Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Dec 1999 to 7 Dec 1999

There are 9 messages totalling 847 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 1/2
2. RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 2/2
3. General Pervez Musharaf, the executive chief of Pakistan, is slated
4. Press Urged to Help Public Take Part in 6th Parliamentary Elections
5. Agents Behind Serial Murders Aimed to Harm System
6. * Kharrazi: Chechen Crisis Cannot Be Settled Through War
7. Commemoration Ceremonies for Mokhtari, Pouyandeh Held in Tehran
8. Kharrazi: Muslim World Concerned with Situation in Northern Caucasus
9. Rahami: We Hope the Verdict on Nouri Will Be Rejected

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 12:07:46 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 1/2

RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
_____________________________________________________________
RFE/RL IRAN REPORT
Vol. 2, No. 48, 6 December 1999

A Review of Developments in Iran Prepared by the Regional
Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.

****************************************
HEADLINES
* PROMISES OF JUSTICE
* NORTH CAUCASUS CRISIS WORRIES IRAN
* IRAN AND THE WTO
* AN EMPTY GESTURE
****************************************

CONTINUING CRITICISM OF NURI CONVICTION.
The 29 November sentencing of Hojatoleslam Abdullah Nuri
to confinement in Evin prison continues to generate negative
reactions in a wide variety of quarters. So too does the
closure of his "Khordad" newspaper, while hardline
publications are given very lenient sentences for similar
offenses. Such events raise questions about the possible
outcomes of next February's parliamentary elections.
A number of senior clerics have spoken out against
Nuri's conviction. Grand Ayatollah Yusef Janati-Sanei of Qom,
who is a Friday Prayer leader, a former prosecutor-general,
former member of the Guardianal,
former member of the Guardians Council, and who served in the
Supreme Judicial Council, issued a statement that Nuri is a
"committed scholar" whose conviction is a mistake. Referring
to Nuri's extensive work with Father of the Revolution
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Sanei asked how the Imam himself
would not have recognized Nuri's alleged faults, the Islamic
Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on 2 December. Ayatollah
Abdol-Karim Musavi-Ardabili, who serves as a Friday Prayer
leader in Tehran, is a member of the Assembly of Experts, and
was a chief justice, said Nuri had the courage to say "what
all of us want and demand," Reuters reported on 2 December.
Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, once designated as the
successor to Khomeini, told Nuri's father that his son had
done a great service to Islam, the clergy, and the Imam.
Montazeri described the Special Court for the Clergy as
unconstitutional and illegal, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 2
December. A group of Qom seminarians also issued a statement
that was sharply critical of the Nuri conviction and of the
Special Court for the Clergy.
Political groups also condemned the conviction. The
Executives of Construction Party did so, as did the Islamic
Iran Participation Party. The IIPP statement, according to
the 29 November "Sobh-i Imruz," said "the people's sympathy
with and support for the person who was convicted by the
court undermined the credibility of the court itself.
...issuing such a verdict was tantamount to admitting defeat
in the confrontation with [different] ideas."
Many outside observers have criticized the Nuri
conviction. On 1 December, London's independent Saudi-owned
"Al-Hayah" compared Iran's courts to those of Stalinist
Russia. The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers
condemned the Nuri jail sentence (as well as that of "Asr-i
