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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Aug 1999 to 18 Aug 1999 - Special issue
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There are 12 messages totalling 1218 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

2. Iran confirms kidnapping of four foreign tourists
3. Iran evaluates fresh U.S. offer to play football friendly
5. Basketball diplomacy as Iran continues dialogue with U.S.
6. Ex-Judge To Oversee Iran Elections
7. Congratulation to Nateq Nuri for declaring Fati's death anniversary as a
10. Iran sanctifies misuse of power
11. US urges release of Iranian Jews amid reports of imminent trial
12. Protests in Iran: Special report


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:56:28 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>

Vol. 3, No. 3 (September 1999)
Direct Circulation 5,700; Total Circulation 7,600
*Serving Readers Throughout the Middle East and in 65 Countries*
Editor, Barry Rubin
BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan Univ.

Editor's Note: This article explains how Iran has responded to U.S.
economic sanctions, filling a generally ignored dimension in the
discussion of sanctions' policy. It also presents a good picture of the
contemporary Iranian economy.

By Hooman Estelami*

For close to two decades, U.S. foreign policy has aimed at limiting
the economic development of post-revolutionary Iran. In recent years,
the policy has selectively targeted Iran's oil industry, and limited the
involvement of non-U.S. firms in Iranian petroleum projects. The
existing U.S. sanctions have also terminated all U.S.-Iran trade for the
first time in Iran's post-revolutionary history.
Perceived by many as the most persistently anti-U.S. government in
the Middle East, Iran has undoubtedly been one of the more problematic
nations for every U.S. administration since 1979. Previously, Iran was
considered America's closest ally in the Persian Gulf. But, following
the Islamic Revolution, relations between the two countries have more
often been characterized by hostage-taking, military confrontation, and
harsh exchanges of allegations.
More recently, economic relations between the two countries have
been further strained by a series of trade and investment sanctions
which have seriously hampered all economic activity between the two
countries. The multitude of sanctions imposed on Iran in the past two
decades have also been instrumental in shaping Iran's international
trade policy and its emerging economic partnerships in the region.

In reacting to economic sanctions, Iran has used a variety of
strategies that have often evolved as a function of internal and
regional political conditions at the time. These strategies have also
been influenced by the nature of the sanctions imposed. Thus, Iran's
policies have varied in different time periods.
Iran's post-revolutionary years can be divided into four distinct
time periods:
1) Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War Years, 1979-1988: This period was
difficult for the Iranian economy due to instability following the
revolution and the destruction inflicted by the war with neighboring
Iraq. It is also a period during which American hostages were taken at
the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and is therefore characterized by a state of
political and economic isolation, facilitated by a multitude of trade
2) The Post-war Reconstruction Era, 1989-1992: Iran's economy focused on
recovering local production capabilities lost during the Iran-Iraq war:
attracting international technology and investments, fostering foreign
partnerships for developing the country's infrastructure, and relaxing
import restrictions. U.S. trade sanctions were also relaxed during this
3) Dual Containment and Trade Sanctions Renewal, 1993-1995: Starting in
1993, the Clinton administration exercised a series of restrictive trade
measures on Iran as part of a dual containment strategy intended to curb
the economic development of both Iraq and Iran. During this period, Iran
strengthened its regional partnerships through a series of long-term
bilateral and trilateral economic agreements.
4) Iran-Libya Investment Sanctions (1996-present): In 1996, dual
containment shifted focus on Iran through the implementation of the
Iran-Libya Sanctions. The sanctions restrict non-U.S. firms investing in
Iran's oil sector, thereby extending U.S. law beyond American borders.
Although the sanctions created a temporary slowdown in foreign
investments in Iran, they have found little international support. The
extraterritorial nature of the Iran-Libya sanctions has recently been
challenged by firms in Europe and the Far East.
In each of the above time periods, Iran's policy measures addressed
specific themes and objectives. For example, in the years of the
Iran-Iraq war, Iran placed much emphasis on diversifying its
international trade routes in order to reduce reliance on Western
suppliers. However, following the end of the war in 1988 and the
instability of international oil markets during the mid-1980s, expansion
of non-oil exports became a primary objective.
Since the early 1990s and the breakup of the neighboring Soviet
Union, Iran has focused on developing regional economic partnerships,
not only with the former Soviet republics to the immediate north, but
also with neighbors to the east and west. Such long-term partnerships
have also become critical in recent years as a means of countering U.S.
investment sanctions which specifically target Iran's oil industry.

