Date: Oct 5, 1998 [ 17: 28: 11]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 2 Oct 1998 to 5 Oct 1998 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 2 Oct 1998 to 5 Oct 1998 - Special issue
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There are 22 messages totalling 1217 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. BBC: Iranian writers warned against forming association
2. Mujahedeen killed in Iran were controlled by German-based leaders:
3. Tehran warns it is running out of money to pay staff
4. Iran aims to privatize 6,000 state companies
5. Iran to try to mediate between Turkey, Syria: Tehran Times
6. Quake rocks western Iran
7. Iran gives further approval to hospital segregation
8. Iran warns Taleban its ``patience has limits''
9. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - Oct 5
10. Taleban leader warns Iran of ``serious steps''
11. NYT: As the Taliban Finish Off Foes, Iran Is Looming
12. Tehran's plans to deal with budget crisis win first vote in parliament
13. UN General Assembly marked by Iran's return
14. Iran Hears Echoes of a 'Sacred' War
15. Iran arrests four Taliban spies
16. Baghdad cleric to visit Iran
17. Egyptian, Iranian ties improving: Mussa
18. Iran insists US drop opposition to Iranian pipeline for Caspian oil
19. Iranian parliamentary speaker to visit Italy, Spain
20. Iran to open park exclusively for women
21. UNDCP links Taliban to drug trafficking
22. Washington asks Tehran to spare lives of condemned Bahais


Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 09:45:18 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: BBC: Iranian writers warned against forming association

Sunday, October 4, 1998 Published at 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
World: Middle East

Iranian writers warned against forming association

A court in Iran has warned several prominent writers against reactivating a
professional association of Iranian writers, in what's seen as a further
blow for President Khatami and his reformist followers.

Over the past few days, at least five authors have been questioned by the
court, which usually deals with activities deemed to violate Iran's
national security.

One of those questioned told the BBC the writers were told their
association was an illegal underground political organisation, and they
could be put on trial for anti-state activities.

The BBC Iranian Affairs Correspondent says the warning follows moves
against Iran's liberal press, which began a few weeks ago, including the
closure of several independent papers.

Meanwhile, more than half the members of the Iranian parliament have signed
a petition backing the religious decree calling for the death of the
British author, Salman Rushdie.

The decree -- or fatwa -- accused Mr Rushdie of blasphemy and was issued by
the late Ayatollah Khomeini more than nine years ago.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
# Farhad Abdolian, #
# HW Design Engineer @ Ericsson Radio Access AB #
# Dept. B/UF, Box 11, S-164 93 Stockholm, Sweden #
# Phone +46-8-404 82 91 Fax: +46-8-764 18 58 #


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:53:34 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Mujahedeen killed in Iran were controlled by German-based leaders:

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - Two Mujahedeen rebels killed by Iranian
security forces this weekend were directed by leaders living in
Germany, the intelligence ministry said Monday.
The ministry said a search of the two men -- identified as
Qodrat Baqeri and Bijan Sagvand -- had produced "the address and
telephone number of their leader in Germany."
The authorities also told the official IRNA news agency they had
discovered "a number of identification cards, weapons, grenades,
cyanide pills and secret codes."
IRNA said Sunday the two members of the Iraq-based People's
Mujahedeen, the main armed opposition group fighting the Tehran
regime, were killed in a shootout with security forces in Ahvaz, the
main city in Khuzestan province, bordering Iraq.
The two, spotted after a tip from informers, "planned to carry
out terrorist activities in the country."
Iran has repeatedly criticized Western countries, including
Germany, of offering shelter to supporters of the Mujahedeen, which
seeks to topple the Islamic regime here.
The Islamic republic has also asked Iraq to close Mujahedeen's
bases in that country, which is used to launch cross border raids on
targets in Iran.
Tehran filed a protest with the United Nations in September over
Iraq's support of the Mujahedeen, which claimed credit for the
August 23 assassination of former Iranian revolutionary courts
official and prison chief Asadollah Lajevardi.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:54:10 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran warns it is running out of money to pay staff

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - The Iranian government will run out of
money to pay its employees by next week if parliament does not
endorse an emergency plan to compensate for a 6.3 billion dollar
budget shortfall, a senior official was quoted as saying Monday.
Mohammad-Ali Najafi, the head of the Budget and Planning
Organisation, issued the warning in a parliamentary debate Sunday on
the government's plans to tackle the budget shortfall resulting from
the collapse in world oil prices, Tehran newspapers reported.
He said the government was now selling each Iranian crude at
10.7 dollars a barrel against 16 dollars anticipated in the budget
for the current fiscal year which runs from March 1998-1999.
"Because of this situation only 60 percent of the revenues
forecast in the budget have been realized," he said.
"So far we have been able to pay for 20 percent of the expenses
for development projects and 39 percent of the current expenses.
"If the present trend continues, it is expected that the
government will not be able to meet the rest of the expenses for
this year," Najafi warned.
He called on MPs to speed the emergency plan's passage through
"If the fate of these proposals is not determined by October 12,
the government will not be able to meet certain financial
obligations," he said.
"If the shortfall is not compensated, we will have serious
problem paying wages to government employees, educational expenses
or retirement funds," he said.
MPs backed the government's plan at its first reading and voted
to start detailed examination of the proposals.
They include borrowing up to two billion dollars from the
central bank, preselling one billion dollars in crude, selling bonds
and saving on current government expenses.
The government also hopes to be able to precharge for around
2,000 dollars 300,000 people who have enrolled to make the annual
pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in coming years.
But Najafi warned that borrowing two billion dollars will add
four to five percent to the already high inflation rate.
He said the government will base its next budget on an oil price
of 12 dollars a barrel to avoid any repetition of the problem.
"If the price of oil increases, then we will use the surplus to
invest in new projects," he said.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:53:53 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran aims to privatize 6,000 state companies

