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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Oct 1998 to 18 Oct 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Oct 1998 to 18 Oct 1998
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There are 14 messages totalling 610 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iranians released from Afghanistan return home
2. UN envoy due in Tehran to organise Taliban talks
3. Khatami criticizes disqualification of supporters for key election
4. Mural of would-be Rushdie assassin painted on Tehran wall
5. Iranian trains equipped with special compartments for women
6. Taliban release 26 Iranian prisoners: report
7. Taliban want good ties with Iran but ready along border: spokesman
8. Britain tries to reassure writer Rushdie over Iranian price on his head
9. Thousands of Iranians attend murdered diplomats' funeral march
10. Factional dispute heats up ahead of Iran vote
11. Power Struggle in Iran Clouds View for US Policymakers
12. Iranian opposition blames Tehran for car-bomb attack in Iraq
13. Iran opposition group to boycott key elections
14. Iranian villagers offer bounty for Rushdie: 10 carpets, plots of land

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:33:50 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranians released from Afghanistan return home

(UPDATES with prisoners arrive Tehran, CLARIFIES number of dead
diplomats)

TEHRAN, Oct 17 (AFP)- Twenty-six Iranian prisoners were released
by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and returned home Saturday, charging
that the fundamentalist Islamic militia had kept them in deplorable
conditions.
The detainees, who had been held in the southeastern Afghan town
of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold, arrived on an International
Committee of the Red Cross plane and were immediately interrogated
by Iranian authorities.
The released men then left the airport one at a time, with the
first two telling reporters the Taliban had held them in a stable
under "terrible hygienic conditions."
The Taliban agreed to release the detainees after the UN
representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, gave the militia
assurances that Iran would in turn free a number of Afghan nationals
allegedly held by Tehran.
Brahimi, who is now in Pakistan, went to Kandahar after talks in
Tehran and Islamabad to try to reduce tension between Shiite Moslem
Iran, which backs the anti-Taliban opposition, and the Sunni Moslem
militia which controls 90 percent of Afghanistan.
Tension between the two has been on the rise since the Taliban
massacred nine Iranian diplomats and a journalist on August 8 during
its capture of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, then
still an opposition stronghold.
Tehran has demanded the killers be arrested and handed over and
that the Taliban release all Iranian nationals. Some 25 have been
released in recent days and a roughly equal number are still being
held in Kandahar.
Iran says the remaining captives are relief workers or truck
drivers who were carrying relief aid to Afghanistan, while the
Taliban accuses them of delivering weapons to the anti-Taliban
alliance.
Iran has massed tens of thousands of troops on its border with
Afghanistan. The Taliban have deployed 30,000 on the other side of
the frontier.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:34:14 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UN envoy due in Tehran to organise Taliban talks

TEHRAN, Oct 18 (AFP) - UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is due
in Tehran on Tuesday for talks aimed at organising a meeting in
Saudi Arabia with representatives from Iran and the Taliban militia
in Afghanistan.
Foreign ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi said Iran's
decision on such a meeting would depend on a report by Brahimi
during his stay in Tehran, the official newsagency IRNA reported on
Sunday.
"Iran has not yet given a positive response to the request for
negotiations wth the Taliban," Mohammadi said.
IRNA said Brahimi, the UN representative for Afghanistan, is
proposing a meeting in the western Saudi city of Jeddah,
headquarters of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, to ease
tensions between Iran and the Taliban Islamic militia.
Brahimi's intervention helped secure the release of 26 Iranian
prisoners held by the Taliban who returned home Saturday.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 14:31:29 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khatami criticizes disqualification of supporters for key election