Prior to the 1979 revolution, trade between Iran and the United
States prospered. In 1978, American goods accounted for $4 billion (or
21%) of all Iranian imports, making the United States Iran's number-one
trading partner.(1) However, following the Islamic Revolution of
February 1979, featuring the slogan "down with America," diplomatic
relations deteriorated with subsequent effects on trade. The taking of
hostages in the U.S. embassy in Tehran in November 1979 worsened the
The first formal U.S. sanctions against Iran were ordered by
President Carter in April 1980, following the break in diplomatic
relations between the two countries. The sanctions banned all U.S.
exports to Iran. Although the United States was able to secure support
among its allies for the sanctions, they were short-lived. By early
1981, following the Algiers Accord securing the release of the American
hostages, the sanctions were lifted. (2) In 1984, the Reagan
administration renewed sanctions against Iran. The Arms Export Control
Act and Export Administration Act of 1984 restricted the list of
products which American companies could export to Iran. Exports of
certain goods such as aircraft and vehicles, as well as products with
potential military applications, were effectively terminated. U.S. oil
companies, however, continued to extract Iranian crude oil for import
into the United States.
Economic relations between the two countries suffered further in
1987-1988, following the U.S. re-flagging of Kuwaiti oil tankers in the
Persian Gulf. During this period, numerous incidents involving U.S. and
Iranian naval forces, and especially the shooting down of an Iranian
airliner carrying over 200 passengers by the American navy in 1988,
increased the tension between the two countries. In October 1987, Reagan
issued an executive order banning the import of all Iranian goods and
services-an amount totaling close to $1 billion. U.S. oil companies were
also prohibited from importing Iranian oil into the United States for
local consumption. (They were, however, allowed to continue purchasing
Iranian oil for their non-U.S. markets through their overseas
subsidiaries.) Additional export controls were put in place in 1987. (3)
The sanctions imposed during the 1980s contributed to a realignment
of Iran's trade. For example, the 1980 sanctions, while short in
duration, forced Tehran to seek new economic partners. However, in
diversifying trade, Iran intentionally avoided traditional
pre-revolution suppliers in Western European (Germany, France, and
Britain) and Japan. Tehran at the time believed U.S. political influence
would hinder free trade between Iran and Japan or Western Europe-a
critical issue during the war with Iraq. Plans were therefore developed
to reduce the country's overall dependence on these suppliers, and to
forge relationships based on political, rather than purely economic,
considerations. (4)
As Iran's economic ties to the United States diminished
considerably, trade and economic relations with smaller European
countries, Eastern Europe, Islamic, and non-aligned nations grew
significantly. The revised 1979 Iranian constitution mandated that the
government assume tight control of Iran's international trade. Private
sector importers were thereafter required to obtain prior authorization
from government agencies to conduct their business, and as a result, the
influence of the government in determining the sources and nature of
Iranian imports grew substantially.
Control over international trade was also facilitated by a series
of selective bilateral agreements. For example, while the United States
had traditionally been Iran's primary supplier of wheat, Australia and
New Zealand quickly took on that role. Iran's other commodity
requirements such as meat, sugar and iron, were met by small European
countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Italy, as well as Eastern bloc
countries such as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Romania.
During this period, the Iranian government also undertook formal schemes
to limit the trade imbalance which existed with some Organization of
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. This was achieved
by restricting the amount of permitted imports from specific countries,
such as Japan, Germany, and the UK, to a predetermined proportion of
exports to those countries. (5)
With unprecedented controls gained by the government through the
new post-revolutionary constitution, a persistent pattern of
diversification in Iran's international trade became evident. As a
result, the percentage of Iranian imports from traditional suppliers in
the United States, Western Europe, and Japan witnessed a persistent
downward trend. The table that follows outlines this trend. While prior
to the revolution, these sources typically accounted for more than 80%
of imports, in the years following the revolution they accounted for
only about 63% of Iran's total import bill. The share of Iran's imports
sourced from non-traditional suppliers more than doubled in this time
period. This trend has continued until today, so that by 1996, following
the latest round of trade and investment sanctions, the U.S. share of
Iran's imports was zero, and Japan and Western Europe accounted for only
half of Iran's import bill. Between 1995 and 1996 alone, the volume of
imports from Iran's non-traditional suppliers grew by over 8%, as
compared to 2% for its traditional suppliers.

The period following the end of the Iran-Iraq war fostered a more
open foreign trade policy in Tehran. A series of measures aimed at
liberalizing trade were implemented, and a new post-war economic plan
focusing on the reconstruction of industries damaged during the war was
drafted. Iran's new openness was facilitated by a more liberal policy in
Washington. (7)
During the early parts of the Bush administration, U.S. trade
restrictions on Iran were slightly relaxed. In 1989, following the end
of the Iran-Iraq war, the United States removed some of its prior trade
restrictions and agreed to release close to $600 million of Iran's
frozen assets in the United States. In late 1991, Bush allowed a limited
amount of Iranian crude oil into the United States. (8) During this
period, not only were American exporters doing a booming business in
Iran, but American oil companies also became Iran's number-one customer
for crude oil (most of which was shipped to U.S. subsidiaries in
Europe). U.S. allies in Europe were also more openly conducting business
with Iran, as evident by the trade statistics in Table 1.
As the second largest member of the Organization of Oil Exporting
Countries (OPEC), Iran had historically been dependent on crude oil
export revenues as the primary source of foreign exchange. However,
during the war, many of Iran's oil fields and petrochemical
facilities-highly accessible to neighboring Iraq-were severely damaged.
The 1986 collapse of crude oil prices further highlighted Iran's
excessive dependence on oil. Expanding non-oil exports was considered as
an appropriate strategy in promoting the long-term economic health of
the country. Therefore, following the war, expansion of industries with
strong export potential became a prime objective (9)
To promote non-oil exports, production in industries with strong
export potential -- such as handmade carpets and dried fruits -- was
supported by various government programs. In this period, foreign
exchange and customs restrictions on exporters were relaxed, income
taxes for non-oil exporters were reduced, and bureaucratic processes
were simplified to improve the flow of exports. Since the end of the
Iran-Iraq war in 1988, non-oil exports' share of export revenues has
therefore been on a rise, as evident by Table 2.

Carpets have been a notable area of growth. Between 1989 and 1992,
Iran's carpet exports-the second largest source of export
revenues-experienced a three-fold increase from $345 million per year to
$1.2 billion. Similarly, exports of fresh and dry fruits almost doubled,
and refined copper and textile exports grew by almost five times.
Moreover, in the early 1990s, trade liberalization measures, and the
privatization of state-owned businesses helped fuel economic activity
and significantly increased production in non-oil industries. The net
effect was increased flexibility given to private sector exporters,
improved local productivity, and special incentives for export oriented
business activities. As a result, while in 1989 non-oil exports
accounted for less than $1 billion in annual exports, within three years
the number had more than doubled.