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - Iran plans to privatize some 6,000
state-owned companies as part of an effort to streamline the
country's troubled economy, officials said.
Mohammad-Ali Najafi, the head of the Budget Planning
Organisation, said 2,000 state companies and 4,000 subsidiaries will
be transferred to private hands through the country's stock market
by next month.
The transfers come under a law passed early this year by
parliament, he said, quoted by newspapers Monday. A presidential
committee has since April been working on ways to implement the
Some stock will be sold to workers employed by the firms in
installments, he said, noting that "because of the social and
political sensitivity of the issue, we have been exercising the
maximum care."
Najafi said "this is a small first step in creating order in the
state-run companies," adding that a "more comprehensive plan" will
be announced later.
He said the government expected to earn 200 million dollars from
the sale of these firms this year.
But Industry Minister Qolam-Reza Shafeii voiced doubt on Monday
that the companies could be transferred during the fiscal year which
ends in March 1999. "The implementation of the program needs time
and will take some time," he told Zan newspaper.
The minister said the authorities had been given a month to
prepare a list of transferable factories and companies. After that
the Budget Planning Organization will need a month to review the
"Given this, it seems like we will not achieve any success in
this regard this year. Eventually the government and parliament will
have to renew the time until the end of next year," he said.
Shafeii said all but two state companies -- a tobacco company
and a major cement company -- will be subject to privatisation.
The government controls about 80 percent of the economy with the
oil sector accounting for much of it.
The previous government launched a privatization drive, but with
little success amid charges of nepotisim and inefficiency.
In August, President Mohammad Khatami unveiled new policies
aimed at a fundamental revamp of the economy, including plans to
limit the government's role in the economy.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:54:24 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran to try to mediate between Turkey, Syria: Tehran Times

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - Iran is working on a plan to help ease
tension between Syria and Turkey and may dispatch an envoy to the
two countries, a newspaper said Monday.
The Tehran Times quoted an unidentified Iranian official as
saying that "no one but Israel will benefit from the tension between
Ankara and Damascus."
"Iran is working on a plan to defuse tension between its two
friends. This tension must be defused," the official said.
Turkey and Syria have been engaged in a growing war of words,
with Ankara accusing its southern neighbour of backing the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) in a long-running rebellion in the mainly
Kurdish southeast of Turkey, a charge Damascus has repeatedly
Syria, for its part, is apprehensive over Turkey's growing
military cooperation with Israel, a concern shared by Iran and
But the Iranian official played down the issue, saying "it is
not a blow to regional interests."
"We are trying to convince Turkey not to stray too far from the
close circle of regional countries as it will not be in its
interests," he said.
The Times, citing "other sources," said Iran planned to dispatch
an envoy to both Syria and Turkey "to get a first-hand information
on the crisis."
According to the official Syrian news agency SANA, Iranian
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi on Sunday expressed Iran's support
for Syria in its escalating war of words with neighbouring Turkey.
Kharazi called his Syrian counterpart Faruq al-Shara to express
Iran's support for Damascus as well as its "great unhappiness in the
face of the threatening statements made by Turkey against Syria," it
Kharazi said Iran was "satisfied that the Syrian position
favours a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria's relations
with Turkey," adding that Tehran's support for Damascus was
The Iranian foreign ministry has called on Ankara and Damascus
previously to exercise restraint.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is also engaged in a mediation
effort. He visited Damascus on Sunday and is expected in Ankara on
Monday or Tuesday.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:54:42 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Quake rocks western Iran

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) - An earthquake measuring 5.3 degrees on the
open-ended Richter scale rocked the Kuhdasht region of Ilam province
in western Iran on Monday, state radio said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the
quake, which struck the mountainous area at 5:30 a.m. (0200 GMT).
A resident of Kuhdasht reached by telephone said the quake had
jolted the town and caused panic among residents.
Earthquakes are frequent in Iran, located on a seismic fault


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:55:17 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran gives further approval to hospital segregation

TEHRAN, Oct 4 (AFP) - Iranian parliament has given second-stage
approval to a controversial law on the Islamicisation of medical
services and the segregation of hospitals by sex, state radio said
on Sunday.
The law aims to establish a higher council in the health
ministry to oversee its application, in particular the treatment of
women by female staff and men by male staff in hospital.
The measure received initial approval in April despite
opposition from the government, reformists and the media.
Iranian authorities launched a campaign several years ago to
segregate the sexes in public arenas, including several hospitals,
and buses were segregated by sex after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Any physical contact between men and women who are not related
is forbidden in the Islamic republic.
Officials will inaugurate this week a park built exclusively for
women in a conservative city in southwestern Iran.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:02:55 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran warns Taleban its ``patience has limits''

Iran warns Taleban its ``patience has limits'' 05:07 p.m Oct 05, 1998

By Barry May

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Iran warned the Afghan Taleban on Monday its
``patience has limits'' and Tehran might take action unless the killers
of Iranian diplomats were punished.

