Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Dec 1999 - Special issue

There are 10 messages totalling 5734 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Stratfor's Decade Forecast
2. Judiciary Poses a Threat to Press Freedom!
3. Countdown to Final Ballot
4. The Chinese Art of `Astute Diplomacy'
5. Shariatmadari as Interrogator?
6. Irish Nobel Winner Praises Idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations
7. Rafsanjani Says He Can Be a Good Support for Gov't in Majlis
8. Research Foundation of Development
9. A Glance at Majlis Elections
10. Fwd: Khabar-e-Jonoob's First Page Service By E-mail

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:54:26 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Stratfor's Decade Forecast

STRATFOR.COM Global Intelligence Update



Stratfor's Decade Forecast (December 20, 1999)
2000-2010: A New Era In A Traditional World


For the last 500 years, since European imperialism began the
process of creating a single, global system of international
relations, the international system has maintained a certain
predictable rhythm and pattern. During each successive era, at
least two and frequently more powers have competed against one
another for preeminence.

From the Portuguese and Spaniards in the 16th century to the
Americans, Russians and Chinese toward the end of the 20th century,
the world arena has seen an unchanging pattern of great power
competition. In this competition, all nations eventually became
players, prizes or victims. Each competition was global not only in
the sense that it covered the entire world, but also in the sense
that it involved all arenas of competition: economic, military,
political, cultural and ideological. Each epoch came to an end,
usually in a cataclysmic war, often with the implosion of one or
more of the competitors.

As each epoch ended, a short interregnum occurred in which it
appeared that the victorious powers would enjoy permanent,
unfettered dominion. From the Congress of Vienna in 1815, to
Versailles in 1919 to the United Nations in 1945, it always
appeared the end of an epoch would permanently change the
underlying pattern of the international system. The victors always
harbored the hope that victory would remain permanent and
unchallenged, the interests of the victors effortlessly
perpetuated. Yet the dream always proved an illusion. Victory was
never so absolute as to preclude the emergence of new powers or
coalitions of old ones dedicated to limiting the power of the
victors or even overthrowing the order they created. Sometimes
entirely new competitors emerged. Sometimes the same competition
re-emerged. Whatever the particular circumstances, competition
among great powers was permanent.

The end of the Cold War is no different from the end of any other
epoch. The coalition formed by the United States became victorious
when the Soviet Union collapsed. The institutions that the anti-Soviet
coalition created seemed to have inherited the world. The
distinction between NATO, the IMF and the United Nations, for
example, seemed to become irrelevant, as all were equally bent to
tasks set for them by the United States and its allies. Even more
important, the cultural and ideological victory of the anti-Soviet
coalition appeared to be absolute. Liberal capitalism became the
universally accepted doctrine. Even China's official communism
appeared to be irrelevant, as it was swept into the single,
integrated system of relationships dominated by American power.
Apart from a handful of "rogue" nations like Iraq or Serbia, the
world appeared finally at peace, integrating rapidly into a single
global system where everyone shared in the benefits of free trade,
human rights and prosperity.

Yet the last ten years did not constitute the end of history. They
were simply an interregnum, like so many others before it, in which
the victory of a single power or coalition could appear to be so
complete that the emergence of a new challenge to that power was
unthinkable. America's victory over the Soviet Union was so
stunning, unexpected and absolute that it seemed that American
values were now global values and that American power was now
absolute. However, no set of values is ever global, and no nation's
power, no matter how great, is ever absolute.

Beneath the surface of the last ten years, the shape of the next
epoch has been quietly emerging. Its shape is not yet fully
revealed, but can be seen well enough to describe. Most important,
the next epoch will look much like the last five hundred years. The
details will change, the dynamics will shift, but the essence will
remain the same. The game of nations is not over.

The United States remains at the center of the international
system. It is the preeminent global military, economic and
political power. Militarily, the U.S. Navy controls the world's
oceans more completely than any empire in history. As important,
the United States exercises almost complete control of space,
enabling its intelligence apparatus to see deep and its military to
shoot deep and with precision. Economically, the United States is
experiencing an unprecedented boom, surging past all other regions
of the world. This military and economic power yields unprecedented
political influence. This is complemented by geography. As the only
great power native to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it can
influence events globally with an ease that magnifies its inherent
power.

Thus, the fundamental question of the next decade -- for both
individual countries and the international system as a whole -- will
revolve around the United States. The question, increasingly, will
be this: How can other countries limit American power and control
American behavior?

