conflict between Islamic fundamentalism and French
But, in any case, it's quite clear that there's a lot of uncertainty, and I
think for us to conceptualize Iran in isolation from our other regional and
global interests is a serious mistake.
Israel is frequently invoked as in a way that portrays the Israelis as being
somewhat more monolithic on the Iran issue than they are. In fact, in Israel
now, there is an interesting debate going on about what Israel's posture
should be vis-a-vis Iran. There was an important piece written in Har Aritz
(ph), which is one of the main Israeli newspapers, by a professor in
So the Israelis themselves are trying to grapple with this Iran issue, and
the forces that led to these hearings have been outstripped in my view by
the arrest of the people in Shiraz and thee events in Iran so that the
question of rapprochement which was dicey to begin with may appear to be
even more dicey now because of these recent events.
Other regional issues which I think are important to talk about are
Afghanistan, which the United States and Iran for somewhat different reasons
have problems with the Taliban.
Pakistan. Its nuclear tests. The foreign minister of Iran was in Islamabad
within a week talking about the Islamic bomb, which put differently was, you
have one, we don't, what are the implications for us in Iran?
Iraq, another area in which I think we need to be attentive.
So, again, I'm not arguing about U.S. policy coordination with Iran on a lot
of these issues, but more sufficient attention to how our position and
policies towards Iran affect our regional interests, and even in fact our
global interests. And a lot of time has been spent trying to persuade the
Russians to back down from their provision of WMD components to the Iranians
without a great deal of success.
My next question is can't -- and this one sounds far more impotent than I
would like, but I think it's a real, it's important: Can we in fact have any
impact on Iran or on events in Iran either through engagement or through
containment? I mean, these are, in a sense, the two, these are the bookend
positions. One is that we engage the Iranians in the way in which the
Europeans did. The other is that we contain them as was the case with what
used to be called dual containment.
Do either one of these really make a difference? Can we really have an
impact on Iran either domestically or regionally? And again, we could have
-- and there are people that would have very vigorous debates about
precisely this issue. But the reality is, I am not certain at the degree to
which we can in fact have an effect on Iran. And second of all, I am not
certain the degree to which we want to have an effect on Iran, given our
important strategic relations with a number of other partners. Saudi Arabia
is one example. Our NATO allies are others and so forth.
So it's really difficult to talk about Iran in isolation from all of these
The next point, do we have partners in Iran with whom we can work? In other
words, let us assume that we articulate a policy towards Iran. Our policy
towards Iran needs an Iranian component. We need people with whom we can
collaborate, people with whom we can talk, people with whom we need to run
past our ideas, our expectations and so forth.
GREEN: And again, I'm not certain that there are people over the long haul
with whom we can collaborate in Iran. Certainly not Khatami, for reasons of
There are countless opposition groups living in "Irangeles." I'm exposed to
all of them. L.A. is the second largest Persian-speaking city in the world
after Tehran. So that we talk about doing Ph.D. field work in L.A. as sort
of the functional equivalent of going to Iran.
I'm exposed to innumerable fractions and factions and types of Iranian
emigre, politics -- I mean, some of the same restaurants that I used to eat
at in Tehran exist in L.A. with the same names, and I think some of the same
And it's one of the things about which I'm deeply concerned, is that we
can't have an Iran policy without an Iran in it, and the question is, with
whom do we deal, vis-a-vis this Iran policy.
I've been countless track-two meetings with the Iranian government
(OFF-MIKE) I always find them very beneficial, but I always wonder, a, why
did the meetings happen in Europe; and, b, how representative are the people
with whom I'm meeting. I find them fascinating, I find them important, but
at the end of the day I'm not certain that these people are as
representative or have the ability to forge the kind of deal that we would
like to have.
So I would expand that even more broadly to -- to an assortment of groups
and others in Iran.
Let me conclude -- I'm probably being too brief, but I don't think that's a
sin. I think that these issues all need to be brought back to the question
of what is the U.S. interest in Iran, what are our strategic objectives, how
do we hope to accomplish them. As simplistic as that formulation sounds, it
has been bedeviling us for 20 years.
I saw it on the streets of Tehran, I saw it in the American embassy in
Tehran during and after the revolution. I've seen it elsewhere in the Middle
East, and I think until we get that right, the rest of our discussion is
just that: It's interesting, it's informative, but I'm not certain it's
taking us down the road that we wish to be taken.
Thank you. BROWNBACK: Thank you, Dr. Green. I particularly appreciate your
comment about the importance of Iran relative to the rest of the region
where we have such involvement, strategic interest. And you can look at Iraq
and what's taking place there. You can look at Central Asia and Iran's
impact and influence that they're trying to build and grow in that region.