``The Taleban must meet the demands of Iran and the international
community,'' Iranian television quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
as saying.

``Iran is initially trying to resolve the problems through political
means. But our patience has limits and we hope not to be obliged to use
other means,'' Kharrazi was quoted as telling visiting U.N. special
envoy on Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi.

Iran was demanding the prompt release of dozens of its citizens held by
the Taleban and the return of the remaining bodies of Iranian diplomats,
in addition to the arrest and punishment of those behind the murder of
the eight diplomats and one reporter in August in Afghanistan, Kharrazi

Brahimi told Kharrazi his mission's main aims were to ``stop the killing
and the violations of human rights in Afghanistan and the easing of
tension in the region,'' the televison said.

In Afghanistan, Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar said no
foreign power had ever subdued Afghanistan and vowed to take ``serious
steps'' if Tehran ``interfered.''

Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, also met other officials separately,
including Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh and Defence Minister
Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani.

Iranian officials said Brahimi was also due to meet President Mohammad
Khatami. The moderate leader has pledged to work through diplomatic
channels to ease the tension but warned that Iran was ready to use
military force if diplomacy failed.

Brahimi is due to leave for Islamabad on Thursday for talks with
Pakistani and Taleban officials. A U.N. travel ban imposed for security
reasons prevents any visit to Afghanistan.

The Taleban, a purist Sunni Moslem militia which controls 90 percent of
Afghanistan, urged the United Nations on Saturday to prevent a
``devastating war'' with predominantly Shi'ite Iran.

Tehran, which accuses the Taleban of carrying out a massacre of Shi'ite
opponents, has massed some 270,000 troops on the Afghan border since the
killing of the diplomats in August. Most of the troops are due to hold
war games at the frontier soon.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Ali has said the primary purpose of
Brahimi's mission is to help ease tensions.

The row between the Taleban and Tehran, which supports the militia's
opponents, escalated when diplomats at the Iranian consulate-general in
Mazar-i-Sharif disappeared after Taleban fighters captured the northern
opposition stronghold in August.

The bodies of six diplomats and a correspondent of the state news agency
IRNA were flown home last month.

The Taleban complained over the weekend that Iranian warplanes had
violated Afghan air space. Iran denied the accusation.

Six regional powers -- Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
and Tajikistan -- plus the United States and Russia agreed last month
that the United Nations should investigate reported massacres of
Shi'ites in the wake of Taleban advances.

The international community -- except Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates -- has withheld recognition of the Taleban as the
legitimate government of Afghanistan.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:03:39 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - Iran - Oct 5

PRESS DIGEST - Iran - Oct 5 03:15 a.m. Oct 05, 1998 Eastern

TEHRAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in
Iranian newspapers on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and
does not vouch for their accuracy.


- The U.N. special envoy on Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in
Tehran on Sunday to discuss the Afghan crisis with Iranian officials.


- The head of the Plan and Budget Organisation presented a budget
amendment bill to parliament. The bill proposes the pre-sale of oil,
selling shares of state firms and borrowing from the Central Bank to
compensate for the $6.3 billion budget deficit caused by slumping world
oil prices.


- Iran's parliament on Sunday passed a bill urging medical institutions
to treat patients by members of the same sex.


- Some 160 members of the Iranian parliament said in a letter on Sunday
that the death decree against British author Salman Rushdie remained
valid and irrevocable.

- Road accidents kill 35 people per day in Iran, a police official said.


- Candidates qualified to run in the October 23 elections to the
Assembly of Experts will be allowed to start campaigning for two weeks
on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said. The 86-seat assembly names and
has the power to dismiss Iran's supreme leader.


- A senior cleric called on the Guardian Council, which screens all
elections in Iran, to revise its decision in disqualifying 224 out of
396 persons who have signed up to run for the elections to the Assembly
of Experts.


- President Mohammad Khatami met members of the national wrestling team.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:02:26 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taleban leader warns Iran of ``serious steps''

Taleban leader warns Iran of ``serious steps'' 02:48 p.m Oct 05, 1998

By Andrew Hill

ISLAMABAD, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The Taleban's supreme leader told Iran on
Monday that no foreign power had ever subdued Afghanistan and vowed to
take ``serious steps'' if Tehran ``interfered.''

Mullah Mohammad Omar's hardline statement was broadcast on the Taleban's
Shariat radio as a U.N. envoy held talks with Iranian leaders to try to
defuse a war of words between the radical Sunni Moslem militia and its
predominantly Shi'ite neighbour.

``If this (Iranian) interference continues, then our people would take
serious steps,'' the radio, monitored in Pakistan, quoted Omar as saying
in a statement.

Lakhadar Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat, was sent to the region by
foreign ministers of a ``six plus two'' contact group of Afghanistan's
neighbours plus Russia and the United States to try to cool the row,
which began last month.

After earlier talks in Abu Dhabi with Brahimi, Wakil Ahmed, a senior
Taleban official, said the militia did not want war with neighbouring
Iran and was looking forward to hearing Tehran's views on ways to ease

``The war, if it happened, God forbid, would not be in the interest of
either Iran or Afghanistan,'' Ahmed told reporters in Abu Dhabi. ``I do
not think there will be a war.''

``We have met Lakhdar Brahimi in Abu Dhabi by chance (and talked about)
the crisis. But the real talks would be when he returns from Tehran,''
Ahmed said.