Azadegan" editor Mashallah Shamsolvaezin) in a letter sent to
Khatami. In an open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, Human Rights Watch "express[ed] its condemnation"
of Nuri's prison sentence. Amnesty International, in a 30
November statement, said it considered Nuri and Shamsolvaezin
to be "prisoners of conscience."
Some members of the Iranian public also have expressed
their unhappiness. An example of public sentiment was seen in
the 1 December "Manateq-i Azad," which published callers'
comments. One caller said about the conviction: "The enemies'
plot will always backfire." Mohammadi from Tehran said Nuri's
"determination and courage" are praiseworthy, while an
anonymous caller said that "the nation regards him as an
innocent man. Guilty are those who oppose reforms, freedom of
speech and thought, compromise and tolerance." Dr. Javadi,
after expressing support for Nuri and Khordad, criticized
Khatami for "not budging" while his "friends" are "under
pressure."
But not everybody is unhappy with Nuri's conviction. The
hardline Ansar-i Hizbullah, in a statement reported in the 29
November "Kayhan," said: "The quality of Mr. Nuri's defense
and his irrelevant and self-incriminating excuses in court
have left no room for doubt in the minds of the public about
his guilt." It continued: "the verdict of the Special
Clerical court has mended the broken hearts of Hizbullahis
and has been like a heavy blow to corrupt people, who thought
that because of Nuri's fabrications the Imam's road has come
to an end in Iran."
The closure of "Khordad," which was part of the sentence
against Nuri, also is unpopular among certain groups. The
IIPP said the Khordad closure will result in "the further
blackening of the record of enemies of political
development." Mohammad Hassan Ziaeifar, secretary of the
Islamic Human Rights Commission, said the newspaper closures
undermined Iran's image and the rights of the banned
newspapers' readers, "Iran News" reported on 29 November.
Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani
said his ministry regrets the daily's closure. He added that
the Special Court is not qualified to deal with press
offenses.
What makes the "Khordad" closure seem particularly
unreasonable is the mild treatment hardline newspapers get
when they commit press offenses. Masud Dehnamaki of the
banned weekly "Shalamcheh" was found guilty of insulting a
source of emulation, but the jury recommended leniency. As it
is, Dehnamaki now produces "Jebheh." Seyyed Mohammad
Safizadeh, managing director of the hardline daily "Abrar"
was acquitted of libel charges, but he was warned to "respect
journalist ethics and the dignity of private and corporate
individuals," state broadcasting reported on 29 November. And
Press Court Judge Said Mortazavi said "Arya" and "Sobh-i
Imruz," as well as the hardline "Kayhan," faced charges,
according to Reuters on 5 December.
These developments have Iranian reformists concerned,
but the outpouring of pro-Nuri sentiment has the hardliners
concerned, too. On the day of Nuri's sentencing, many Law
Enforcement Forces were stationed outside Tehran University,
according to the "Tehran Times." Dozens of members of Islamic
Association of University Students held a protest rally at
Urumiyeh University, "Hamshahri" reported on 4 December. On 5
December, about 1,000 Iranian students held a rally at
Tehran's Allameh Tabatabai University to protest Nuri's
imprisonment.
The impact of these developments on the parliamentary
election remains to be seen. Will hardliners and reformists
settle on a compromise candidate for the parliamentary
speakership, and does Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani fit such a description? Will the Guardians Council
try to eliminate reformist candidates? Will public
participation be high? (Bill Samii)


