Date: Oct 13, 1998 [ 14: 28: 40]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Oct 1998 to 13 Oct 1998 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Oct 1998 to 13 Oct 1998 - Special issue
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There are 21 messages totalling 1269 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Most Iran prisoners held on drugs offences-official
2. (NYT) U.S. Bid to Build Caspian Pipeline Appears to Fail
3. Osama gets money from Saudi royalty: US
4. PRESS DIGEST - Iran - Oct 12
5. Taliban accuse Iran of sponsoring international terrorism
6. Taliban wait for Iran to arrange repatriation of freed prisoners
7. Tehran will not help get German national released: Iran News
8. Taliban releases 10 Iranian prisoners
9. Foreign Office says Rushdie agreement still stands
10. Iranian government approves financing for controversial nuclear plant
11. OPEC production surged by 260,000 bpd in September: MEES
12. Bodies of three diplomats slain in Afghanistan flown back to Iran
13. Iranian foundation ups bounty on Rushdie as London says deal still stands
14. Iranian opposition group slams hike in bounty on Rushdie
15. Iranian president sends messages to Ankara and Damascus
16. Southwestern province of Iran hit by earthquake
17. [Fwd: Peyman'd European Tour]
18. Taliban release 10 Iranian prisoners
19. EU pistachio team in Tehran
20. Iranian parliament approves emergency fiscal package
21. NEWS98 - Rushdi Affair: What has Changed?

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:25:39 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Most Iran prisoners held on drugs offences-official

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (Reuters) - About 60 percent of Iran's prison population were
convicted of drug offences, the head of Iran's prisons said in remarks
published on Monday.

``Some 60 percent of the country's 160,000 prisoners are drugs-related
convicts,'' the daily newspaper Salam quoted Morteza Bakhtiari as saying.

He said women, mostly serving sentences on drugs charges, accounted for about
five percent of the total number of prisoners.

Iranian officials say there are about one million drug addicts in a general
population of 60 million.

Drug use is a crime in Iran, but under new laws introduced in September,
addicts who sought rehabilitaion and stopped using drugs would not be
prosecuted.

05:24 10-12-98

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:19:47 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: (NYT) U.S. Bid to Build Caspian Pipeline Appears to Fail

By STEPHEN KINZER

WASHINGTON -- A two-year campaign by the Clinton administration to convince
major oil companies that they should quickly build a multi-billion-dollar
pipeline in the Caucasus, a campaign that has become a centerpiece of
American foreign policy, appears to be on the brink of failure.

Companies from the United States and seven other nations are to make a
decision later this month about how to begin transporting the vast amounts
of oil that are believed to lie under and around the Caspian Sea. For the
region's fragile new nations, wedged between Russia and Iran, the decision
may be a momentous turning point.

The Caspian region has emerged as the world's newest stage for big-power
politics. It not only offers oil companies the prospect of great wealth, but
provides a stage for high-stakes competition among world powers.

This grand rivalry has begun with an intense competition for control over
pipeline routes that will carry Caspian oil to foreign markets. Much depends
on the outcome, because these pipelines will not simply carry oil but will
also define new corridors of trade and power. The nation or alliance that
controls pipeline routes could hold sway over the Caspian region for decades
to come.

The Clinton administration has been exerting every form of persuasion at its
disposal to persuade the oil companies to choose a route that would run from
Baku, the capital of oil-rich Azerbaijan, through Turkey to its
Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. But it is evidently losing the battle.

Administration officials, congressional aides and oil executives said in
interviews last week that the companies will probably decide that the
American-backed pipeline is too expensive to build now. The companies are
expected to announce that they will rely on a much shorter pipeline that is
already being built from Azerbaijan to the port of Supsa, on Georgia's Black
Sea coast, or an enlarged pipeline along the same route.

From Georgia, the oil would be loaded into tankers and shipped across the
Black Sea toward Europe -- a move that not only would deny potentially
billions of dollars in revenue to Turkey, a U.S. ally, but would mean a
sharp increase in oil tanker traffic through the narrow Bosporus strait,
which Turkey strenuously opposes.

The decision is expected to be announced on Oct. 29, and a senior executive
of the oil consortium, Robin Branagan, asserted in a telephone interview
from Baku that "at the moment all options are still open."

Officials in Washington, however, expect that the American-backed route will
not be chosen. They are already debating how serious a setback it is for the
administration and the security interests of the United States.