Iran massed tens of thousands of troops on its borders after nine
Iranian diplomats went missing and were later found killed when the
Taleban overran the opposition bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif in a summer
campaign to tighten its grip on the country.

Omar said the nine Iranians were conducting ``espionage'' and added:
``Iran interferes in our internal affairs blatantly and we have and
reserve the right to take measures against it.''

The Taleban leadership has acknowledged that its fighters killed the
Iranians and has promised to catch and punish those responsible but
refuses Iran's request that it make a public apology and hand over the

The Taleban have accused Iran of numerous violations of its air space
and of arming and supplying its opposition foes, most of which have been
routed in a campaign that has increased the Taleban's control of the
country to around 95 per cent.

Iran has accused the Taleban of ethnic reprisals against minority
Shi'ites of the Hazara ethnic group in its takeover of opposition areas
in the centre and north of the country.

Omar repeated the Taleban's demand that it be recognised as the
legitimate government in Kabul by virtue of the spread of its control
and its imposition of strict Islamic law after years of anarchy and
factional warfare.

``When a government brings stability and peace, then its recognition
should be automatic,'' said Omar, whose administration is recognised
only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The U.N. seat is occupied by Burhanuddin Rabbani, whose government was
toppled when the Taleban, which comes from the southern Pashtun ethnic
group, seized power in 1996.

Ahmed said the Taleban had asked Brahimi to travel to Kabul, but he
refused, saying he had not been authorised to do so.

A U.N. travel ban imposed for security reasons prevents any visit to

The Taleban spokesman said he was in the UAE for talks on the situation
in Afghanistan. On Monday he met Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Sheikh Hamdan bin Zaid al-Nahayan to convey a verbal message from
Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar to UAE President Sheikh Zaid bin
Sultan al-Nahayan.

The U.N. pulled out of Afghanistan in August after one of its Italian
military staff was shot dead in a Kabul street and wants security
guarantees and improved working conditions for the resumption of a major
relief operation.

Most private aid agencies withdrew from Afghanistan earlier that month
after a row with the Taleban, who wanted the predominantly Western
agencies to live in a derelict college and to pay the million dollars
required for its rennovation.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:06:31 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: NYT: As the Taliban Finish Off Foes, Iran Is Looming

As the Taliban Finish Off Foes, Iran Is Looming


MIRBACAKOT, Afghanistan -- With gunfire snapping in the wind and artillery
blasts punctuating his sentences, the commander of the Taliban's front-line
forces was in a boastful, triumphant mood on Friday.

He removed his artificial leg, sat comfortably on a blanket in his small
brick fortress and pointed a few hundred yards to the north where, lodged in
the foothills, was the last bastion of what was once grandly called the
Northern Alliance.

"We are giving the enemy 10 days, so that anybody who wants to get out can
get out," said the commander, Haji Mullah Abdus Sattar. "Then, by the will of
God, we will crush the life from anyone who remains behind."

These are heady days for the Taliban. Mazar-i-Sharif fell to them in August,
Bamiyan in September. They now control 90 percent of Afghanistan, with only
army of their wiliest opponent, Ahmad Shah Massoud, left to conquer.

Massoud's redoubt is the Panjshir Valley of the northeast, and many of his
troops are lined up within sight of the Taliban here in Mirbacakot, about 12
miles north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

But just as a final Taliban victory seems near in this country left
impoverished and demoralized by 20 years of war, so does the possibility of a
savage new chapter in one of the world's bloodiest histories.

Some 200,000 Iranian troops are staging military exercises on Afghanistan's
western border, and Taliban officials asserted Friday that 10 helicopters and
25 fighter aircraft had entered their airspace.

"The Iranians would like to help Massoud, and their war games have already
drawn thousands of the Taliban away from the front lines against him," said a
foreign military observer in Afghanistan. "The Iranians could open up a second
front. Or they could arm the thousands of Afghan refugees in Iran and train
them for guerrilla activities."

The Shiite Muslims of Iran are very much on the minds of the predominantly
Sunni Muslim forces of the Taliban, especially after the Iranians, angry over
the killings of eight of their diplomats and a journalist by Taliban forces at
Mazar-i-Sharif, massed troops on Iran's border with Afghanistan and ordered
games. But while Iran has threatened military action, its leaders say they
to avoid war with the Taliban.

Sattar sent a few of his men to bring in some rocket-propelled grenades and
automatic rifles that he said had been captured in battle recently. The
commander said the weapons were made in Iran and shipped to Massoud's army
through Tajikistan.

"If Iran wants to attack and get into this fight, they should not forget how
we destroyed the Russians," said the mullah, alternately spouting bravado and
sipping tea. "Not only will we defeat the Iranians, we will chase them into
their own land and take Tehran."

Sattar's more immediate problem is the estimated 10,000 soldiers of Massoud,
who was once this nation's defense minister and a great hero in the holy war
that drove out Soviet invaders in 1989.

The winter snows will begin to fall in the next two to four weeks, making
movements of troops and supplies very difficult and prolonging the standoff.

Massoud, according to the mullah, is a "caged animal," surrounded on three
sides with nowhere to retreat except across the northern border into
Tajikistan. He said he expects such a withdrawal.

Unlike the Taliban, who are mostly members of the Pushtun ethnic group,
Massoud is a member of the nation's Tajik ethnic minority. Tajikistan would be
a logical refuge.