TEHRAN, Oct 17 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami Saturday
criticized the disqualification of many of his supporters from
standing in this week's key vote for Iran's Assembly of Experts, but
opposed calls for a boycott of the poll.
"I have a complaint to make of the electoral authorities for not
creating the conditions for a greater number of hopefuls to come
forward," Khatami said in a televised address to the nation.
"If we show greater tolerance and allow more people to become
candidates, there will be greater variety and competition, which
will in turn produce more enthusiasm among voters," he said.
Only 167 of the 396 hopefuls who signed up for Friday's vote
have been cleared to stand.
Voters will elect 86 representatives to the assembly, a backbone
of Iran's theocracy responsible for appointing or dismissing the
country's "Vali-e-Faqih," or supreme leader, a position currently
held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Council of Guardians, a conservative clergy-dominated body
which oversees elections in Iran, rejected most of the hopefuls,
many of them Khatami supporters, for allegedly failing to meet the
legal requirements to stand.
Iranian electoral law requires candidates to be famously
religious and to have a high level of proficiency in religious
matters.
Several leftist supporters of Khatami have pulled out of the
election in protest at the exclusion of their allies from the race,
and at least two organisations have refused to field any
candidates.
But Khatami distanced himself from the boycott calls urging an
"enthusiastic presence of the people" and calling on rival factions
not to seek to "settle political accounts."
"Velayat-e-Faqih is the pillar of the regime and a blatant
symbol of both democratic and Islamic aspects of the regime," said
Khatami, who is Iran's second most important leader after Khamenei.
He said it was "necessary" for Iran's supreme leader to have the
wide-ranging powers which the Islamic Republic's constitution grants
him including control of the armed forces and the judiciary, and
supervision of macro-economic and political policy.
"A supreme power and a final say on matters is a necessity for
the stability of a government. It will help shape political and
social order," the president said.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:34:48 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Mural of would-be Rushdie assassin painted on Tehran wall

TEHRAN, Oct 17 (AFP) - A mural of a Moslem man said to have been
killed while trying to murder British author Salman Rushdie has been
painted on a wall in Tehran.
The painting was unveiled by Islamist groups on Friday in
Tehran's northern Gandi district in memory of Mostafa Mazouh, of
Guinean origin, who is said to have "fallen martyr" in London while
trying to execute a death fatwa or religious decree against
Rushdie.
His portrait appears alongside one of Iran's late supreme leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the fatwa in 1989 condemning
Rushdie to death for his novel "The Satanic Verses," deemed
blasphemous by many Moslems.
"Mostafa Mazouh fell martyr at the age of 21 in a suicide
operation against apostate Rushdie in London," reads a sentence at
the bottom of the painting, undersigned by the "Iranian and Lebanese
Hezbollah."
There have been no reports in Iran or abroad of any person
killed in the line of a mission to kill Rushdie, who has virtually
been living in hiding under tight security since the fatwa was
pronounced against him.
Iranian hardliners have stepped up a campaign against Rushdie in
defiance of a pledge last month by the Iranian government that it
would not track down Rushdie.
The radical Khordad-15 foundation last week raised by 300,000
dollars to 2.8 million dollars a bounty it has offered to kill
Rushdie.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:35:13 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian trains equipped with special compartments for women


TEHRAN, Oct 17 (AFP) - Women travelling without a male companion
will have special compartments set aside for them on Iranian trains,
newspapers reported Saturday.
The compartments will be set aside "to assure women travelling
alone a peaceful voyage," the state railway company said in a
statement.
Iranian authorities have tried to segregate the sexes on public
transport since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Last month, a park exclusively for women was inaugurated in
Ahvaz, the main city in southwestern Khuzestan province.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:35:30 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban release 26 Iranian prisoners: report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 17 (AFP) - The Taliban authorities Saturday
released 26 Iranian prisoners from jails in southern Afghan city of
Kandahar, Afghan sources said.
The released Iranians were flown to Tehran in two aircraft
arranged by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the
Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said.
The release follows an agreement reached between the hardline
Islamic miltia's supreme leader, Mulla Mohammad Omar, and UN special
envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Kandahar earlier this week to free all
Iranians.
The evacuation of 26 prisoners brings to 51 the Iranians
released by the militia since early September, in a bid to improve
relations with Tehran.
Relations between Iran and the Taliban became strained after the
killing of eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist during the
militia's capture of the opposition bastion Mazar-i-Sharif in
northern Afghanistan in August.
Iran, vowing to avenge the masscre, deployed more than 200,000
revolutionary guards and troops on its border with western
Afghanistan.
Brahimi held wide-ranging talks with Omar to defuse the tensions
and officials in Kandahar said the UN envoy had said he would try to
secure the release of Taliban prisoners from Iran.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:35:42 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Taliban want good ties with Iran but ready along border: spokesman