You can look at the Middle East peace process where in the next 15 months
maybe a very critical time for it, and Iran continues to fight with us in
that area, and then expansion and support that Iran is expressing even in
some places in Africa.
They are a key component of our foreign policy concerns.
I would welcome Senator Torricelli to the committee. Thank you for joining
us. I'd had an opening statement earlier, if you care to make a statement
now, or we can go to questions.
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 14:54:14 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran to appoint new judiciary head next week
TEHRAN, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Iran plans to appoint a new judiciary head next
to replace Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, a stern critic of President Mohammad
Khatami's liberal reforms, the judiciary announced on Tuesday.
Yazdi, a staunch conservative at the helm of the powerful judiciary for 10
years, will be succeeded by Iraqi-born Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi, who has not
taken sides in the current factional dispute in the Islamic republic.
Judiciary spokesman Fotowwat Nasiri-Savadkouhi told the official IRNA news
agency the transfer would take place on August 17.
Iran's judiciary is independent from Khatami's administration and is among
powerful institutions in the Islamic republic under direct control of supreme
clerical leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Its current chief, Ayatollah Yazdi, has been at sharp odds with Khatami's
pro-reform allies and his courts have moved to imprison many liberal
journalists and Islamic intellectuals in the past months.
The boldest move came in the closure last month of the country's leading
pro-reform newspaper for five years and the barring of its publisher Mohammad
Mousavi-Khoeiniha from press activities for three years. The court ordered the
ban on the daily Salam for printing secret documents.
The court's original order on July 7 suspending Salam touched off a
pro-democracy student rally that was attacked by police and hardline
vigilantes, leading to the worst unrest since the aftermath of the 1979
Yazdi's resignation was a main demand in a series by pro-reform students in
last month's riots. Yazdi has dismissed such calls and says the decision to
step down was his alone.
Pro-reform groups, accusing the judiciary of siding with conservatives, are
cautiously welcoming Yazdi's departure, hoping that his successor will soften
the courts' attitude towards them.
Hashemi, 57, has so far taken a low profile in Iran's political infighting,
earning him modest support from both conservatives and reformers. Press
suggest some sweeping change in the upper ranks of the judiciary may soon
follow his assumption of office.
But officials say Khamenei has limited to 10 years the tenure of chiefs of
institutions under his wing.
``The leader thinks that it is not efficient for a head of an institution to
serve more than 10 years,'' Habibollah Asgaroladi, an aide to Khamenei, said
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 14:52:24 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: fwd: Azar Nafisi & Laingen's testimony in US senate - PART 3
Dr. Nafisi, please. Thank you for joining us today.
NAFISI: I would like to thank you for asking me to testify today. It's a
BROWNBACK: If you could, that microphone is three directional. So you need
to get right...
NAFISI: Should I push it back or...
BROWNBACK: No, pull it forward towards you.
NAFISI: Forward? Usually I have to push it back.
I would like to thank you for the privilege of being here today to testify.
I just also want to go on the record about my own background. Sometimes I'm
mistakenly called an Iran expert.
I am Iranian. I'm not an Iran expert. Actually my field of expertise, which
I think my experiences in the past 18 years in Iran, has shown to be one of
the most subverse in relation to an authoritarian regime is English
And that is what I do, not just for a living, but for being alive. I have
been spending, after I finished my degree, I went back to Iran in 1979 and
in that capacity I have been teaching, writing and working as a woman for
human rights of the Iranian women as well as working very closely with the
In 1980, when the government made the veil mandatory in Iranian
universities, I and three of my colleagues at the faculty of English
literature and languages -- Persian literature and languages refused to wear
the veil, refused to go to university and were expelled.
And this system of sort of guerrilla warfare with the government has
continued until today when I'm sitting here. I have the privilege to testify
about my people. I would like to concentrate what I want to say today about
the relation -- about the situation in Iran today and what has happened
during the past two weeks.
I would also like to take the student protests of the past two weeks. And
the role various factions in Iran has played in these protests as a
microcosm of what is happening in Iran.
So what I will do -- I would pose certain questions and then try to answer
those questions and at the end -- at the conclusion I will talk about a
little bit about what I think at least as an Iranian, as a woman and as an
academic, but most important as person who does believe in certain universal
values and in democracy what U.S. could do which would be helpful to the
struggle of the Iranian people.
