Date: Aug 17, 1999 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Aug 1999 to 16 Aug 1999

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Aug 1999 to 16 Aug 1999
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There are 5 messages totalling 279 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Trial of Iranian reformist paper postponed for second time in a week
2. Iran's parliament on Monday gave the green light to an inquiry into last
month's student unrest
3. Japanese foreign minister due in Iran for high-profile visit
4. Iran to begin trying 13 Jews on spy charges in coming days
5. Iran opposition leaders denounce ongoing arrests after riots

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Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:08:52 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Trial of Iranian reformist paper postponed for second time in a week

Trial of Iranian reformist paper postponed for second time in a week

TEHRAN, Aug 16 (AFP) - A Tehran court postponed the trial of three senior
officials of a reformist newspaper for the second time in a week after two
jurors failed to attend the trial, a press report said Monday.

"Five members of the jury were present this morning for the hearings, but
because two other jurors, Fatima Ramezanzadeh and Mostafa Lotfi, did not
attend, the trial was not able to take place," the Kayhan daily quoted the
head of Tehran's press court, Saeed Mortazavi, as saying.

According to the report, Ramezanzadeh said she would only attend the trial
of three senior staff members of the Sobh-e-Emrouz daily if Lotfi did too.
She claimed he had deliberately stayed away from the hearings .

Last week, the trial was postponed after Lotfi announced he was "unable to
attend the hearings because his trip abroad was extended."

The trial is now expected to take place on August 23, Kayhan quoted
Mortazavi as saying.

Kazem Shokri, senior editor of the paper close to President Mohammad
Khatami, was arrested last month and charged with having authorized the
publication of an article offensive to the Koran.

He was released on the equivalent of 50,000 dollars bail late Wednesday
after 20 days in detention.

The paper's founder, Said Hajarian, who sits on Tehran's municipal council,
and his deputy will be tried along with Shokri and another staff member,
Ahmad Satari, who underwent a five-hour hearing Saturday at Tehran's press
court August 7.

Three major pro-Khatami papers have been closed down this year and dozens of
moderate journalists have been arrested or called in for questioning amid a
crackdown by the conservative-dominated judiciary on Iran's moderate press.

Two weeks ago a hardline religious court slapped a five-year ban on another
reformist paper, Salam, and barred its director from any press activity for
three years.

The initial closure of Salam last month sparked a student protest that
erupted in six days of bloody riots after demonstrators were attacked by
security forces and Islamic hardliners.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:09:55 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Iran's parliament on Monday gave the green light to an inquiry into
last month's student unrest

TEHRAN, Aug 16 (AFP) - Iran's parliament on Monday gave the green light to
an inquiry into last month's student unrest, the first step before the
legislature can establish its own committee to investigate the incidents.

Officials said the request for the inquiry, which was forwarded to
parliament's internal affairs committee, was drafted by both reformist and
conservative MPs in the 270-member legislature.

It calls for a full investigation into both the unrest in Tehran as well as
the provincial capital of Tabriz, which erupted after security forces and

Islamic militants attacked a student protest at Tehran university.

Higher Education Minister Mostafa Moin said Saturday that the Tabriz
incident had been "forgotten about" in the wake of the six days of riots in
the capital that followed the attack, and said President Mohammad Khatami
had ordered an investigation.

Tabriz university's Islamic students council said earlier this month that at
least 15 people were shot, including three women, and others savagely beaten
after police and Islamic militants attacked a student sit-in.

It said some 80 students had already been injured by stones, clubs and
knives when security forces opened fire into the crowd.

The parliament's call for its own investigation began after several
conservative MPs accused the government of "mishandling" the unrest, the
worst here since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

On Saturday the nation's top security body, the Supreme National Security
Council, issued its final report on the Tehran university attack, calling it
a "blunder" but clearing Iran's national police chief of any wrongdoing.

It blamed the Tehran police chief and six deputies, along with an
unidentified number of anti-riot police and civilian Islamic militants, for
staging the attack.

Iranian authorities have said three people were killed, two in Tehran and
one in Tabriz, and three others wounded in the disturbances.

More than 1,400 people were arrested, including four top opposition figures
and a number of student leaders.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:10:35 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Japanese foreign minister due in Iran for high-profile visit

Japanese foreign minister due in Iran for high-profile visit

TEHRAN, Aug 16 (AFP) - Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura was due in
Tehran late Monday to begin a high-profile visit aimed at thawing sometimes
frosty relations between the major trade partners.

Komura's visit comes one day after Tokyo's ambassador here blasted a sharp
tax increase on foreign firms operating in Iran, and amid Tehran's
frustration over Japan's close ties with the United States.

The foreign minister, who is leading a 20-strong delegation for the
three-day visit, is scheduled to meet with most of Iran's top officials,
including his counterpart Kamal Kharazi and President Mohammad Khatami.

Kharazi in December made the first visit by an Iranian foreign minister to
Tokyo in more than a decade as Tehran and Tokyo have tried to smooth
relations since the 1997 election of the reformist Khatami.

But Japan stopped just short of recalling its ambassador that year, breaking
off dialogue for seven months after Iranian officials were accused of
involvement in the 1992 murder of four Kurdish opposition leaders in Berlin.

Komura has visited Iran several times as deputy foreign minister but
Monday's trip marks a concerted effort toward resolving several thorny
economic and political disagreements.

