Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Dec 1999 to 5 Dec 1999 - Special issue

There are 9 messages totalling 1327 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Fw: News Edition of Saturday December 4, 1999 (First Death Sentence
against Students...)
2. unsubscribe (2)
3. Fw: unsubscribe (2)
4. Rafsanjani and Some Realities about Him
5. Conference on Ancient Civilizations Opens in Tehran
6. Nouri to Disappoint Rivals
7. They Know Only the Outward Realities...."

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 02:19:01 -0800
From: "Aryo B. Pirouznia" <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Fw: News Edition of Saturday December 4,
1999 (First Death Sentence against Students...)

-----Original Message-----
From: Iran Daneshjoo Organization News Service <>
To: Iran Daneshjoo Organization News Service <>
Date: Saturday, December 04, 1999 3:38 PM
Subject: News Edition of Saturday December 4, 1999 (First Death Sentence
against Students...)

Iran Daneshjoo Organization News Service -

Azadi e Andishe, Hamishe...! Hamishe...!
Freedom of Thought, For Ever...! For Ever...!

Khosh Amadid Welcome to this edition of the News provided by the "Student
Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" .

There are 14 articles in this news edition:

1) SMCCDI: Akbar Mohamadi condemned to death
2) Asr e Azadegan (Iran): Ebrahim Ezat Nejad was severely wounded
before being dumped from the balcony
3) Iran (Iran): Left in Harmony with Right
4) Hamshahri (Iran): Protest with Closed Mouth
5) Tehran Times (Iran): Niazi: No Religious Decree Behind Serial
6) Azad (Iran): New Facts on Attack
7) AFP: Reformist Nuri prepared to serve five-year jail term: father
8) Sobh E Emrooz (Iran): Even Communists Are Free
9) Iran News (Iran): Editorial: Out-of-Job Journalists: Hidden
Victims of Power Politics
10) AFP: Conservative clergy try to win over reformists ahead of poll
11) Washington Post: U.S.: Iran's Terrorism Role Grows
12) AFP: Iran boosts terrorism against Jews & Israel to thwart peace:
US report
13) Reuters: U.S. Reportedly Allows Boeing to Sell Parts to Iran
14) NY Times: Scholars Return to Iran, Citing I.N.S. Rudeness

A) SMCCDI Notice:

SMCCDI is fixing its Website technical problems. The website is actually
in its beginning form and shall be fixed and updated by 12/06/1999. We
apologize for the inconveniences.

B) Other News Headlines:

1- AP: Iran says delegation was humiliated by U.S. immigration
2- AFP: Iraqi based armed MKO claims Kurds preparing attack on its
Iraqi bases
3- Reuters: Iran police say 11 smugglers killed, drugs seized
4- AFP: Iran wants to open free zones to foreign investment
5- Reuters: Report: U.S. Finds Iran Steps Up Terrorist Aid
7- AFP: Pakistan leader General Musharraf to start two-day visit to
Iran Wednesday
8- AFP: Bahrain Prime Minister in talks with Iran minister on


Akbar Mohamadi condemned to death

SMCCDI News Service


Confirmed reports are stating about a death sentence issued against Mr.
Akbar Mohamadi in connection with the July's unrests.

Akbar Mohamadi is the brother of Manouchehr Mohamadi one of the Students
leaders condemned to 13 years of prison for having coordinated the Student
Movement in its reaction to the repression in Iran and arrested on

The death sentence has been referred to the Islamic Supreme Court
for review based on a appeal introduced by Mr. A. Mohamadi's family and
following a letter wrote to the Islamic leader by the Mohamadi's father.

If the sentence is confirmed by the Supreme Court, Mr. Akbar Mohamadi will
be hanged in Evin Political Jail and will be the first
person to be officially executed in connection with the Student Movement.


Ebrahim Ezat Nejad was severely wounded before being dumped from the

Asr E Azadegan

Page 9

Shirin Ebadi lawyer of the Ezat Nejad family and the families of the
opponents and writers assassinated in the Chain Murders of last year

" Ebrahim Ezat Nejad was severely beaten and wounded by the vigilantes
having attacked the Student's Dorms in 7/09/1999.

It is only after this savage treatment that he was dumped by a 10th floor
balcony down by the security forces causing his death..."


Left in Harmony with Right

Iran Newspaper


Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, managing director of the banned publication
Hoviyat e Khish, said:

" The left wing, in a coordinated move with the right faction, tried to
portray certain groups and university students as culprits in the
dormitory incident.

If the left wing did not join the right in condemnation of students and
politicians, the latter did not dare to sent Abdullah Nouri to prison
now ".


Protest with Closed Mouth



Dozens of members of Islamic Association of University Students held a
protest rally in Oroumie University campus as they put Scotch tape on
their mouths.


Niazi: No Religious Decree Behind Serial Murders

Tehran Times


TEHRAN - Head of Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces Hojjatoleslam
Mohammad Niazi said in Kermanshah Thursday that if enemies are not capable
of launching aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran, this is
because of the power and wisdom of the Armed Forces and Basij (volunteer

The vigilant presence of the Armed Forces on the scene has caused the
conspiracies of enemies to be neutralized, he said, quoted by IRNA.

