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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998 to 24 Oct 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998 to 24 Oct 1998
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There are 7 messages totalling 444 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Low turnout in Iranian ballot seen as swipe at hard-liners
2. Early Iran poll returns show conservative strength
3. In Iranian election, signs of not voting
4. Clinton blocks move against Iran
5. Iran slams U.N. criticism on rights as `political'
6. Eighty Swedish women tested for HIV,suspect sought
7. Sweden Suspects Iranian in HIV Hunt


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:30:46 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Low turnout in Iranian ballot seen as swipe at hard-liners

October 23, 1998 Web posted at: 8:48 p.m. EDT (0048 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Alienated from a voting system slanted toward
conservatives, Iranian voters showed scant interest in Friday's election
for a council that picks the country's supreme leader.

Moderate critics had complained that the process of selecting candidates
for the 86-member Assembly of Experts was skewed in favor of religious
hard-liners. Several prominent candidates allied with moderate President
Mohammad Khatami withdrew in protest.

While Iran's official media boasted of a huge turnout and said election
officials feared running out of paper ballots, journalists who visited
polling stations around the capital found turnout to be minimal by
Iranian standards. At many stations, few voters were waiting in line. At
one mosque, poll workers and reporters outnumbered voters.

Officials at polling sites said there were far fewer voters than during
presidential elections last year, when 80 percent of the electorate
turned out and overwhelmingly voted for Khatami. Many potential voters
chose to stay home to watch a soccer match between Iran and rival Iraq.

Election officials first extended polling by two hours and then
announced they would continue to let people vote indefinitely, as long
as people wanted to cast ballots.

Under Iran's Islamic system of government, the Assembly of Experts
appoints and supervises the country's supreme leader, a senior Shiite
Muslim cleric whose broad powers exceed those of Iran's president.

Assembly hopefuls were screened by a conservative-run oversight board
for theological "competence." The process meant that about 80 percent of
the candidates were conservatives, assuring that they would retain
control of the assembly.

Results were expected by Sunday.

Khatami's efforts to ease Iran's social, political and media
restrictions are popular -- but they are opposed bitterly by
hard-liners, including the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali

After casting his ballot at a mosque in northern Tehran, the president
urged his fellow Iranians to go out and vote. But he also took a swipe
at the selection process.

"Definitely, there could have been more qualified people than were
allowed, but nonetheless we still have a chance to choose our favored
candidates," he said.

Reporter Kasra Naji and Reuters contributed to this report.


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:33:43 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Early Iran poll returns show conservative strength

Early Iran poll returns show conservative strength 03:17 a.m. Oct 24,
1998 Eastern

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Early returns on Saturday in Iran's elections
to a powerful body of Shi'ite theologians showed conservatives, who
dominated the candidate lists, winning seats in outlying provinces.

But officials said it was too early for firm figures on voter turnout in
Friday's polls, which pitted the clerical establishment against
reformists backing President Mohammad Khatami.

First results from the interior ministry from 11 provinces, including
the Shi'ite holy centre of Qom, indicated conservatives had won 10 seats
in the 86-member Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and
supervise Iran's supreme leader.

Five other seats went to candidates listed as independents.

Figures from the official IRNA news agency showed 3.5 million ballots
had been cast in those same 11 provinces.

Final results have been promised within 48 hours of the end of polling,
which was late on Friday evening.

Progressive theologians and their supporters had earlier denounced the
vetting of candidates, which saw a field of about 400 whittled down to
161 finalists -- some 130 from the conservative camp.

Salam newspaper, organ of the reformist clerics backing Khatami, said
people's democratic rights had been pre-empted by the conservative

In a post-election commentary, it said voters had turned out only from a
sense of responsibility to the Islamic system, not out of genuine
democratic sentiment.

``The most important way to ensure people's permanent participation is
to create the feeling that no one has chosen something for the people in
advance,'' the daily said.

``At present, the attitude of one faction has run to the point of
jeopardising the prestige of a great country and it does not recognise
anything else on the way to its objectives.''

President Khatami, who rode a crest of reformist ``people power'' to a
suprise landslide election victory in May, 1997, joined the chorus of
protest but urged voters to take part all the same.

``Definitely, the number of competent figures is more than what we have
here,'' the president said as he cast his vote on Friday.

``But still the possiblity to select exists and there is relative
diversity,'' Khatami said.

With 80 percent of the names on the ballot coming from the right, many
progressives predicted that millions of pro-Khatami voters, in
particular women and young people, would boycott the polls. Several top
leftist ayatollahs dropped out in protest.

For its part, the conservative establishment called on the people to
fulfil their ``religious'' and ``revolutionary'' duty to vote.

State media, controlled by the right, reported solid turnout, especially
in outlying areas. Conservative newspapers on Saturday reported
``massive'' turnout in the polls but provided no supporting data.

However, tours of polling stations in Tehran, by far Iran's largest
city, suggested lacklustre participation. Few identified themselves as
Khatami supporters.