In 1993, the so-called "dual containment" policy was initiated by
the Clinton administration focusing on the twin threats of Iraq and
Iran. However, with the weakening of Iraq following the 1991 Persian
Gulf war, the United States looked to balance regional powers by
weakening Iran through various means such as trade sanctions and
political isolation. (10) The Clinton administration began to persuade
Europe and Japan to limit their involvement in Iran. With no formal
mechanisms in place to force such a policy on its allies, persuasion was
typically achieved through diplomatic discussions. (11)
To slow the momentum of dual containment, Iran attempted to offer
lucrative contracts to American companies and to improve trade relations
with the West during the early and mid-1990s. As a result, by 1994, the
United States had become Iran's fifth-largest supplier of imports, and
American oil companies had become the primary purchaser of its crude
oil. However, during this period Iran also placed greater emphasis on
developing long-term regional economic partnerships with neighboring
countries. In 1989 Iran had signed a series of long-term economic and
military cooperation agreements with Russia, which in subsequent years
made Russia the primary supplier of combat aircraft for Iran's air
force, and the supplier of three diesel powered submarines for the
Iranian navy. (12) Despite U.S. concerns, Russia also began construction
of an $800 million nuclear power reactor in southern Iran, and the two
countries agreed to set up joint companies to explore and produce
Caspian Sea oil.
Iran's regional partnerships were also facilitated by the breakup
of the Soviet Union and by the common economic interests shared by the
former Soviet republics. As a result, Iran assertively developed
economic relationships with the republics of the former Soviet Union to
the north, aiming to become a regional transit point for gas and oil
sourced from Central Asia. (13)
Due to unique geographical conditions, much of the oil and gas
extracted from Central Asia would be exported more efficiently if
shipped through Iranian pipelines or swap agreements. As a result,
relations with neighbors such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have
pivoted primarily on these grounds. A notable agreement was reached with
Turkmenistan and Turkey, whereby a 900-mile natural gas pipeline will
link Iran to Turkey and is to be extended northward to Turkmenistan in
order to help export Turkmen gas to Turkey. It will eventually reach
Europe by early next century. Iran and Kazakhstan have also agreed to an
oil swap deal, whereby Iranian refineries in the north are supplied with
Kazakh oil, in return for shipments of crude oil in the Persian Gulf to
Kazakh customers, thereby facilitating Kazakh oil exports through
Iranian territory.
During this period, Iran also strengthened its regional
partnerships to the east. With the 1995 visit by President Ali Akbar
Rafsanjani to New Delhi, and the launch of the India-Iran chamber of
commerce in that same year, economic activity between Iran and India
increased. The two countries have also formed a joint shipping company,
and finalized plans for a $400 million fertilizer project in Iran.
Iran has also proposed an extensive pipeline project to both India
and Pakistan that would facilitate the export of Iranian gas using an
undersea pipeline passing through Pakistan. Iran's relations with its
neighbors in the Persian Gulf and with Turkey have also proven effective
for dodging Western trade sanctions. These countries have played an
instrumental role by becoming re-export centers for Iranian imports.
For example, the volume of exports from United Arab Emirates (UAE)
to Iran between 1978 and 1996 grew more than fivefold, most of which
consists of re-exports of western-made products. Iran's relations with
Turkey have also pivoted on common regional interests. While both
countries share security concerns with their respective Kurdish
communities, and although Kurdish intrusions into each other's
territories and internal interferences have for decades been a source of
diplomatic tensions, the common economic interest in the energy
resources of the area have often dominated bilateral relations. (15)
Other countries with which Iran developed closer partnerships
during this period include China, Malaysia, and South Africa. China is
cooperating with Iran in building Tehran's subway system and is also a
supplier of military hardware, Malaysia has played a pivotal role in
Iran's petroleum industry, partnering with a French oil concern, Total,
in developing two Iranian off-shore oil and gas fields in the Persian
Gulf. Iran and South Africa have also exchanged high-level visits and
South Africa, which in 1994 began its purchases of Iranian crude for the
first time in over a decade, now obtains most of its crude oil from
While the Iranian constitution does not allow production sharing
with foreign investors in the oil sector, by the mid-1990s mechanisms
for encouraging foreign involvement in petroleum projects were developed
as an alternative. In 1995 a buy-back production sharing system was
developed by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) whereby foreign oil
companies can invest in an Iranian oil field and recover their
investments and associated profits though the sale of the produced oil.
In what some analysts consider as an olive branch extended to the
United States, such a contract worth $600 million was agreed upon
between NIOC and Conoco, a subsidiary of Dupont Corporation, for the
development of two offshore oil and gas fields in the Persian Gulf (16).
Although the Conoco deal was later canceled by the U.S. government, from
a symbolic point of view, it could have created a significant shift in
U.S.-Iran relations. The deal would have been the first contract awarded
by Tehran involving a foreign entity in both exploration and development
of Iranian oil since the 1979 revolution. As Conoco is an American firm,
improved economic relations between the two countries was a conceivable
However, the Conoco deal would have also created a contradiction in
U.S. foreign policy at a time when the United States was persuading its
allies to restrict their business dealings with Iran. The Conoco deal
also highlighted policy differences between the Clinton administration
and the Republican-dominated Congress. These differences further
accelerated the momentum of trade sanctions, such that in early 1995 an
executive order prohibiting all American companies from any involvement
in developing Iran's petroleum industry was issued, and shortly after a
total trade ban on Iran went into effect. American companies were
prevented by law to conduct any kind of trade with Iran--oil or
non-oil--with criminal penalties for violating corporations ranging up
to $500,000. Moreover, the export of American goods and services to
Iran, and brokering or financing of such trade has since been
prohibited. (17)