Referring to the spat of serial murders last year, he stated the Judicial
Organization of the Armed Forces is after finding the truth and is not
concerned with the demands of political groups.

Niazi added that none of the accused have said that their acts had been
sanctioned by a religious decree.

Niazi said that the investigations have proved that these murderous acts
have been motivated to serve the enemies of the Revolution and were
against the national interests.

Someone who believes in Islamic teachings does not commit murder, he said.


New Facts on Attack

Azad Newspaper


Dr. Habibollah Payman, a nationalist figure who was severely wounded
during his visit to Semnan University in an attack by violent groups, said:

" He was attacked while police forces were looking a few yards away. "

This indicates that official government forces cannot control informal
forces and there is no guarantee that the February Majlis elections would
be held under healthy conditions."


Reformist Nuri prepared to serve five-year jail term: father

TEHRAN, Dec 4 (AFP) - Jailed Iranian reformist Abdollah Nuri is prepared
to serve out a five-year jail term imposed last month by a hardline
clerical court for the sake of his convictions, his father was quoted as
saying Saturday.

Speaking after Nuri was allowed a visit by his parents and other relatives
on Thursday, Mohammad Ali Nuri said he was proud of his son, who "will not
compromise his principles or convictions" and would "stick it out to the

Quoted by the reformist press, the elder Nuri also said he was "ashamed
for a regime which throws one of its servants into prison."

Abdollah Nuri, a former vice-president and interior minister close to
reformist President Mohammad Khatami, was jailed for five years on
November 27 by the Special Clerical Court on charges of offending against

The charges arose from articles published in Nuri's reformist daily
Khordad, which was also banned by the court.

Nuri and other reformists said the court was illegally constituted and in
any case had no right to try him, although he is a cleric, for the content
of the newspaper.

Reformists also said the case was brought by the conservative
establishment expressly to bar Nuri from running as their standard bearer
in next February's elections, when they hope to break the conservative
grip on parliament.

Nuri's lawyer, Mohsen Rahami, said Wednesday that the feisty reformist's
morale was high. He had taken him a pair of trainers for him to exercise
in the jail, the lawyer added.


Even Communists Are Free

Sobh E Emrooz


MP Dr. Yadollah Eslami, said: "When Imam Khomeini was in exile in Paris,
once said that even Communists are free to express their views in an
Islamic Republic, but now an individual whose opinion differs with opinion
of those who try him, is sent to jail."

Out-of-Job Journalists: Hidden Victims of Power Politics

Iran News


December 4, 1999

The continuous closure of newspapers, among other things, has intensified
fears of job insecurity among journalists. There seems to be no end to
this unwelcome trend as few tend to bother to ask where the journalists
would make their ends meet once their paper is put of business.

Following the bans on numerous dailies over the recent months, an
atmosphere of anxiety and job insecurity has begun to dominate the
nation's press community so that a few well-known veteran journalists have
already decided to pack their bags and other ways to make a living.
Undoubtedly, there are who follow suit, sooner or later.

Further, considering the country's high unemployment rate and the
government's ongoing struggle to find a solution to this urgent problem,
one might wonder about the reasons behind closing papers and thus putting
more people on the street to look for jobs, where there are not many. The
job market is very job tight market even for highly-trained young

Moreover, in a country, that according to optimistic government figures,
there are 2.5 million people unemployed, less than 15 million people work
and as high as 800,000 people enter the job market every year, the courts
orders order for the dailies to cease operation does not make sense.

This is when Journalism, due to its unique features to reach all segments
of population, directly indirectly, can be highly successful in attracting
a large number of interested, talented young individuals, as this was seen
in recent years.

Meanwhile, the Iranian journalists have in recent years managed to acquire
a distinguished place in the world press and indeed became celebrities by
winning international awards for their works.

However, the recent bans on newspapers have rendered the profession as one
of the least secure in Iran. The fact that, in some cases, the papers were
ordered to shut down with less than 24 hours in notice has further helped
to solidify this perception in the public's eye.

Obviously this tends to make many increasingly cautious, to say the least,
to enter the "business of journalism."

Needles to say, impeding those following on careers of their choice,
especially when they could be highly influential in shaping public
opinion, tends to make their professions lose prestige and effectiveness.

This may precisely be the aim some are pursuing in full conscious for
their own agenda.


Conservative clergy try to win over reformists ahead of poll

TEHRAN, Dec 4 (AFP) - Iran's conservative clergy are trying to win over
their reformist opponents ahead of February's elections which they fear
will lose them control of parliament, informed sources said Saturday.

The sources said the conservative Association of Combattant Clergy had
held several meetings at its instigation with the similarly-named
Association of Combattant Clerics, the main religious faction backing
reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

The first meeting was held on November 18 in the holy city of Qom, when
Combattant Clergy leader Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani called for
"unity and understanding" among Iran's powerful clergy.

Mahdavi-Khani said the clergy must unite "to bar the way to the
intruders," a term used for groups which are not specifically religious,
several of which are included in an 18-party centre-left coalition
supporting Khatami.

