Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Dec 1999 to 19 Dec 1999

There are 9 messages totalling 469 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Syria-Israel Talks and Iran's Position!
2. Countdown to Final Ballot
3. Registration Closes for Iranian Parliament Polls
4. Public Firmly in Nouri's Corner
5. Mohajerani Stresses Need for Development of Research
6. Pakistan Sees Commonalty of Interests With Iran in Afghanistan
7. U.A.E. President Calls for Cooperation With Iran
8. Fakhri the Gold Medallist
9. Dr Mohammad Ali Chehregani

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:01:00 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Syria-Israel Talks and Iran's Position!

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL DECEMBER 19, 1999

Syria-Israel Talks and Iran's Position!

Building on a landmark two-day meeting here, Israel and Syria agreed to a
fresh round of talks in the United States starting January 3, 2000 that could
help pave the way for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

The first round of talks were held under the gaze of American officials
between Farouq Al-Shara, Syrian Foreign Minister and Ehud Barak, the Prime
Minister of the Zionist Regime.

Clinton met separately with Barak and Shara, speaking first with the Israeli
leader and then with the Syrian foreign minister. Israeli officials were on
cloud nine to have availed themselves of the U.S. leverage to pressure the
Syrians into these talks.

Clinton also seized the opportunity to tighten the screws on Syrians by
telephoning King Abdullah of Jordan and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Prince Abdullah, whose influence was instrumental in convincing the Syrians
to go to Washington.

There are certain issues which may induce the Syrians to come to terms with
Israel in the future meetings.

1. President Clinton's last term in office and the fast approaching U.S.
presidential elections next year. The outcome of these negotiations between
the two archenemies can have a very strong bearing on the upcoming election
in the U.S. No wonder Mr. Clinton is doing his best to make these talks come
to fruition.

2. Hafiz Assad's strong desire to step down and rumors pertaining to his
grooming his son to take over. Clinching such a deal with Israel can only be
done while Hafiz Assad is in charge in Syria. His successors may not be equal
to the task.

3. The consent and blessing of most of the regional leaders, especially
Yasser Arafat, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan for the deal.

4. The international community's impatience and its desire to end this old
conflict. The dragging out of this dispute has brought the regional and
global alliances into question.

5. Shrinking direct and indirect financial aids by Syria's Arab brethren, and
the diminishing of prestige for those still in direct confrontation with
Israel.

Needless to say there are certain obstacles in the way of this
reconciliation, to name but a few:

1. Israel's persistence in maintaining its occupation of the Golan Heights
and the occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians.

2. Israel's continuation of playing fast and loose with people in occupied
territories.

The immediate landscape of these talks definitely depends on the behind the
scene promises and pledges made to the Syrians. Considering the cost and
benefit analysis of this deal, the Syrians will opt for peace if their
interests are secured.

There are, however, two different interpretations of the deal in Iran: Some
are of the belief that peace with the Zionists is unthinkable and Palestinian
combatants must be supported all the way. At the same time there are those
who say if the Islamic countries and the majority of the Palestinians agree
with the deal, Iran should also be prepared to join the process.

Iran, however, must wait to see these talks through, before it makes its
final decision.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:02:53 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Countdown to Final Ballot

IRAN NEWS POLITICS DECEMBER 19, 1999

Countdown to Final Ballot

Mehdi Karroubi, secretary-general of Majma-e Rowhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRB),
Mohamamd Mousavi Khoeiniha, managing director of the banned daily Salaam,
Hadi Khamenei, presidential adviser, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, managing director
of the daily Bayan, Hussein Hashemian, former MP from Rafsanjan and member of
MRM and Faezeh Hashemi, representative from Tehran, declared their candidacy
for the forthcoming Majlis elections.

In a meeting of the rightist Jame-e Rowhaniyat-e Mobarez (JRM), Majlis
Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri announced that he would not run for Parliament,
Movahedi Savoji, rightist Majlis deputy said.

Arya, a pro-Khatami daily, quoted Ahmad Nateq-Nouri, brother of Ali Akbar
Nateq-Nouri, as saying that his brother would probably be appointed as the
chairman of the Expediency Council (EC), a post which is currently held by
the former president Rafsanjani.

