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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998
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There are 3 messages totalling 170 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Khamenei calls for massive turnout in Iran vote
2. Tehran's suspended mayor exhorts moderates to vote in assembly elections
3. Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, at center of crucial vote

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Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 01:21:12 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khamenei calls for massive turnout in Iran vote

TEHRAN, Oct 21 (AFP) - Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
called Wednesday for a massive turnout in Friday's election of the
Assembly of Experts, which is tasked with appointing or ousting
Iran's leaders.
Khamenei, appointed supreme leader in 1989 by the first Assembly
of Experts, said a large turnout to elect the 86 members of the
assembly "will discourage the enemies."
"Men, women and especially the young must go and vote to ensure
the disappointment of the enemies of Islam", he told a public
meeting.
Iranian leaders and official media have urged some 39 million
eligible voters to cast their votes for the third Assembly of
Experts since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
The assembly is considered one of the main pillars of clerical
supremacy in national politics.
"The strength of a nation lies in the people's presence at the
forefront of events," Khamenei said. "Popular participation will
reinforce the government and authorities and allow them to solve the
country's problems."
The rejection of many reformist candidates through a tight
screening process is feared to have considerably reduced voter
enthusiasm.

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Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 01:21:41 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran's suspended mayor exhorts moderates to vote in assembly
elections

LONDON, Oct 21 (AFP) - Tehran's suspended mayor Gholam-Hossein
Karbaschi appealed in an interview here for Islamic moderates to
vote in Friday's election for the Assembly of Experts.
Speaking to The Guardian daily, Karbaschi, who is appealing
against a five-year jail sentence imposed in July for charges of
corruption, said the selection of candidates for the 86-member body
was seriously flawed.
Iranian moderates have been protesting for several weeks at the
rejection by a conservative screening body of leftist and reformist
candidates for the election.
But the paper reported that his party, Servants of Construction,
would back a slate of candidates in its aim to reform the role of
Iran's supreme leader and clarify the separation of mosque and
state.
"The legitimacy of the Assembly of Experts is not subject to the
number of people who vote," said Karbaschi.
"We believe that in even in these conditions it is better to
select more moderate figures among the existing candidates."
The paper reported that at a rally on Tuesday, Karbaschi
exhorted the crowd to vote, saying: "It is a right given to us and
we must use it for our own benefit."
The mayor also told The Guardian that the present Iranian system
of government should be reformed, not dismantled.
"I believe our constitution is a good one, and if it is
implemented, we shall not need to amend it," he said.
"But everyone, including the Assembly of Experts, must act in
accordance with the constitution."
In July Karbaschi was sentenced to five years in prison, a hefty
fine and 60 lashes of the whip for embezzlement in the city
government.
His trial, broadcast on radio and television, captivated Iran.
Karbaschi is seen as a capable, modernising administrator by his
supporters and as an irresponsible or even corrupt official by his
detractors.
The Assembly of Experts is a body of clerics responsible for
electing Iran's supreme leader.

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

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 01:21:29 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, at center of crucial vote

TEHRAN, Oct 21 (AFP) - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, elected as Iran's
supreme leader in 1989, will come under scrutiny by a new Assembly
of Experts to be formed after Friday's elections.
As successor to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei,
59, enjoys extensive powers in political, religious and military
matters.
He has combined the twin posts of premier political personality
and highest religious authority since Khomeini's death in June
1989.
A former president, Khamenei was elected nine years ago to his
current post of supreme leader by the Assembly, which presently
consists of 86 clerics, all of whom are considered to be "experts"
on political and religious matters.
The Assembly, due to be re-elected by popular vote on Friday,
can in theory dismiss the leader, although such a decision seems
unlikely given the support Khamenei has traditionally enjoyed in the
conservative-dominated body.
Khamenei, who as "Vali-Faqih" is at the summit of the theocracy,
has in the past year faced an unprecedented challenge from reformers
backing President Mohammad Khatami, whose landslide election victory
in May 1997 led to growing expectations of democracy.
The president has become a symbol of political pluralism, while
Khamenei draws his legitimacy from the divine and religious aspect
of the Islamic Republic -- an issue which has played the two men's
roles against one another.
The two men, however, have had a long acquaintance and never
clashed in public. Khamenei said recently that he was close to
Khatami's late father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami, a widely
respected cleric in Yazd, central Iran.
But a bitter rivalry between their respective supporters has
exacerbated a fierce power struggle between the various factions in
the Islamic Republic.
Following his appointment as supreme leader, Khamenei, then
relatively young and of modest religious credentials, was widely
expected to act as a figurehead.
However, he gradually established himself as the regime's
strongman, notably at the expense of his long-time revolutionary
companion and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Khamenei, the father of six, was born into a family of clerics
from Khameneh, a small town near the great Oroumieh Lake in West
Azerbaijan province bordering Turkey.
His political activism against the former Shah earned him stints
in prison in the 1970s. In 1977, he was exiled to Iranshahr, a
remote and harsh environment in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan
province.
After returning to Tehran, he became the imam of a major mosque
where he became famous for his fiery speeches against the imperial
regime, enjoying a dramatic rise in the wake of the 1979 Islamic
Revolution.
Khamenei and Rafsanjani were the minds behind the "Islamic
Revolutionary Council" which was set up after the ouster of the Shah
to govern the country, pending the formation of a government.
He was appointed deputy-minister of defense in 1979 and after
that Khomeini's representative to the "Supreme Defense Council," a
body which oversaw military matters.
In January 1980, Khamenei was appointed by Khomeini as the
permanent imam for Tehran's Friday prayers -- a position he still
holds.
Khamenei enjoys considerable prestige among members of the
Shiite clergy as well as Islamic intellectuals whom he attracts with
his passionate but methodical style of speech.
Khamenei also actively participated in the forced dismissal in
early 1981 of the Islamic Republic's first president, Abolhassan
Bani Sadr.
In June 1981, the People's Mujahedeen, Iran's main rebel group,
attempted to assassinate Khamenei in a mosque. He miraculously
survived, but suffered paralysis of his right arm.
Earning the title of "living martyr," Khamenei was elected
president in 1981 and served in that capacity for eight years -- a
period which coincided with the war against Iraq.
Following Khomeini's death in June 1989, Khamenei was by
consensus the candidate to succeed the founder of the Islamic
Republic -- after the spectacular elimination of Khomeini's
designated heir, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
Montazeri, currently living under house arrest in Qom, a holy
city in central Iran, has become a target of criticism of Khamenei
supporters for contesting the leader's rule.
In June, Khamenei admitted in passing to feeling ill, but his
aides insisted that the problem was not serious -- an argument given
credence by the leader's regular appearances since in public and on
television.

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998
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