"It's a disappointment, but I wouldn't call it a defeat," said Sen. Sam
Brownback, R-Kan. "Half a loaf is better than nothing. The oil is going to
come out on an east-west axis, rather than south through Iran or north
through Russia. And Baku-Ceyhan may still happen down the road."


The oil companies are expected to couch their announcement in terms that
will be as reassuring as possible to all parties and to include a pledge to
build the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline someday. But that is not enough to console
some in Washington who have worked hard to secure an immediate commitment.

"I think it is a defeat, to be honest," said a State Department official who
concentrates on Caspian issues. "We pushed this project to the top of our
agenda, but we weren't able to provide the sweeteners or whatever was
necessary to get it done. We wanted to get something for nothing. It's a
setback for our commercial interests and certainly for our prestige. It's
another case of talking big but not backing up what we say."

Brownback said one reason the United States was not able to impose its will
on the oil companies was that President Clinton has "lost the power of moral
persuasion" because of scandals that surround him.

But there are more tangible factors at play.

Among them are the low price of oil, which made the companies reluctant to
embrace a project that could cost $4 billion or more; uncertainty about how
much oil the Caspian will produce over the next few years, and hope that
U.S. sanctions against Iran may soon collapse, making a pipeline through
Iran possible.

The administration favored the Baku-Ceyhan route because it would pass
through only relatively friendly countries -- Azerbaijan, Georgia and
Turkey -- and would bind them closer to the West; because it would pull
Azerbaijan and Georgia out of the Russian shadow; and because it would not
pass through either Russia or Iran, both of which have offered routes of
their own.

Unfortunately for the administration, however, the Baku-Ceyhan route is also
the longest and most expensive to build of all proposed routes.

Last year the oil companies discreetly asked the Clinton administration if
it would be willing to pay part of the cost of building its favored
Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. They were told that any such payment would be viewed
as a government handout to the oil industry, and was therefore politically
impossible.

Unable to subsidize the Baku-Ceyhan line themselves, U.S. officials urged
Turkey, through which most of the line would run, to offer the companies a
generous package of incentives and tax breaks. They said this week that
Turkey never produced such a package, and complained that the instability of
Turkey's government has made it a difficult partner.

"Oil companies sometimes don't even know who they should be negotiating with
over there," asserted one oil consultant. "We kept telling the Turks that
they had to come to the table with something to offer, but it didn't work.
Now of course they're going to be very upset, but in part they brought this
on themselves."

Administration officials are working to assure that the text of the
companies' announcement is as positive to U.S. interests as possible.
Several said that given economic realities, they could understand a decision
by the companies to build a pipeline only as far as Georgia.

"It would reflect the difficulty of getting a consensus on all the cost
issues at a time of low oil prices and of anxiety about large capital
investments," said Ambassador-at-Large Stephen Sestanovich, who has helped
shape U.S. policy toward Caspian countries. "Given all this, the companies
naturally want to be cautious."

"We're committed to making Baku-Ceyhan happen," Sestanovich said. "A couple
of years ago people didn't take the idea of an east-west corridor seriously
at all. Now everyone can see it's just a matter of time."

An oil company executive involved in making the pipeline decision said that
by building a pipeline to Georgia, the companies would be responding to U.S.
concerns.

"They have received what they want, which is an east-west route, but in a
phased approach," the executive said. "Most things in life come in stages.
If you're going to build a huge new house, do you build it all now or start
small and expand it as you need it? That's how we're thinking."

A pipeline from Baku to Georgia's Black Sea coast is already under
construction, but it will not have enough capacity to handle the heavy
volumes of oil that are expected to be shipped from the Caspian in coming
years. The fact that a right of way already exists, however, would make
construction of a larger-capacity pipeline relatively easy.

It is still unclear what the companies will do with their oil once it
arrives at the Black Sea. The Bosporus is the only maritime route out of the
Black Sea. It runs through the center of Istanbul and is already
overcrowded. Turkish officials say it cannot sustain a sharp increase in
tanker traffic.

Foreign Minister Ismail Cem of Turkey, in a telephone interview, declined to
comment on the oil companies' deliberations until they officially announce
their conclusion. But he said competition for pipeline routes would shape
events in the Caspian region for decades to come.

"It creates a new complex of economic and strategic issues that will shape
the next century," Cem said. "Certain countries in the region will become
big players in world affairs, and countries outside the region are anxious
to press their own interests. The rivalry, the competition for influence,
has already begun."