PROMISES OF JUSTICE.
On 5 December, the Armed Forces Judicial Organization
released its findings on the July attack against a Tehran
University dormitory that marked the start of Iran's worst
unrest in 20 years. The timing may be connected to the
unhappiness many Iranians have expressed about the lack of
transparency in the official investigation. So far, the slow
pace of the investigation into the murders of dissidents and
intellectuals last year also is upsetting many Iranians.
Reformist Iranian newspapers have been critical of these
delays and the lack of answers for quite a while. Now,
cabinet members and parliamentarians are expressing their
disgruntlement.
Referring to the university incident, Armed Forces
Judicial Organization head Hojatoleslam Mohammad Niazi told a
29 November meeting of judicial officials that "50 people
were questioned as suspected culprits or informed
individuals, and the file is going through the final stages."
Niazi added that a full report will be presented "within the
next few days."
The next day, Niazi met with Interior Minister
Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari, Minister of Culture and Higher
Education Mustafa Moin, Minister of Intelligence and Security
Ali Yunesi, and Minister of Health, Treatment, and Medical
Education Mohammad Farhadi, as well the Supreme Leader's
university representative, Hojatoleslam Mohsen Qomi. At this
meeting, IRNA reported on 30 November, the officials
expressed "their gratitude over the conduct of the affair so
far." They also called for a "prompt, severe, and just
encounter with those responsible" and urged that the outcome
of the investigation be announced in the mass media. Niazi
expressed the hope that when the investigation was completed
"its details would be presented to the public."
What makes this odd is that President Mohammad Khatami
had indicated his satisfaction with the Supreme National
Security Council's report on the July unrest. The SNSC
investigatory committee's findings, presented on 14 August,
described the sequence of events and some of the causal
factors. It said damage was caused by the Law Enforcement
Forces, "officers in civilian clothes," and some students.
"Unofficial civilian forces" -- presumably Ansar-i Hizbullah
-- were involved in subsequent violence.
The 5 December findings of the Armed Forces Judicial
Organization said the demonstrations spread due to officials'
inappropriate actions, IRNA reported. Specifically, the Law
Enforcement Forces (LEF) entered the university illegally and
on the orders of the LEF commander, Brigadier General Farhad
Nazari. A bill of indictment has been issued against four
officers, seven non-commissioned officers, and nine regular
LEF personnel, but because all the people involved have not
been identified yet, the case is still open. So too is the
investigation into the murder of Ezzatollah Ebrahimnejad, a
guest at the dormitory.
Conservative parliamentarian Hojatoleslam Ali Movahedi-
Savoji announced on 30 November that a parliamentary
commission's investigation into last year's murders will
start "next week," IRNA reported. Movahedi-Savoji said the
15-person team, under parliamentary statute, will have access
to all relevant documents possessed by government agencies.
He added that if the MOIS and the Armed Forces Judicial
Organization do not cooperate, the investigatory commission
will follow this up.
This rather obtuse last statement suggests that these
two organizations are not obliged to share information in
their possession. This is not the first suggestion that the
parliamentary investigation into the murders has met
roadblocks. Less than a week before Movahedi-Savoji's
announcement, parliamentarian Hamid Reza Taraqi had said that
the parliamentary investigation was being blocked by the SNSC
and an investigatory commission established by Khatami (see
"RFE/RL Iran Report," 29 November 1999).
The Office for Strengthening Unity (Daftar-i Tahkim-i
Vahdat), a pro-Khatami coalition of student groups, is tired
of waiting for the completion of long-promised
investigations. On 30 November, it showed a filmed speech by
the main suspect in the case, the now-deceased MOIS official
Said Emami. Although the 1996 speech revealed nothing about
the murders, Emami did say that he was behind the creation of
a television program called Hoviyat that was critical of
intellectuals and dissidents. (Bill Samii)