On Wednesday, the pilot and crew of one of Massoud's cargo planes
defected to
the Taliban. Not only had the pilot been ferrying supplies from Tajikistan,
said Sattar, but on return trips he had been taking away the personal effects
of Massoud and his top commanders: "So Massoud knows he is defeated. And so do
his troops. Every day, more of them cross over and lay down their rifles, and
we let them go away."

The hilly terrain around Mirbacakot is littered with the carcasses of Soviet
tanks, some of them twisted heaps that serve as grave markers along the
important and perilous road to Kabul.

Just as the Taliban are hard upon the Massoud forces, the Tajik commander is
but a short drive from the capital. His rockets can hit Kabul at will, as one
did on Sept. 21, killing more than 100 civilians in a medical clinic and the
ice cream parlor next door. These attacks have been infrequent, however, for
while they show Massoud's might, they do little to win hearts and minds.

While Massoud was a famous Afghan warrior, the Taliban seemed to come out of
nowhere in 1995. Rooted in the ancient ways of village life, the Taliban were
appalled at what they described as the corrupt ways of the mujahadeen, who had
come to power after defeating the Soviets.

The Taliban were educated in strict religious schools and practice a
puritanical form of Islam, insisting on isolation for women, mandatory beards
for men and amputations and summary executions for thieves, adulterers and

The Taliban are reviled by many for a creed that is considered repressive,
but they prefer to focus on the peace they have brought to the war-weary areas
of Afghanistan they now control.

Most of the gains of the Taliban were relatively easy to consolidate as they
marched through the Pushtun regions of Afghanistan. Now, however, they have
battles against the Uzbek and Shiite minorities of Mazar-i-Sharif and the
Hazaras of Bamiyan. They face accusations that they killed thousands of Hazara
civilians when they captured Mazar-i-Sharif.

The Taliban will have to deal with ethnic and religious suspicions and
enmities. "A lot of the Taliban's enemies weren't actually defeated -- they
just quit fighting and disappeared," said one Western military analyst. "They
did buying as well as fighting, paying commanders to switch sides. Of course,
someone who takes your money today takes someone else's tomorrow. If Iran
to provide much in the way of support, the Taliban will find themselves in a
drawn-out guerrilla war."

Saturday, October 3, 1998
Copyright 1998 The New York Times


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:55:37 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran's plans to deal with budget crisis win first vote in parliament

TEHRAN, Oct 4 (AFP) - The Iranian government's proposals to deal
with the expected 6.3 billion dollar shortfall in its budget
resulting from the collapse in world oil prices won a first vote in
parliament Sunday.
MPs backed the government's proposals at their first reading and
voted to start detailed examination of the plans to tackle the
budget shortfall, parliamentary sources said.
Director of the planning and budget organisaton, Mohammad-Ali
Najafi, told the house that the collapse in oil revenues since the
start of the Iranian year in March was "the main reason" for the
shortfall in government revenues.
"In the first six months of the year, only 60 percent of
predicted oil receipts have been realised," Najafi said.
He added that Iranian oil was now selling at an average of 10.70
dollars a barrel against budget expectations of 16 dollars a
"Our exports are also down because of some of OPEC's decisions,"
he said, stressing that the government was faced with a "serious
budgetary crisis."
In a bid to stem the fall in world prices the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries has committed itself to reduce
production by 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
Iran is the oil cartel's second biggest producer and receives 85
percent of its foreign currency earnings from oil exports.
The Iranian parliament had already cut its forecast of oil
receipts by 7.5 percent since the start of the year in anticipation
of a sharp decline in the country's receipts from oil exports.
Its earlier forecast predicted oil receipts of 16.3 billion
dollars against total planned expenditure of around 28.2 billion
dollars at the official exchange rate of 3,000 rials to the dollar.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:55:56 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UN General Assembly marked by Iran's return

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 4 (AFP) - The triumphant return of Iran to
the world stage was the highlight of the just-ended UN General
Assembly annual debate, UN delegates agree.
Diplomats said that the visit to the United Nations by moderate
President Mohammad Khatami -- the first Iranian head of state to
travel to New York since 1986 -- was a main feature of the two-week
debate which wound up Friday.
"It was a major event," said an eastern European diplomat,
referring to the presence before the 185-nation body of Khatami, who
took office in August last year.
A Western European envoy meanwhile hailed Khatami's appeal from
the UN podium, in a 45-minute philosophical speech, for a "dialogue
among civilisations" as his country emerges from 20 years of
isolation from the West.
Three days later, on September 24 Iran and Britain restored full
diplomatic relations for the first time since 1989, when British
author Salman Rushdie was sentenced to death by a religious decree.
But despite the warming of relations with Britain, those with
the United States remained in a rut.
Security on hand for Khatami's three-day New York visit even
eclipsed the measures usually available for US President Bill
But even so, a protester with the exile Iranian opposition
managed to briefly get inside the General Assembly hall during
Khatami's address.
At a breakfast with a small group of Western reporters including
AFP on September 22, sniffer dogs were added to the array of
security measures at a New York hotel.
During his visit, Khatami met with a number of non-aligned and
African leaders, renewed acquaintance with UN chief Kofi Annan and
spent 40 minutes having tea with eight UN staff members of Persian
He also invited 1,000 Iranians living in the United States to a
two-hour meeting, during which the cleric seduced his audience with
his modesty and his message, receiving a warm welcome and standing
Following Khatami's departure, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
met with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook who flew from Malaysia
to hear the Iranian minister announce that his government was
disassociating itself from a bounty on Rushdie's head.
But Kharazi did not cross the street to join US Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright for a ministerial-level meeting aimed at
defusing the tensions between Iran and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was asked to attend at the
last moment, sending word that Kharazi had to accompany the
president to another event.
Last Monday, Kharazi made it clear in a speech to the Asia
Society that Tehran was still not ready to move from a
people-to-people dialogue to political relations with Washington.
Iranian diplomats play an active role at the United Nations in
committee negotiations, a UN diplomat noted.
But he added that Iran was a member of a small group of states
which systematically block proposals seen as being dictated by the
United States -- hence the delays in obtaining approval for UN