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Oct 17 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban
militia said Saturday it wants good neighbourly ties with Iran but
has taken all possible "defensive" measures by deploying more than
30,000 troops along the border.
"We desire good neighbourly relations but we are ready to defend
our motehrland against any eventuality," Mullah Abdul Hae Mutmaen,
head of the Islamic militia's information wing, told AFP in an
interview.
Independent sources here said the Taliban had distributed
weapons among people living near the border and its troops were
backed by tanks.
UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Taliban chief Mullah
Mohammad Omar here on Wednesday, securing an agreement by the
militia to release all detained Iranians.
Brahimi, who is now in Pakistan, went to Kandahar after talks in
Tehran and Islamabad to try to reduce tension between Iran and the
Taliban who control 90 percent of Afghanistan.
He expressed optimism about the outcome of his mission and
described his talks in Kandahar as "promising."
Mutmaen said Taliban believed Iran had about 30,000 to 40,000
troops along the border and not between 200,000 and 250,000 as has
been reported.
"We have enough weapons of mujahideen from the anti-Soviet war
here and we also have long-range missiles," the Taliban spokesman
said, referring to the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.
"History bears testimony to the fact that we have fought
successfully against Britishers and Russians and if Iran wants to
fight then we are ready," he added.
"We are not afraid of Iran. We are Afghans and have always
countered the foreign powers."
Tension between Shiite Moslem Iran, a supporter of the
anti-Taliban alliance, and the Sunni Moslem militia grew after the
killing of 10 Iranian diplomats and a journalist in August in the
northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif after the Taliban captured
it.
Tehran has demanded the killers be arrested and handed over and
that the Taliban release all Iranian nationals. Around 25 Iranians
are still held in Kandahar after the recent release of an equal
number in batches.
The Taliban have said the Iranians, whom it called military
officers in the guise of diplomats, were shot dead by "renegades"
acting without authority.
Mutmaen said Iran was continuing its "interference" in Afghan
affairs. He pointed to the recent seizure of 700 tonnes of weapons
in a Central Asian state which he said were meant for the Taliban's
opponents.
He accused Iran of atrocities against the Sunni Moslem minority
in that country and claimed they were not allowed to worship
according to their beliefs.
But Mutamen said the Taliban struggle was not on behalf of any
particular sect but "for Islam."
Iran has accused the Taliban, made up largely of ethnic
Pashtuns, of persecuting minority ethnic communities including
Tajiks, Uzbeks and Shiite Hazaras.
Analysts see Iranian pressure along the border as helping Afghan
opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood, whose troops are entrenched
in key areas north of Kabul.
The Taliban have launched a winter offensive against Masood to
try to subdue the last remaining hurdle to their total control of
Afghanistan.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:36:10 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Britain tries to reassure writer Rushdie over Iranian price on his head