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:20:00 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Osama gets money from Saudi royalty: US

OCTOBER 11, 1998 SUNDAY

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Osama bin Laden receives millions from
the Saudi Arabian royalty to subsidize his anti-western
campaign of terrorist attacks, according to US intelligence
officials.

The officials told US News and World Report magazine that
bin Laden who has sworn to overthrow King Fahd and his
pro-US regime probably receives the money from resentful
members of the extended Saudi royal family. Even though the
thousands of Saudi princes and princesses share relatives,
the royal family has a history of in-fighting: in 1975, for
example, it was a prince that murdered then-King Faisal.

The magazine reports in its October 12 issue that bin Laden
has already exhausted his own considerable fortune,
originally believed to be around 300 million dollars, and
now depends on donations from supporters and protection
money to finance his operations. At mid-year two
representatives of wealthy Saudis traveled to Afghanistan to
visit bin Laden and paid him not to carry out attacks in
Saudi Arabia, the magazine reported, quoting US intelligence
sources.

A report from Delhi said a leader of India's ruling
coalition on Saturday sought 'serious actions' against Osama
bin Laden, linking him to serial blasts in the country early
this year that killed 60 people. Jayalalitha Jayaram said a
suspect in the February bomb blasts in the southern Indian
town of Coimbatore had told the local police that the Saudi
millionaire was involved in the explosions.

'I think it is high time the central government took serious
actions to counter the activities of Osama bin Laden,' said
Jayalalitha, whose AIADMK party is the second largest
partner in India's ruling alliance. Sixty people were killed
and hundreds injured when a string of powerful bombs
exploded during an election meeting in Coimbatore in Tamil
Nadu state on February 14.

The police say the bombings were aimed at assassinating
Hindu nationalist leader Lal Krishna Advani, who however
escaped as his flight to Coimbatore was delayed. Advani is
now India's home minister. Jayalalitha, a former chief
minister of Tamil Nadu, however did not specify what
'actions' she desired against Osama bin Laden, chief suspect
in the August bombings of US embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania.

She said the suspect in the Coimbatore bombings blamed on
Indian Islamic groups had also told his interrogators in
Tamil Nadu that many Indian Moslems had been trained by bin
Laden at his Afghanistan hideout.

'The Coimbatore blasts do indeed have international
ramifications. This should be seriously inquired into,' she
said, adding she had conveyed information to Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee. There was no immediate reaction to
Jayalalitha's demand from the Indian government, headed by
Hindu nationalist Vajpayee. Advani is the de facto number
two in the government.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


'Osama gets money from Saudi royalty'

The News: jang
October 11, 1998

WASHINGTON: Osama bin Laden receives millions from the Saudi
Arabian royalty to subsidise his anti-western campaign of
terrorist attacks, according to US intelligence officials.
The officials told US News and World Report magazine that
bin Laden -- who has sworn to overthrow King Fahd and his
pro-US regime--probably receives the money from resentful
members of the extended Saudi royal family. Even though the
thousands of Saudi princes and princesses share relatives,
the royal family has a history of in-fighting: in 1975, for
example, it was a prince that murdered then-King Faisal. The
magazine reports in its October 12 issue that bin Laden has
already exhausted his own considerable fortune, originally
believed to be around $300 million dollars, and now depends
on donations from supporters and protection money to finance
his operations. At mid-year two representatives of wealthy
Saudis traveled to Afghanistan to visit bin Laden and paid
him not to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia, the magazine
reported, quoting US intelligence sources.

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:20:40 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - Iran - Oct 12

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Iranian
newspapers on Mounday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not
vouch for their accuracy.

JOMHURI ESLAMI
The 15th of Khordad Foundation has increased by $300,000 a $2.5 million
bounty on the head of British author Salman Rushdie, the head of the
foundation said.

HAMSHAHRI
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned 57 female prisoners on
the occasion of a religious feast.

IRAN
Iran would pay off up to $3.9 billion of its rescheduled foreign debts by
2003, a Central Bank official said.

Floods in the northern province of Mazandaran damaged 1,450 houses.

AKHBAR
Iran's youth volleyball team defeated Asia champions South Korea in a
tournament in Tehran.

ARYA
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi welcomed his British counterpart's proposal
regarding talks between the European Union and the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference.

A student group supporting President Mohammad Khatami said in a statement
that the conservative-dominated Guardian Council had rejected the
qualifications of 80 percent of pro-Khatami candidates for the October 23
Assembly of Experts elections.