Sources said the conservatives are seeking agreement on a "code of
conduct" for the polls, in line with a call on October 1 by Iran's supreme
leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for a reconciliation of the conservative and
reformist factions.

But they said the atmosphere had been soured by the November 27 conviction
of leading reformist Abdollah Nuri by the hardline Special Clerical Court
(SCC) for alleged anti-Islamic propaganda.

Nuri, a former interior minister and vice-president, was jailed for five
years and the popular Khordad newspaper he edited was banned.

Reformists say the case was brought by the conservative establishment
expressly to bar Nuri from running as their standard bearer in the

At the November 18 meeting Ayatollah Mehdi Karubi, head of the Association
of Combattant Clerics, had called for an end to pressure on the media and
said the SCC should be more careful about whom it prosecutes, Karubi said.

The conviction of Nuri was a blow to the reformists, whose front is far
from united, whereas the conservatives are a solid bloc.

Press reports quoted Mahdavi-Khani as saying Saturday that the meetings
with the reformists had been "fruitful." "Some are opposed to any form of
compromise with us," he said. "But these meetings are aimed to prevent any
political exploitation of the elections."

Meanwhile Iran's interior minister, Abdolvahed Mussavi-Lari, said Saturday
the reform policy adopted by Khatami's government was "irreversible."

The official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying during a meeting with
regional officials that "everything is ready for the elections to be held
in the best atmosphere."

He admitted however that Khatami's government faced economic and political


U.S.: Iran's Terrorism Role Grows

The Washington Post
By John Lancaster

Increased Aid Seen As Effort to Derail Mideast Peace Bid

Saturday, December 4, 1999
Page A01

More than two years after the election of a new Iranian president raised
hopes of a thaw between Washington and Tehran, the Clinton administration
has reluctantly concluded that Iran is increasing the flow of arms and
money to terrorist groups in an effort to thwart the U.S.-sponsored Middle
East peace process.

According to U.S. and foreign officials with access to classified
intelligence, Iran has stepped up shipments of guns and explosives to the
Palestinian extremist group Hamas, has coordinated activities among
terrorist organizations that traditionally have operated independently and
may be plotting attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets abroad.

Iran also is believed by U.S. and Israeli officials to have accelerated
its deliveries of arms -- including long-range Katyusha rockets -- and
training assistance to Hezbollah, or Party of God, whose military arm is
fighting to oust Israeli forces from the strip of south Lebanon that they
occupy as a buffer against attacks on northern Israel.

The intelligence reports, coupled with the inflammatory public statements
of Iranian and Hezbollah leaders who met two months ago in Tehran, have
raised fears that Hezbollah intends to continue its war against Israel
even in the event of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria, which
controls Lebanon and permits Hezbollah to operate there as a means of
maintaining pressure on the Jewish state.

That apprehension is shared by European allies, U.S. officials said, and
was the central topic of discussion during a meeting in Berlin two weeks
ago of counterterrorism officials from the seven leading industrial
democracies plus Russia -- the so-called G-8. On Sunday, Secretary of
State Madeleine K. Albright will leave for the Middle East, where Iranian
threats to the peace process are likely to be an issue in her discussions
with officials from Saudi Arabia and Israel, a senior official said.

The growing body of evidence against Iran is a source of disappointment
among Clinton administration officials who had hoped for a new beginning
in U.S.-Iranian relations after the May 1997 election of Mohammed Khatemi,
a Shiite Muslim cleric and former culture minister who has promoted
democratic values and better relations with the West.

"Iranian support for the violent opponents of the peace process has not
slackened in the last couple years, and in the last couple of months it
has intensified," said a senior administration official who spoke on
condition of anonymity.

"For a long time, the peace process has been dormant, and they did not
feel that their interests have been threatened," added another senior
official. "Now, with talk of achieving a comprehensive peace in the next
year, I think there is a real concern in some quarters in Tehran that this
will affect their interests, particularly in Lebanon."

Administration officials continue to believe that Khatemi is a genuine
reformer with enormous popular support, particularly among young people.
They say that even if he is aware of Iran's involvement in terrorism, he
is probably powerless to stop it. And they note that Iran's principal
security services, including its Revolutionary Guards, remain under the
control of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a conservative
who favors continued confrontation with Israel and the West.

Against that backdrop, administration officials say they have no plans to
change their policy of "containing" Iran through economic sanctions while
seeking a dialogue with the Iranian government -- an overture Tehran has
so far rejected -- and promoting "people-to-people exchanges" among
academics, athletes and the like.

After a series of setbacks for Khatemi -- including last month's
conviction of a liberal cleric, Abdullah Nouri, on sedition charges --
administration officials regard the parliamentary elections scheduled for
February as a key test of the reformers' ability to wrest power from the

One wild card in their calculations is a classified FBI report, completed
last spring, that advances long-held U.S. suspicions of Iranian
involvement in the June 1996 bombing of a U.S. military housing complex in
Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen and wounded hundreds of
others, according to people familiar with its contents. Although officials
describe the case against Iran as inconclusive, further evidence of
Iranian involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing could intensify pressure
on the administration to take legal, economic or military action against

One of the most disturbing developments in recent months, U.S. officials
said, is the growing evidence of active Iranian support for Hamas, the
Palestinian group that has carried out numerous suicide attacks against
Israel, including an infamous series of bus bombings in early 1996.