There are two processes that will shape the manner in which this
question is answered. One is the permanent process whereby the
international system seeks equilibrium. The second is a process
that we feel will drive the early stages of the next epoch. We call
this process the DE-synchronization of the international economic
system. The former process will drive nations to form coalitions to
block the power of the United States. The second process will
generate intensifying friction between not only the United States
and the anti-American coalition, but between all regions and within
regions as well. It points to a decade of increasing political and
economic tension -- both between great powers and within the spheres
of influence created by the great powers.


The Search for Equilibrium

The international system has been in a state of disequilibrium
since the fall of the Soviet Union. The unipolar world in which the
United States is the only power with global economic, political and
military influence, creates certain inevitable responses that tend
to move the world toward equilibrium. Less powerful nations see
themselves as being placed in a disadvantageous position by
American power. Some experience the disadvantage militarily, some
politically, some economically. Some experience it across a broad
spectrum. None of these nations, by themselves, have the ability to
resist the process.

This leaves them with three options. The first is to directly
resist American power and influence. This is always a dangerous
option. By definition, the United States possesses a series of
counters to resistance that can devastate any isolated nation,
should the United States choose to act. The second option is to
seek to accommodate one's own policies to those of the United
States. To most nations, this appears the optimal course. It, too,
is extremely dangerous. The United States, like any other nation,
tries to generate relationships that are advantageous to it.
Decisions that are extremely limited and focused, from the American
point of view, can have devastating effects on partners. A decision
to ban the import of bananas from a small country is a microscopic
decision from the American point of view, but has macro-economic
consequences of epic proportions for small banana exporters.

The very size and scope of American interests creates a situation
in which a vast number of microscopic decisions are made which have
enormous effects on other nations. The sheer size of American
interests creates a management problem in which avoiding
devastating outcomes for other nations is impossible -- even if this
was the American goal, which it is frequently not. Policy makers at
the center can't possibly oversee the range of issues being dealt
with. The opportunity for interests inside and outside the United
States to manipulate the decision-making process at the microscopic
level is enormous. While the central thrust of policy is
manageable, the micro level is easily manipulated. The result is a
seemingly random set of policies that make it impossible for many
countries to find a stable, safe standpoint in their relations with
the United States.

With isolated resistance and accommodation being difficult for many
to exercise, the natural result is coalition-building, designed to
constrain the United States. This is not a simple process and
doesn't operate in a straight line. As the optimal outcome, most
nations want a shift in U.S. policy. It is difficult to even get
American attention on most policy issues relevant to weaker
nations, let alone to generate sufficient threats to motivate the
United States to shift its policies. The virtue of anti-American
coalition-building is not that it builds a coalition, but that it
increases the probability of attracting American attention and
generating sufficient threats to force favorable policy shifts in
Washington.

Thus, most countries move into anti-U.S. coalitions less out of a
desire to confront the United States than out of a desire to reach
accommodation with it. For example, the Russians and Chinese both
engaged in anti-American coalition building with each other less
out of a desire to confront the United States than out of a desire
to extract concessions. To some extent this process works. But the
range of demands placed on the United States makes universal, or
even frequent, accommodation impossible.

Thus, the coalitions that are formed to extract concessions from
the United States transform themselves over time into fixed
relationships designed to both resist the United States and create
alternative systems of relationships to allow nations to function
insulated from American power. Some of these relationships have
already formed, particularly on the economic level. Others will
form over time. They will increasingly create a fragmented global
system in which American unipolar power confronts a complex of
opposition coalitions.


Global Economic DE-Synchronization

The geography of this confrontation will be driven by global
economic DE-synchronization. The fundamental assumption of liberal
capitalism is that, freed from the constraints of military force
and domestic tyrannies, the attractiveness of liberal human rights
doctrines and the tremendous efficiencies of capitalism would draw
all nations together into a single system in which war and conflict
would be irrational. The foundation of this theory was that the
emergence of a single, integrated global economy would erode
nationalism on every level, including cultural differences. The
DE-nationalized corporation would become more important than national
institutions. International institutions would supplant national
institutions in managing what were, after all, international
issues.

For everyone to accept the primacy of international institutions,
it was presupposed that everyone would have the same basic
interests. To be more precise, it was assumed that the decisions of
the international system would leave no one at a fundamental and
unrecoverable disadvantage. Given the diversity of the world, this
seems an unreasonable expectation. Those who believed this to be
not only possible but inevitable rested their argument on what
appeared to them as a reasonable assumption: the increased mobility
of capital across borders would create an integrated global
economy.