In 1996, dual containment took a special focus on Iran, through a
round of investment sanctions aimed at halting the development of Iran's
oil industry. With the signing into law of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act
of 1996, non-U.S. firms investing more than $40 million in any one year
period in Iran's oil industry were subject to a series of sanctions by
the U.S. government. The U.S. president is empowered to choose two out
of six possible sanctions against violating companies or their parent
corporation. Possible sanctions include ineligibility to bid on U.S.
government contracts, banning imports into the United States, denial of
U.S. export licenses, refusal of U.S. Export-Import Bank assistance,
refusal of loans over $10 million in any one year from U.S. lending
institutions, and a ban on dealing in U.S. government bonds. (18) The
sanctions were further amplified in mid-1997, by reducing the trigger
investment amount from the original $40 million to $20 million per year.
Considering Iran's dependence on oil exports, the focus of the
Iran-Libya Sanctions seems logical. With about nine percent of the
world's oil reserves, Iran is OPEC's second largest producer of crude
oil. Because Iran is highly dependent on oil production as the primary
driver of the economy, the appropriate maintenance of the existing oil
and gas fields, exploration and development of new fields, and the
construction of pipeline networks are essential. To facilitate such
developments, Iranian plans call for billions of dollars of foreign
investment. This exactly is where the Iran-Libya Sanctions attempt to
strike. By prohibiting U.S. firms' involvement in Iran's oil industry,
and restricting that of non-U.S. firms to an investment cap of $20
million per year, the policy aims to prevent international assistance in
developing Iran's oil sector.
In responding to the Iran-Libya Sanctions, Iran has been faced with
several strategic options. One possible strategy has been to focus on
local development of the technology required for Iran's oil facilities,
and to not engage foreign partners in investment tasks. This would not
only help avoid triggering the sanctions, but would also be beneficial
in the long-run as it will help create a self-sufficient petroleum
industry. Clearly, such an approach would require the know-how to create
the infrastructure needed to manufacture and service highly
sophisticated petroleum and petrochemical projects.
A second option-one that would pose numerous political risks to the
Iranian administration-has been to initiate a dialogue with the United
States. Such a dialogue could aim at resolving the two countries'
differences, and potentially lead to the lifting of sanctions. Finally,
a third possibility has been to directly confront the United States by
persuading non-American firms to violate the terms of the sanctions.
Such a strategy would capitalize on the international reaction to the
extraterritorial nature of the Iran-Libya Sanctions.
While Iran has exercised each of the above strategies to some
extent, the strategy of choice seems to be one of direct confrontation.
Following the 1996 announcement of the Iran-Libya Sanctions, expressions
of concern were voiced by countries such as Japan, Canada, Australia,
China, and member countries of the European Union. (19) Protesting the
extraterritorial nature of the act, the European Union drafted
retaliatory legislation should the Iran-Libya sanctions be exercised on
an EU-based company. Support for the existing sanctions has also been
limited by the state of Iran's international debt. Following the end of
the 1980-88 war, Iran underwent an economic revival, highlighted by a
period of rapid industrial development and its highest import bills in
To facilitate this growth, a substantial amount of borrowing from
international sources was necessary, such that by the early 1990s the
country had accumulated close to $30 billion of international debt. A
series of negotiations have since led to a restructuring of the debt,
and as a result, Iran has been committed to billions of dollars of
annual loan payments until the turn of the century. For countries such
as Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and Japan, any policy which targets
Iran's oil production capabilities may also lead to difficulties in
recovering billions of dollars worth of loans.
To further motivate non-U.S. firms to invest in Iranian oil,
Iranian authorities have been heavily promoting a dozen lucrative oil
and gas development projects. Iranian plans call for a 10 percent
increase in oil production capacity by the turn of the decade, and a
three-fold increase in the next three decades. To achieve such
objectives, the government has offered exceptional terms for companies
that invest and participate in these projects. This strategy has
successfully attracted large European, Russian, and Far Eastern firms to
such projects, thereby directly violating the terms of the Iran-Libya
Sanctions. Other direct challenges include a Canadian-Indonesian joint
venture also involved in developing an offshore Iranian gas field, and a
German bank financing an Iranian oil development project. In all cases
the respective governments have strongly warned Washington against any
possible actions, and the White House has been hesitant to act. (20)
While a strategy of direct confrontation may have helped Iran cope
with intensifying U.S. sanctions, it has also forced local development
of manufacturing capabilities, with limited international support. The
country has in recent years coordinated an effort to develop local
infrastructure for supporting the needs of the oil sector requiring
roughly $2 billion of annual imports of parts and services.
Iran has set up a series of manufacturing companies that
manufacture a wide range of parts such as special pipes, valves, and
gaskets. The technology for manufacturing such products is either
developed locally, or obtained through joint ventures with foreign
firms. Moreover, for parts which can not be locally produced, sourcing
has been systematically diverted away from the West. In this effort,
considerable assistance has been obtained from the Chinese and Eastern
Europeans, who now account for the bulk of imported supplies in the oil
industry. The Chinese also have the advantage of holding licenses for
western technology and can therefore provide many of the sophisticated
equipment required to build modernized petrochemical plants. (21)

(continued in responses ----->)

* Farhad Abdolian New York/USA *
* *
* E-mail: *
* *


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:56:56 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran confirms kidnapping of four foreign tourists

Iran confirms kidnapping of four foreign tourists

08/15/1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Teheran (dpa) - Iran confirmed and condemned Sunday the kidnapping of
four foreign tourists, including three Spaniards and one Italian, in
southeastern Iran .

``This is a very ugly and inhuman act and we condemn it ... wide-spread
investigations have already started to follow the case and enable the
release of those kidnapped,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmud Assefi
told the state-run television.

According to the TV report, an Iranian is also among the kidnap
victims. The names of the foreigners have not yet been disclosed.

The kidnappers, armed with pistols and machine guns, raided the
Govashir hotel in Kerman and kidnapped the four tourists.

A local bus driver who witnessed the incident rushed to the nearby
Akhavan hotel, where a large number of foreign tourists were staying.
After the warning, hotel officials closed all doors in fear that the
kidnappers would also attack there.

The kidnappers - their number was believed to be four - in fact did
drive to the Akhavan hotel but failed to get into the building.

Sources in Kerman say that local police forces have recently been
battling armed bandits and drug traffickers and believe that the
kidnapping is connected to drug smuggling gangs.

It is the second kidnapping of foreigners in Kerman. In June, three
Italian nationals, two engineers and a technician from the Italian
steel company Danielli, were abducted but later freed after an
extensive operation by provincial security forces.

The southeastern part of Iran is a route for drug traffickers and other
smugglers and is considered dangerous, especially at night.

In February, 60-year-old German national Heinrich Lambert Heimes, a
retired banker, was abducted and shot dead by an armed robber on a road
in central Iran . The kidnapper was later killed in a shootout with

* Farhad Abdolian New York/USA *
* *
* E-mail: *
* *


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:57:11 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Iran evaluates fresh U.S. offer to play football friendly

Iran evaluates fresh U.S. offer to play football friendly

08/15/1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Teheran (dpa) - Iran is evaluating a renewed offer by the U.S. Soccer
Federation to play a friendly international football match in the
United States, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported Sunday.

``We are currently evaluating the renewed offer by the American
Football Federation to play a friendly international in the United
States in January,'' Mohsen Safaie-Farahani, head of the Iranian
Football Federation, told IRNA.

Iran had rejected a similar offer last April, saying the Iranian team
was not ready. But the sport press in Teheran said that Iran had
demanded a share of ticket sales and stadium advertising revenue which
was rejected by the American side.

The two teams met in Lyons during last year's World Cup, when Iran won
2-1 and gained the most important victory in its football history.

The U.S. and Iran have had no diplomatic ties for almost two decades,
but recent efforts have been made to ease tension and at least resume
cultural and sports cooperation.