IRAN DAILY
President Mohammad Khatami told a gathering of housewives that Iranian women
should be able to take part in social, political and economic development.

03:50 10-12-98

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:21:31 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban accuse Iran of sponsoring international terrorism

KANDAHAR: A senior leader of Taliban Islamic militia has
accused Iran of having hands in all kind of terrorism the
world over.

The Governor of southern Afghan province of Kandahar, Mulla
Muhammad Hassan Rehmani said that Iran is the biggest
terrorist and is sponsoring terrorism in the region. He
alleged that Iran in involved in every kind of terrorist
activities taking place in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq,
Lebanon, Azerbaijan and other countries. He held Iran
responsible for thousands of killings in Afghanistan. He
said that now Tehran is trying through different pretexts
and excuses to divert the world attention from such deeds.

Mulla Rehmani said that under the international recognized
norms and principles on political asylum, the Saudi
dissident, Osama Bin Laden is the guest of the Afghans. He
cited examples of a number of people living in different
countries by seeking political asylum.

He deplored that some countries see Laden's hands behind
every terrorist act and incident. Such approach, he said,
has proved beneficial for other terrorist groups because it
has made their task easier. He added that such thinking has
encouraged terrorists who know that Osama Bin Laden is to be
blamed for every kind of terrorist act. He urged
international community not to focus on Laden's alone in
this regard and broaden the base of investigation.

The Governor of Kandahar complained about the United Nations
and said that step motherly attitude is being meted out to
them by the world body. He said that the United Nations has
accused Taliban of encouraging drug production but whenever
a meeting is held in this regard, the deposed Afghan
President, Rabbani is invited to it. He said that this is
sheer injustice on the part of the United Nations which has
all along been ignoring the Taliban who are now in control
of more than 95 % territory of the country.

He said that the United Nations has made commitments with
the Taliban for extending assistance and cooperation to
prevent drug production but is now backing out of them. He
accused the United Nations of eating up huge funds meant for
Afghanistan. He said that if the UN is sincere in
eradication of narcotics, it should come forward with all
the available resources and the Taliban are ready to extend
every possible cooperation and assistance in this regard.

Commenting on the killing of an Italian national in Kabul,
the very next day of the US missiles strikes on Afghanistan,
Mulla Muhammad Hassan blamed the enemies of the Taliban for
it. He said that a number of foreigners were present in
other Afghan cities on that very day but they remained safe.

He said that they have arrested two persons on the charge of
killing of the Italian national and investigation is going
on. He added that if they were found guilty of committing
the crime then the relatives of the deceased would be
invited and offered either to shoot or pardon the accused.

Mulla Rehmani concluded that Taliban administration wants
good and friendly relations with all the countries.--NNI

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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:14:45 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban wait for Iran to arrange repatriation of freed prisoners

KABUL, Oct 12 (AFP) - The Taliban are waiting for Tehran to
arrange the repatriation of 10 Iranian prisoners whom the Afghan
militia released Sunday, a spokesman said Monday.
Abdul Hai Mutmaen said the prisoners, released from a jail in
the Taliban's southern de facto capital of Kandahar, had been moved
to Herat near the Iranian border.
"So far we have not received any response from the Iranian
authorities on their repatriation," Mutmaen said, adding that the
Taliban were in contact with Iran through mediators.
The Taliban religious militia released the 10 as a sign of
respect for a Palestinian delegation which arrived in Kandahar on
Sunday, the spokesman said.
The delegation, headed by a special enovy of Yasser Arafat, met
the Taliban's supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar on Sunday as part
of efforts to settle disputes between Iran and the militia, he
noted.
"This is also because we want to defuse tensions between the two
Moslem countries peacefully and to find a rational settlement,"
Mutmaen said.
The Afghan Islamic Press, reporting Sunday's decision to free
the 10, said the Taliban had so far released 25 Iranians, most of
them captured after the August 8 fall of the Afghan opposition
northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Relations between Tehran and the Taliban nosedived after the
massacre of eight Iranian diplomats and an Iranian journalist in the
wake of the hardline militia's triumph in Mazar-i-Sharif.
Tehran has since deployed tens of thousands of troops along
Afghanistan's western border amid mounting tensions.
The Taliban last month said they were holding some 50 Iranians
including 35 truck drivers accused of transporting arms and supplies
for the opposition alliance in northern Afghanistan.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:14:56 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran will not help get German national released: Iran News