So the first question that I have been asked during the past two weeks is,
who are these students? How representative are they of the rest of the
society? Sir, I would like to tell you that these students are what the
government, a long time ago, 20 years ago, called children of revolution. It
is now the children of revolution that are questioning the basic tenants of
that revolution. A few months ago, one of these students, Manouchehr
Mohammadi, who later on -- actually about two or three days ago -- was seen
on the Iranian TV, under torture he was brought to the Iranian TV to testify
that he came to United States as a spy and that he had meetings with
different Zionist and Imperialist agents in order to work against his
Now Manouchehr Mohammadi and other student rebel leader Taba Zahdi (ph),
these are representative of what the student body in Iran is today. And like
what certain papers and authors have been saying, they do not come from the
more comfortable section of the Iranian society.
Seventy percent of the student body in Iran is the government's share. They
come from the families of the Islamic revolution, the guard, the Islamic
militia and families of the martyrs of the war with Iran.
So the body of the students, as represented by Manouchehr Mohammadi and Taba
Zadhi (ph), one of whom -- both of whom are in jail now -- are people who
either come from families who belonged to the revolution, who are faithful
to the revolution.
Taba Zadhi's (ph) two brothers were killed in the Iran/Iraq war or they come
from families who -- or they themselves as young people like Mohammadi when
he was 13, participated in the 1979 revolution against the Shah.
These students today have changed the name of their organization from the
Islamic Students Association to the Democratic Students Association. I will
go into more detail into what they're all about.
These are the people who at 20 years ago demonstrated so that I would be
wearing the veil. And now when they come to Washington, I would be one of
the people they want to talk to.
These are the people who not only said death to the Shah, but said death to
the nationalists to the prime minister Mosadier (ph). So that now the
Iranian government is asking you to apologize for the 1953 coup.
In fact the Iranian government has always been anti-Mosadier (ph),
anti-nationalist. And one of the reasons for the torture of these students
in jails right now as they said to the radio here in Los Angeles is the fact
that they have been using the slogans that are pro-nationalist and
Now, what I want to say is that the change within the last 20 years has been
very significant within the Iranian society and these changes come from
within that society because when this revolution began, my people went into
the streets not wanting to take away their rights, but wanting more rights.
The didn't know what an Islamic republic meant, but their main slogans were
for more political participation and more -- for more social participation.
And the contradictions we are confronted with now and the contradictions
that the students here represent today comes from using a religion and using
it as an ideology and imposing it upon a very vibrant and dynamic society.
So this is the problem that Iran is facing today.
Now, who are the allies of these students? How representative are they? As I
said, since they come from the families of people who were supportive of the
revolution and since the demonstrations that started in Tehran spread to 17
others cities in Iran, you will see that how all embracing these
Not only that, but the way the Iranian citizens acted in the streets in
support of the students was very reminiscent of the 1979 revolution. People
were passing students ice water and they were reprimanding the revolutionary
guards and the militia telling them why are you killing your own brothers?
You should be ashamed of what you're doing.
Senator, if you know anything about a country like Iran, you would know that
25,000 people coming into the streets to oppose the policies of the
government are putting their lives on line. So it's very difficult to bring
those people into the street.
But 100,000 people coming to the call of the government is nothing. Even
during the Shah's time there would be bus loads of people from government,
from the schools. This time Elaine Shelina (ph) in a report from Tehran also
talked about the fact the militia were told to wear civilian clothes and to
participate in these demonstrations.
So 100,000, when before they could bring a million people into the streets,
is nothing. And it shows how disappointed and disenchanted the Iranian
people with the state of the affairs. The students, their demands and their
slogans -- and I will come to their slogans in a few minutes -- reflect what
the majority of Iran's nascent civil society have been asking, especially in
the past two years.
They were protesting very peacefully against the banning of the moderate
paper "Salam," which by the way has been published for the past 10 years,
you know, without being banned. They were also protesting against a very
repressive press law that was passed by the Iranian parliament.
They were also asking for the murderers of the nationalist and secular
leaders, Darlush (ph) and Parguanif Ahad (ph), and three others to be
brought to justice. This is what their demands were. And these demands, they
were supported not just by secular and nationalist forces, they were in fact
support from peoples within the ranks of the clerics.
The Grand Ayatollah Homan Khazari (ph), who was the highest ranking cleric
in Iran, wrote a two page virulant attack on how the government acted in
this matters. Ayatollah Heriyokas Bajan (ph) did the same thing. There is a
great deal of unrest within the younger clerics in Qom (ph).
During the past two years, those who have been victims of this government,
thanks to Mr. Khatami, have been in fact people who were from within the
wombs of the Islamic revolution. I will bring you two examples: Moseni
Khativar (ph), a young, very popular cleric, who is no in jail and for whom
-- and on whose behalf the students have also been protesting and
demonstrating and Hojapolis Sumsidozig (ph) who protested against the
repressive laws against women -- you know that the laws against women -- the
rule of law that Mr. Khatami is talking back is no magna carta, sir.