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 02:09:01 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran Hears Echoes of a 'Sacred' War


Iran Hears Echoes of a 'Sacred' War

A decade of brutal conflict with Iraq shaped Iran's relations with other
Islamic states, and West.

Scott Peterson
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor


Among the most devout Muslim believers, every communication begins: "In the
name of God...."

And so it was that Ali Zakani began to tell of the spiritual and ideological
import of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s - a conflict that for some Iranians
sparked a revolutionary zeal and a commitment to Islam that has only
increased over time.

This brutal war - in which 1 million on both sides were killed or wounded -
provided a spiritual reckoning for Iran that reveals some of the deepest
roots of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"We didn't enter the battlefield to become martyrs, only to defend Islam and
the revolution," says the bearded Dr. Zakani. "But we knew that if we died,
we were going to be martyrs, and that was important to us," he says. "So we
would have victory either way."

Today that experience affects every aspect of Iranian politics, from the
current tension with the extreme-Islamist Taliban militia in Afghanistan to
Iran's announcement last week that it would not pursue a decade-old religious
decree requiring the death of Salman Rushdie, British author of the
controversial book "The Satanic Verses," for blasphemy.

Zakani is a senior Basiji official - the group's name means "volunteer" - at
Tehran University. His office is, significantly, in the campus mosque. He
joined the war at the age of 15 after Iraq invaded Iran and fought
throughout -his years at the front molding a strong ideology.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution that ousted the
pro-West Shah Muhammad Pahlavi, declared the fight against Iraq a "sacred
defense" and a jihad, or holy war.

But the spiritual sense with which tens of thousands marched to the front
line was not shared by all, and the division here today between "true
believers" like Zakani and moderate Iranians is deep.

Basiji and Hizbollahi organizations - which, because of their particular
sacrifices in the war, often serve as the self-appointed moral authority -
are tasked with "defending" the revolution against all, mostly Western,

Containing moderates

But they can also strike fear into the hearts of moderate Iranians, whom
hard-liners accuse of tampering with the aims of the revolution. The most
obvious symbol of these moderates is reform-minded President Mohamad Khatami,
who was elected by a landslide last year.

Militant Hizbollahis attacked his information minister and a vice president
during a public rally last month, and shut down a pro-Khatami newspaper. For
many hard-liners, Mr. Khatami's efforts to reopen Iran to the West and
create a "civil society" based on law and order are seen to undermine the
rule of
conservative clergy. But Zakani, a medical doctor specializing in pediatrics,
speaks in conciliatory tones about the divide.

'We as fundamentalists believe we should make the rest aware, we should give
them guidance.'
- Ali Zakani

"It is natural that not everyone thinks the same way. We are convinced people
are for the revolution, but at the same time some are Westernized and have
different views," he says. "But we try to attract them to us. We as
fundamentalists believe we should make the rest aware, we should give them
guidance; talk to them.

"We don't consider this [liberal] minority a threat, but our response is to
make sure it doesn't expand," Zakani says. "The institutions of the
revolution are so strong, and this mandate has been given to us by the war."

More than defending a border

It was this war that had an almost indescribable effect on those who
survived, who were often there for ideology as much as for duty to country.
Zakani says he was wounded 10 times and took part in 15 major offensives.

For him, a "chain" of anti-revolution attacks against Iran, all spurred by
Western enemies, climaxed with Iraq's invasion in 1980. But from Tehran's
point of view, "fighting was more than just defending the border," Zakani

"I knew it even then, that this revolution brought us self-respect,
self-understanding," he adds. "It gave us the gift of freedom, and that was
reason enough to see the war through."

Key to his decision to fight was the personal charisma of Khomeini, known
then as the "Imam of the Age" who in the Shia theology was God's
representative on earth.

"Giving us this feeling to fight was one of the miracle arts of Imam
Khomeini - he inspired people to religion," Zakani remembers. Iran's vast
cemetery south of Tehran is adjacent to the elaborate shrine that has
entombed Ayatollah Khomeini since his death in 1989.

"A lot of dust built up on Islam over the centuries," says Zakani. "The imam
shook off the dust and showed the realities of this religion to find the real

For some, disillusionment

Not all war veterans still adhere so powerfully to this ideology. Some were
disillusioned by their war experience, while others seem confused by the wide
social rift between those who fought and those others - most often wealthy
residents of north Tehran who had the means to flee - who skipped out on the
dangerous war.

But for Zakani, the "sacred defense" provided a paradigm for daily action and
deep loyalty to the revolution.

"The most important thing we learned in the war was sacrifice: Don't just
live for yourself, but for others," he says. "We're trying to transfer these
feelings and beliefs to the next generation, because for us the war is not
over. The oppressors are always after us."