NORTH CAUCASUS CRISIS WORRIES IRAN.
As Russian forces bombarded Grozny, the capital of
Chechnya, with rockets and artillery, Russian officials said
they will use a more powerful type of explosive to attack
combatants in the mountains, "The Washington Post" reported
on 27 November. Military leaders added that the Kremlin is
drafting a decree to station troops in Chechnya permanently.
Such occurrences may have led to Iranian Foreign Minister
Kamal Kharrazi's statement that the crisis in Chechnya is
"worrying," IRNA reported on 1 December. Also, an Ilyushin-76
aircraft loaded with 40 tons of humanitarian aid from Iran
landed at North Ossetia's Beslan airport, the Russian
Emergency Situations Ministry press service told Interfax on
1 December. Kharrazi added that a delegation from the
Organization for the Islamic Conference will visit Moscow on
6 December to study the issue and hold talks with Russian
officials. This may seem a like a minor step, but the OIC,
under Iranian leadership, was being criticized for its
inaction. (Bill Samii)


IRAN AND THE WTO.
Iran was not among the 135 countries which attended the
World Trade Organization summit in Seattle. But despite that,
Tehran appears increasingly aware of the benefits of the
organization and interested in eventual membership.
Addressing the annual seminar on Economic Policies and
International Trade, Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari
said that should Iran join the WTO, "Iran's presence in
international markets can (significantly) improve." He went
on to say, the "Iran Daily" reported on 18 November, "Our
exclusion in WTO is like staying outside the United Nations."
Also, some of the problems described by Ali Naqi Khamoushi,
president of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and
Mines, can be addressed by the WTO's training program for
transition economies. In a 23 November interview with
Reuters, Khamoushi said "We have to reconsider some of the
regulations and past methods. We must reduce the volume of
paperwork, try to shorten the process it takes to make
investment in Iran." Khamoushi continued: "We have both good
laws and cumbersome laws. Our problem is that they are not in
tune. It takes much energy to get through the maze of
paperwork."
Nor is Iran uninterested in WTO membership. Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi, said, "We have also requested to
become a WTO member. We hope to be accepted as a member of
this major international organization in view of the support
which has been offered by the current and the next chairman
as well as by the current members of the WTO," state
broadcasting reported on 11 November.
If Iran understands the benefits of WTO membership, and
if it wants to be a WTO member, why has it been unable to
join? Iranian opinion is divided on this point. On 2
December, the Commerce Ministry's Planning and Information
Dissemination Deputy, Mohammad Nahavandian, said "certain
countries" were keeping Iran's application for membership off
the agenda. Nahavandian was more precise when he said
"America is an obstacle in the way of our joining the WTO,"
according to the 7 July "Khordad." Commerce Minister
Shariatmadari said, "So far America has prevented the 1375
[1996-97] letter of proposal by the Iranian ambassador in
Geneva about Iran's participation in the organization from
being debated," "Akhbar-i Eqtesad" reported on 2 November.
But such explanations were rejected by Ali Rashidi of
Iran's Association of Economists in an interview with the 7
July "Khordad." He said: "America's opposition is not a key
factor in preventing Iran from joining the WTO." Rashidi
explained: "Admission of a new member requires the approval

<< Continued to next message >>>

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 12:08:34 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: RADIO FREE EUROPE-IRAN WEEKLY REPORT-PART 2/2

<< This message is part 2 of a previous message >>>

of two-thirds of the current members. Ame >>>

of two-thirds of the current members. America is only one
member of the WTO and only has erica is only one
member of the WTO and only has one vote. Unlike many other
international organizations, there is no right of veto in the
WTO."
There are government-imposed obstacles to Iran's
membership in the WTO. Shariatmadari explained, according to
the 2 November "Akhbar-i Eqtesad," that Tehran has not
completed formulation of the protocols of association. Nor
does it seem in a hurry to do so: "The more concessions we
can extract from the WTO in the protocol we will certainly be
in a better position to secure the country's interests." He
added that Iran's institute for trade research is conducting
25 research projects to determine the potential impact of WTO
membership on the Iranian economy.
Economic expert Mustafa Ansarizadeh described other
state-imposed barriers to Iran's WTO membership in an
interview with the 17 March issue of "Khorasan." "The
interventionist and monopolist role of the government in the
economy of the country, ... In addition, the support provided
to the industrial sector in recent decades has not been given
with a view to increasing export capacity, and these things
form the main obstacle to Iran's membership in the WTO." He
added that Iranian industries do not have a comparative
advantage internationally, and the foreign currency
requirements serve as a sort of tariff. Other problems relate
to mobility of labor, insurance, banking, and customs
regulations.
Moreover, there also are those in Iran who would lose
their privileged economic status if Iran joined the WTO. When
Iran applied for WTO membership in September 1996, the
government stayed quiet about it. This was because although
technocrats in the government, as well as a minority in the
parliament, recognized the need to increase international
trade, they faced considerable opposition. Ranged against
these economic reformers were leftists who favored a state-
run economy, conservative merchants, and hardline
isolationists. The traditional merchants wanted to maintain
import controls because they had favorable licensing
arrangements and were well-connected -- Parliamentary speaker
Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nuri is close to them, the
"Financial Times" reported in October 1996.
An article in the 26 January "Sobh-i Imruz" said the
hidden hand in Iran is not the one Adam Smith had in mind.
Discussions with economists and executives in sugar, textile,
tire, and vegetable oil industries led to the conclusion that
the hidden hand in Iran is against opening up the economy.
Al-Zahra University Professor Iraj Tutunchian, for example,
said individuals connected with "the holders of power and
influential men" control state monopolies. Professor Fariborz
Raisdana added that 90 percent of the importers are related
to state officials.
It would seem, therefore, that the main obstacles to
Iran's WTO membership are self-imposed. If Iran does not
overcome these problems, it could have a serious impact on
the country's economic survival in both the short- and the
long-term. "Should we lose our chance of becoming a WTO
member, there is no guarantee for us to attain the $41
billion export revenues from the non-oil goods in the Third
Economic Plan," read an editorial in the 22 November "Iran
News."
Mohammad Hussein Mahdavi of the Scientific Board of the
Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economics of Ferdowsi
University in Mashhad explained the longer-term impact,
according to "Khorasan." He said: "The founding countries set
up the process of joining the World Trade Organization in
such a way that not joining the organization in the coming
years will result, in practice, in countries becoming
isolated, and experiencing numerous trade problems." (Bill
Samii)