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (AFP) - The Iranian government does not feel
obliged to intervene to secure the release of a German businessman
condemned to death here because Bonn refused to help when the Tehran
regime was in the dock in Germany last year, a Tehran newspaper said
Monday.
The English-language Iran News scorned German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel for expressing "shock" over a Tehran court's upholding
of a death sentence first passed against businessman Helmut Hofer in
January for having an affair with a Moslem woman.
"Mr. Kinkel has chosen to forget the fact that Bonn ignored
budding relations between the two countries by keeping its distance
from the Mykonos trial and repeatedly stating that German judiciary
is independent from the government," Iran News said.
The paper was referring to the trial in Berlin of an Iranian and
four Lebanese accused of killing four Iranian Kurdish dissidents in
the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin in 1992.
The trial ended in April 1997 with the judge accusing the Tehran
regime of involvement in the murders. The Iranian suspect, Kazem
Darabi, was sentenced to life in prison.
"Germany refused to implement an article of a law pertaining to
national interests, based on which a lawsuit against a foreign
country can be dropped if it is deemed against a country's national
interests," the paper added.
"Given this, Bonn should not expect Tehran to intervene on its
behalf in the Hofer case ... because the Iranian judiciary happens
to be as independent as its German counterpart," it warned.
"Tehran's reluctance to intercede in Hofer's case is a natural
reaction to Bonn's inaction in the Mykonos case," the daily said.
"So Mr. Kinkel should not be 'shocked' that Tehran decided to abide
by the letter of the law rather than invoking special
circumstances.
"Tehran swallowed the German court's verdict with a smile, now
it is the turn of Bonn to do the same," it said.
Last month, Iran News called on chancellor-elect Gerhard
Schroeder to help free Darabi to pave the way for better relations.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:16:13 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban releases 10 Iranian prisoners

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The Taliban militia, which
controls about two-thirds of Afghanistan, has released another group of
10 Iranian prisoners.
The Afghan Islamic Press reported today that Mullah Omar, the head of
the Taliban government in Kabul, ordered the prisoners released after
holding talks with Pakistani envoy Muhamma Khader.
A government spokesman said the prisoners were being released to try
and lessen tensions between Iran and Afghanistan. Earlier, the Taliban
released 10 Iranian prisoners in two groups of five each.
The prisoners, who remain in the Kandahar province, were expected to
leave within the next couple of days for Tehran.
Tensions between Afghanistan and Iran escalated last month after the
Taliban admitted that it killed nine Iranian diplomats and a journalist
when it captured the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif.
The Iranian government has been supporting northern alliance fighting
against Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The relationship continued to
deteriorate when the Taliban militia captured the Wardak province, the
last strong hold of Hizb-e-Wahdat.
Following the Taliban gains, Iran posted 270,000 troops at its border
with Afghanistan. AIP reported that armed clash between the two
countries occurred on Thursday and Friday.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:15:12 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Foreign Office says Rushdie agreement still stands

LONDON, Oct 12 (AFP) - An agreement between the British and
Iranian governments lifting the threat of a Tehran-sponsored
assassination of British writer Salman Rushdie still stands, London
insisted Monday.
The Foreign Office was speaking after an Iranian foundation
increased to 2.8 million dollars the bounty on Rushdie's head, just
weeks after moves by the two governments to put the affair behind
them.
Iranian newspapers reported that the Khordad-15 foundation had
offered an extra 300,000 dollars for the execution of the 1989 fatwa
issued by the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini against Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses".
But in London on Monday a Foreign Office spokesman insisted
there was "no indication that that amount (offered) is in any way
supported by the Iranian authorities".
Last month London announced it would restore full diplomatic
relations with Iran for the first time since the fatwa was issue
after Iran made moves to dissociate itself from the bounty.
Following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in
New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi pledged that Tehran
had nothing to do with the Khordad-15 bounty and would take no steps
to implement the fatwa.
The Foreign Office spokesman commented: "The agreement which was
reached, the understanding which has been reached by the British and
Iranian authorities, as far as we are concerned, still stands."
He described the accord as a "clear breakthrough".
Also in London, Frances d'Souza, a friend of Rushie and head of
his support group, questioned whether Khordad-15 was truly a private
foundation.
The foundation's director Ayatollah Hassan Sanei Sanei was a
government advisor, she said, adding that Iranian sources had told
her that if the foundation was ever to pay the bounty, it would need
state assistance.
"Unless it expected to receive money from the government, I do
not understand how it can offer the money," she said.
"Both the British and Iranian governments have stood up and said
loudly 'This is over'. The Iranian government has given a guarantee
of safety.
"We now have to ask: 'Where does the fatwa stand?' There is no
guarantee of safety if these bounties continue to exist. This has
got to be clarified."
She added that even if the foundation was private, there was no
provision in Islamic law for bounties.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:14:26 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian government approves financing for controversial nuclear plant

