Date: Oct 26, 1998 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Oct 1998 to 25 Oct 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Oct 1998 to 25 Oct 1998
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There are 17 messages totalling 1193 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. UAE praises UN efforts to defuse Iran-Taliban tension
2. Americans take first tentative steps on Iran tourist track
3. Syrian FM to visit Iran Sunday
4. Wye River agreement source of "much concern" for Tehran
5. Iran conservatives cement hold on assembly
6. Washington using Iranian bogey to sell arms in Gulf: Tehran
7. Tehran warns Prague over Radio Free Europe broadcasts to Iran
8. [Fwd: election results]
9. U.S.-Israeli Intel Cooperation at Heart of Washington Accords
10. Iran insists missile launch successful
11. France says Iran's Shahab-3 missile "not yet operational"
12. Syrian FM visits Iran
13. Iran's conservative clerics maintain tight grip on power base
14. Iranian fishermen land big caviar catch
15. Iranian opposition disrupts Islamic institute opening in Netherlands
16. Iran files protest with Dutch over opposition "sedition"
17. Irna: interior ministry releases latest details of elections


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:19:08 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: UAE praises UN efforts to defuse Iran-Taliban tension

ABU DHABI, Oct 24 (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates, one of just
three states to recognize the Taliban militia as the legitimate
government of Afghanistan, Saturday praised UN efforts to defuse
tension between the Taliban and neighbouring Iran.
After talks here with UN special envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar
Brahimi, UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sultan ibn Zayed
al-Nahayan "paid tribute to Brahimi's efforts to defuse tension
between Iran and Afghanistan," the official UAE news agency WAM
Tensions between the two west Asian neighbours have been high
since the hardline Sunni Moslem militia killed nine Iranian
diplomats and a journalist during its capture of the northern Afghan
city of Mazar-i-Sharif in August.
Shiite Moslem Iran has massed tens of thousands of troops on its
border with Afghanistan while the Taliban has deployed 30,000 on the
other side of the frontier.
"Good progress is being made in defusing tension between Iran
and the Taliban," Brahimi told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday
following his second visit in a month.
The Taliban are "actively searching to find and punish" the
militiamen who killed the Iranian diplomats, a key Iranian demand
for the opening of direct talks with the militia, he said.
The UN envoy arrived in Abu Dhabi from a tour of Central Asian
states, like Iran, sympathetic to the opposition to the Taliban --
in Dushanbe on Friday he met key anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah
Masood, who remains loyal to the government of ousted president
Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Apart from the UAE, only Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recognize the
Taliban, which now controls 90 percent of Afghanistan, as its
legitimate government -- the rest of the world still recognizes
Rabbani, who retains the Afghan seat at the United Nations.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:18:54 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Americans take first tentative steps on Iran tourist track

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (AFP) - A party of American tourists arrived in
Iran on Saturday amid tentative steps to revive the country as a
destination for visitors from the United States, members of the
group told AFP here.
The 20 American men and women are to visit popular sites such as
Isfahan and the ancient ruins at Persepolis in southern Iran, as
well as the cities of Qom and Mashad, both important pilgrimage
centres for Shiite Moslems, they said.
The two-week tour has been organised by the US company Absolute
Asia in response to Iranian efforts to attract foreign tourists,
including Americans.
Iran's moderate President Mohammad Khatami called for cultural
and tourist exchanges between the two countries in January in order
to "make a crack in the wall of mistrust" between Iran and the
United States.
The two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1980 after
American diplomats in Tehran were taken hostage, in the wake of the
Islamic Revolution and the expulsion of the pro-West Shah.
Khatami has pursued a policy of "detente" in Iran's foreign
relations, repeatedly calling for dialogue between Eastern and
Western civilisations.
Recent attempts at official dialogue between Iran and the United
States have not produced any tangible results, however.
A member of the visiting group who requested anonymity said the
trip "could open the way for visits to Iran by other American
citizens and businessmen."
The important US-based Asia Society is due to organise a trip to
Iran by a group of senior businessmen next spring, the source said.
The Asia Society has organised several conferences on Iran at
its New York headquarters and US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright addressed a July 17 meeting, calling for greater efforts to
normalise relations with Iran.
Her Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi later told a gathering at
the same venue that there could be no Iran-US dialogue without a
firm commitment by Washington to end its economic embargo and policy
of isolation against Iran.
Increasing Iran-US contacts since Khatami's election to the
presidency have remained at an unofficial level.
American wrestling teams have twice visited Iran since February
1998 to take part in international competitions here. They have
generally been greeted with enthusiasm by Iranian audiences, the
young in particular.
Iran and the United Statees also met on the football pitch
during the World Cup in France, a match won 2-1 by the Islamic


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:18:20 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Syrian FM to visit Iran Sunday

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (AFP) - Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara is
due in Tehran on Sunday for talks with Iranian officials.
Shara is expected to hold talks with his Iranian counterpart
Kamal Kharazi and President Mohammad Khatami, officials here said
Iran recently played an active role in defusing tensions between
Syria, its close ally in the Middle East, and Turkey.
Turkey had threatened military action against Syria over
accusations it was assisting rebels from the Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK).
Iranian Housing Minister Ali Abdolali-Zadeh paid an official
visit to Syria earlier this week for a session of the two countries'
economic commission.
The minister led a delegation of experts and businessmen in
preparation for an upcoming meeting between Iranian Vice President
Hassan Habibi and his Syrian counterpart Abdel Halim Khaddam.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:19:25 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Wye River agreement source of "much concern" for Tehran