Seyed Reza Zavarei, Guardian Council member, said based on the new Election
Law, the members, and even the advocates of the Freedom Movement of Iran
(FMI) would be disqualified from the Majlis race.

FMI members, Ibrahim Yazdi, Gholamabbas Tavassoli, Alireza Hendi, Hussein
Alam, Hashem Sabaghian, Mohammad Tavassoli and Khosrow Mansouri have
registered for the Majlis elections.

Sobh-e Emrooz, a leftist daily, quoted Faezah Hashemi, daughter of Hashemi
Rafsanjani and a Majlis deputy, questioning: "Why they applaud Khatami when
he keeps his calm and does not say anything [regarding the recent events in
the country], but criticize my father for doing the same?" She added that
because of the possibility of factional struggles for power in the next
Majlis, Rafsanjani should become Majlis speaker. This will help to foster,
she said, an atmosphere of cooperation which would be helpful to the
government as well. Moreover, Rafsanjani believes that culture and politics
advance only when economy is developed first, she noted.

Akhbar-e Eqtesad, a pro-Khatami daily, reported that the `Islamic Union of
University Students and the Educated', led by Heshmatollah Tabarzadi,
announced its opposition to Rafsanjani's candidacy. The Union was founded
during the Rafsanjani government in a move against Unity Consolidation Office
(UCO).

Mohammad Bahonar, rightist Majlis deputy, said Rafsanjani would become Majlis
speaker,adding that none of the existing political factions would gain a
majority in the next Majlis. The "inner-circle" will continue to wield the
real power, he mentioned.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:03:26 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Registration Closes for Iranian Parliament Polls

Registration Closes for Iranian Parliament Polls

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Registration of candidates closed yesterday for Iran's
crucial parliamentary elections in February which will pit reformists close
to President Mohammad Khatami against conservative opponents.

"We had registered 4,842 persons, including about 260 women by Thursday
night. No final sign-up figures are available yet," an election official told
reporters.

Entrants, including more than 1,000 in Tehran, will be screened for their
political and Islamic qualifications by the clergy-based Guardian Council
before being allowed to run for the 290-seat parliament on February 18.

Reformists hope to use Khatami's wide popularity to wrest control of
Parliament from conservatives who oppose the President's liberal political
and social reforms.

But the reformists fear the possible disqualification of key allies by the
conservative Guardian Council, which has rejected leading moderates from
running in past elections.

Prominent entrants include former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was
Speaker of Parliament for eight years in the 1980s.

The candidacy of Rafsanjani, an influential pragmatist who has increasingly
spoken out against more radical reformists, has been welcomed by
conservatives. Reaction has been mixed among reformers, many of whom believe
his presence could split the votes of the reformist camp.

Leading reformist cleric Abdullah Nouri, touted by reformers as the future
Speaker of Parliament before he was jailed last month for five years on
dissent charges, has also signed up. No one has run for the Iranian
Parliament from a prison cell since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In the previous parliamentary elections in 1996, the Guardian Council
approved some 3,200 candidates from the more than 5,100 who had signed up to
run.

The number of Parliament seats is being raised to 290 from 270 to take
account of an increase in population.

Newspapers said several members of the illegal but tolerated Iran Freedom
Movement, a liberal Islamic opposition group, had also signed up. The group's
members have been repeatedly rejected by the Guardian Council in past
elections.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:05:53 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Public Firmly in Nouri's Corner

Public Firmly in Nouri's Corner

HAMSHAHRI * This Municipality-affiliated daily quoted Hussein Marashi,
secretary of the Executives of Construction Party (ECP), as saying that an
opinion poll, carried out through a form published in Hamshahri, indicated
that 98 percent of participants approved of Abdullah Nouri's defense.
Meanwhile, 99 percent said the court ruling was not fair and 91 percent
called for a review of the case.

The questionnaire published in the daily asked the readers if they expected
Abdullah Nouri to appeal against the verdict so he could enter the upcoming
parliamentary elections.

Karbaschi Soon to Be Released?