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (AFP) - The Iranian government has approved
financing for the first phase of a controversial nuclear plant in
southern Iran, state radio announced Monday.
It said the government had set aside 140 million dollars for the
first phase of the plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr, which will be
fitted with two 1,000 megawatt lightwater reactors.
The money had been requested by Iran's Atomic Energy
Organisation, which supervises the plant's construction with Russian
help.
The 800-million-dollar project has provoked concerns in the
United States that it would provide the Islamic republic with the
technological know-how to build nuclear weapons.
But Tehran and Moscow argue that the station is strictly for
peaceful purposes.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:15:27 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: OPEC production surged by 260,000 bpd in September: MEES

NICOSIA, Oct 12 (AFP) - A hike in crude production by Iran was
responsible for a weakening in compliance with OPEC's reduced quotas
in September, the Middle East Economic Survey reported here on
Monday.
Crude production in the eleven members of the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) surged by 260,000 bpd to hit
27.27 million barrels per day (bpd) in September against 27.01
million bpd in August, MEES estimated.
In a bid to shore up a slump in oil prices, ten members of OPEC,
excluding Iraq, agreed at the end of June to cut total output by a
further 1.365 million bpd to bring cuts agreed since April to 2.6
million bpd.
The boost in September output caused compliance with the revised
production levels to fall to 81 percent compared to 92 percent in
August, MEES said.
Iran was the principal culprit for the lapse in quota
observance, hiking production by 305,000 bpd from 3.383 million bpd
to 3.688 million bpd, it said.
Nigeria also exceeded its revised quota by 90,000 bpd to bring
total production to two million bpd as capacity returned to normal
levels.
But Iraq, which did not sign up to the cuts, saw September
production fall by 30,000 bpd to 2.39 million bpd.
And the largest oil producer in the world, Saudi Arabia, cut
September production by 70,000 bpd to 7.96 million bpd -- well below
its quota of 8.023 million bpd.
The president of the OPEC cartel, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Oil
Minister Obaid ibn Saif al-Nasseri, appealed on Sunday to member
countries to stick to their reduced quotas to boost sluggish
prices.
"It would be useless for one country or two countries to reduce
production while others keep producing. Nobody would benefit from
this," he warned at the opening of a Middle East gas summit in Abu
Dhabi.
Member states will try to come to a fresh agreement during the
next OPEC meeting due to be held in Vienna in November, the minister
said.
The OPEC basket of crudes rose nearly a dollar against August to
average 12.91 dollars a barrel in September, MEES reported.
But oil prices have remained stubbornly low for a year despite
the hike in prices in September. The OPEC basket averaged 18.68
dollars through 1997.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:15:40 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Bodies of three diplomats slain in Afghanistan flown back to Iran