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (AFP) - The undertakings Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat made to Israel in the Wye River agreement are a "cause
for much concern," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mahmud
Mohammadi said Saturday.
"The Zionist regime is not to be trusted ... Such agreements
only entail a widening gap between the Palestinians themselves and,
in the end, turn out to the advantage of the Zionist occupiers of
Palestine," he said.
"The Israeli regime wants to survive under the aegis of similar
accords so that it can continue conducting terroristic activities,
such as the practice of state terrorism," he said.
"The Palestinian cause and Jerusalem remain the issues of the
Moslem community despite the fact that both the United States and
the supporters of the Zionist regime are trying to trample the
rights of Palestinians and bring holy Jerusalem under the absolute
rule of the Israeli regime."
In the agreement he signed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu on Friday after nine days of marathon talks brokered by US
President Bill Clinton outside Washington, Arafat undertook to clamp
down on Palestinian groups supporting continued armed resistance in
return for a long-overdue further Israeli pullback from the West
Iran has long been an opponent of the Middle East peace process
and backed Islamist opposition groups.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 11:17:47 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Iran conservatives cement hold on assembly

FOCUS-Iran conservatives cement hold on assembly 09:17 a.m. Oct 24, 1998

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Preliminary election returns on Saturday
showed Iranian conservatives maintaining their grip on a powerful
assembly of Moslem clerics.

Official figures from 18 of 28 provinces, broadcast on state media, also
showed more than half of all eligible voters took part in Friday's race,
criticised by reformist President Mohammad Khatami as favouring his
conservative opponents.

``The latest figures show 53 percent turnout which, given the nature of
the Assembly of Experts, is a considerable figure,'' Tehran radio said.

The clergy-based assembly, elected for eight years, has the power to
name and supervise Iran's supreme leader, a senior Shi'ite Moslem cleric
whose temporal powers dwarf those of the elected president.

``The people showed their political maturity and their understanding of
domestic and international conditions,'' the radio said.

Conservatives, and state media which they control, had repeatedly called
for a wide turnout to show the outside world the people's loyalty to
Iran's Islamic system.

But official media reports of a massive turnout did not match
observations by Western reporters in Tehran.

Many pro-Khatami voters said they were unlikely to go to the polls in
protest at the lack of reformist candidates, most of whom were barred by
a conservative body screening candidate.

Official figures had put turnout at 78 percent for the first assembly
polls in 1982. The 1990 elections drew just 37 percent.

Partial results, carried on television, showed candidates backed by the
Association of Militant Clergy, the leading conservative faction,
winning 17 seats in the 86-member body.

Another nine were backed jointly by the association and a pro-Khatami
moderate party. Eight seats went to candidates identified as
independents or affiliated with the moderates.

With 80 percent of the candidates allowed to run belonging to the
conservative camp, victory by establishment clerics was always a
foregone conclusion.

Few voters talking to Western reporters identified themselves as
supporters of Khatami, who swept 80 percent of ballots cast in May 1997,
and who remains extremely popular.

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. No women made the
final list.

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

``The most important way to ensure the 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.''

Despite Khatami's landslide victory last year, conservatives still
control key levers of power, including the parliament and the judiciary.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also widely seen to be close to
the conservatives and hardliners.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:19:46 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Washington using Iranian bogey to sell arms in Gulf: Tehran

TEHRAN, Oct 24 (AFP) - A top US commander's warning that Iran
remains the greatest threat to security in the region, was just
another attempt by Washington to sell more weapons in the Gulf, the
Iranian foreign ministry said Saturday.
"Such statements are evidence only of US fear over improving
relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf states," foreign
ministry spokesman Mahmud Mohammadi said.
"Such remarks are aimed only to raise fear among Persian Gulf
states and encourage them to enter an arms race with one another
that would mean dollars for US arms," he told the official news
agency IRNA.
The commander-in-chief of the US Central Command, General
Anthony Zinni, told reporters in Washington Wednesday that "in the
longer term, Iran is the greater threat" than Iraq.
"If the hardliners stay in charge, we're going to see in some
period of time ... a country having weapons of mass destruction
capability," said Zinni, the senior US general in charge of Gulf
security planning and operations.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 10:20:01 GMT
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Tehran warns Prague over Radio Free Europe broadcasts to Iran

TEHRAN, Oct 25 (AFP) - Tehran warned on Saturday that
controversial US-funded radio broadcasts to Iran to be launched
later this month from a radio station in Prague, could damage
relations between the Czech and Islamic Republics.
"The content of what is broadcast by the radio is not consistent
with the traditionally friendly relations between Iran and the Czech
Republic," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mahmud Mohammadi
He said the radio was "part of the 20-million-dollar
appropriations of the United States for launching a propaganda war
against Iran, which amounts to interference in the internal affairs
of Iran.
"The project would not be in the best interests of the Czech
Republic," he told the official news agency IRNA.
A spokesman for the Czech foreign ministry announced on Friday
that the Persian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
would start broadcasting to Iran at the end of October.
The new service will beam one hour of news reports, interviews
and analysis to Iran daily. A similar service destined to Iraq will
begin broadcasting about three weeks after the launch of the Iranian
According to press reports, the radio service will operate out
of the former federal parliament of the former Czechoslovakia in the
centre of the capital Prague.
However, Jan Obrman, the director of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, said he could neither confirm nor deny the foreign affairs
ministry statement about the start of the broadcasts.
Earlier this year, there was some question about whether the
Czech Republic's new government, which took office after June
elections, would approve the broadcasts.
It was approved by the previous conservative Czech government,
but the new government was less happy about the project.
RFE/RL was launched during the Cold War and was aimed at the
Soviet bloc in particular. It moved its headquarters from Munich to
Prague in 1995.


Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 13:30:44 +0000
From: Asghar Abdi <A.Abdi@BTINTERNET.COM>
Subject: [Fwd: election results]

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