Hamas, a fundamentalist group from the main Sunni branch of Islam, has
traditionally relied on contributions from sympathizers in the wealthy oil
monarchies of the Persian Gulf. But as that support has dried up, partly
as a result of U.S. pressure on Arab allies in the gulf, Hamas
increasingly has turned to Shiite Muslim Iran for backing, according to
senior U.S. and Arab officials.

"Although they may have had common objectives, in the past there wasn't a
direct relationship between Hamas terrorism and Iran, and this seems to
have changed over the last 18 months," said a U.S. official.

Much of this support, officials said, is channeled through Jordan, a close
U.S. ally whose government has until recently permitted Hamas to operate a
political wing. During a crackdown on Hamas this fall -- including the
issuing of arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders who have since taken
refuge in the gulf state of Qatar -- Jordanian authorities confiscated
weapons and computer disks and uncovered other information pointing to
what one official described as "a direct connection" between Hamas and

U.S. officials and their counterparts in the region also have been
disturbed by signs that Iran is encouraging the growth of alliances
between terrorist groups that traditionally have shunned one another. For
example, officials said, there is evidence that Hamas and Hezbollah
members are training in Lebanon -- under Iranian supervision -- in
coordination with the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command, which is headquartered in Damascus and run by
former Syrian army captain Ahmed Jibril.

"The Iranians are encouraging all the groups to work together, to
coordinate their activities," a senior official. The official added,
however, that "the Iranians have their hands full" as the PFLP-GC is a
secular group composed of Sunni Muslims while Hezbollah fighters are
devout Shiite Muslims who regard Iran as a spiritual beacon.

Two weeks ago, Israeli intelligence reported that artillery specialists
from Iran's Revolutionary Guards had been dispatched to Hezbollah training
camps, sparking fears that Hezbollah might be planning to train long-range
guns on Israeli forces, even though Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has
said that he wants to withdraw them from south Lebanon by next July.
Hezbollah's lightly armed fighters have customarily used portable Katyusha
rockets, rather than artillery pieces, whose use would mark an escalation.

In another worrisome development, a senior U.S. official said, Hezbollah
fighters have acquired from Iran longer-range Katyushas that could allow
them to strike the suburbs of Haifa, about 25 miles from their
southernmost positions. "As long as the Palestinian people exist, so will
the fight against the usurpers," Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said
during an October meeting in Tehran with Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah, according to the official Iranian news agency.

Hezbollah is a major political party in Lebanon, and U.S. officials make a
distinction between terrorism and the struggle against the occupying
Israeli forces by Hezbollah fighters in south Lebanon. But they are
worried by intelligence reports suggesting that elements of the group may
be gearing up for terrorist attacks abroad, possibly in coordination with

Earlier this week, Barak took the unusual step of warning publicly that
Israeli and Jewish targets abroad may be in danger. "The nightmare
scenario for Israel is, you could have a couple car bombs inside Israel at
the same time there's an attack on Singapore," a senior U.S. official

During the counterterrorism meeting in Berlin two weeks ago, U.S. envoys
arrived with briefcases full of intelligence data aimed at persuading
European allies that the threat from Iran is growing, according to two
State Department officials. As it happened, however, they need not have
worried: British and German counterterrorism officials gave presentations
on Iran that were at least as incriminating as the American briefing.

"We were pleased that they had assessed the situation as we had," a State
Department official said.


Iran boosts terrorism against Jews & Israel to thwart peace: US report

WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (AFP) - Iran has accelerated its aid to terrorists and
may be helping plot attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets, the Washington
Post reported Saturday, citing classified intelligence reports.

"More than two years after the election of a new Iranian president raised
hopes of a thaw between Washington and Tehran ... Iran is increasing the
flow of arms and money to terrorist groups in an effort to thwart the
US-sponsored Middle East peace process," the newspaper said.

Iran is giving increasing amounts of weaponry to Hamas, the extremist
anti-Jewish Palestinian group, and has even taken to directing formerly
independent terrorist organizations, the daily said.

It cited unnamed "US and foreign officials" as the sources of the leaked
classified intelligence.

The rise in terrorist aid, along with inflammatory public statements by
Iranian officials and top leaders of the Hezbollah, or Party of God --
which is at war with Israel -- have raised fears that the Hezbollah will
continue its war even if peace between Israel and Syria is achieved.

Such an outlook would undermine chances for any Israeli-Syrian peace in
the first place.

Syria controls Lebanon and abets the Lebanon-based attacks on Israeli
soldiers and citizens waged by the Hezbollah, which has been receiving
ever-larger shipments of long-range Katyusha rockets from Iran as well as
training assistance, according to US and Israeli officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak warned Friday that terror attacks could
threaten the peace process with the Palestinians and even halt it.

He said Israel must take into account the threat of terror when it draws
up the map of a future Palestinian state.