AN EMPTY GESTURE.
In what is probably another attempt to counter the
Iranian brain-drain and to lure back the billions of dollars
in assets that the Iranian diaspora allegedly holds, a draft
law granting amnesty to exiled dissidents was proposed in
Iran's parliament at the end of November. Under this bill,
Iranians abroad can return without fear of prosecution unless
they have engaged in terrorism or murder.
As it is, Iranians continue to try to leave the country,
legally if they can, illegally if they must. Roughly 300
Iranians were apprehended in Turkey's Edirne Province between
6 and 22 October as they entered the country illegally,
according to reports from Ankara's semi-official Anatolia
news agency. At least another 40 were arrested there in
September. Russian border guards arrested six Iranians who
were trying to get to Japan on a freighter, ITAR-TASS
reported on 1 October. The Russian authorities said the six
were part of a much larger group and they had arrested
another three Iranians the week before.
A group of 21 foreigners, including some Iranians,
visited the Japanese Justice ministry to request special
permits to stay in Japan, Tokyo's Kyodo news service reported
on 18 October. They said they felt established in Japanese
society, some of their children spoke only Japanese, and they
feared deportation. Also, Saeed Abedi, who came to Japan
seven years ago on a tourist visa and has been living there
illegally, was arrested recently. Abedi appeared on a
Japanese TV program called "Strange Habits of Japanese
People," "Iran Daily" reported on 11 November.
Soheila Jahanbakhsh, Kermanshah city council head, is
seeking asylum in Sweden, "Kayhan" reported on 8 November. At
the end of September, Faramarz Sahand was detained in the
Istanbul airport for entering the country illegally. He
claimed that if he returned he feared execution because he
worked for the banned "Neshat" newspaper, "Akhbar-i Eqtesad"
reported. Thirteen Iranians, including four children, were
captured as they arrived in Croatia illegally, Zagreb's
official HINA press agency reported on 13 September. They
were trying to get to Great Britain via Slovenia.
But according to the 30 November "Tehran Times," "In
many cases, [Iranians abroad] are desperate and want to come
back to their homeland." Then the daily gets to the point: "a
good number of Iranians living abroad are ready to come along
with their capital to invest in their country. ...These
Iranians not only have capital, but also all the necessary
technical know-how that can change the economic face of
Iran."
Iran's "economic face" is not a pretty sight, according
to the "2000 Index of Economic Freedom," which is co-
published by "The Wall Street Journal" and the Heritage
Foundation. Every year countries' economies are ranked
according to 50 economic variables in 10 broad categories.
This year Iran is ranked number 154 -- in the "repressed"
category.
The "Index of Economic Freedom" notes in Iran a very
high level of protectionism in trade policy, with tariffs
that can exceed 100 percent; very high tax rates and
government expenditures; and a very high level of inflation.
There are very high barriers to capital flows and foreign
investment; a highly restricted banking system that is
government-owned; and a high level of intervention in wages
and prices. In terms of property rights, there is a very low
level of protection, with the government confiscating private
property and the judiciary not enforcing existing laws. There
is also a high level of government regulation and a very
active black market, especially in smuggled goods. (Bill
Samii)

*************************************************
Copyright (c) 1999. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:36:17 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: General Pervez Musharaf, the executive chief of Pakistan, is slated

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL DECEMBER 07, 1999

General Pervez Musharaf, the executive chief of Pakistan, is slated

General Pervez Musharaf, the executive chief of Pakistan, is slated to arrive
in Tehran tomorrow on a two-day visit. Following a period of creeping turmoil
and internal unrest, the general took over the government in a bloodless coup
d'etat.

Some time ago, the usual partisan quarrels and political upheavals had given
way to the brutal massacre of civilians, social insecurity and deepening
corruption in Pakistan. Moreover, the ongoing economic slump had exacerbated
the fragile and tense state of affairs.