There was another vital assumption behind this vision of a global
economy. People assumed that the global economy would be, on the
whole, synchronized. The logic and necessity of the business cycle
is well understood. Recessions are needed in order to enforce
efficiencies against businesses whose rates of return on capital
are below norms. It is also understood that different monetary,
fiscal and trade policies are mandated by different stages of the
business cycle. The assumption behind economic globalism was that
increased international economic integration would also lead to
increased synchronization among the world's leading economies.
Japan, the United States and Europe would be synchronized,
requiring compatible economic policies. Therefore, the
internationalization of economic policy-making would increase
rather than decrease economic harmony.

In 1997, the foundations of this theory were falsified. Asia went
into the worst recession it had seen since the end of World War II.
It was generally expected that the Asian meltdown would generate a
global crisis. The exact opposite happened. Asia's meltdown led to
a massive flow of capital out of Asia and into the United States.
That, coupled with the general state of the American economy,
intensified a boom already underway. The world experienced DE-synchronization
as one region sank into depression while another
region boomed. The very process that was supposed to harmonize the
global economy into a single business cycle, actually worked to
intensify the DE-synchronization. This DE-synchronization violated
most expectations of the world's conventional observers. It also
created an extraordinarily dangerous situation that persists today.

As the year 2000 approaches, two overwhelming forces are shaping
the international system. The first is the process of coalition-building in
which weaker powers seek to gain leverage against the
overwhelming power of the United States by joining together in
loose coalitions with complex motives. The second process, economic
DE-synchronization, erodes the power authority of the international
organizations used by the United States and its coalition during
the Cold War and the interregnum. More important, de-sychronization
creates a generalized friction throughout the world, as the
economic interests of regions and nations diverge.

The search for geopolitical equilibrium and global DE-synchronization combine
to create an international system that is
both increasingly restless and resistant to the United States.
Indeed, DE-synchronization decreases the power of the United States
substantially. During the Cold War and the 1990s, the United States
could control the behavior of nations with the inducement of
economic cooperation. As the international system desynchronizes,
economic cooperation with the United states becomes not only less
attractive, but also genuinely harmful to many nations.

For example, economic cooperation with the United States can
threaten a country like Japan. As the American economy matures
during this business cycle, there will be a natural tendency to
raise interest rates. As interest rates rise, capital will flow out
of Japan to the United States. Japan, badly in need of investment
capital and at a totally different place in its business cycle,
will seek to protect itself from U.S. fiscal and monetary policy,
rather than to participate in it. Economics become a disincentive
for cooperation rather than an incentive. It follows that if
economic collaboration becomes less interesting to the Japanese, an
American lever for political and military cooperation dissolves as
well.

DE-synchronization removes incentives for economic cooperation with
the United States and reduces the economic penalties for
resistance. Nations are freed to resist. Indeed, they are given
added incentive. This will particularly be the case if and when the
economic cycles shift, as they always do, and the U.S. economy
becomes weak while others grow strong.


Forecasts

Let us consider some particular forecasts that we can make if the
basic model we are working from is correct.

* DE-synchronization will undermine the integrated global economic
system, replacing it with regional economic groupings. This will be
particularly visible in Asia and in the former Soviet Union as well
as Europe. DE-synchronization will diverge national interests
within the regions, leading to intra-regional stress and poaching
within the regions. Anti-American coalitions will emerge within
regions and between regions.

* The United States will continue to lead the world economically, in
spite of the probability of a recession some time in the first half
of the decade. However, structural problems, including an aging
population liquidating capital holdings in retirement and severe
labor shortage indicate serious problems later in the decade.

* Except for a few countries with relatively healthy banking
systems, Asia will not recover during this decade. Asia's economic
problems cannot be solved without a wrenching remake of its
financial system. Lacking the will and political capacity to carry
this out, most Asian countries, including Japan and China, will
remain in a long-term stagnation mode. Intermittent upturns will be
mistaken for recovery, but the basic pattern remains flat to
negative. The most important issue in the region will be the
political consequences of this economic deterioration. Both China
and Japan will experience profound political repercussions from
their inability to solve underlying economic problems.

* Russia, essentially cut off from Western capital and unable to
compete in Western markets, will be forced by circumstances to
regain the components of the former Soviet Union. The general
inability of the former republics to participate in Western
economic activities will make the prospect of some form of re-federation
attractive to many outside of Russia. Nationalism will
compete with economic reality, creating a complex and dangerous
situation. Russia will spend most of the next decade in the painful
process of reconstructing its empire. It will seek to cooperate
with China to block U.S. interference in the reconstruction
process.