"We cannot close our eyes to the fact that we live in an area in which an
alignment of states can try to erase a country," he said, adding that
terror is sometimes sponsored by states with the capacity to build nuclear

"All of this has already happened. That is why we cannot draft peace
agreements blindly," he said.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was to leave the United States
Sunday on a trip to the Middle East during which Iranian threats to the
peace process were likely to be discussed, a senior official told the
Washington daily.


U.S. Reportedly Allows Boeing to Sell Parts to Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Clinton administration will allow Boeing Co. to
supply Iran's national airline parts it needs despite an economic embargo
against the country, The Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition.

The newspaper said administration officials were ``extremely cautious'' in
considering whether to allow Boeing to provide the parts to Iran Air, but
concluded in the end to grant the waiver rather than risk a crash that
could take hundreds of innocent lives.

``There's always a risk that any Iran Air plan, civilian or cargo, can be
used for nefarious purposes, but the greater risk in our view would have
been the possibility of a catastrophic accident killing civilians,'' the
Post quoted an unidentified senior administration official as saying.

Citing unidentified administration officials, the Post said Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott decided two weeks ago to give Boeing a
special license to provide Iran Air with parts to prevent engines from
falling off older 747s.

Modifications to the Boeing jumbo jets were ordered by the Federal
Aviation Administration after an Israeli El Al cargo jet crashed in
Amsterdam when two of its engines ripped off its wing in October 1992.

Iran Air Managing Director Ahmad Reza Kazemi said in a Reuters interview
last month that the company had asked Boeing for help in obtaining a
waiver of the economic sanctions against Iran that would allow it to get
the parts it needs.

Iran Air carries more than 7.5 million passengers a year on its 33
aircraft, mostly Boeings acquired before the 1979 revolution. Apart from
new Airbus deal, the airline has bought only six Fokker F100s and two
Airbus A300-600s since 1979.


Scholars Return to Iran, Citing I.N.S. Rudeness

The New York Times
By Jane Perlez

December 4, 1999

WASHINGTON -- Six Iranian scholars invited to a conference in Georgetown
University have canceled their participation, saying they were harassed
and humiliated by immigration officials on arriving at Kennedy
International Airport, the organizer of the event said Friday.
The organizer, John L. Esposito, director of the Center of
Muslim-Christian Understanding at the university, said the Iranians
described being fingerprinted and then ridiculed by officials who detained
them at the airport for several hours on Wednesday.

The scholars were granted visas under the People to People program
sponsored by the State Department as part of a Clinton administration
effort to encourage a dialogue between the two long-estranged countries.
As part of the two-month process to apply for visas, their backgrounds
were researched by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the six, all
men, were cleared, Esposito said.

One of the men said an immigration official had made derisive comments
when the group said they wanted to pray, Esposito said. When one man
raised his hands to signal that it was time to begin prayers, an official
said, "Oh, that's what you do when you want to commit suicide," an
apparent reference to the theory that a pilot on the EgyptAir flight that
crashed recently had prayed and then put the plane into a suicide plunge.

The Iranians were fingerprinted on arrival under rules that require
citizens of Iraq, Iran and Sudan to be fingerprinted to insure that they
are not members of a terrorist organization or have histories of
terrorism, a State Department official said.

Esposito said the scholars felt that they had been singled out because
they wore religious clothes and most had beards. The scholars said other
Iranians on the Turkish Airlines flight did not appear to be treated so
roughly, Esposito recounted.

A spokesman for the State Department, James P. Rubin, stressed on Friday
that the Administration supported people-to-people exchanges, adding, "We
are engaged in active dialogue with the Department of Justice and the
I.N.S. to try to insure that we can make the procedures as minimally
intrusive as possible."

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 16:52:27 +0100
Subject: unsubscribe

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 08:33:18 -0800
From: Maziyar Khademi <agha-maziyar@HOME.COM>
Subject: unsubscribe

please unsubscribe me in your list thanks ...

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 18:08:28 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rafsanjani and Some Realities about Him


Rafsanjani and Some Realities about Him

Nowadays we are witnessing many pro and con articles in the print media
regarding the participation of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of the
Expediency Council and the country's former president and speaker of the
house in the sixth Majlis elections. There's no denying the fact that Hashemi
Rafsanjani is one of the main political pillars of the regime in the Islamic
Republic of Iran (IRI). Nobody is either ignorant of the multitudes of highly
sensitive positions he has held at various times in the IRI.

For the time being Hashemi Rafsanjani has come under a heavy and
unprecedented barrage of criticisms by the left wing faction. They are of the
belief that the early post-revolution dramatic circumstances which made his
The undeniable fact is that Hashemi Rafsanjani is an extremely important and
a dyed in the wool politician endowed with all the inherent prowess and
infirmities expected of a man of his stature. What makes some individuals'
criticisms redundant is the fact that at times these people praise someone to
the skies, and close their eyes to his frailties.