In a sign of the new trend, a U.S. wrestling team came to Iran in
February and August last year and the Iranian wrestling team also
attended last year's Goodwill Games in the U.S.

Currently a selected American basketball team is in Teheran to attend a
tournament named ``Sports and Nations''.

* Farhad Abdolian New York/USA *
* *
* E-mail: *
* *


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:57:54 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>

(Continuation . . . )

The final strategy which has been far less successful, both
domestically and internationally for Iran, has been one of
reconciliation with the United States. With close to two decades of
tensions between the two countries, diplomatic efforts to reopen lines
of dialogue have become more evident since a new Iranian administration
took over in mid-1997.

President Muhammad Khatami has begun to recreate Iran's international
image, and has expressed an interest in a potential dialogue with the
American people. Although this has helped tone down the position of the
White House with respect to Iran (22), internal differences in Tehran on
how to approach the West have plagued such an effort. A direct dialogue
with the U.S. administration is considered unacceptable by many in Iran,
and is therefore unlikely to materialize in the near future.

U.S. economic policy toward Iran builds on close to two decades of
deep diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The resulting
economic sanctions have historically encouraged Iran to develop
strategies for diversifying trade routes, finding new economic partners,
and reducing dependence on oil export revenues. The effects of Iran's
diversification strategy have indeed been unequivocal. In 1974, seven
countries accounted for 70% of Iran's imports and exports. Twenty years
later--by 1994--a total of 14 countries accounted for 70% of Iran's
international trade, and Iran's top seven trading partners accounted for
only half of its total imports.
The intensification of trade and investment sanctions since the
early 1990s has significantly affected the nature of international
competition for Iranian business. The effects of the trade and
investment sanctions have, however, been felt more by American companies
than non-American firms. This is primarily due to the practical
difficulty of enforcing U.S. laws beyond U.S. borders, and as a result,
on numerous occasions significant business has been lost to non-American
firms, immune to the terms of the sanctions. Boeing, Conoco, and BP
America are prime examples.
In 1993, the U.S. administration turned down a request by Boeing to
sell Iran civil aircraft needed for expanding Iran Air's level of
operations. Up to that point, most of Iran Air's fleet consisted of
Boeings, and Iran Air had in the previous year negotiated the purchase
of 16 Boeing 737-400's. As a result of the refusal, Boeing lost a $900
million contract, and Iran Air has since purchased aircraft from the
European aerospace consortium Air Bus. Similarly, in 1993 BP America had
negotiated the sale of a chemical fertilizer plant with Iran. The sale
was prohibited by the administration on the grounds that the technology
may be of a dual purpose nature, resulting in a $100 million sales loss
to BP America.
The most publicized loss regarding sanctions on Iran has been
Conoco, a subsidiary of Dupont Corporation. Conoco and the National
Iranian Oil Company had in early 1995 agreed to a $600 million contract
for developing two off-shore Iranian oil and gas fields. However, Conoco
was forced to withdraw from the contract due to pressure from the
administration, and subsequent investment sanctions. This opened the way
for France's Total, which has since commenced work on the project. Total
has also proceeded to challenge the latest round of investment sanctions
by engaging in a separate $2,000 million investment in Iran involving
Russian and Malaysian firms.
It is important to acknowledge that the U.S. economic policy on
Iran has noticeably limited Iran's access to Western technology,
supplies, and financing. The policy, has also contributed to a state of
economic hardship, as reflected by high inflation and unemployment
rates, and a devaluating Iranian currency. However, what is perhaps
most noticeable about the current state of the sanctions is that despite
their extreme nature, they have in practice been unable to achieve their
primary objective of halting international involvement in Iran's oil
industry. Iranian oil industry is in a state of restructuring and
development; Iranian oil and gas fields need to be appropriately
maintained and developed, and petroleum refining capacity needs to
increase in order to keep up with growing local demand. While these
projects represent attractive business opportunities, American firms
have not been allowed to compete in this market.
Meanwhile, violations of the sanctions by firms from Europe and the
Far East have remained unchallenged, primarily due to potential
retaliatory measures that could result by punishing violating firms.
Therefore, while the existing sanctions have locked out American firms
from competing in Iran, they clearly represent significant business
opportunities for non-American companies operating in Iran's lucrative
oil industry.

*Hooman Estelami is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Graduate
School of Business, Fordham University.

1. Direction of Trade Statistics, 1979
2. Washington Post, 1981
3. FFND, 1987; Washington Post, 1987
4. Amuzegar, 1993
5. Amirahmadi, 1990
6. Amuzegar, 1993; Kavoosi, 1988
7. Amuzegar, 1993; Hunter, 1990; Mofid, 1990
8. MEED, 1990; 1991
9. Amuzegar, 1993
10. Business Week, 1993; Washington Times, 1993
11. Gause, 1994
12. Defense Daily, 1997
13. Hunter, 1996
14. Economist, 1996a
15. Economist, 1996a
16. Project and Trade Finance, 1995
17. MEED 1995a; 1995b; Oil and Gas Journal, 1995
18. Washington Post, 1996
19. Economist, 1996b
20. Amuzegar, 1997
21. Petrossian, 1998
22. Mossavar-Rahmani, 1998