A moment of epiphany for Zakani occurred one night on the southern front, in
the marshy border area, when Iranian frogmen directed his boat with
flashlights to an Iraqi position on an island.

Hours of hand-to-hand combat ensued. After a meal and prayers of thanks, a
rustle of reeds revealed more than 20 Iraqi soldiers waving white shirts of
surrender. Zakani and his unit tended to the Iraqi wounded, he says, and
shared with them some of their own "good bread," made from milk and wheat.

"One [Iraqi] soldier got so emotional. 'Now I know what is Islam,' he said,
and then went back to the marsh to retrieve more and more surrendering
Zakani recalls.

"They were crying: 'Now I know where is Islam, and which side is atheism.' "


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:56:49 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran arrests four Taliban spies

TEHRAN, Oct 4 (AFP) - Iranian authorities have arrested four
Afghan nationals, accusing them of spying for the Taliban Islamic
militia in Afghanistan, a newspaper reported Sunday.
The suspects, whose identities were not revealed, were seized in
Zahedan, the main town in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province,
bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, Asr-e-Azadegan daily said.
Citing local authorities, it charged that the Afghans had
"infiltrated Iran to carry out terrorist acts." It did not give the
date of their arrest.
Tensions between Shiite Moslem Iran and the extremist Sunni
Moslem Taliban increased after the murder by the militia in August
of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan.
The Iranian army has massed tens of thousands of troops along
the border with Afghanistan for maneuvers in a warning to the
Taliban, which is accused here of engaging in "acts of banditry and
drug trafficking."


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:57:19 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Baghdad cleric to visit Iran

TEHRAN, Oct 3 (AFP) - Abdel Razzak al-Saadi, president of the
Iraqi Islamic People's Congress, will make an official visit to
Tehran, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported Saturday.
Saadi, who often acts as imam for Friday prayers in Baghdad,
will lead a delegation of Islamic clerics and university professors,
it said.
He will be making his visit at the invitation of the
Organisation of Culture and Islamic Communication, a governmental
entity that oversees Iranian relations with non-Islamic religions.
Saadi will visit Mashad and Qom, the two holiest Shiite Moslem
cities in Iran.
Iran and Iraq are slowly normalising relations 10 years after
the end of a war between the neighbours that killed hundreds of
thousands in both nations.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:56:14 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Egyptian, Iranian ties improving: Mussa

CAIRO, Oct 4 (AFP) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa said in
an interview Sunday that relations between Cairo and Tehran have
"greatly improved" since ties were severed 20 years ago.
"Relations between Egypt and Iran are far better that they were
in the past. Ties have greatly improved," Mussa told Al-Hayat
newspaper which is published simultaneously in Cairo and other Arab
"Egypt and Iran are engaged in a dialogue and share common areas
of cooperation and consultation," he said. "We are on the road to
improving and stabilising relations.
"Iran wants better ties and we want better ties," he said.
Diplomatic relations between Cairo and Tehran were severed in
the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of
the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who left for exile in Egypt where
he died and is buried.
Egypt and Iran maintain diplomatic interests sections in each
other's capital and in recent months they have hosted official
delegations from either side and are seeking to develop economic and
other links.
The Cairo film festival to be held in December will feature, for
the first time since ties were severed, a series of Iranian films,
in what is seen as another sign of improved relations between the
two Moslem countries.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:57:48 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran insists US drop opposition to Iranian pipeline for Caspian oil

DUBAI, Oct 3 (AFP) - Washington must drop its opposition to
Caspian oil being exported through Iran if it wants to normalize
ties with Tehran, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in comments
published Saturday.
"I see no justification for their pressure on several countries
to stop them allowing the energy resources of the Caspian Sea to be
exported through Iran, which is a more secure and less costly
route," he told the London-based daily Al-Hayat.
"If they are interested in normalization with Iran, they must
take certain steps, including ending pressure on the countries which
border the Caspian," he told the paper in an interview conducted in
New York.
Washington has placed Tehran under unilateral economic embargo
and has sought at all costs to prevent it securing a stranglehold
over the Caspian's energy resources, which at between 12 and 15
billion tonnes are considered to be the third largest in the world
after those of the Gulf and Siberia.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:57:32 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian parliamentary speaker to visit Italy, Spain

TEHRAN, Oct 3 (AFP) - Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar
Nateq-Nuri is expected in Italy on Sunday on the first leg of an
eight-day trip that will also take him to Spain, the official news
agency IRNA said.
Nateq-Nuri, a leader of the conservative faction in the Islamic
Republic, will hold meetings in Rome with Italian President Luigi
Scalfaro and Prime Minister Romano Prodi, IRNA said.
He will then go to Spain, where he will meet King Juan Carlos,
Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar and Spanish deputies, IRNA added.
Nateq-Nuri will be accompanied by a delegation of MPs and Deputy
Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi, who looks after European affairs.
Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini confirmed on Thursday
that both Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Foreign Minister
Kamal Kharazi will visit Italy in the coming months.
Kharazi will visit "this autumn" and Khatami "a few months
after," Dini said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New
York after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart.
Dini visited Tehran in March, and Prodi was there in June on an
official visit.
Italian Foreign Trade Minister Augusto Fantozzi is expected to
visit Iran on October 6 at the head of a trade mission.
Iran and Spain traditionally have good relations and the Iranian
foreign minister visited Madrid in June.
The Islamic Republic named Hassan Shafti, formerly managing
director at Iran Air, its new ambassador to Spain last month.
Iran Air resumed its weekly flight from Tehran to Madrid in July
after an eight-year break due to economic reasons.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:56:25 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran to open park exclusively for women