Officials say 39 million Iranians were eligible to take part in the
election to the Assembly, held every eight years.


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:35:14 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: In Iranian election, signs of not voting

The council that oversees the supreme leader was elected. Some people
complained of a fixed outcome.

By Afshin Valinejad ASSOCIATED PRESS

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's official media boasted about a huge turnout in
elections yesterday for the council that oversees the country's supreme
leader. But in Tehran, the country's capital and largest city, many polling
stations were nearly empty and some voters complained that hard-line
clerics already had decided the outcome.

Government-controlled Tehran radio reported "unprecedented and unique"
voting levels for the 86-member Assembly of Experts. It said that there
were long lines of voters at polling stations across the country and that
electoral officers expected to run out of paper ballots.

But correspondents who visited a dozen polling stations around the
capital found turnout to be minimal. Only two polling stations had
voters waiting in line.

The electoral authorities extended the scheduled poll closing time by
three hours. Interior Minister Abdolvahed Lari also said late voters
would not be turned away.

Candidate Majid Ansari, a moderate cleric, blamed the low turnout in
Tehran on the lack of choice. Most of the 167 people on the ballot --
all clergymen -- were considered hard-liners, and the candidates were
selected by a Council of Guardians that is controlled by conservatives.

"Unfortunately, the procedures were such that competition was limited
and a group of revolutionaries were prevented from taking part in the
elections," Ansari said.

Ordinary people were blunt about their reason for boycotting the polls.

"It makes no difference. They have already selected the people they want
to put in the assembly," said Siavash Mohseni, 24, a university student
who did not vote.

Although voting was supposed to be secret, there were no private booths
for voters, and it was easy to see whom a person selected.

An election observer in western Tehran said many voters had cast blank
ballots and many more had voted for supporters of President Mohammad
Khatami, a moderate.

However, a voter in Tehran's Enqelab Square, Saeid Kazami, 41, said he
had supported mostly hard-line candidates because they "are protectors
of the [ Islamic ] revolution."

"We know that the revolution will have no problem if they are in
charge," he said.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a hard-liner, has the
final say in government. Conservative clerics want to keep it that way,
but moderates, led by Khatami, are calling for a more accountable

Khatami's efforts to ease the country's social, political and media
restrictions are popular. But they are opposed bitterly by hard-liners
who are loath to give up control of key institutions such as the
judiciary and the security agencies.

Khatami urged Iranians to vote after casting his ballot at the
Husseinieh Jamaran mosque in northern Tehran.

"Definitely, there could have been more qualified people than were
allowed, but nonetheless we still have a chance to choose our favored
candidates," Khatami told reporters.

Official results were not expected before today, electoral authorities


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:36:20 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Clinton blocks move against Iran

WASHINGTON, Oct 23: US President Bill Clinton on Thursday blocked part
of a bill that would have allowed the family of an American student
killed in the Gaza Strip to collect damages by attaching Iranian
government property.

But the White House said it would discuss the possibility of attaching
Iranian commercial properties with the family of Alisa Flatow, 20, who
died in the 1995 suicide bombing of an Israeli bus in the
Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.

Flatow's family won a court battle in March when a U.S. federal judge
ordered Iran to pay 247 million dollars in damages.

The family had sued Iran, alleging that it was liable for Alisa Flatow's
death because it supported Islamic Jihad, a faction of which claimed
responsibility for the bus attack.

The family's case was brought under an anti-terrorism law signed by
Clinton in 1996 that allows U.S. citizens to sue over allegedly
state-sponsored terrorist acts.

Flatow's family, however, may not seek to collect the damages it was
awarded by attaching Iran's embassies or other property, the White House
said on Wednesday in a statement.

A provision giving Americans in such cases the right to attach foreign
property was tucked into the 500 billion dollars spending bill Clinton
signed on Wednesday. But the president opted to waive that provision "in
the national security interest of the United States," White House
spokesman Joe Lockhart said in a statement.

"If the U.S. permitted attachment of diplomatic properties, then other
countries could retaliate, placing our embassies and citizens overseas
at grave risk," Lockhart said. "Our ability to use foreign properties as
leverage in foreign policy disputes would also be undermined."

Lockhart said the administration would work with Flatow's family to
identify Iranian commercial assets that might be attached.

Steve Perles, the lawyer representing Flatow's family, said he was
disappointed that the White House decided on the waiver without
consulting with lawmakers from the young woman's home state of New

But he said Flatow's legal team would talk with White House officials to
hear their proposals for attaching Iranian commercial assets, noting
that Lockhart's statement appeared to indicate a shift in the
administration's position.-Reuters


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 17:37:36 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Iran slams U.N. criticism on rights as `political'

October 23, 1998 Web posted at: 9:47 PM EDT (0147 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Iran on Friday rejected as "political" a U.N.
report which said significant human rights violations are continuing
there even though many Iranian leaders wish to move towards a more
tolerant society.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi said the report is
"incompatible with realities and current developments in Iran" after
last year's election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, the
Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

"Political exploitation of the human rights issue is rejected and is in
contradiction with the U.N. charter, Mohammadi said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always given ... priority in its
agenda to the realization of human rights and the legitimate and basic
freedoms of its nationals in accordance with its Islamic beliefs and
international commitments."