LONDON, Oct 17 (AFP) - British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook saw
writer Salman Rushdie Friday in a bid to reassure him over the move
by an Iranian foundation to up the 2.5 million dollar price on the
author's head for alleged blasphemy.
A Foreign Office spokesman have no details of their conversation
but said London "remains convinced" that the Iranian government
would stick to an agreement to dissociate itself from the bounty.
The Khordad-15 foundation is offering an additional 300,000
dollars for execution of the 1989 fatwa, or religious decree, issued
by the late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
against Rushdie for his novel "The Satanic Verses."
"This increase is aimed at encouraging the carrying out of the
fatwa," the foundation's director Ayatollah Hassan Sanei said in a
press interview in the Shiite Moslem pilgrimage city of Mashshad
Sunday.
"This reward for killing Salman Rushdie is a great honour for
the foundation and we must preserve it," he said.
The increase came just weeks after a decision by London to
restore full diplomatic relations with Iran for the first time since
the fatwa was issued, after Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi
pledged, following a meeting with Cook, that Tehran had nothing to
do with the bounty and would take no steps to implement the fatwa.
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 it as a "divine
order" and a spokesman for Kharazi's ministry called it
"irrevocable."
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 conflicting statements coming out of Tehran are seen as
evidence of the ongoing power struggle between conservatives and the
more moderate stance of the government under President Mohammad
Khatami.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:36:23 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Thousands of Iranians attend murdered diplomats' funeral march

TEHRAN, Oct 16 (AFP) - Thousands of Iranians escorted the
coffins of three diplomats slain by the Afghan Taliban militia from
Tehran University to the "martyrs' graveyard" south of the capital
Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The crowd, which assembled at the campus for weekly Moslem
prayers, shouted "Death to the US" and "Death to the Taliban" as
they marched alongside the remains of Mohammad Nasser Nasseri, Karim
Heidarian and Majid Nuri Niaraki, IRNA said.
Marchers carried on their shoulders the coffins of the
diplomats, who were killed when the Taliban captured the northern
Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif in August.
The bodies, which were sent back to Iran Sunday, were buried at
the martyrs' graveyard at Behesht-Zahra cemetery.
The corpses of six other Iranian diplomats and an Iranian
journalist killed in Mazar-i-Sharif were sent home in
mid-September.
The Iranians' disappearance, and the subsequent admission of
their murders, triggered heightened tension between Afghanistan,
most of which is Taliban-controlled, and Iran, which had backed the
Taliban's opponents.
Tehran demanded that the Taliban return the bodies and turn over
those responsible for the killings for trial in an Iranian or
international court.
In recent weeks, Iran massed more than 200,000 troops on its
border with Afghanistan while the Taliban said they have
strengthened their military arrangements there as well.
On Wednesday, the Taliban agreed to release all their Iranian
prisoners after UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi assured them that Tehran
would free its Afghan detainees.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:36:36 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Factional dispute heats up ahead of Iran vote

TEHRAN, Oct 16 (AFP) - A partisan dispute has flared again in
Iran ahead of crucial Assembly of Experts elections, with several
leftists pulling out in protest at the rejection of the candidacies
of their allies, while some moderates are also having qualms.
Iranian political and religious leaders have urged the public to
massively participate in next Friday's vote to elect 86 religious
and political "experts" to the assembly, in a bid to show their
support for the Islamic Republic.
A large turnout is enormously impor.
The moderate faction, led by the Servants of Construction, has
also criticized the conservative "monopoly" on the election, but has
decided to stay in the race.
"It is better to be present and correct problems than boycott
elections," said Servants' spokesman Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi,
Tehran's former mayor.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 13:36:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Power Struggle in Iran Clouds View for US Policymakers