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (AFP) - Iranian experts have confirmed that the
three bodies flown here from Afghanistan belong to Iranian diplomats
killed by the Taliban militia in Mazar-i-Sharif in August, Iran's
official IRNA news agency said Monday.
A team of Iranian forensic experts which travelled to
Mazar-i-Sharif, north of Afghanistan, on Sunday examined the bodies
at the city's airport.
The head of the team, Mahmud Amuii, told IRNA that the bodies
belonged to Majid Nuri-Niaraki, Mohammad-Naser Naseri and
Mohammad-Ali Heidariani -- who were killed along with six other
Iranian diplomats and an IRNA journalist during the Taliban's
capture of Mazar-i-Sharif, a former opposition stronghold, in
August.
The bodies arrived in Mashhad, the main city in Khorasan
province, bordering Afghanistan, in a Red Cross plane on Sunday
night.
Amuii said it took them four hours to identify the bodies
because they were riddled with bullets and buried and exhumed four
times with their clothes on.
IRNA said earlier that the authorities could still not confirm
that the bodies belonged to the three diplomats, saying their
families were being flown to Mashhad on Monday to identify them.
"The authorities still cannot confirm the Taliban's claim that
the bodies belong to the Iranian diplomats and they have to first be
identified," it said.
The Taliban delivered 10 bodies to Iran in September that it
said belonged to the diplomats and the journalist, but Iranian
officials only accepted seven, those of the journalist and the other
six diplomats.
The killings have sparked a two-month standoff between Shiite
Moslem Iran and the militant Sunni Moslem Taliban, which now
controls 90 percent of Afghanistan.
Iran has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the border with
Afghanistan while the Taliban say they have reinforced their side of
the border.
In addition to the return of the bodies, Tehran has been
demanding that the killers be arrested and handed over to stand
trial in front of an Iranian court or an international tribunal.
The Taliban authorities on Sunday agreed to release 10 Iranian
prisoners as a gesture of goodwill for Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported.
The decision was announced in the southwestern Afghan city of
Kandahar after Arafat's special envoy Mohammed Khader held talks
with Taliban chief Mulla Mohammad Omar.
It was not immediately clear if the mission of Arafat's envoy
was to promote a reconciliation between the two Moslem neighbours.
Arrangements were being made to shift the prisoners from the
Taliban jails and transport them to Iran, Taliban officials told
AIP.
The Taliban have so far released 25 Iranians, most of them
captured after the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The fundamentalist militia said last month they were still
holding some 50 Iranians, including 35 truckers accused of
transporting arms and supplies for the anti-Taliban opposition in
northern Afghanistan.


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

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:15:58 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian foundation ups bounty on Rushdie as London says deal still
stands

TEHRAN, Oct 12 (AFP) - An Iranian foundation has increased the
2.5 million dollar bounty for anyone who carries out a 1989 death
sentence against British writer Salman Rushdie, even as London
insisted Monday that their recent agreement with Tehran on the
matter still stood.
The Khordad-15 foundation is offering an additional 300,000
dollars for execution of the fatwa issued by the late Iranian
supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against Rushdie for his
novel "The Satanic Verses," Tehran newspapers reported.
"This increase is aimed at encouraging the carrying out of the
fatwa," the foundation's director Ayatollah Hassan Sanei said in the
press interview in the Shiite Moslem pilgrimage city of Mashshad
Sunday.
"To make the fatwa everlasting and encourage its execution, I
have decided to raise the reward offered by the foundation," he told
the conservative Qods and hardline Jomhuri Islami dailies.
"This reward for killing Salman Rushdie is a great honour for
the foundation and we must preserve it," he said.
It is the second time that the foundation has increased the
bounty on Rushdie's head -- in early 1997 it raised it from two
million dollars to 2.5 million, sparking a sharp downturn in Iran's
relations with Britain and its European Union partners.
But a British Foreign Office spokesman insisted Monday that
there was "no indication that that amount (offered) is in any way
supported by the Iranian authorities."
The increase comes just weeks after a decision by London to
restore full diplomatic relations with Iran for the first time since
the fatwa was issued in 1989, after moves by Tehran to dissociate
itself from the bounty.
Following a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in
New York late last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
pledged that Tehran had nothing to do with the bounty being offered
by Khordad-15 and would take no steps to implement the fatwa.
"The understanding which has been reached by the British and
Iranian authorities, as far as we are concerned, still stands," the
Foreign Office spokesman said, calling the agreement with Tehran a
"clear breakthrough."
Kharazi's declaration provoked an angry reaction from hardline
conservatives in Iran, who insisted the death sentence was still in
effect.
More than 150 members of the 270-seat conservative-dominated
parliament signed a petition last week describing the fatwa as a
"divine order."
"The verdict against Rushdie the blasphemer is death, both today
and tomorrow, and to burn in hell for eternity," the MPs said, while
a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry described the fatwa as
"irrevocable."
And in full-page newspaper advertisements Sunday, Khordad-15
renewed its bounty and insisted it was "an official Iranian
revolutionary organisation," apparently contradicting government
efforts to distance itself.
Frances d'Souza, the head of Rushdie's support group, said in
London Monday that the amount of the bounty suggested it was a
government organisation.
"Unless it expected to receive money from the government, I do
not understand how it can offer the money," she said.
"Both the British and Iranian governments have stood up and said
loudly: 'This is over'. The Iranian government has given a guarantee
of safety.
"We now have to ask: 'Where does the fatwa stand?' There is no
guarantee of safety if these bounties continue to exist. This has
got to be clarified."
Founded in 1982 on the orders of Khomeini, Khordad-15 has a
budget independent of the government and builds schools, dams,
health centres and other public works projects throughout Iran.
In its advertisements Sunday, it said it aims to "provide
financial assistance to the families of the martyred and the poor,
eradicate poverty and engage in the production and distribution of
goods."
Khordad-15 -- June 5 in the Iranian calendar -- is named for the
June 5, 1963 massacre of seminarians in the holy city of Qom by the
army of the Sha of Iran, who was overthrown in the Islamic
revolution of 1979.