Japan is one of the Islamic republic's principal trading partners in Asia
and Iran imports three billion dollars of goods from Tokyo annually, while
supplying Tokyo with some 10 percent of its oil needs each year.

Japanese firms have a strong presence in Iran's automobile sector and
Tokyo's Ambassador Takaya Suto said in Sunday's Iran Daily that Japan was
mulling several new petrochemical, power and steel projects.

But Suto also lashed out at what he said was a seven-fold tax increase on
foreign firms operating here, adding that most of Japan's 30 companies in
Iran are "not making good profits under the circumstances."

He said the increase was made retroactive to last year, forcing some of the
firms to cut back staff or consider closing down their operations in Iran.

"They have no choice but to pay taxes because they cannot go out of the
country if they fail to do so," he told the English-language paper.

The two countries are also at odds over Japan's 1995 decision to freeze a
low-interest loan for the construction of a hydroelectric power station
under pressure from the United States, which accuses Iran of sponsoring
terrorism.

The official IRNA news agency on Monday dismissed Japan's importance, saying
Tokyo had not made "any remarkable investments in Iran, at least not in the
past two decades" since the Islamic revolution.

It said the hydroelectric plant, as well as another petrochemical project,
had been abandoned by Tokyo "for unacceptable reasons."

On Monday the hardline Jomhuri Eslami paper accused Japan of being disloyal
by taking its orders from the arch-enemy United States.

"Those who guide their relations with Iran according to Washington's orders
cannot be our faithful friends," it said.

US officials have repeatedly said they are not opposed to political dialogue
between Tokyo and Tehran but have called on Japan to take every opportunity
to raise the terrorism issue.

Suto also acknowledged that the politically sensitive issue of Iran's
missile program, another object of US scorn, will feature in this week's
talks.

The United States has charged that Iran's missile development is a threat to
peace and stability in the region and angered Tehran by offering to sell its
own advanced missiles to several Gulf nations.

Iran insists its missile program is purely for defensive purposes.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:11:11 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Iran to begin trying 13 Jews on spy charges in coming days

Iran to begin trying 13 Jews on spy charges in coming days

TEHRAN, Aug 16 (AFP) - Iran's judiciary has completed initial inquiries into
the case of 13 Iranian Jews jailed on charges of spying for Israel and will
start preparing hearings this week, press reports said Monday.

The conservative Entekhab paper, citing parliamentary sources, said the
cases will be formally filed with the courts by Thursday, meaning
proceedings against the 13 after setting a date and venue for the trial.

Entekhab, directed by an influential MP who sits on parliament's council of
directors, added that the Jews are being held in one of the country's
southern provinces.

In June a judicial official said their cases were being examined in the
provincial capital of Shiraz by one of Iran's revolutionary courts, which

handle most matters of national security and were charged with trying
officials from the former imperial regime.

Anyone found guilty of spying for the Islamic republic's arch-enemies,
Israel and the United States, faces the death penalty under a 1996 law.

Israel has denied that the 13 have anything to do with its intelligence
services while Tehran has repeatedly insisted that their arrest had "nothing
to do with their religion."

The accused were jailed in February and March but their arrests were not
made public until June, when the case was reported in the Western media.

An estimated 25,000 Jews live in Iran, compared to some 100,000 before the
1979 Islamic revolution, when Israel maintained warm relations with the
imperial regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi.

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

Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:17:51 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Iran opposition leaders denounce ongoing arrests after riots

Iran opposition leaders denounce ongoing arrests after riots

TEHRAN, Aug 16 (AFP) - Iranian opposition leaders called on President
Mohammad Khatami in an open letter to end the "wave" of arrests connected to
last month's bloody unrest in the capital, newspapers reported Monday.

Some 125 politicians and students, most linked to the nationalist
opposition, denounced the "ongoing wave of student arrests" and asked
Khatami to "intervene to determine the fate of those who have disappeared or
been jailed," the moderate Neshat paper said.

Earlier this month the Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), banned but tolerated by
the authorities, also sent Khatami an open letter denouncing the arrests as
a "campaign of terror" aimed at ending the pro-reform student movement.

"Students who have been released say that their interrogation focussed on
their possible links with the IFM or circles close to the opposition," the
letter said.

It charged that "the wave of arrests under way among students is aimed at
wiping out the student movement in Iran."

Four leading figures with another opposition group, the Iran People's Party
(IPP), were among the more than 1,400 people arrested in connection with the
unrest, the worst here since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The secular nationalist IPP was founded by Dariush Foruhar, a leading
opposition figure who was assassinated along with his wife late last year.

Riots erupted in Tehran and the provincial capital of Tabriz after security
forces and Islamic hardliners attacked a student protest at Tehran
university against the closure of a leading pro-reform newspaper.

Three people died and three others were wounded, according to official
fiugres, while newspapers said at least five people were killed and dozens
wounded, many of whom they said were later abducted from hospital by the
secret police.

Iranian MPs on Monday voted to call for a parliamentary inquiry into the
unrest, the first step before the legislature can establish its own
committee to investigate the incidents.

On Saturday Iran's highest security body, the Supreme National Security
Council, cleared Iran's police chief of any wrongdoing in its final report
on the university attack.

It blamed the Tehran police chief and six deputies, along with an
unidentified number of anti-riot police and civilian Islamic militants, for
staging the attack.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Aug 1999 to 16 Aug 1999
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