Today, the majority in Pakistan don't hide their sense of relief now that law
and order have again been restored to the country. The thing that is a cause
for worry is the possibility of Musharraf's faltering which would mean the
loss of hard-earned progress.

In the light of these developments, the general's serial visits to the
regonal Islamic countries is seen as a way to foster stability at home and
secure political and economic backing for the junta.

Certainly Iran attaches great importance to the security and stability of
Pakistan. After all, the peace and security of Iran's neighboring countries
--particularly Pakistan-- go hand-in-hand with our own state of affairs.
Pakistan too, well understands that in pursuing its own national interests,
respecting those of its neighbors is essential.

Tehran can be of genuine assistance to the government in Islamabad by lending
it a hand in the effort to extricate the country from the grip of its present
economic woes.

The two state' joint investments, the construction of the gas pipeline to
Pakistan and its extension to India, the establishment of the oil refinery in
Quetta and economic discussions that were held in the context of the Economic
Cooperation Organization, are all positive issues to be reviewed when
President Khatami meets General Musaharraf.

However, there are other points that raise questions and hopefully the
Pakistan leader will furnish convincing answers. This would include the
Pakistani military's unabated backing of the Taliban, following up the murder
of Iranian diplomats in Mazar Sharif and of Iranian citizens in Pakistan. In
this latter case previous Pakistani governments have not kept their repeated
promises to settle the issue.

That notwithstanding, matters such as securing the borders of the two
countries and joint efforts to combat the flow of narcotics are of paramount
importance. These points need comprehensive consideration from both sides.

Needless to say, Iranians share the happiness of their Pakistani neighbors.

General Musharraf, for his part, can exhibit his good will vis-a-vis
Pakistan's relations with Iran by shedding light on the above obscurities.

If he does that, he will brighten the horizons of bilateral relations.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:43:44 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Press Urged to Help Public Take Part in 6th Parliamentary Elections

Press Urged to Help Public Take Part in 6th Parliamentary Elections

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Deputy Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister for Press and
Propaganda Affairs Shaban Shahidi said here Sunday that the press should help
public contribution to the 6th parliamentary elections, slated for February
18.

Shahidi told Iranian and foreign reporters that the country has been
witnessing 21 elections over the past 21 years.

He said that his department had given licenses for publication of 159
dailies, magazines and weeklies.

He put number of specialized periodicals for which publication licenses had
been issued this year by his department at about 60.

Quoted by IRNA, he said that if managing director of a daily is accused per
Press Law and condemned afterward, the sentence should only concern the
managing director but not lead to closure of the daily.

He said that his department expects that in case a periodical commits an
offense, it would be tried openly at the press court in the presence of the
press jury within framework of the Press Law.

Asked on job security of journalists, Shahidi said the anxiety and problems
of the journalists who lose their jobs following closure of the daily should
be taken into consideration.

When a periodical is closed, a measure should be adopted for those working
for it, added Shahidi.

He said that recently the issue had been raised at Majlis and an institution
is going to be set up to compensate for damages resulting from closure of
periodicals.

He added that his department would not interfere with the works of the
Special Court for the Clergy.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:44:23 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Agents Behind Serial Murders Aimed to Harm System

Agents Behind Serial Murders Aimed to Harm System

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Hojjatoleslam Bahrami, deputy head of the Judicial Organization of
the Armed Forces (JOAF) said in Mahabad, yesterday that the objective of
agents involved in serial murders was to harm the system and sow seeds of
discord among revolutionary forces.

Bahrami told IRNA that analyses of serial murders by some people, who are
unaware of the details of the case, are not correct and those having little
knowledge of the case are advised not to make any comment on the issue.

Bahrami said one cannot deal with the case of serial murders based on guesses
because guessing is not a considered a criterion in judicial investigations.

He said the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC) is fully legal and the
verdicts issued by the body are legal.

Since SCC was formed on an order of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the
late Imam Khomeini (R.H.) and through emphasis of the Leader of Islamic
Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, therefore, it cannot be illegal,
added Bahrami.

