Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Dec 1999 to 15 Dec 1999

There are 8 messages totalling 567 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. The Temptation of High Oil Prices/Iran
2. Supervising Elections Must Be Free From Partisanship
3. Contdown to Final Ballot 65
4. NOWBAKHT: MDP Will Not Support Extremists
5. Majlis Approves Double Urgency of Elections Law Amendment Bill
6. Only Believers in Revolution Need Run for Majlis
7. If Only Majlis Was Free of Fear
8. Fw: SMCCDI: Illegal Death sentences against 2 of the students

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 03:04:44 EST
Subject: The Temptation of High Oil Prices/Iran

STRATFOR.COM Global Intelligence Update
December 15, 1999

The Temptation of High Oil Prices


Iran announced on Dec. 14 that it would back increased production
by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) if oil
prices rise any further. Tehran's announcement is part of a
growing sense of unease among the world's oil-producing nations.
With global oil prices at unexpected highs, oil producers are
anticipating that one of their number will soon break ranks, flood
the market to capitalize and cause prices to fall. Iraq is the
likeliest candidate to force oil prices into a downward spiral.


Iran's representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said
that his government would support an increase in OPEC oil
production if "prices go higher," Reuters reported Dec. 14. The new
Iranian stance indicates a rising degree of distrust and fear among
the members of OPEC and non-member oil producers. Iran is the fifth
major producer to suggest in the last few days that production may
have to be increased to adjust prices slightly lower and stabilize
them. The high oil prices of recent months may fall in the first
months of the coming year if producers can't keep production quotas

Oil producers have shown remarkable discipline in limiting
production and boosting prices. In March, OPEC members and non-OPEC
oil producers agreed to limit oil production and boost failing
prices. By sticking to this agreement, producers have achieved a
compliance rate of nearly 90 percent. The result has been an
unexpected surge in prices. The average world price has hovered at
about $25 per barrel, according to the U.S. Energy Information

Oil prices are so high right now that they are not sustainable over
the long term. Producers are nervously eyeing each other, wondering
which one will be the first to break production quotas in an
attempt to capitalize - and send oil prices tumbling, as a result.
The next three months will be pivotal. In March, OPEC will meet
again to assess its stance on production and by then the most
profitable winter months will have passed.

Consumer nations are already trying to do something about high
prices. In a speech on Dec. 9, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson said that the Clinton Administration is worried about
the rising price of oil and will take "whatever steps are necessary
to protect the American consumer and the American economy." What
the United States can do to reduce oil prices is unclear. One move
might be to allow Iraq to increase output levels and drive down
prices. [ ]

Prompted by Richardson's comments, officials of several major oil
producers - Indonesia, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - said
that they would consider increasing production if prices reach
crisis levels. Venezuelan Oil Minister Ali Rodriguez said, "A rapid
surge in prices or a rapid dip in inventories would be a problem we
would correct immediately," according to Bloomberg News. So far,
only Mexico, a non-OPEC nation, has called for producers to stick
to the March output quotas. Mexican Oil Minister Luis Tellez cited
quota compliance as the major reason for oil price stability.

Cooperation between competing producers is not infinitely
sustainable. Someone will break the quotas. The question now is,
who? One possible candidate, and perhaps the one with the most to
gain, is Iraq. Although Iraq is a member of OPEC, it has not been
subject to OPEC-sponsored production quotas while under U.N.
sanctions - and it has been acting unpredictable in recent weeks.
Baghdad suspended oil exports Nov. 24 to protest continued U.N.
sanctions and temporarily boosted prices even higher. Producer and
consumer nations alike are unsure of Iraq's future actions. Able to
produce up to 3 million barrels per day with comparative ease, Iraq
by itself could cause prices to tumble.

The price of oil now seems to hinge not so much on the economic
imperatives of supply and demand, but on a political decision
pending in New York. The U.N. Security Council has repeatedly
postponed a decision on whether to suspend economic sanctions
against Iraq, dating back to its invasion of Kuwait in August,
1990. If the Security Council suspends the sanctions, allowing Iraq
to legally export large amounts of oil again, then Iraq is likely
to seize the opportunity of high prices and flood the market.