* Since German reunification in 1989, the fundamental question in
Europe has been whether Germany will represent a challenge to
European stability, as Germany did in 1871, 1914 and 1939. The
basic assumption has been that the existence of the European Union
has changed the dynamics of German nationalism, by abolishing
Germany's sense of geopolitical insecurity while creating an
economic framework too valuable for Germany to abandon. Two tests
face Europe. The first is whether the European Union's monetary
union can survive DE-synchronization, in which some regions of
Europe are booming, while others are in recession. The second test
will be whether the rest of Europe is prepared to join Germany in
defending the eastern frontiers of Poland in the face of resurgent
Russian power. We remain pessimistic about the long-term prospects
of a united Europe.

* We remain optimistic about an Arab-Israeli peace, so long as it is
understood that this peace will be about as friendly as is normally
the case in the region. The absence of massive bloodshed is the
most that can be hoped for. With the long-term decline of oil and
commodity prices over, a floor has been placed under many Arab
economies for the first time in a generation. This opens the door
for the return of a degree of prosperity in some parts of the
region.

* South Africa is returning slowly to its natural role of hegemon in
southern Africa. No longer limited by Apartheid, South Africa's
ability to manipulate and guide affairs in sub-Saharan Africa is
substantial, assuming that it can maintain its internal stability.

* Latin America is beginning to experience a division into two
parts. There are growing signs of instability in the northern tier,
running from Panama and Ecuador to Venezuela. While the rest of the
continent remains stable, deterioration of the northern tier can
spread and destabilize the continent. The central question is
whether Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez will be able to maintain
a reformist strategy or whether the process will get away from him
and turn into revolution. If so, the revival of the left in Latin
America, colliding with the technocrats who manage ministries and
governments, could create a volatile political situation.

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:45:55 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Judiciary Poses a Threat to Press Freedom!

Judiciary Poses a Threat to Press Freedom!

FATH * This pro-Khatami daily published the statement of Association for
Defending the Press Freedom, in which it protested the Judiciary role in
jeopardizing the freedom of press.

Nouri Was to Reveal Murderer's Name?

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily quoted the sister of Pirouz Davani, an
Iranian intellectual who disappeared last year, as saying that in a meeting
with the head of Tehran Military Court, she was told that the accused in the
case of the serial killings did not respond to questions on Davani's
disappearance. "I heard that Abdullah Nouri intended to reveal the name of
Davani's murderer in the court, but he was not allowed to. I am sure that
Davani was killed by those who committed [last year's] serial killings," she
said, adding that it is rumored that Mohseni Ejeie, the head of the Special
Court for the Clergy (SCC), issued a death sentence for Davani, but Ejeie
says he has not even seen Davani's photo.

There is a Cover-up!

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Davood Soleimani, former deputy chancellor of Tehran
University, said there are some hidden hands which prevent the disclosure of
facts regarding the dormitory issue. "The case of those involved in the
attack has not been clarified except for that of Farhad Nazari, former Tehran
police commander. Other culprits, including pressure groups and forces with
plain clothes have not yet been dealt with." Following the closure of
moderate daily Salaam by the Press Court, university students held a rally in
protest against the closure after which the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF)
attacked Tehran University hostel on July 9. This provoked the country's
worst social unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which lasted for four
days.

Karbaschi Lucky to Be in "Open Jail"

IRAN * Bahman Keshavarz, the attorney of former Tehran Mayor Gholamhussein
Karbaschi, said he is not sure whether Karbaschi is to be pardoned soon, "but
I heard that decisive measures have been taken for his release." He added
that Karbaschi is eligible to use "open jail" and some measures have also
been taken in this regard.

FMI Going to Sue Majlis Speaker?

PAYAM-E AZADI * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Mohammad Tavassoli, a member of
Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), as saying that they are preparing a lawsuit
against Majlis Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri for what he said about the FMI.
The complaint would be submitted to the Judiciary very soon, he said, adding
that the case should be dealt with in an open court in the presence of jury.
"If the Special Court for Clergy (SCC) is to attend to the issue, we would
not attend the court session," he said.

In a recent gathering of university students, Nateq-Nouri said: "The FMI and
other nationalists, who are devoted to the United States, showed their poor
management early after the Islamic Revolution. The members of the then
interim government should stand trial for what happened in Kurdestan Province
[thanks to their mismanagement]. They appointed a spy as the province's
governor who received money from Americans. At the universities and for the
first time by any party since the Revolution, the FMI has also begun to
advocate that there should be dialogue between Tehran and Washington," he
further added.

Don't Know for Sure If Saeed Emami Committed Suicide!

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily quoted Movahedi Savoji, head of the
parliamentary committee which investigates serial murders, as saying that
investigations would be resumed this week and all the existing reports and
evidence would be re-examined. Savoji, who is also the head of the
Parliamentary Commission on Councils and Internal Affairs, added that the
issue of Emami's death should also be reviewed; it should be clarified
whether he has committed suicide or not?"

