Date: Oct 13, 1998 [ 15: 38: 35]

Subject: Peyman'd European Tour

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Subject: Peyman'd European Tour
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Dear Asghar
Please find enclosed the leaflet of Dr. Peyman's European tour. It would
be excellent if you could dessiminate it as broad as possible
Take Care

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Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 23:23:53 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban release 10 Iranian prisoners

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's Taliban militia
have released 10 Iranian prisoners as tension remains high on the border
between the two countries.
A spokesman of Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says today the prisoners
left for Tehran from the southern Afghan province of Kandahar after a
successful mediation effort by Muhammad Khadar, a special envoy of
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who met Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad
The spokesman said 25 prisoners have been returned since Iran massed
270,000 troops and revolutionary guards along the border and threatened
to attack the Taliban if they did not return the bodies of diplomats
killed when the Taliban overran an opposition stronghold in August.
The Taliban said the diplomats were killed by soldiers acting without
The Pakistani official said the Taliban returned the three remaining
bodies of the group killed in August to Iran on Tuesday. He asserted
there were no more remains to be repatriated.
Shi'ite Muslim-dominated Iran, which supports the opposition
alliance, accuses the Sunni Muslim Taliban of slaughtering minority
Shi'ites in areas recently wrested from the opposition. The Taliban deny
the charge.
Meanwhile, the U.N.'s special envoy on Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi,
is set to visit Taliban headquarters in Kandahar on Wednesday.
The visit will be his first since the United Nations pulled all staff
members out of Afghanistan in August after an Italian U.N. military
adviser was slain.
A spokesman said in New York on Monday that Brahimi will ask the
Taliban to share information about the killing of Lt. Col. Carmine Calo
and address the U.N.'s concerns about the return of international staff
to Afghanistan.
Last week, Brahimi held four days of talks with Iranian leaders.
Today, he is in Pakistan meeting Taliban and Pakistani officials.


Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 23:24:04 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: EU pistachio team in Tehran

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (AFP) - An EU team has arrived in Iran to monitor
the quality of pistachio nuts, which were the target of a European
embargo late last year, the official news agency IRNA reported
The delegation was met at the airport by Agriculture Minister
Issa Kalantari and is due to monitor the different stages of nut
production from the field to storage and packaging, IRNA said.
The mission follows a three-month embargo clamped on Iranian
production by the EU in September 1997 when the highly toxic and
carcinogenous aflatoxin B1 was detected in Iranian nuts.
Iranian pistachio exports fell by 70 percent last year because
of the embargo and frost.
But the Tehran chamber of commerce estimates that nut production
will rebound to a record 250,000 tonnes this year from 60,000 tonnes
in 1997.


Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 23:23:40 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian parliament approves emergency fiscal package

TEHRAN, Oct 13 (AFP) - The Iranian parliament on Tuesday
authorised a package of emergency fiscal measures to cope with a 6.3
billion dollar budget deficit driven by slumping oil prices.
The plan calls for the government to take a two billion dollar
loan from Iran's Central Bank, as well as issue bonds, cut back on
government expenditures, and pre-sell one billion dollars worth of
Tehran will also begin demanding an advance payment of 2,000
dollars each from the roughly 300,000 Iranians intending to make the
holy Moslem pilgrimmage to Mecca in the next few years.
The 6.3 billion dollar shortfall, which represents roughly a
third of the year's budget, was brought on by the collapse in world
oil prices, which have been hovering at 10-year lows.
Projected revenues were based on a price of 16 dollars per
barrel, but Iranian crude is currently selling at around 10.70
"Because of this situation only 60 percent of the revenues
forecast in the budget have been realised," Mohammad-Ali Najafi,
head of the Budget and Planning Organization, said in a
parliamentary debate last week.
The government had warned earlier that if the emergency package
was not approved, it would have difficulty paying government
employees, particularly police and the armed forces.
Najafi said the next annual budget, which follows the Iranian
calendar year from March to March, would use a base crude price of
12 dollars per barrel to avoid a repetition of the problem.
"If the price of oil increases, then we will use the surplus to
invest in new projects," he said.
Iran earns 85 percent of its foreign currency from oil exports,
which account for half of annual budget revenues.


Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 21:08:56 GMT
Subject: NEWS98 - Rushdi Affair: What has Changed?

Monday, October 12, 1998 Published at 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK

Iran: The battleground of old and new

Ayatollah Khamene'i and President Khatami - a hardliner and
a reformist

Middle East correspondent, Jim Muir, reports from Iran.

We dragged ourselves out of bed in the middle of the night,
and by six in the morning we were flying out of Tehran on
the red-eye shuttle down to Ahvaz, near the head of the
Gulf, in south-west Iran.

We had come down here, not on a hot political story, but in
search of something much more innocent: Palm trees. Several
million of them were destroyed during eight years of war
with Iraq, and I was interested in seeing what was being
done to regenerate them.

We had spent weeks preparing the trip, getting specific
permissions faxed from one ministry in Tehran to another.
Iran is a highly-bureaucratic country, but once permissions
are issued, it is usually plain sailing.

After checking in with the Ministry of Agriculture branch
in Ahvaz, we drove down to Abadan, about 80 miles away and
right on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which forms the
often-disputed border with Iraq.

At the even more local Ministry of Agriculture branch
there, it was hard to resist the offer to sit down while a
quick call was made to check that all was in order.

A long wait

Fruit was offered. And of course tea, which the Iranians
drink from glasses, sipping it through lumps of sugar
clenched between the front teeth; Iranian dentists are onto
a good thing.

To cut a long and very tedious story short, we were still
there five hours later. Countless phonecalls were made,
locally and to various ministries in Tehran, to no avail.

It seems that some local intelligence branch had not been
expecting us, and despite all our permissions, the harmless
nature of our mission, and the evident embarrassment of our
hosts, they would not give way.

It was time to cut our losses and head ruefully back to
Ahvaz to salvage what we could at the agricultural research
centre there, before making for the airport and the evening
flight back to Tehran.

It was a salutary, if time-consuming lesson in how things
work in Iran.

Or often do not.

A similar lesson

As we returned to Tehran, a similar lesson was emerging
over the Salman Rushdie affair.

A few days earlier, the British and Iranian foreign
ministers had announced the upgrading of relations to
ambassadorial level, following a carefully-crafted
statement from the Iranian minister distancing his
government from Ayatollah Khomeini's death fatwa and the
$2.8m reward offered by an Iranian foundation for the
hapless, if wealthy, author's head.

Surely, diplomats in Tehran reasoned, the reformist
President Khatami and his foreign minister would not have
embarked on such a domestically-controversial course
without first getting a green light from the hardliners,
and especially the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamene'i.

But now, here were the hardliners, opening up with all
barrels. First came the conservative newspapers, including
those deemed to reflect the leader's views.

The fatwa was still valid, said one, and nothing had
changed, except that Salman Rushdie's wishful thinking
might actually speed up its implementation.

Next came a group of senior ayatollahs, who declared that
it was still the duty of all Muslims to carry out the death

Then it was the turn of the Majlis or parliament, where
well over half of the deputies signed a petition declaring
the fatwa sacrosanct and saying:

"The verdict on Rushdie, the blasphemer is death, both
today and tomorrow, and to burn in hell for all eternity."

I went along to see the outfit which is offering the
reward, the 15th of Khordad Foundation. It is an
unremarkable multi-storey office building in a busy street
in central Tehran.

Needless to say, I did not manage to see its boss,
Ayatollah Sanei, because I did not have an appointment. But
the foundation is still there and so is the bounty offer.

What has changed?

I came away asking myself, "What has changed?" The Rushdie
affair remains, as it always has been, one of many
footballs being kicked around in the often vicious struggle
between hardliners and reformists.

If Iran as a whole had changed, the reward would be
withdrawn, and you would not have more than half the
parliament inciting Salman Rushdie's death.

What has changed, is that the British Government, and part
of the Iranian regime, have decided to abstract the Rushdie
affair from their mutual relations.

That is all very fine and well. But if I were Mr Rushdie, I
would not be in too much of a hurry to change my lifestyle
just yet.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 11 Oct 1998 to 13 Oct 1998 - Special issue