Three scenarios now present themselves. If the United States agrees
to suspend sanctions in return for renewed weapons inspections,
Iraq could quickly - within six months - reach oil production
levels that it last enjoyed before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. If
the Security Council rejects the U.S.-backed plan, the Iraqis could
export more oil illegally. But more importantly, continued high
prices will tempt other producers to take advantage. Ultimately,
oil-producing nations may continue their string of successes,
continue to show restraint and discipline and coordinate a gradual
and controlled production increase.

The temptations of high prices, though, will be hard to resist.

(c) 1999, Stratfor, Inc.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:06:40 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Supervising Elections Must Be Free From Partisanship


Supervising Elections Must Be Free From Partisanship

Secretary of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, said Monday that
members of the Elections Executive Committee, who are in charge of screening
the parliamentary candidates for the Sixth Majlis, must be approved by his

Whichever of the two major political factions gain the majority in the
Legislature the current balance of power in the Majlis will go through a
drastic change.

If the conservatives capture the majority of seats, their power will be
greatly enhanced and President Khatami and his reformist allies will lose
even the little power they now have. If the Khatami supporters win the
greater number of seats, the whole power equation will turn upside down.
Therefore, Mr. Jannati's statement is of great significance since it bears
directly on how the Feb. 18 parliamentary elections will be conducted and

According to the Elections Law, members of the Elections Executive Committee
must be approved by the Guardian Council prior to being chosen by the
governors of their respective provinces. This law can cause disagreements and
great tension between the Interior Ministry (currently dominated by the
reformists) and the Guardian Council (run by the conservatives) which is
empowered to supervise the elections. Analysts believe that Mr. Jannati's
emphasis on his council's right to approve or reject members of the Elections
Executive Committee is the first sign of such disagreements.

Another indication of more disagreements to come is the complaint, made by a
number of political deputies of provincial governors, who are also the heads
of their respective province's Elections Headquarters, that the makeup of the
supervisory committees chosen by the Guardian Council is representative only
of one political faction (the conservatives).

The supervisory committees' power stems from the fact that they decide if the
elections were conducted fairly and correctly, and have the authority to
approve or cancel the election results in any county or even an entire
province. Their actions, therefore, have a direct impact on the election
process and the fate of individual candidates. In its final verdict on the
elections, the Guardian Council will, obviously, acknowledge only the
opinions of these supervisory committees.

What is needed in this country under the current political circumstances is a
peaceful atmosphere free from any tension, so that, as Ayatollah Khamenei
said on Monday: "Elections could be conducted in the best possible manner
with the participation of the greatest number of the eligible voters."

If the supervisors and executives charged with conducting the election begin
to bicker and disagree even before the election process has begun, we can
surely expect greater problems ahead.

Analysts believe that there is a lot of political excitement in the country
at the present time, and say that we do not need new problems to turn this
excitement into a crisis.

All the officials in charge of the elections must, therefore, heed the advice
of the Leader and set their partisan differences aside and help the people
cast their ballot in a calm and collected atmosphere.

Otherwise, the voting public may lose interest in the elections.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:07:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Contdown to Final Ballot 65

Contdown to Final Ballot 65

A total of 679 more people threw their hats in the ring for the upcoming
parliamentary elections.

AFP quoted Abdullah Nouri's lawyer, Mohsen Rahami, as saying yesterday that
he had filed nomination papers on behalf of his client for the upcoming
elections without any objections from the authorities.

Rahami said since the verdict of the Special Court for the Clergy was not
"definitive", Nouri's candidacy is legal and valid.

However, later yesterday, IRNA said an unnamed source in the Office of the
Governor General of Tehran denied Nouri's registration and said that Article
45 of the Elections Law requires the nominee to register his candidacy in

The law allows candidates for the Assembly of Experts to register by proxy,
but stresses that parliamentary candidates must register personally.