This is the law which has changed the age of consent for girls from 18 to
eight and a half lunar years. So a girl of eight and a half will be married,
but a woman who is 50 years old cannot be married for the first time without
the consent of her father.
This is the law that stones men and women for the crime of adultery. This is
the law that does not consider women as whole human being. Women cannot
witness as they're considered as half a man. So two women witnesses will
take part, you know, will take the place of one man.
So these are the laws that we are talking about when we are talking about
the rule of law. And above all this the law that has the supreme leader --
religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the sole person who can say yea
or nay to anything that goes on in that country today.
Now, what I want to say then is that the important thing is not that people
like me who were never enchanted by the revolution are now today
disenchanted. Today people who came from the heart of the revolution, who
were in fact the instruments in creating this revolution are now
disenchanted and that is why the government feels such a threat.
Who are the people who attacked the students? I would not go into that, sir.
You yourself in your statement talked about the people -- the vigilantes --
who with the aid of the police ransacked and threw the students from the
rooftops of their dormitories.
But I would also like to bring to your attention that in the reports from
the demonstrations one person who as badly wounded -- and that's why he was
discovered -- belonged to the Hizbollah in Lebanon. So it is not just the
vigilantes in Iran that are sort of participating in these demonstrations.
The main -- the last -- the missed point and then I will try to come to my
conclusion that I would like to make, is what do these people want? I would
like to pay -- to draw your attention to the slogans that these students
At the beginning of the revolution, the slogans were: "Death to America,"
"Death to Zionism." Now their slogans are "Death to Despotism, long live
liberty." They have specific targets as despots. Nobody in Iran, in their
right or wrong mind, would dare come into the streets and say we don't want
the Islamic Republic. They didn't say that, sir. But let us see what they
did say. Their slogans were mainly targeting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the
supreme leader, the judicial system, the Iranian parliament, the Iranian
revolutionary guards and the Iranian militia.
So who is left? You do away with these. You still want the Islamic Republic.
Were there any specific Islamic slogans the way there used to be before? No.
There was not, as far as I can tell --I can't be sure about that -- there
was not one mention of even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Who were the main, favorable targets of these slogan? The nationalist
leaders and Prime Minister Mosadier (ph).
Plus, the press. Did they ask just for the freedom of Islamic prisoners? No.
They ask for the freedom of all political prisoners, the freedom of all
NAFISI: Those who say that the Iranian people do not want democracy, we only
want Islamic democracy, should define for us what does Islamic democracy
mean. Do you have Christian and Judaic and Zoroastian (ph) democracy? Do you
want democracy and then stone men and women on charges of prostitution?
The slogans of the Iranian students today, which has been supported by the
various progressive forces within Iran, tells you exactly what kind of
democracy Iranian people want, and it is neither Western nor Islamic; it is
The last part is the rule of the regime. I think the Homini (ph) group and
what is now called the hardliners, their position is much simpler, and
actually I think it's much more understandable. Mr. Homini (ph) knows that
any -- any radical reform in Iran would lead to his ouster, and he has
nowhere to go. So he will use violence and he will consistently call the
Jewish prisoners the bahaese (ph), the women the progressive crilics (ph)
and now the students as ashan (ph) provocateurs of Zionists and American
Those who talk about the policy of silence should know that if America -- if
international organizations keep silent, that would not mean that you would
not now be implicated. What it would mean is that you are now complicit in
the guilt that these people are trying to attach to the students.
I would like to bring your attention to the fact that each point in the case
of Farajisat (ph), a leading Iranian journalist, in the case of Seyed
Sujohni (ph), in most cases in Iran where somebody's life was under threat,
only the international organizations, only because of the pressure from
abroad, did the regime do anything about it.
The students today have a web site. They have e-mail. They are asking for
help from all strata and sector of American or any other democratic society.
So this silence is not to anybody's advantage.
Mr. Khatami's position is more problematic. He is a paradox. On one hand, in
order to be elected, he has to believe in the basic tenets of the Islamic
regime and he has shown it, especially in the recent events. On the other
hand, his agenda is an agenda that would be shaking the very foundations of
that regime. He should be judged according to what he does. As one of my
students says, he has created an Islamic republic of words, which are
democratic in words but in Islamic republic of action, we haven't seen any
change. So we should support Khatami whenever he's doing right by the
Iranian people, and we should not support him and condemn him whenever he
does not do. So the good guy/bad guy formula does not apply.