This may originate from history when men would look for some powerful
individual to saddle him with all the burdens because of their own

Those analysts and commentators, bent on doggedly disparaging Hashemi
Rafsanjani today and consider him the main contributing factor to the present
maladies, must definitely be reminded of the time when Hashemi Rafsanjani was
the speaker of the house or the deputy commander in chief of the Armed Forces
and the left wingers on those days wouldn't blush nor hesitate to throw their
weights vis-a-vis various issues.

They used to praise and admire Hashemi sky high given the slightest
opportunity to do so.

Undoubtedly, Rafsanjani's backing of the conservatives during the 4th Majlis
election drove the majority of the left wingers into isolation for some
years; however, the left faction must also blame their own extremist
measures, which were proportionate to those in practice now.

No one should forget the fact that Rafsanjani's insistence on integrity of
May 23rd, 1997 Presidential Election resulted in Khatami's landslide success.
There were few, if any, among the political figures who would have dared to
take up the charge of rebuilding the country after 8 years of a devastating
war; it was Rafsanjani, who rose to the occasion and bore the brunt of all
the difficulties of reconstruction, which were many times over weightier than
those during the war itself. During those difficult days, Hashemi Rafsanjani
employed whatever suitable means which were put at his disposal.

It is true that his achievement did not come about entirely free from slip
ups of one sort or another. The present criticisms of his past performances
beg the question as to why they were not raised while he was still in office?
Mr. Hashemi's failure to make political development parallel with economic
development is a moot point. However, the fact is that nobody, even Mr.
Khatami himself could envisage the sort of political climate that has
recently taken shape in the country.

The final word is that there are very few high raking politicians in this
country who could vie with Mr. Rafsanjani when it comes to moderation and
avoidance of extremes. This trait alone makes Mr. Rafsanjani worthy of
respect and a great national asset.

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 18:13:08 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Conference on Ancient Civilizations Opens in Tehran

Conference on Ancient Civilizations Opens in Tehran


TEHRAN -- Kamal Kharrazi, Iranian foreign minister, said here yesterday that
Iran's foreign policy in President Khatami's administration is based on the
two principles of "dialogue among civilizations" and "detente", IRNA reported.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Conference on Heritage of Ancient
Civilizations Implications for Modern World, held at the Institute of
Political and International Studies, Kharrazi said that all of the Islamic
Republic of Iran officials, including the Leader, have consensus over these
two principles.

He said while Iran is sincerely pursuing its policy of minimizing and
ultimately removing tension, at the same time the country is following
institutionalization of dialogue, understanding, consensus and cooperation
among nations and cultures.

Dialogue is not a selection but an urgency, stressed Kharrazi, adding that
profound, precise and intellectual dialogue of cultures and civilizations can
find just, humanitarian and academic solutions to the most serious problems
of the world.

To this end, dialogue can set a prelude to peace, security, development and
justice, Kharrazi told the conference which is attended by scholars from
Iran, Italy, Egypt and Greece.

Pointing to designation of 2001 as the year of dialogue among civilizations,
he said governments, international agencies and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) initiated various efforts for the realization of the

As an example he cited the practical measure that has been taken by Iran,
Italy, Greece and Egypt as the inheritors of four ancient civilizations.

Terming the progress that the said four countries have made in the field of
dialogue as "praiseworthy", Kharrazi said dialogue among civilizations is
rather dialogue among scholars.

Therefore, he added, in case the dialogue is based on reason, wisdom and
tolerance, the result will be consolidation of pillars of freedom, justice,
human rights and civic development both at national and international levels.

He said the Iranian civilization, both in the pre-Islamic and in Islamic era,
has been in constructive interaction with other civilizations.

Stressing that all through history the Iranian people have preserved their
interest in cultural exchanges with the outside world, he said in the
continuation of such a historical tradition and in line with realization of
religious ideals and beliefs of the Iranians, the Islamic Republic of Iran is
now the harbinger of dialogue of civilizations and cultures.

Another speaker of the conference who led the Italian delegation to the
gathering, Francesco Cerolli, thanked President Khatami for offering the idea
of dialogue among civilizations to the world.

Cerolli, who is a senior official at the Italian Foreign Ministry, stressed
that on the threshold of the third millennium there should be no difference
among different communities and religions, adding that President Khatami's
idea will in fact lead the human community toward such a direction.

He said his country will spare no effort in promulgating the idea, adding
that Italy was among first countries which welcomed the initiative and
supported such a call for peace.

Cerolli further remarked that in the aftermath of the fall of the bipolar
system, the world is now awaiting a new order based on balance.

Meanwhile, Nabil Badr, special adviser to Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr
Moussa, told the conference that if closer ties are forged among inheritors
of ancient cultures and civilizations, the world will be witness to more
valuable and sincere relations among nations.

He said on the threshold of the 21st century, the world should accept
pluralism and people should respect views of each other, adding that Egypt
appreciates importance of cultural relations among nations.

The Egyptian official said that a new trend should be developed in the world,
a trend which believes in dialogue rather than clash of civilizations.

Another speaker of the yesterday session, Dimitri Tsikourtis, Greek
ambassador to Tehran, said that his country has organized two gatherings on
the subject of dialogue among civilizations in an effort to help realization
of the idea.