Minister of Interior Abdolvahed Musavi Lari yesterday stated that a 20-fold
list of candidates is slated to contest 290 Majlis seats at the Sixth Majlis

At the close of the day last night, on the third day of registering
candidates in the city of Qom, an extra batch of four nominees had come
forward, bringing the total number to nine registered candidates from the

Secretary-General of the Solidarity Party Mohammad- Reza Rahchamani told
journalists yesterday that if the present Majlis motion to lower the voting
age to 15 was approved, another 1.7m-1.8m voters would be eligible to cast
their ballot.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry yesterday denied that the director
general of the ministry's political bureau had resigned in order to be
eligible for the forthcoming elections.

Mohammad Javad Ardeshir Larijani, present member of Majlis from Tehran told
journalists yesterday that the forthcoming 6th Majlis Elections would be
exciting. He added that the elections would bolster the principles of the

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:07:52 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: NOWBAKHT: MDP Will Not Support Extremists

NOWBAKHT: MDP Will Not Support Extremists


TEHRAN -- During the forthcoming Majlis elections, the Moderation and
Development Party (MDP) will support individuals who have clear revolutionary
and management records without regard for their factional inclinations, Dr.
Mohammad-Baqer Nowbakht, MDP spokesman told reporters yesterday.

He said his party will not only vote for Hashemi Rafsanjani but for other
competent persons who have been present in the revolutionary scenes but
differ with MDP on perspectives.

Denying any organizational link with Rafsanjani, Nowbakht said since the MDP
was eager to gather experience, it negotiated with first class politicians
including Rafsanjani during its formation.

"MDP favors younger members and feels it expedient to gather a number of
young members to make necessary decisions afar from extremist factional
wrangling," said the spokesman adding by development the party does not mean
only economic development but development and justice in all fields.

"MDP does not intend to mobilize the elites but is a party in which all
people can subscribe," said Nowbakht adding that at many instances his
party's viewpoints differed from the Executives of Construction Party (ECP)
and rebuked those who believe that it was an offspring of ECP.

He referred to the May 23 epic as a very important development which marked
realization of people's will and added that MDP would do everything possible
to support Khatami.

Nowbakht said Nouri's imprisonment was a "bitter affair" and regretted that
Nouri, who was a member of the Expediency Council, was missing from the
political scene.

He said the founders of the party were more than 60 persons and the MDP's
articles of association, secretary-general and central council members would
be known shortly.

Nowbakht, Akbar Torkan, M. Javad Iravani, Mohammad Khan, M. Reza Nematzadeh,
Qasemi, Mahmoud Vaezi, Zarhani, Fatemeh Hashemi, Hussein Musavian, Pishgahi
Fard, Sheikh Attar, Musalreza, Ejarehdar and Hojjatoleslam Meshkini are
founders of MDP.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:13:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Majlis Approves Double Urgency of Elections Law Amendment Bill

Majlis Approves Double Urgency of Elections Law Amendment Bill


TEHRAN -- Majlis in its open session yesterday ratified the double urgency of
a bill on amendment to the elections law.

In a brief speech, Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari briefed the MPs
on the reasons for submission of the double- urgent bill to the Majlis,
including the problems concerning the punching of the identification cards of
voters and their age requirement. Lari said identification card is an
official document and its punching means calling it null and void .

Since the practice (punching of identification cards) is impossible, the
Guardian Council has been urged to solve the problem, he said. Lari said the
law on elections of the Guardian Council member requires that voters should
be at least 15 years old while the age requirement for parliamentary election
is 16. Consequently, 15-year-old voters who can participate in the Guardian
Council elections would not be able to cast their votes in the sixth
parliamentary elections, said Lari, adding that such a thing is not

Therefore, he proposed that the age requirement for voters in both
parliamentary and Guardian Council elections be set at 15. The Majlis
session, presided over by Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri also ratified the
remaining articles of a bill on public and revolutionary courts proceeding
code, that had been rejected by the Guardian Council.