IRAN * This daily which is affiliated to the Islamic Republic News Agency
(IRNA) quoted Hussein Marashi as saying that former Tehran Mayor
Gholamhussein Karbaschi would be released from jail soon. He said Karbaschi's
release was not due to the efforts of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as
newspapers had announced. "People like Karbaschi are usually released after
they do part of their sentences."

Former Tehran Mayor Gholamhussein Karbaschi began serving a two-year jail
term in May following his conviction for corruption and mismanagement in a
trial slammed by reformers as a political move by the conservative controlled
Judiciary.

It's Unfortunate for Nouri to Be in Jail

IRAN * Abdullah Nouri's lawyer, Mohsen Rahami, met with Hashemi Rafsanjani
where they discussed the candidacy of Nouri for the February Majlis
elections. After the meeting, Rahami visited Nouri in Evin Prison to convey
Rafsanjani's message. Rafsanjani said in the meeting that he expressed his
viewpoint, "I did not want Nouri to end up in prison, but he did."

Abdullah Nouri, one of the closest allies of the President, a member of
Expediency Council and managing director of pro-reform Khordad daily, was
sentenced by the conservative Special Court for the Clergy to spend five
years in prison on charges that included political and religious dissent.
Khordad was also ordered closed by the court.

A Troublesome Video Footage?

IRAN * Minister of Intelligence, Ali Yunesi, said releasing information about
the serial murders is the responsibility of Armed Forces Judicial
Organization which should explain why it does not make the facts public.

Asked why a video footage which shows the confessions of the accused has not
yet been Broadcast by TV, he said the film has "many problems" which should
be dealt with first.

The said film was to be broadcast by TV on November 20.

Prisoners Going on Indefinite Fast

AKHBAR-E EQTESAD * With their "unlimited fast", jailed students in Evin
Prison try to show their solidarity with the jailed students in Tabriz and
demand the punishment of those behind the attack on Tehran University
dormitory in July.

Tehran City Council Member Assaulted

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily reported that Ibrahim Asgharzadeh,
member of Tehran City Council, and Fayyaz-Zadeh, secretary of Iran's
Solidarity Party, were assaulted in the Municipality Square in Rasht, Gilan
Province, after they left a meeting in the city.

Sirjani Was Murdered Too!

ASR-E AZADEGAN * Emadeddin Baqi wrote in the daily that based on the remarks
of a Saeed Emami's accomplice, the Iranian author, Saeedi Sirjani, was killed
by Emami in prison by using a potassium suppository which causes heart
failure. The Forensic Medicine announced that Sirjani's death was due to a
heart failure; this announcement was a great help for those who pretended
that the author died a natural death. Therefore, Sirjani's murder should also
be included in the serial Killings .

New Year Festivities Postponed

RESALAT * Tehran's Armenians announced that the New Year's celebrations of
2000 which coincides with the martyrdom anniversary of First Shia Imam,
Hazrat Ali (A.S.), would be postponed for one week.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:08:33 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Mohajerani Stresses Need for Development of Research

Mohajerani Stresses Need for Development of Research

IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Ataollah Mohajerani, Iran's minister of culture and Islamic
guidance, emphasized here Wednesday the need for providing suitable grounds
for development of research work in the country.

Mohajerani, speaking in the ceremony of presenting top researchers both
domestic and foreigner, added there is a fundamental difference between a
researcher and an ordinary person: researchers are individuals who during
their life time contribute valuable input to the human knowledge.

He also added the more a researcher experiences hardships the more valuable
his research work is likely to become and that researchers are good examples
of creative human beings.

Also present in the ceremony was Ahmad Masjed Jamei, deputy Islamic culture
and guidance minister, who commented that the policy of paying attention to
research work during the past two years has shown its results this year and
with organizing 28 research centers in the country, valuable research is
being done by the country's young researchers.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:09:10 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Pakistan Sees Commonalty of Interests With Iran in Afghanistan

Pakistan Sees Commonalty of Interests With Iran in Afghanistan

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN - Pakistan on Thursday said it saw commonalty of interests with Iran
regarding restoration of peace in Afghanistan and said this was acknowledged
during the recent visit of Pakistan's Chief Executive General Musharraf to
Tehran.