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

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 14:23:28 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian opposition group slams hike in bounty on Rushdie

NICOSIA, Oct 12 (AFP) - An Iranian opposition group on Monday
slammed a foundation for increasing its bounty on the head of writer
Salman Rushdie and warned the British authorities against appeasing
Iran.
"The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR) strongly
condemns the increase to 2.8 million dollars in the bounty for the
murder of Salman Rushdie" by the Khordad 15 Foundation in Iran, the
group said in a statement received here.
The Khordad 15 foundation upped its bounty by 300,000 dollars
for carrying out the fatwa issued by the late Iranian supreme leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against Rushdie for his novel "The
Satanic Verses," which was deemed blasphemous, Tehran newspapers
reported.
"The British Foreign Office's placating policies and its
shameful dealings with Iran's criminal rulers ... is the best
encouragement for the mullahs to carry out the fatwa and increase
the bounty," the NCR said.
The group, which is dominated by the Mujahedeen, the main armed
Iranian opposition group, charged: "The British Foreign Office today
attempted to dissociate the (Khordad 15) Foundation from the
government" of Iran.
A British Foreign Office spokesman insisted Monday that there
was "no indication that that amount (offered) is in any way
supported by the Iranian authorities."
In full-page newspaper advertisements Sunday, Khordad 15 renewed
its bounty and said it was "an official Iranian revolutionary
organisation," apparently contradicting government efforts to
distance itself.
In London, Frances d'Souza, a friend of Rushie and head of his
support group, questioned whether Khordad 15 was a private
foundation.
The foundation's director, Ayatollah Hassan Sanei Sanei, was a
government advisor, she said, adding that Iranian sources had told
her that if the foundation was ever to pay the bounty, it would need
state assistance.
"Unless it expected to receive money from the government, I do
not understand how it can offer the money," she said.
This was the second time that the foundation has increased the
bounty on Rushdie's head -- in early 1997 it raised it from two
million dollars to 2.5 million, sparking a sharp downturn in Iran's
relations with Britain and its EU partners.


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

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 16:08:50 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian president sends messages to Ankara and Damascus

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami sent
messages to his counterparts in Syria and Turkey in an effort to
defuse escalating tension between them, the official news agency
IRNA said Tuesday.
The content of the messages, to be delivered to Turkish
President Suleyman Demirel and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad by
the Iranian ambassadors in Ankara and Damascus, was not revealed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, who called his Turkish
and Syrian counterparts on Monday to inform them about the messages,
paid a short visit to Damascus and Ankara last week in an effort to
mediate a peaceful solution to the standoff.
"All Islamic nations must work to find a negotiated solution to
the crisis, because it can only benefit our enemies," he said after
his mediation mission.
Iran currently holds the presidency of the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference and has been attempting to quell the ongoing
dispute between the neighbouring countries.
Turkey has threatened military action against Syria, accusing
Damascus of supporting the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and
harbouring PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Syria has denied the
charges.
The PKK have been waging a rebellion in the mainly Kurdish
southeast of Turkey since 1984, with fighting between the rebels and
government troops having claimed some 31,000 lives.


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

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 16:08:38 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Southwestern province of Iran hit by earthquake

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (AFP) - An earthquake registering four degrees on
the open-ended Richter scale struck the southwest of Iran early on
Tuesday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
The tremor hit the Ardal region of Bakhtiar province, 450
kilometres (280 miles) south of Tehran, at 6:03 a.m. (0233 GMT),
IRNA said without giving details of casualties or damage.
A week ago an earthquake measuring 5.3 degrees on the Richter
scale hit the Kuhdasht region of Ilam province in western Iran.
Earthquakes are frequent and often deadly events in Iran which
is located on a seismic fault line.


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

Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 16:02:24 +0100
From: Asghar Abdi <A.Abdi@BTINTERNET.COM>
Subject: [Fwd: Peyman'd European Tour]

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