Finding out what Iranian decisionmakers are thinking - or even who
they are, sometimes - is more art than science.
And during these days of conflict between reform and hard-line
clerics in the Islamic Republic - which is still singled out by the US
State Department as the ``most active'' state sponsor of terrorism -
seeing through the impenetrable shroud is reminiscent of cold-war days
of Kremlinology.
Iran is not a rival superpower sitting atop a nuclear arsenal. But
as Iran asserts its strategic importance in a volatile region, and
looms as as a natural conduit for Caspian oil riches, understanding
its mysterious ways of rule becomes crucial.
No one can say even whether moderate President Mohamad Khatami is
winning his drive to end Iran's isolation and restore what he calls a
``civil society'' to Iran. Or whether conservatives are successfully
thwarting him at every turn.
``Things were easier'' during the cold war, says a senior Western
diplomat, who spent years studying the inner workings of the Soviet
Union by reading deeply into the subtlest messages from Moscow.
``You could read between the lines, and see who was in favor or not
by how they lined up in official pictures,'' he says. ``But this
Islamic system? It's tough. This is a mysterious country.''
Part of the problem in ``reading'' Iran is that there are competing
centers of power, of which even the government is often considered
just another faction.
Enter Mr. Khatami's brand of glasnost, based on a 70 percent
election victory last year. His plans include a gradual detente with
the US and loosened restrictions on women.
But the result has been political guerrilla warfare in which the
biggest battles are often fought behind closed doors. One public test
will come Oct. 23, when Iranians elect members of the 86-member
Assembly of Experts - the one clerical body that in turn elects, and
can oust, Iran's ``supreme'' spiritual leader.
The results are especially important, considering rumors of ill
health of Supreme Leader Sayed Ali Khamenei, who approves every
foreign-policy decision. But already the candidates' list has been
denuded of reform-thinking clerics, sparking an outcry from Khatami
allies and deepening voter apathy.
``Many see Khatami as the only credible symbol of change, and say
change is irreversible,'' says the senior diplomat. ``But the
conservatives are still strong, and like in the Soviet Union, they do
not want change.
``In the Soviet Union the system was hollow, and so it collapsed,''
he says. ``But here the system is ... religious and deep, the
commitment is ... stronger.''
Examples of brazen acts by hard-liners are many. In August, 500
people were reportedly arrested in a one-night sweep for violators of
social codes; judges in vans handed down immediate sentences.
And last month Khatami's information minister and a vice president
were attacked at a public rally. The attack sparked outrage in many
quarters, and prompted demands from both Khatami and Khamenei to
respect the rule of law.
For the first time several Hizbollahi - self-appointed enforcers,
who have violently broken up protests - were arrested.
Also on the conservative lineup are the watchful Revolutionary
Guards.
``If such cultural sedition reaches an intolerable level, the
Guards will act under duty against anti-revolutionary groups in
whatever guise,'' Cmdr. Rahim Safavi told Iran's Keyhan newspaper, in
a veiled reference to liberal clerics.

THE attack against the officials, however, may hint at deeper
unease. ``It shows from the conservative side that there is no
comprehensive and clear strategy,'' says another Western diplomat.
``They feel that in the minds of the people, they are losing
control,'' echoes a Western analyst. ``If I were a conservative, I
would to act now or [expect to] lose.''
Horse-trading is required, however, if Khatami is to realize his
agenda.
The most recent quid pro quo, analysts say, was the case of Salman
Rushdie, British author of the controversial book ``The Satanic
Verses,'' who for nine years has lived under a death sentence for
blasphemy imposed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's first supreme
leader.
To remove this obstacle to better ties, Khatami made clear last
month that Iran would never carry out the sentence. That decision drew
fire from hard-liners in Tehran. But in what appeared to be a
preemptive attack to mollify conservatives, weeks before the Rushdie
decision, Iran's most vocal pro-Khatami newspaper had been shut down
and its editors jailed.
A similar trade is believed to have been made over Khatami's CNN
interview in January, in which he mentioned the ``great American
people'' and called for dialogue.
The political price paid for Khatami's being allowed to make
overtures may be that Iran is taking an increasingly harsh line
against Israel, America's closest Mideast ally. To some, the slow thaw
with the US indicates a deliberate, successful chipping away by
reformers. ``There is a cultural transformation in the last 10 years
that can't be stopped,'' says the senior diplomat. ``The conservatives
aren't articulating anything meaningful.''
Khatami's popular support presents its own problem. The president
has made clear that he believes in the pillars of the revolution,
including the infallibility of the supreme leader. So he treads a fine
line.
``Khatami ... wants to reform the system, but not to change it,''
says one Western observer. It is because he ``embodies'' the mood for
change that conservatives ``are so aggressive with him. But can he do
it without destroying the system? This is the Gorbachev dilemma.''