In his weekly briefing, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman said that during
Musharraf's visit, both sides agreed to work jointly for solution of the
Afghan issue.

"Pakistan is committed to peaceful settlement of the Afghanistan dispute,"
Tariq Altaf said.

He added that freezing of Taliban's bank accounts by Islamabad was a
requirement of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

He did not agree with a questioner that relations between Pakistan and the
United States had cooled down in recent times.

He said Pakistan wanted a dialogue with India. "But for a dialogue, creation
of a conducive atmosphere by India was necessary," he said, quoted by IRNA.

The spokesman asked India to "stop state terrorism against Kashmiri people."
About the food situation in Afghanistan, the spokesman said Pakistan was
going to supply 25,000 tons of wheat flour to Afghanistan, though did not
mention the time of this supply.

He also asked the international community to provide food aid to the Afghan
people.

To a question about the Chechen conflict, Pakistani spokesman expressed
concern over the homelessness of Chechen people, caused by Russian bombing.

However, he hoped that the Chechen issue would be resolved on the basis of
agreement between Russia and Chechnya in May, 1997.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:10:03 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.A.E. President Calls for Cooperation With Iran
U.A.E. President Calls for Cooperation With Iran

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- The United Arab Emirates said Thursday it hoped for cooperation
with Iran, in a further sign of improving relations.

"Cooperation between the two countries will help ensure security and
stability in the region," U.A.E. President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan
told Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, the U.A.E. official news agency, WAM
reported.

It further said that President Khatami had telephoned Sheikh Zayed on the
occasion of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramazan.

The two countries are divided by a U.A.E. misunderstanding over the Iranian
islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

Tehran insists on dialogue without any preconditions regarding the Abu Musa
island. The U.A.E. however in spite of the visit of Kamal Kharrazi, the
Iranian foreign minister, to the Emirates and his invitation to his
counterpart to visit Iran, which has yet to be fulfilled, has consistently
rejected Iran's call for dialogue.

Relations between the two countries have improved since November's annual
summit of the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, which refrained
from issuing a statement against Iran.

The summit confined itself to reiterating support for a committee made up of
the Saudi, Qatari and Omani foreign ministers tasked with facilitating talks
between Tehran and Abu Dhabi.

Iran considers its "policy of detente" behind the PGCC decision not to
criticize it for the first time since the 1981 creation of the regional
grouping, IRNA reported.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 17:27:35 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fakhri the Gold Medallist

Fakhri the Gold Medallist

IRAN NEWS SPORTS DESK

TEHRAN - Peyman Fakhri is Iran's first gold medallist in the sabre event of
the Asian Fencing Championship.

Fakhri made history during the recent Asian Championship which was held in
Nanjin, China, when he overpowered his rivals to win gold medal in the sabre
event.

He beat his tough opponents from China and South Korea to stand on the podium.

Fakhri is considered as one of Iran's talented fencers.

Meanwhile President of Iran's Fencing Federation and First Vice President of
the Asian Fencing Federation Mehdi Mohammadzadeh believes Iranian fencers can
achieve more success in the future and now Iran can be reckoned on as one of
the fencing powers in Asia.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 23:06:38 +0000
From: "a.abdi" <a.abdi@BTINTERNET.COM>
Subject: Dr Mohammad Ali Chehregani

According to Aasr-e-Azadeghan (20/12/99), on Thursday (16/12/99) when Dr
Mohammad Ali Chehregani was on his way to register his name for
Parliamentary election in Tabriz, he was arrested for 34 hours in order
to prevent him from being elected. During last election, Chehregani won
enough vote to be elected, but his name was removed from the list on
direct order of Ayatullah Khamneyi from the list of the candidates. Dr
Chehregani is one of popular activists among Azarbaijanies of Iran. For
more information on Dr Chehregani's activities since 1995, please read
the Human Right Watch Report about "Religious and ethnic minorities:
discrimination in law and practice", September 1997, pp27-29.

Asghar Abdi PhD, MD

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 18 Dec 1999 to 19 Dec 1999