Amirahmadi, Hooshang (1990), "Revolution and Economic Transition: The
Iranian Experience," State University of New York Press: Albany
Amuzegar, Jahangir (1997), "Adjusting to Sanctions," Foreign Affairs,
Vol. 76, No. 2, pp. 31-41.
Amuzegar, Jahangir (1993), "Iran's Economy Under the Islamic Republic."
St. Martins Press: New York.
Business Week (1993), "The Push to Plug Iran"s Technology Pipeline," n
3323 (Industrial/Technology Edition), June 14, pp. 31-32.
Defense Daily (1997), "Third Russian Kilo Submarine Headed to Iran,"
June 9, p. 17.
Direction of Trade Statistics (1979), International Monetary Fund,
Washington, DC.
Economist (1996a), "Is Iran the Godfather," Vol. 340, No. 7979, August
17, p. 33.
Economist (1996b), "Total War," V 340, n. 7970, August 10, pp. 37-38
FFND (1987) "U.S. Bans Iran Imports," Facts on File News Digest, October
30, p. 797, G2.
Gause, F. Gregory III (1994), "The Illogic of Dual Containment," Foreign
Affairs, v73, n2, pp. 56-66.
Hunter, Shireen T. (1996), Central Asia Since Independence, Praeger:
Westport, Conn.
Hunter, Shireen T. (1990) Iran and the World: Continuity in a
Revolutionary Decade, Indiana University Press: Bloomington.
Kavoossi, Masoud (1988), "The Post-revolutionary Iranian Economy:
Opportunities and Constraints," Business Economics, v23, n2, pp. 34-40.
Keddie, Nikki R. (1981) Roots of Revolution, Yale University Press: New
Haven MEED (1995a) "White House Steps in to Halt Landmark Oil Deal,"
Middle East Economic Digest, March 24, 1995, p. 33.
MEED (1995b) "U.S. Issues Executive Order for Qualified Embargo," Middle
East Economic Digest, May 19, 1995, p. 12.
MEED (1991) "U.S. Oil Licence Opens Way for Better Ties," Middle East
Economic Digest, June 21, 1991, p. 12.
MEED (1990) "Agreements Reached on Hague Small Claims," Middle East
Economic Digest, May 18, 1990, pp. 13-14.
Mofid, Kamran (1990), The Economic Consequences of the Gulf War,
Routledge: London Mossavar-Rahmani, Bijan (1998), "Time Ripe to End
U.S.-Iran Impasse," Oil and Gas Journal, Vol. 96, No. 4, pp. 33-36.
Oil and Gas Journal (1997), "Total"s Iran Deal Sparks Row with U.S.,"
Vol. 95, No. 40, pp. 31-32.
Oil and Gas Journal (1995), "Iranian Sanctions Squeeze Industry," Vol.
93, n20, May 15, p. 11.
Petrossian, Vahe (1997), "Iran Shops Around to Beat Sanctions," Middle
East Economic Digest, 18 July, pp. 15-16.
Project and Trade Finance (1995), "Iran Embraces Buy-back," n 149, p 26.
Washington Post (1996), Clinton Approves Sanctions for Investors in
Iran, Libya, August 6, A:8:1.
Washington Post (1987), All Imports From Iran Embargoed, October 27.
Washington Post (1981) "Iran, U.S. Conclude Final Hostage pact; Tehran
Prepares for Americans" Release", January 19, A1.
Washington Times (1993) "Containment in Search of Muscle," May 25, 1993,

* Farhad Abdolian New York/USA *
* *
* E-mail: *
* *


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:58:10 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Basketball diplomacy as Iran continues dialogue with U.S.

Basketball diplomacy as Iran continues dialogue with U.S.

08/15/1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Teheran (dpa) - Iran and the United States were set to continue a form
of sports diplomacy Sunday as a ``Sports and Nations'' basketball
tournament got going.

Two teams from Iran and teams from the United States, Russia, Hungary
and Yugoslavia were competing in the tournament due to open Sunday and
go through to next Friday.

``The Iranian Basketball Federation decided to hold the Sports and
Nations tournament in order to take more steps towards dialogue between
civilisations,'' Ali Qazanfari, Head of the Iranian Basketball
Federation, told a preparatory press conference last week.

``The American neither the national nor a professional club
team but just a selected team,'' he said.

``Dialogue between civilisations'' was the motto of President Mohammad
Khatami, who in an interview with American news channel CNN in January
1997 expressed Iran 's reconciliation efforts.

Iran and the United States have since decided to exchange cultural and
sports delegations. National wrestling teams have already attended
tournaments in Teheran and Oklahoma.

Such sports events recall the ping-pong diplomacy of the early 1970s
between the United States and China which prefaced the restoration of
diplomatic ties.

Copyright (c) 1999, dpa

* Farhad Abdolian New York/USA *
* *
* E-mail: *
* *


Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 22:58:49 -0400
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Ex-Judge To Oversee Iran Elections

Ex-Judge To Oversee Iran Elections
By FAIZAH SALEH AMBAH Associated Press Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The hard-line cleric who once led Iran's
courts was appointed Sunday to a body overseeing elections, the official
Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The move could hinder reformers' chances in February's legislative

Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Ayatollah Mohammad
Yazdi to the 12-member Guardian Council the day after his term as chief
judge ended, said IRNA, monitored in Dubai.

Yazdi took over the seat vacated by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who
became the chief judge.

Under Yazdi, who had served as chief judge since 1989, the judiciary
convicted several reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami on various
charges and closed liberal newspapers, while taking no action against
vigilantes who have broken up pro-democracy gatherings and attacked

The Guardian Council, made up of six clergymen and six lawyers, oversees
elections and screens candidates. The clerics are appointed by the supreme
leader and the jurists are elected by Parliament from among candidates
nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council. Members serve a six-year term.

With Khatami enjoying overwhelming popularity among Iranians, the
hard-liners face a tough challenge in February's vote for the 270-seat

Their main weapon to prevent a reformist victory is to disqualify
pro-Khatami candidates. Last October, the Guardian Council disqualified 214
candidates out of 400 for election to the 86-member Assembly of Experts. The
rejected candidates all supported Khatami.

The other task of the Guardian Council is to compare laws passed by
Parliament with provisions of the Islamic canon and the Constitution. Laws
found not to be in compliance with Iran's version of Islamic law can be
returned to the lower house to be amended.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 01:56:17 +0100
From: "a.abdi" <a.abdi@BTINTERNET.COM>
Subject: Congratulation to Nateq Nuri for declaring Fati's death anniversary as
a holiday

Since Fati was a victim of Muhammad and Ali's paedophil behaviours and
since, Larijani (Nateq Nuri's friend) was accused of meeting Mr Brown of
the UK and making some promises, since British government was accused of
funding Zahra's memorials in Iran to deepen Shieh-Sunni differences,
since British politicians were not pleased with Dr Musaddeq's
nationalisation of British Petroleum Company, therefore, we congratulate
to Nateq Nuri the brave decision of the IRI-parliament.
Grouh Tawhidi Defae az Mostazeafan.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:06:14 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>

By Fereydoon Hoveyda

The Muslim clerics who pretend that in Islam government and religion cannot
separated, actually commit a disservice to the religion. Indeed,if their
contention is true,then the decline of Muslim countries in the 18 and 19th
centuries should be attributed both to the rulers and to the religion!