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 21:25:14 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian opposition blames Tehran for car-bomb attack in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Oct 18 (AFP) - The People's Mujahedeen, Iran's main
armed opposition group, accused Tehran on Sunday of carrying out a
failed car-bomb attack in Iraq.
A remote-control bomb planted in a parked car exploded Saturday
as a bus carrying Mujahedeen members entered the town of Halis, 60
kilometres (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, it said. There were no
casualties.
Farid Soleimani, a spokesman for the group, said the bus was
headed for a Mujahedeen base.
Iranian agents used the same method in an attack on Mujahedeen
headquarters in Baghdad on August 7 when three Iraqis were killed
and 13 people wounded, including two opposition members, Soleimani
told AFP.


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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 21:25:33 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran opposition group to boycott key elections

TEHRAN, Oct 18 (AFP) - More than 100 prominent members of the
opposition Iranian Freedom Movement (IFM) said on Sunday they would
boycott this week's key elections for the Assembly of Experts after
less than half of the potential candidates were forbidden to run.
"The necessary conditions have not been met and we are not going
to participate," said a statement signed by 115 leading IFM members,
among them former ministers and university professors.
The assembly will be reduced to nothing more than a "registrar's
office charged with rubber-stamping the status quo," said the
opposition group, which is forbidden yet tolerated by the Islamic
republic.
Voters on Friday will elect 86 representatives for eight-year
terms in the assembly, a backbone of Iran's theocracy responsible
for appointing or dismissing the country's "Vali-e-Faqih," or
supreme leader, a position currently held by Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei.
But only 167 of the 396 candidates who signed up to run were
approved by the Council of Guardians, which oversees Iran's
elections and is dominated by conservative clerics.
The council rejected most of the hopefuls, many of them
supporters of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, for allegedly
failing to meet the legal requirements to stand.
Iranian electoral law requires candidates to be famously
religious and to have a high level of proficiency in religious
matters.
The IFM said "80 percent of the candidates in this election are
members of the conservative Islamic right, six percent from the
radical Islamic left, and 14 percent from the moderate reform
movement" close to the president.
Khatami on Saturday criticised the disqualification of many of
his supporters but declined to support a boycott of the vote.
"I have a complaint to make of the electoral authorities for not
creating the conditions for a greater number of hopefuls to come
forward," Khatami said in a televised address to the nation.
"If we show greater tolerance and allow more people to become
candidates, there will be greater variety and competition, which
will in turn produce more enthusiasm among voters," he said.
But he nevertheless called for an "enthusiastic presence of the
people" at the polls and urged rival factions not to use the
election to "settle political accounts."
Several of Khatami's leftist supporters pulled out of the
election in protest at the exclusion of their allies from the race,
and at least two organisations refused to field any candidates.

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

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 21:25:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iranian villagers offer bounty for Rushdie: 10 carpets, plots of land

TEHRAN, Oct 18 (AFP) - The residents of a village in northern
Iran have promised 10 Persian carpets and plots of land to anyone
who assassinates British writer Salman Rushdie, the evening
newspaper Kayhan reported Sunday.
The bounty was raised by the 2,000 inhabitants of the village of
Kiapaie, in Mazandaran province on the Caspian Sea, "to encourage
the application of the irrevocable fatwa of Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini," the paper said.
They promised to reward Rushdie's killer with 4,500 square
meters (48,420 square feet) of agricultural land, 1,500 square
meters (16,140 square feet) of orchards, a house and 10 carpets
whose value was not specified, Kayhan said.
A powerful Iranian religious foundation, Khordad-15, has offered
2.8 million dollars to anyone carrying out Khomeini's order to
execute Rushdie for alleged blasphemy against Islam in his novel
"The Satanic Verses."
Britain and Iran agreed last month to exchange ambassadors after
the Iranian government distanced itself from the bounty being
offered to kill the British author.

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

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 17 Oct 1998 to 18 Oct 1998
***************************************************