He underlined the importance of the issue not only for scholars but also for
ordinary people and said that people of the world should feel the outcome of
the dialogue in the everyday life.

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 18:17:00 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Nouri to Disappoint Rivals

Nouri to Disappoint Rivals

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily reported that father, mother and other
relatives of Abdullah Nouri, Khordad daily's managing director who has been
sentenced to spend five years in jail on charges including religious dissent,
visited him on Friday in the Evin Prison. Nouri expressed happiness that he
was able to discharge his religious and national duty and that he does not
have any fear of possible consequences.

He expressed hope that he could be active in the scene until his death and
disappoint his rivals in this way.

Many Are Happy with Nouri's Imprisonment

ENTEKHAB * This rightist daily reported that Morteza Nabavi member of the
rightist Islamic Association of Engineers said that many figures are pleased
with the imprisonment of Nouri. He added that these people pretend to be
wronged in order to enter the next Majlis. A group of people have hidden
themselves behind the May 23 Front and do not allow the government to
implement its plans and most of government energy and time is used to deal
with internal conflicts.

Nouri's Imprisonment a Disaster

IRAN * This IRNA-affiliated daily quoted Mohammad Javad Larijani, rightist
Majlis deputy, as saying that when a new thought is set forth, it should be
responded with reason not with legal punishment. He added, "I was hoping that
the court issued an acquittal verdict for Nouri."

Nouri's Defense a New Scheme for Public Awareness

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily reported that a group of students of the
Water and Power Industries University gathered at the Khordad offices and
sympathized with the staff of the daily regarding its closure and
imprisonment of Managing Director Abdullah Nouri. Editor in chief of the
daily, Ali Hekmat, said Nouri's defense can be used to aware the public
opinion about the reforming thoughts. Those who think they can stop reforms
by sending a reformist to jail, are mistaken.

Murders Not Based on Religious Decrees

ARYA * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Mohammad Niazi, head of Armed Forces
Judicial Organization, as saying that the organization is seeking to know the
truth in the case of serial murders, regardless of the demands of political
factions. He added that none of the accused has ever admit that they
committed the murders based on religious decrees.

New Forces to Win Elections

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Majlis Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri rejected this prediction
that the advocates of President Khatami would win the February Majlis
elections and said that new forces would be victorious in the polls.

IRIB Accused

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Rasoul Montajabnia, member of the leftist Majma-e
Rowhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM), accused the national TV (IRIB) of reflecting
incomplete news and information in a factional manner.

Response to Calls for Freedom

ASR-E AZADEGAN * Shirin Ebadi, lawyer of the Ezzat-Nejads whose son was
killed in the dormitory incident, said Ezzatollah was killed on Friday, July
9, by a bullet which was shot at him; this is obvious in pictures his family
have. Is freedom seeking such a big sin that should be responded by gunfire?

Biggest Threat

ASR-E AZADEGAN * Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi said today some
blatantly deny the principles of Islam and claim that there are other
interpretations of the religion; this has been the most dangerous threat for
religion since the beginning of the history.

No Accused Receives Death Sentence

ABAN * This leftist weekly reported that none of those detained in relation
with dormitory incident have been sentenced to death.

Gholamhussein Rahbarpour, head of the Revolutionary Court, said in a press
interview that the court had met in secret to sentence two people, namely
Maryam Radnia and Manouchehr Mohammadi, to death for their role in July's
pro-democracy unrest. Pro-reform newspapers voiced dismay over the verdict.

Accused Freed on Bail

ABAN * Maryam Radnia, who was arrested for his role in July's unrest, was
released on a 50-million-rial bail.

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 18:20:14 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: They Know Only the Outward Realities...."

They Know Only the Outward Realities...."

Essay on Modernism and the Muslim World

Murtada As`adi

Translated from the Persian by Shahyar Sa`adat

In any discussion of the relationship between Islam and the West the first
task is to have a clear definition of the term `West'.

For the purpose of our discussion `West' has two major meanings. Its first
meaning is a purely geographical one, referring to a particular area; an area
which was originally limited to Europe but which now includes America as
well. The second meaning refers to a particular collection of intellectual,
cultural, philosophical and ontological elements which have been formed
within this geographical context.

And it is this latter phenomenon, born and bred in Europe since the
Renaissance and armed with the technological superiority that continent has
come to enjoy that is the cause of so much concern, not only in the East but
throughout the world.

It has given birth to a particular world-view, a particular approach to man,
existence and the cosmos, and a way of life that is on the verge of attaining
universality, imposing a uniform culture upon the world through the might of
technological superiority. This is the nightmarish presence that has cast its
dark shadow upon the world, producing anxiety and giving rise to such
questions as `What is the West?' `What is the East?' and so on.

In other words, the West that was `reborn' during the Renaissance and that
possesses and ontology, world-view, and finally, a way of life completely
different from all preceding cultures and civilizations, with the support of
technology, a ruthless, omnipotent and secular god is bent on remaking the
world in its own image. Therefore, that part of the world which does not
share this ontology, world-view and way of life, confronts the problem of
preserving its identity and, ultimately, its very meaning and significance.
This, therefore, is what is meant by `East' in this article.