Stating that since the verdicts issued by the SCC are legal and that one
should act on the basis of laws and regulations and avoid raising any
personal comments, he refused to elaborate more on the issue.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:45:16 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: * Kharrazi: Chechen Crisis Cannot Be Settled Through War

* Kharrazi: Chechen Crisis Cannot Be Settled Through War

First Preliminary Session on Chechnya Holds in Moscow

BY KHOSROW SOLTANI

MOSCOW -- Heading a high-ranking delegation from the Organization of the
Islamic Conference (OIC), Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi held the
first preliminary and coordinating session on rendering assistance to the
war-stricken Chechen Muslims in the Iranian Embassy in Moscow yesterday.

Kharrazi in Moscow expressed hope that talks between the OIC delegation and
Russian officials will contribute to an improvement in the conditions of
Chechen refugees.

Terming the Chechen crisis as an internal affair of Russia, the Iranian
foreign minister hoped that the talks will contribute to a peaceful end to
the crisis.

Referring to the responsibility of the Islamic world in rendering assistance
to Muslims throughout the world and the extent of the Chechen crisis,
Kharrazi said that by making use of all available means the OIC should do its
best to stop the fighting and assist Muslims in the region.

The Iranian foreign minister added that reconstruction of the war-stricken
areas, establishment of local institutions and assisting the refugees topped
the agenda of the OIC delegation.

The OIC delegation is composed of the foreign ministers of Iran, Qatar and
Burkina as well as the Moroccan minister of religious affairs.

Meanwhile, Kharrazi, told the Qatar's Al-Jazira television network that the
mission did not seek mediation but will listen to the viewpoints of the
Russian officials and get a deeper insight into the Chechen crisis through
talks with people.

Kharrazi said he believes that the Chechen crisis could not be settled
through war but rather a political solution should be looked for; a fact
which gives a political aspect to the delegation's visit.

Answering a question regarding Russia's stand which the crisis is an internal
affair of the Russian Federation, he said in fact it is a domestic issue
because it was going on within the Russian territory.

However, since the victims are Muslims, the Islamic states are willing to
have a part in helping settle the crisis.

Pointing out that the OIC delegation had no practical plan, the foreign
minister noted that the Russian officials are sensitive to the activities of
any organization or country and said since the relationship between Russia
and the Islamic World was important, the present visit was taking place upon
the approval of Russian officials.

He added that since clashes were going on in Grozny, other parts of the
region which are calm will be inspected by the delegation.

Commenting on the efforts by Iran's President Mohammad Khatami to help settle
the crisis in Chechnya, he said that he, as the OIC head, will make uttermost
effort to end the war there.

In reply to question on whether President Khatami will visit Russia in this
connection, the foreign minister said that the President's visit depends on
whether any kind of applicable plans would be developed which might make his
visit necessary.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:45:54 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Commemoration Ceremonies for Mokhtari, Pouyandeh Held in Tehran

Commemoration Ceremonies for Mokhtari, Pouyandeh Held in Tehran

IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Fakhr ol-Dolleh Mosque was the venue yesterday for the commemoration
ceremonies to honor the demise of Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Jafar
Pouyandeh, both victims of Tehran's infamous serial killings last year.

A gathering of intellectuals and authors as well as relatives and families of
the two attended the ceremony.

Among those present, Fariborz Raisdana, member of the Central Committee of
the Writers Guild, Mohsen Hakimi, member of the Writers Guild, Siavoush
Mokhtari, son of the deceased, and Sima Sahebi, wife of the late Pouyandeh
took turns to address the audience.

At the conclusion of the session, the Human Rights Defense League's second
communique which was emphatic about the rights of the victims was read. The
statement further pointed out that a public trial by jury for all accused in
the serial killings have to be held as well.

Mokhtari left home December 3 to do shopping and was never to return.

His body was discovered on the following day in Shahr-e Rey.

Meanwhile, Pouyandeh left home on December 9 but failed to return.

His body was discovered beside Badamak railway bridge in Sahriar three days
later.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:46:32 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Kharrazi: Muslim World Concerned with Situation in Northern Caucasus

Kharrazi: Muslim World Concerned with Situation in Northern Caucasus

* Ivanov Thanks Iran for Its Efforts and Initiative

* OIC Calls for Peaceful Solution to Chechnya Conflict

BY KHOSROW SOLTANI

MOSCOW -- Heading a high-ranking delegation from the Organization of the
Islamic Conference (OIC), Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi here yesterday in a
meeting with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov said that the issue of
Chechnya and massacre of civilians was agonizing to the Muslim World.