The Majlis also surveyed a bill on annexation of a note to Article 621 of
Islamic Penal Code, ratified in 1996, calling for punishment of those
attacking foreign tourists. It postponed further debates on the issue to its
next session, which is to be held today.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:14:47 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Only Believers in Revolution Need Run for Majlis

Only Believers in Revolution Need Run for Majlis


TEHRAN -- Mohsen Rezaie, former secretary of the Expediency Council said here
Monday that those who truly subscribe to the principles of the Islamic
Revolution and are fully committed to the Constitution belong in the big
family of the Revolution, and as such qualify to run for the upcoming Majlis

Rezaie added a proper environment is needed so that all of the friends of the
Revolution would be able to find their way to the Majlis. In that way, he
said, the Majlis would turn into a forum of members of the Revolution family.

Rezaie added the majority of the people who would be elected would be
followers of Revolution, Imam Khomeini (R.H.), and the Constitution and that
only the pioneers of the Revolution would be able to get to the Majlis.

He said new political groupings, too, would perhaps be created with the
Majlis all of whom would share true commitment to the principles of the
Islamic Revolution and would be marchers on the path shown by Imam Khomeini.
He said they would all be also committed to the Constitution.

He said that the next Majlis, far from running counter to the Islamic system,
would abide by the principles of the Constitution.

Rezaie commented that the press must be allowed its constitutional liberties,
and added that the political systems in Iran would have to recognize press
freedoms and their capacity to strengthen the political system in the country.

He said he had resigned his post to run for Majlis deputy as an independent

Rezaie said if he should get to the Majlis he would defend the rights of the
people, espouse a struggle for tackling national economic problems, promote
civil liberties and the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, IRNA reported.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 13:15:56 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: If Only Majlis Was Free of Fear

If Only Majlis Was Free of Fear

HAMSHAHRI * This daily which is affiliated to the Tehran Municipality, quoted
Mohsen Rezaie, former commander of IRGC who has recently resigned as
secretary of Expediency Council in order to take part in the Majlis
elections, as saying that Majlis should strengthen its supervisory role. "If
it were not afraid of the Intelligence Ministry and dared to question it, the
serial killings would not have happened."

Talks of Parliamentary Coup Ludicrous

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily quoted Rezaie as saying that the view
about "parliamentary coup d'etat" does not make sense in a country which is
governed by a powerful leadership and its administration enjoys the public
support. The next Majlis would not take any move against the Constitution and
is not a threat for the system.

EC Chief Too Busy for Majlis

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Mohammad Atriyanfar, a senior member of the Executives of
Construction Party (ECP), said Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Expediency
Council chairman, does not have enough time to attend the next Majlis.

He does not see any reason to run for Parliament, and he will not do so
unless pressured.

Rafsanjani's, Reforms Don't Go Together

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Majlis deputy, Rahmanqoli Qolizadeh, said the presence of
Rafsanjani in the elections would harm the reforms under way. The public has
begun to wonder about Rafsanjani's political stances because he did not take
a firm position vis-a-vis serial killings, the attack on Tehran University
dormitory and the trial of Abdullah Nouri.

Students in Tabriz Arrested for No Reason!

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily reported that Yahya Mohammad Zadeh,
governor of East Azarbaijan Province, commented Sunday on the events happened
in Tabriz University in July. He said that students were arrested in mass
during the incident without a valid reason and "we wonder why those involved
in the attack on the University have not been arrested and punished yet." He
added that a 70-page report about the incident was submitted to President

Nationalists' Statement

ASR-E AZADEGAN * A group of nationalist-religious figures issued a statement
about their plans for the February Majlis elections. The statement called for
"reforming the Elections Law, elimination of approbatory supervision,
following up the serial killings case, dissolution of the Special Court for
the Clergy (SCC) and freedom in performing religious rituals."

Tehran, Cairo to Exchange Ambassadors?