The last point -- and this is the last point that I would like to make --
what you can do. This is the best, the golden opportunity for you to create
a people-to-people dialogue. Up to now, the people-to-people dialogue has
been mainly the Iranian people -- members of the Iranian regime or members
of Iranian civil society come here, and they're the monitorship of the
You should reach out your voice. After all, Mr. Khatami correctly reached
out to the American people. Why don't you?
If you want stability in Iran, if you want the three conditions fulfilled,
then you have to create a base, and the base should be democratic. Iranian
people are in the streets today and telling you what they want. I think you
should support them. This dialogue with the government is fine. It is not
the American government who doesn't want dialogue, it is the Iranian
government who is not in a position to have dialogue.
So I would like to ask you, the lives of Mr. Mohammadi, Mr. Tabar Zadid (ph)
and 1,400 people who have been arrested are in jeopardy. I would like to ask
your support and I would like to end this by a message that the Iranian
students -- and this is the legitimate council that supports Mr. Khatami --
said to Mr. Khatami, I'm quoting them in their message. They told him "the
courageous Iranian people will judge your actions and will discover whether
your declarations concerning civil society and so on are merely political or
sincere." I think this is the way the Iranian people will judge who their
friends and who their enemies are.
Thank you, sir.
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 20:26:09 -0000
Subject: [onelist_announce] The ONElist Community Update - August 10, 1999
THE ONELIST COMMUNITY NEWS UPDATE - AUGUST 10, 1999
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o Your Suggestions are Important to Us!
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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 18:22:23 EDT
Subject: AUGUST 11/ JOIN IHRWG/NY
IHRWG held its first demonstration in New York in front of the Iranian
mission to UN on August 4, 1999. 40 people attended this event. IHRWG is
planning to hold the second demonstration on August 11 on 622 3rd Avenue
[between 40th and 41st street]. This is in support of Human rights in Iran
and in protest of the recent wave of arrests. IHRWG will continue the
demonsrations until its demands are met.
Plerase drop me an e-mail if you are planning to attend. You can either
e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 732-728-9627.
C A L L F O R P A R T I C I P A T I O N
Vigils in support of HR in Iran
The Iranian Human Rights Working Group (IHRWG) is calling on all
concerned groups and individuals to participate in a weekly vigil
in support of the fundamental human rights of the Iranian people.
Human Rights violations in Iran have intensified following the
peaceful demonstration of students demanding freedom of press
among other things.
The IHRWG is gravely concerned about the treatment of detainees,
as there are strong indications that a number of student leaders were
tortured in an effort to extract false confessions out of them.
Moreover, the IHRWG believes that the lives of many of the people
arrested are in danger, as senior government officials have called
for them to be tried on charges of "corruption on earth" and
"fighting God", both of which carry the death penalty.
The IHRWG calls for the weekly vigils to be held in front of the
IRI Mission to the UN (622 Third Ave. between 40th and 41st streets)
from 4:00 to 7:00 PM every Wednesday, until the following demands
have been met by the Iranian government.
The IHRWG demands:
1 - a. The unconditional release of all of those who have been arbitrarily
b. open and fair trials for all of those arrested activists who have
been charged with any criminal acts.
2 - a. A thorough investigation (conforming with international human rights
standards) into the attack on student dormitories at Tehran University
on July 8 which resulted in deaths, injuries, and arrests of
b. the public disclosure of the results of above investigation, including
release of the number and names of all those killed and detained all
c. that those responsible for these attacks be brought to justice in
open and fair trials.
3 - The unconditional return of the bodies of all those killed in the
recent unrests to their families.
4 - a. The full disclosure of the results of the investigations into the
killing of dissidents (Forouhar, Eskandari-Forouhar, Mokhtari,
Pouyandeh and Sharif) by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence;
b. the full disclosure of the number, names and rank of the agents
who have been under investigation in relation to those killings;
c. open and fair trial of the agents involved in those killings.
5 - Control and dismantling of paramilitary and extra judiciary groups
who have been terrorizing the public.
We also remind the IRI of its obligations, as a signatory, to respect
the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),
which include the right to life, freedom from torture, cruel and
inhumane and degrading punishment, and freedom of opinion and
We ask you to show your support for human rights in Iran by simply
gathering in front of the IRI mission to UN at the above address
for three hours a week. Banners and slogans will be restricted
to the above demands and support of human rights in general.
Iranian Human Rights Working Group
P.O. Box 2422
Portland, OR. 97208
For more information on the vigils, call (732) 728-9627.
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 9 Aug 1999 to 10 Aug 1999 - Special issue