He said the World of Islam is for ending operations in Chechnya, removal of
problems faced by Chechen Muslims, return of refugees to their homeland,
meeting needs of Chechens, establishment of local institutions and continued
offer for help by Muslim countries.

Thanking Iran for its efforts and initiative, Ivanov said that Russian
officials trust in the good intentions of the OIC.

Recalling successful cooperation between Iran and Russia on the issue of
Kosovo, Ivanov said that his country is willing to have cooperation with Iran
on issues related to northern Caucasus.

He thanked Iran for its humanitarian assistance to Chechen refugees and said
the move is in line with mutual friendship and cooperation.

Ivanov also called on Iran to continue its assistance.

Foreign ministers of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammad Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, and of
Burkina, Ablasse Ouedraogo, as well as a Moroccan minister were attending the
meeting.

Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting yesterday, Kharrazi
called for a halt in the fighting in Chechnya and a diplomatic solution to
the conflict.

The Iranian foreign minister said, "A military operation that has caused a
lot of civilian casualties is not a measured response."

Speaking alongside Kharrazi, Ivanov said, "These talks are on course and will
be pursued."

The Russian minister said that in the talks held the OIC delegation had
confirmed that the Chechen issue is an internal issue of Russia and
explicitly announced that settlement of the issue in any form should be made
within the framework of Russia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He said that Russia, contrary to sporadic suggestions in certain media, does
not at all attribute terrorism-related issues in northern Caucasus to the
Muslim World.

He expressed confidence that Muslim countries are for peaceful settlement of
the northern Caucasus problem, and observed that Russia would have any kind
of cooperation with the OIC delegation.

Kharrazi also noted that the talks with Ivanov would make it possible for the
negotiating parties to get further aware of each other's stances.

Russia, too, is concerned with the situation in northern Caucasus and the
condition of civilians there, he added.

The Iranian minister said the talks showed that the two parties are anxious
about an early solution to the problem in northern Caucasus.

The prime goal of the OIC delegation is an effort to lower the fatality of
civilians and continue shipping humanitarian assistance, said Kharrazi,
adding that the OIC believes that the issue would be solved through political
and peaceful means.

The OIC delegates are due to travel to the republics of Ingushetia and
Dagestan bordering Chechnya today. Around 238,000 refugees from the war in
Chechnya have fled to Ingushetia.

Meanwhile, Kharrazi met and conferred with Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzkhov
yesterday on issues of mutual concerns.

Praising Iran's effort to help resolve Chechen crisis, the mayor of Moscow
said that Russia attaches great importance to the role and cooperation of
Muslims in various fields.

Becoming familiar with the public opinion in the World of Islam is very
important for Russian officials, he said.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 04:47:18 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rahami: We Hope the Verdict on Nouri Will Be Rejected

Rahami: We Hope the Verdict on Nouri Will Be Rejected

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Nouri's lawyer said yesterday that he was preparing the defense of
his client in the appeals court. He expressed the hope that the verdict
handed down on Nouri would be waived by the appeals tribunal.

Talking to a gathering of students in Isfahan, Rahami said, "I am trying to
convince my client to appeal and we will deliver the appeal within the legal
deadline." In another development, prosecutor of the Special Court for the
Clergy (SCC) Gholamhussein Mohseni Ejeie here yesterday also said Abdullah
Nouri can appeal as for the ruling handed down on him by the SCC no longer
than December 17.

In case he wish to recourse to the appeals tribunal, Nouri's right to appeal
should however be subjected to a new review, Ejeie pointed out.

According to the law, any person convicted in a lawcourt, is entitled to
appeal within 20 days from the date of notification of the verdict to the
convict.

The 50-year-old Nouri was convicted to five years in jail, five years
suspension from holding press activities and 15 million rials cash fine on
November 27.

When receiving the court ruling, Nouri did not protest at the order and by
this way he refrained to use its right to appeal, SCC prosecutor said.

Ejeie further explained that enjoying this right at this phase of the legal
proceedings should be reviewed by the judicial authorities.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Dec 1999 to 7 Dec 1999