ENTEKHAB * This rightist daily reported that U.A.E.'s "Al-Ettehad" newspaper
claimed that President Khatami has sent a letter to Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, calling on him to exchange ambassadors with Iran next year.

Shahroudi Citizenship Called into Question

PAYAM-E AZADI * This pro-Khatami daily published an open letter sent by
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, managing director of the now-banned Hoviyat-e Khish
(Self-Identity), to Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
Addressing Shahroudi, the former director said: "You are an intellectual and
can certainly tell the difference, from legal perspective, between citizen of
Iran and citizens of other countries who are of Iranian descent. Further,
your ancestors immigrated from Iran to Iraq. Do you think, based on the
definition of a `citizen,' you are an Iranian citizen? Moreover, you were not
in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and therefore not aware of all issues
concerning the Iranian society. Furthermore, there are officials who would
never consider you a `first-class citizen,' unless you go along with their

Political Prisoners Then and Now

SOBH-E EMROOZ * The trial of Abdullah Nouri and the heavy sentence issued for
him while rejecting his appeal, reminds us of the pre-revolutionary era when
people were tried and jailed for political offenses. The difference, however,
is that back then officials at least used to keep the appearance.

Nouri Deserves to Be Speaker

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Kurosh Fooladi, leftist Majlis deputy, said Abdullah Nouri
was tried and imprisoned in order to pave the way paved for Rafsanjani to
enter the scene. Nouri is honored that although he is in the prison, people
would still vote for him. He deserves becoming the Majlis speaker.

JRM's Names Its Candidates

JAVAN * This rightist daily published a list of favorite candidates of
rightist Jame-e Rouhaniyat-e Mobarez (JRM). The list includes: Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri [in case he is interested],
Movahedi Kermani, Mojtahed Shabestari, Hassan Rowhani, Seyed Ali Akbar
Husseini, Abu Torabi, Marandi, Elham, Reza Rahgozar, Mohammad Jahromi, Ahmadi
Zejad, Hadda Adel, Hassan Sobhan [not finalized yet], Taqvi, Al-e Eshaq,
Ahmad Tavakoli, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, Morteza Nabavi, Danesh Jafari,
Abbaspur, Ghafuri-Fard, Hussein Shariatmadari, Mokhber, Iravani, Javad
Larijani, Shahabeddin Sadr, Hussein Fadaie, and Ms. Vahid Dastjerdi, Rahbar,
Sanei, Nowbakht and Fayazbakhsh.

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 00:11:57 -0800
From: "Aryo B. Pirouznia" <aryopirouznia@EMAIL.MSN.COM>
Subject: Fw: SMCCDI: Illegal Death sentences against 2 of the students

Illegal Death sentences against 2 of the students

Press Release

December 16, 1999

According to recent news, after the release of information regarding the
death sentence issued against two students, Ahmad Batebi( who was on the
cover of the Economist Magazine) and Akbar Mohammadi, the Islamic regime is
denying vehemently the sentences.

However, the SMCCDI believes that this news is accurate as it was reported
in the daily " Azad " published in Tehran on Dec. 11. 1999.

We are deeply concerned about the fate of these two students who had been
arrested during the bloody student uprising.

The Islamic regime in Tehran has arrested these students without any legal
ground and has now condemned them to death in its illegal Islamic court of

We denounce these sentences.

We denounce the arrest and imprisonment of innocent students who have
the truth and have demanded their basic rights.

We denounce the attempt on the part of the clerical rulers of Iran who use
every method possible to undermine the Democratic movement in Iran and to
continue their genocidal rule.

It is our belief that the ruling regime is diverting the news regarding the
death sentences in order to find its lost public legitimacy.

We strongly urge the international community to exert the utmost pressure
the Islamic regime to recant the illegal death sentences and to allow fair
trials for all political prisoners.

We hold the officials of the Islamic regime directly and fully responsible
for illegal court procedures and verdicts.

" The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran "

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Dec 1999 to 15 Dec 1999