TEHRAN, Oct 4 (AFP) - Iranian officials will inaugurate this
week a park built exclusively for women in a conservative city in
southwestern Iran, an official said Sunday.
Zahran Shojaee, advisor to President Mohammad Khatami on women's
affairs, said the park will open on Friday in Ahwaz, the main city
in Khuzestan province.
It will be the first public park in the Islamic Republic built
excusively for women.
The opening ceremony will mark "Women's Week" which will start
on Monday, the birthday anniversary of Fatima, the daughter of
Prophet Mohammad.
The park is intended to be a place where women can jog or play
outdoor sports.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution women have been banned from
exercising outdoors without proper Islamic garb.
Iranian authorities launched a campaign several years ago to
segregate the sexes in public arenas, including several hospitals.
Buses were also segregated by sex after the revolution.


Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:57:05 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UNDCP links Taliban to drug trafficking

TEHRAN, Oct 1 (AFP) - The vice-president of the European
Parliament, Renzo Imbeni, on Saturday linked the Taliban Islamic
militia in Afghanistan to drug trafficking in the region.
Imbeni, who is heading a delegation of the UN Department for
Drug Control and Crime Prevention on a visit to Iran, said the UNDCP
"has some evidence" proving Taliban involvement in drug
"The Taliban gives permission to traffickers to cross through
territories it controls," he said at a joint press conference with
Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Qolam-Hossein Bolandian.
But he said the level of drug production had been on the decline
in Afghanistan in recent months, "mainly because of bad weather."
Bolandian said the volume of drugs smuggled into Iran from
Afghanistan "has dramatically increased since the Taliban took
control" of provinces bordering Iran three years ago.
To cope with the situation, Iran dispatched several army
divisions to the border with Afghanistan several months ago, he
"This has been a successful scheme and the price of narcotics in
Iran has doubled since then because of the lower supply," he said.
Iran is a transit country for drugs shipped to Europe and the
Gulf Arab states, mainly from Afghanistan, but also from Pakistan.
Iranian authorities have waged a merciless fight against
narcotics trafficking, but have been overwhelmed by the rising
amount of drugs being produced in Afghanistan and growingly
sophisticated methods employed by traffickers.
Bolandian estimated that Iranian authorities has busted around
2,600 drug rings since the 1979 Islamic revolution, when Iran
declared a war on drugs, and seized 1,400 tonnes of various drugs.
But this only accounted for 10 percent of the drugs shipped
through Iran, he said.
The UNDCP delegation arrived Monday to inspect Iran's border
with Afghanistan and Pakistan and prepare a report on the country's
efforts to fight drugs.
Iran said in April it had signed an agreement with the UN agency
to cooperate in the fight against drugs, during a visit here by
UNDCR director Pino Arlacchi.
Imbeni said he was "pleased" with Iran's efforts to fight
narcotics trafficking.
"It is a sure thing that Iran has done its utmost to fight
drugs. This is a truth which many countries do not know about," he
said, pledging to try to raise international awareness on the issue
and seek cooperation.
Imbeni, who has held talks with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
and Interior Minister Abdol-Vahed Musavi-Lari, said he will seek aid
of up to 10 million dollars and modern technical equipment to help
Iran better control the drug flow.
Imbeni said the UNDCP would also try to help Iran to create
employment opportunities in drug-infested regions to ease the
dependence of residents on drug smuggling.
Iran and UNDCP will jointly hold a conference here on drugs in
April 1999.
But Imbeni was also critical about the condition of a prison for
drug smugglers in Mashhad, the main city in Khorasan province
bordering Afghanistan, which he visited during this trip.
He said 11,000 inmates had been stuffed into the facility which
was built for 3,000 people, and offered help to improve the
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Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 01:58:33 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Washington asks Tehran to spare lives of condemned Bahais

WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (AFP) - The US government asked Tehran on
Thursday to spare the lives of two Iranian Bahais and to stop the
persecution of the Bahai community.
The two were arrested in October 1997 and are being held in the
Iranian province of Khorasan. They lost their appeal against the
death sentence which means their execution is imminent, US State
Department spokesman James Rubin said.
"They are in imminent danger of execution for nothing else than
the free exercise of their religion," Rubin said. "The United States
urges the government of Iran to exercise restraint and not to carry
out these death sentences."
"We are also aware of other recent official acts of persecution
against the Bahai, including the arrest of 32 faculty members of a
university operated by the Bahai community," he added.
Some one million Bahias prospered in Iran until the 1979 Islamic
revolution after which they suffered widespread persecution and have
not had access to higher education.
"We have urged publicly and will continue to urge publicly that
the government of Iran protect members of the Bahai faith and we
have also urged the government of Iran to ease restrictions on the
practice of religion and to recognize and uphold the fundamental
human right to freedom of conscience and belief," Rubin said.
Rubin said Washington had condemned the July execution of a
Bahai accused of converting a Moslem. Tehran had denied the
execution had taken place.
But Diane Alai, the Bahai representative to United Nations said
Ruhollah Rowhani was hanged at the Mashad prison in Northeastern


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 2 Oct 1998 to 5 Oct 1998 - Special issue