Therefore separating the two is in the interest of the religion and the

The present Underdevelopment and weakness of Muslim nations is not due to
the Koran but to
the mistakes and mismanagements of the rulers alone!

Usually,fundamentalists such as Khomeini (or for that matter the sheikhs of
al-Azhar and Zeituny universities, to name only these two centers of
studies)argue that the Prophet in Medina acted both as the head of the
state and the "keeper" of the tenets of the religion.

This is true... But this was not commanded by God and the Koran.It resulted
from the particular circumstances of Arabia which was in those days one of
the most backward countries of the
planet.There were very few literate people. Moreover everybody lived
to the tribal system and unwritten laws. The Medinese tribes were in
disagreement. That is why they offered to the Prophet who ,with his
followers,was persecuted by Abu Sufyan ,the tribal leader of Mecca, to come
Medina and rule over them.

Mixing state and religion is dangerous for the religion,as we see in the
countries where fundamentalists have overtaken government
(Iran,Sudan,Afghanistan). Indeed the disenchanted citizens,especially the
younger ones ,attribute the economic and social ills not only to the rulers
also to the religion itself!

As many observers point out there is a muted tendancy toward disaffection
from the religion in such places!

In secular democratic states,clerics are not excluded from top political
jobs.They have to present themselves to the electorate. But ,if elected,they
cannot meld the affairs of government and church or religion.Thus,for
in Cyprus, archbishop Makarios was several times voted into the office of

But he performed his functions according to the Constitution,not to
the Gospels! Therefore when young Iranians speak of a secular democratic
system,they do not reject the participation of the clergy in the political
of the country.They want separate "institutions" and the rule of the law ,as
decided independantly by an elected parliament.

The circumstances that prompted the Prophet in his dual role,do not exist in
contemporary world.And for the sake of the religion itself, separation of
government and religion should take place in Iran. The sooner ,the better!

By Fereydoun hoveyda author of "The Broken Crescent" (Praeger,1998)


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:07:25 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>

By Safa Haeri


In April 1997, a Berlin High Court established that the highest authorities
of the Islamic Republic, including the leader, ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the
then President, ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his Intelligence
Minister, hojatoleslam Ali Fallahian were directly responsible for the
assassination of Iranian dissidents abroad.

This ruling became a landmark in the struggle of nationalists and
secularists Iranians against the oppressive Islamic State created as a
result of the Islamic revolution of 1979.

In January 1999, following the assassination of several secularist
politicians and intellectuals in Tehran, the Intelligence Ministry of the
Islamic Republic (VAJA) officially recognised that its senior members are
actively involved in the murder of political and intellectual opponents.

Though the authorities have difficulties in naming the senior clerics who
issued the religious orders for the assassinations, identifying only 4 of
the killers, with one of them reported to have killed himself in prison by
absorbing a depilatory product, but everyone in Iran knows well that the
real culprits are the same as those singled out by the Berlin Court, meaning
the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic, this time with the
exception of the president, ayatollah Mohammad Khatami.

And on 15th August, the authorities confirmed that some pressure groups they
described as "non official plain cloth forces", avoiding to name the Ansar
Hezbollah, a shock troop made of thugs and hooligans, bandits and drug
traffickers, are employed by the regime to attack, insult and beat up
dissidents or disturb, sometimes with utter violence, manifestations and
meetings, even those officially authorised, organised by people or groups
the leader does not like.

In a 36 pages report compiled by a 7 members investigation committee created
by the Supreme Council of National Security (SCNS) to investigate the
"roots, causes and impacts" of the last month's students unrest that shook
the Islamic regime to its bones, it is recognised that "inadequate behaviour
of the Law Enforcement personnel, insults ushered at angry students by
"unofficial plain cloth forces" and the unwise, tactless methods of the
local LEF commander triggered the student's unrest and the subsequent riots
that took place in Tehran and other major cities the following four days.

After having shamelessly though, admitted that the Intelligence Ministry
does kill people it is supposed to protect, now, the ayatollahs for the
first time confessed to the existence of illegal pressure groups that are
protected by some ruling circles and connected to the police force, groups
that, in certain occasions, are send by them to deal with people guilty of
criticising the Islamic system, the large-scale, generalised corruption of
the authorities, both clerical and civilian, or the despotism and narcissism
of the leader.

Interestingly, the report, though it does not satisfy anyone, because of
willing to satisfy everyone, agrees that the closure of the popular daily
"Salam", the approval in the Majles (parliament) of a bill aimed to restrict
the already limited freedom of the press, leader's confirmation of a
controversial right to the Council of Guardians concerning the clearing of
would be candidates to the next Majles etc "created a good bed" for the
student's riots.

The report confirms that the incidents on 13th July, including the hard
slogans against the ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, attacks on public buildings
and banks, setting fire to buses and posters of the leader, were the work of
the same pressure groups, ordered to do so in order to give the authorities
plausible pretexts to crush the unrest and transform the students from
"innocents to guilty ones", according to one informed source.

In fact, as the leader-controlled public media, particularly the television,
were showing at length destruction caused by demonstrators presented as
students and their violent clashes with police and other security forces, in
the one hand and the presidents condemned the students for the burning and
anti-regime slogans, the conservatives immediately announced a mass rally in
support of the ayatollah Khameneh'i for 14th July and an outright end to the

For a regime used to total dictatorship and despotism, for authorities used
to treat the people as minors and the intellectuals and the educated elite
as mental defectives, for ruling clerics used to never consider themselves
as being accountable to the nation - during 20 years of absolute rule, they
have dilapidated more than 400 rpt 400 billions US Dollars of oil revenues
alone without ever telling anyone where this astronomical sum of money has
gone if not in their very large, oversized pockets - this kind of admission
of misconduct, mismanagement, misbehaviour and errors are remarkable
achievements. ENDS STUDENTS KILLED 17899


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:08:11 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Iran sanctifies misuse of power

Iran sanctifies misuse of power

The Christian Science Monitor

By Richard C. Hottelet

Things have been quiet in Iran since the student riots of July. The
conservative clergy that runs the country quickly put the lid back on, but
the next outbreak is only a matter of time. Demonstrators clamored for
freedom of the press and the rule of law. Their fury showed the urgency and
depth of demands for nothing less than the right to crack the official mold
and live their own lives.