The United Nations Human Rights Commission's special representative for
Iran, Maurice Copithorne, said in the report issued on Wednesday that
the development of human rights in Iran depended on the outcome of a
sharp internal debate between backers and opponents of Khatami's liberal

Copithorne, who expressed disappointment at not being invited to visit
Iran, said progress in the area of freedom of expression "seems to be
too often a matter of two steps forward and one step back."

He said quantifiable progress was "not in sight" in women's rights, and
that the situation of members of the Baha'i faith had not improved. The
religious minority are regarded as heretics by Iran's Islamic leaders.

Copithorne urged Iran to refrain from ordering the death penalty for
religious offenses, lift a ban on Baha'i organizations, and abolish the
practice of stoning-- a sentence sometimes imposed for adultery under
Iran's Islamic laws.


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 18:21:06 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Eighty Swedish women tested for HIV,suspect sought

By Abigail Schmelz

STOCKHOLM, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Eighty worried Swedish women had been
tested for the AIDS virus by Friday as police hunted a promiscuous
carrier of the disease who is believed to have had sex with more than
100 women.

Police were focusing their search for the suspect, who they said was
probably an Iranian citizen living under a false identity, on Stockholm
after a tip he may have returned to the area.

``The tip is very interesting and I hope it will lead to a quick
result,'' Stockholm detective Christer Sjoblom said.

Earlier reports suggested the man had fled to Denmark.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter said 80 women had taken HIV tests
and 40 of them had received negative results. One woman is known to have
received the virus from the man, police said on Thursday.

Hundreds of women were horrified when police broke the strict Swedish
privacy law and published the name and photograph of an HIV-positive man
who claimed his name was James Kimball.

``We have spoken to 120 women who said they had sex with him,'' Sjoblom
told Reuters.

This was after police found an address book belonging to the man --
wanted on a rape charge -- in a raid on his Stockholm apartment. The
notebook contained the names of about 200 Swedish women aged around 20
with ratings of their sexual performance.

Police said the man, who had lived in Sweden since 1992, was probably a
25-year-old Iranian and might have stolen the identity of Kimball, a
dead American.

The Iranian was wanted in the United States for fraud and receiving
stolen goods. He emigrated to Sweden because he had a Swedish girlfriend
and obtained permits to stay.

He worked at odd jobs such as a taxi driver, lured women to bed with
tales that he was a model, arranged glamorous parties and spoke fluent

There have been cases in Sweden of men with the AIDS virus infecting
several women, but not such a large number.

The man could face four years in prison if convicted of rape and one to 10
years for knowingly infecting women with AIDS.

Last year a Finnish court sentenced an American to 14 years in prison on 17
charges of attempted manslaughter for having unprotected sex even though he
knew he had the AIDS virus.

12:14 10-23-98


Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 18:22:00 +0200
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad.abdolian@RSA.ERICSSON.SE>
Subject: Sweden Suspects Iranian in HIV Hunt

.c The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The HIV-positive man sought by police for
allegedly having unprotected sex with dozens of women apparently is an
Iranian using the identity of a dead American, police said Thursday.

The manhunt, now extended to neighboring Denmark, has been given
extensive coverage in Swedish newspapers, TV and radio, prompting a
flood of phone calls to police from women who had contact with him.

About 80 women have reported having sex with him, according to reports

Police initially identified the man as James Patric Kimball of the
United States, but Interpol later informed them that the man is Mehdi
Tayeb, 45, an Iranian citizen using Kimball's identity.

``It seems that the man has used a false identity since 1985. This does
not surprise me completely, but it does not make our investigation
easier,'' police inspector Christer Sjoeblom told the national news
agency TT.

Kimball apparently died 13 years ago. The newspaper Expressen reported
Thursday that Kimball's father Ervin, in Gorham, Maine, said James
suffered a fatal heart attack in March 1985. The paper published a photo
of the father kneeling beside his son's gravestone.

The passport Tayeb used was issued in Miami, in Kimball's name, three
months later.

Tayeb has been charged in Sweden with rape and grave assault. The latter
charge has been used by Swedish authorities to prosecute people who
engage in unprotected sex while knowingly infected with HIV.

Tayeb also is wanted in the United States on charges of fraud and
handling of stolen goods, Swedish police said.

The man lived in a two-room apartment in a Stockholm suburb and worked
for a small taxi company, but claimed to have wide celebrity contacts
and portrayed himself as a party-arranger, according to Stockholm

AP-NY-10-22-98 1651EDT


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Oct 1998 to 24 Oct 1998