The West which has become the source of so much difficulty for the world has
two defining characteristics: first, separation from religion; and second,
technological power, both of which have been brought about by development
during and since the Renaissance. Moreover, especially following the 18th
century or the `Age of Enlightenment,' the inference has been made and
propagated that this technological supremacy is the logical and necessary
result of that disbelief in religion. Unfortunately, and for reasons
discussion of which lies outside the scope of the present paper, on this side
of the globe, that is in the East, one observes two prominent characteristics
which facilitate the acceptance of such an interpretation, namely religious
faith and its concurrence with the absence of technological prowess.

This is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion of whether there is
a causal relationship between Western religious disbelief and technological
supremacy. It would suffice to say here that I do not believe in the
existence of such a relationship, which, of course, does not mean that I deny
the existence of any relationship whatsoever.

In any case, were we asked to single out the two most important
characteristics of the modern West they would be the ones just pointed out.

The modern West considers itself as the continuation of a Greek intellectual
tradition prominent for its reliance on reason and rationalism. This is why
European history from the 4th to the 14th century is called the Middle Ages.
In fact, some parts of it are called the Dark Ages.

According to Carl Gustav Jung, religious thought, and especially monotheistic
thought, belongs to the East, and even the Christianity which came to pervade
Europe through the might of the Roman Empire was not homegrown, and as soon
as conditions became favorable to a return to the Greek tradition it was
exiled from the heart, thought and life of the West.

It should be emphasized, however, that this is not to say that every
Westerner is an atheist, and in the words of Dr. Sayyid Husain Nasr, remnants
of Christian charity can still be seen even in secularized sections of
Western society.

Trying to account for the alienness of religion in the West, many thinkers
have held that religious sensibility is characteristically Eastern. The idea,
simply put, is that while Eastern man considers God to be the ultimate source
of all power, the Westerner gives this position to man himself. It is
interesting to note that it is this same intellectual and ontological
`man-centerdness' that we find reflected and formulated in Renaissance
Humanism and later Western thought paves the way for racial and ethnic
explanations of the apparent differences in the `human condition,' while,
initially, it wanted to explain them not the basis of affinity with, or
distance from, religious thought.

More precisely, this biological and racial interpretation, especially from
the 19th century onward, has tried to explain the causes for Eastern man's
affinity for religion and Western man's equal antipathy towards it. Men such
as Gobineau, Renan, and even Nietzche can be considered as spokesmen for this
quite popular line of thought. The sad irony here is the dissolution of
Western ethical humanism into a racist theory of racial differentiation, a
process undoubtedly influenced by the formation and systematization of
anthropology and the emergence of Darwinism.

To return to the main issue, in the West we are confronted with a particular
mode of though which has developed in a particular geographical area and led
to a specific life style. The most characteristic aspect of this way of
thinking is its secularness, meaning the explanation of every thing in terms
of reasons and causes acceptable to human reason. In the final analysis this
means exclusive reliance on knowledge gained by the senses. In this way of
thinking, the whole of existence is reduced to that dimension of it
perceivable by the senses, and thus there is no room for an omnipotent God or
for any other supernatural source or cause.

The modern Western man no longer has any use for such phrases as `God willing
I shall do it' or `put your trust in the Lord.' In this new materialism all
is rationally analyzed, mathematically calculated and precisely planned. It
no longer credits the famous assertion by Rumi, the Persian mystical poet,
that `the legs of the rationalists are wooden,' just as it no longer believes
these lines from Hafiz:

In the affairs of a world

Where reason and intellect

Are not allowed entrance

Why should our puny understanding

Be allowed to meddle.

And it is precisely within the context of this new worldliness that the task
of philosophy has changed from that of `explaining the world' to that of
`changing it,' since, in the words of Nitetzche, `God is dead.' The following
Qur'anic verse well demonstrates the weaknesses of such a materialistic
approach and its total opposition to religious thought and perception:

They know only the outward realities of life and are ignorant of the
hereafter. (30:7)

It is clear, then, that this belief in the hereafter is considered by the
Qur'an to be essential to the attainment of spiritual salvation.

A question that has presented itself to many these days is whether Western
thought cannot be acceptable in other parts of the world.

Let me answer this by relating an old joke. Someone was asked, `Is it true
that melon and honey don't go well together?' He answered, `Not at all sir.
They get along fine with each other, they just don't get along with man'. So,
the answer is quite simply that the Western world-view can be acceptable in
some places but there it will also lead to the destruction of the foundations
of religious thought.

And this is precisely the fundamental problem faced by an East confronted by
overt and covert Western hegemonism. If modern Western non-Christian thought
was not in such irreconcilable total opposition to religious thought and its
vary foundations, then the position of the East in general and the Islamic
World in particular would not have been as critical and worrisome as it is
today. The problem of the Eastern world, and the Islamic World, is that this
irreligious, or, more precisely, antireligious thought, buttressed by
technological superiority and the ever increasing tendency of societies
toward structural differentiation, is becoming global.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Dec 1999 to 5 Dec 1999 - Special issue