The background is President Mohamad Khatami's struggle for liberal reform
against the clerical establishment's refusal to change. Parliamentary
passage of a sharply restrictive press law sounded the alarm. The banning of
Salam, the oldest liberal Tehran newspaper, touched things off.

With national elections due next spring, the regime will not allow its
critics full freedom to campaign. The next parliament will either give
Khatami the support he needs for modernization and democracy or back the
Islamic system brought in by Ayatollah Khomeini 20 years ago. For the people
of Iran, especially the youth, this is an issue of destiny. The voting age,
male and female, is 15.

Iran's condition today is dismal in every respect. Behind restraints on
human rights - in dress and behavior - is an economic decline that affects
the realities of life.

Since 1979, the population has grown from 35 million to 65 million. The
economy hasn't grown near enough to provide the jobs and opportunities of a
normal existence. Unemployment is high, and so are prices. Young people
hoping to marry face a housing shortage.

Despite a recent revival of oil prices, the economy is a shambles. Current
difficulties cry out for diversification to create jobs - and for foreign
investment to create that diversification and those jobs. But the state
channels scarce resources to oil and gas production. Energy is the largest
hard-currency export but is not labor intensive. Investors are repelled by
prevailing incompetence, corruption, and mismanagement.

The revolution put most of the economy, some estimates say 80 percent, into
the hands of the bloated government which devours subsidies. Gasoline prices
are the lowest in the world, but consumption outstrips Iranian refinery
capacity, so the government must import some gasoline.

Enormous conglomerates like the state foundation that administers the
confiscated business properties of the former shah bumble along as they
please. Privatization to shake things up is hardly even talked about. An
agricultural country, Iran must import food.

Observers speak of systemic corruption by a network of clerics determined to
remain in power and those the clerics select to run the economic machinery.
These people are chosen not for competence, but for loyalty. They are
rewarded with contracts, jobs, and privileges.

The judiciary is under right-wing control. The baseej goon squads that broke
up the July demonstrations are part of a security apparatus under the
authority not of the president but of the supreme religious leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In these circumstances, the call for reform, for freedom of expression, and
the rule of law has profound practical significance: to create a level
playing field for individuals, entrepreneurs, and investors.

The reformers aren't challenging Islam but the misuse of religion to
sanctify the perversion of power.

Their success would help to stabilize a region whose wobbly structures are a
matter of serious concern to Europe and the US.

Two decades after the infamous seizure of the US embassy and its staff in
Tehran, the Clinton administration expresses some appreciation of what
Khatami is trying to do. But the US is a spectator of events. As a player,
it would have influence. But its policy is still to isolate and punish Iran.
The clerics, for whom an external enemy is a propaganda asset, can still
raise a cry of "Death to America."

*Richard C. Hottelet, a longtime foreign correspondent for CBS, writes on
world affairs


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:08:53 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: US urges release of Iranian Jews amid reports of imminent trial

US urges release of Iranian Jews amid reports of imminent trial

WASHINGTON, Aug 18 (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday urged authorities
in Tehran to release 13 Iranian Jews arrested on espionage charges there
amid reports that their trial was imminent.

"We call on the government of Iran to uphold its stated commitment to
protect the rights of all religious and ethnic minorities by releasing these
individuals and ensuring that no harm comes to them," State Department
spokesman James Rubin said.

His comments came following reports in the Iranian press that the 13 would
soon face trial with their cases formally filed in court on Thursday.

Rubin repeated earlier denials that the Jews had been spying in Iran for
the United States.

"The accused were not involved in espionage for the United States and
allegations that they were are entirely without foundation," he said.

Israel has also denied the 13 were spying for them.

Anyone found guilty of spying for Israel and the United States faces the
death penalty under a 1996 Iranian law.

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.


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:09:50 -0500
From: aryopirouznia <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Protests in Iran: Special report

The Digital Freedom Network
(Updated August 17, 1999)

Protests in Iran: Special report

In an open letter to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a group of
Iranian political and religious personalities criticized the arrest of
students allegedly connected with riots in Tehran last month.

The open letter demanded an end to the "ongoing wave of student arrests."
Over 1,400 people have been arrested in connection with the riots.

Last month, President Khatami harshly criticized the student riots that
broke out in Tehran as a "declaration of war against himself and his
political reforms." Now he is coming to their defense.

"They try to say religion and freedom do not mix and say that the
universities are a danger to Islam and the revolution," Khatami said in an
address last week. "But the nation will not be fooled."
Khatami went on to say that students were in the vanguard of support for
his reform program, and any repression of their rights would be equivalent
to an attack on his own policies.

But while Khatami tries to heal the wounds left by the riots, Iranian
authorities continue to limit freedom of the press. Recently, Mohammad
Mosavi-Khoeniha, the director of the liberal newspaper Salam, was
convicted on charges of spreading false information. The editor of the
reformist newspaper Sobh-e Emrouz has been detained since July 20 on
charges of insulting Islam. Additionally, legal proceedings are currently
being prepared against two other newspapers in an effort to silence them.

It was, of course, such a crackdown on a newspaper's freedom to publish
controversial material that originally sparked the student protests.

On July 7, students from Tehran University staged demonstrations to
protest the banning of Salam. The ban was imposed one day after it
published an article describing a former Iranian official's plan to
introduce amendments to the Iranian Press Law that would restrict freedom
of the press. In the large-scale demonstrations that followed, at least
three people were killed.

The unrest that followed was the greatest crisis of President Khatami's
two-year tenure. Conservatives in Khatami's government, including military
leaders, say Khatami's reformist policies have led to chaos. Students,
many of whom supported Khatami and helped bring him to power in a
landslide election victory, were outraged that the president was silent
through most of the protests, speaking only to condemn the students'

Khatami's recent comments are surely meant, at least in part, to mollify
students. To maintain their support on an ongoing basis, however, Khatami
will have to transform his words into definite actions to perpetuate human
rights in Iran.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Aug 1999 to 18 Aug 1999 - Special issue