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:32:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Countdown to Final Ballot

Countdown to Final Ballot

The rightist daily Entekhab quoted an informed source close to Iran's
Solidarity Party as saying that the May 23 Coalition would announce a list of
its favorite candidates for the February Majlis elections in three or four
days. Candidates proposed by the ISP include Mohammad Reza Rah-Chamani and
Elyas Hazrati. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also is in the proposed list, the
source said.

During Sunday's session the Majlis ratified a top-urgent bill adding several
articles to the law on the Guardian Council's supervision over parliamentary
elections.

Under the bill, the GC would be authorized to deploy at least two
representatives to each polling station, and ballot sheets would consist of
three parts: one for the registration of voters' specifications, another for
supervision and the third for voting.

One of the architects of the bill, Mahmoud Alawi, an MP from Lamard, Tehran
Province, said the bill would insure safer elections and provide the Interior
Ministry with enough time to publish ballot sheets.

In a question-answer session with students of the University of Science and
Technology, Abbas Abdi said: "Currently, one of the problems facing Hashemi
Rafsanjani is that he is not supported by anyone".

Abdi said, "The support Faezeh Hashemi gives him doesn't make much sense,
seeing as she is his daughter. A politician's defense by his own family
members often triggers negative effects. Now no one supports him, and the
reason for that can be found in his overall attitude toward society.

"Hashemi never managed to make many supporters for himself and during his
tenure as president he used to lead the Friday Prayer ceremony from time to
time just to support his own polices in the sermons," he added.

"We're not looking for revenge, but simply wish to mention that Hashemi
erroneously believed his own period of presidency was the most prosperous era
since the Medes", Abdi remarked.

The representative of the Leader's Office at the Islamic Revolution's Guards
Corps, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Taher Ahmadvand, said that the IRGC would not
side with any specific political party in the upcoming parliamentary
elections slated for Feb. 18.

Addressing Basiji (volunteer) university students and theologians in Arak, he
said that in the IRGC's view, it didn't matter which parties or individuals
were elected for the Parliament, the one important criteria was that those
who were should honor Islamic values.

"The IRGC is responsible for protecting Islamic and revolutionary values, and
those who distort these values will be dealt with", he said.

Hojj. Rasoul Montajab-Nia, the spokesman of the left-wing Majma-e
Rowhanioun-e Mobarez (MRM) said yesterday that Ayat. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
will not be included in the MRM list.

According to the newly-launched Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA),
Montajab-Nia also said: "There are two issues about Mr. Hashemi; one is his
treatment toward the Imam's Line followers during his presidency and the
Construction Era, and the other point regards Mr. Khatami's policies. We
believe that Mr. Hashemi's ideological and political structures are in
contradiction with the political-cultural movement created on May 23."

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:27:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: The Chinese Art of `Astute Diplomacy'

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL DECEMBER 20, 1999

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

The Chinese Art of `Astute Diplomacy'

Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China (PRC), brought one
hundred years of humiliation at the hands of foreigners to an end. In October
1949 he inaugurated the PRC in Tiananmen Square, saying "the Chinese people
have stood up" -- so declaring the foreign domination of China over and done
with.

During his 27-year rule, Mao laid the foundations for China's future,
allowing the country's vast potential to unfold and become ever more obvious
under Deng Xiaoping. Now China is soon to become a superpower, if it isn't
already one. In short, Deng, the architect of modern China, founded China's
prosperity on what Mao had painstakingly built himself.

Thus it is completely wrong to belittle Mao, as some sinologists have done,
and to depict Deng as the main figure behind the prosperity China has come to
experience. The two of them made China into what it is today, they were
complementary to one another.

With Mao having prepared the ground for him, Deng could then seize the
opportunity to close ranks with foreign powers by opening up the country. The
"Middle Kingdom", as the Chinese call their nation-state, opened up once
those measures had been taken that ensured China's future wouldn't be
hijacked by the West, most notably by America.

Deng, quite correctly, believed that for China to become a power to be
reckoned with, and to turn the country's various potentials into actual
strengths, it needed to work together with other major powers and with the
world's financial institutions.

In view of China's considerable potential, the West welcomed Beijing's
intentions to actively participate in global politics. Some Westerners
speculated that by integrating China they could change it to suit their
purposes and do away with the dangers inherent in China's traditional
isolationism.

After 20 years of open-door policy, "Kaifang", China has made progress at a
rate never experienced before in world history, closing ranks with the
world's major powers and becoming a force in world politics that everyone --
especially the United States, Europe, and Russia -- is eager to help. What
better position to be in than one in which everyone around you is helping you
reach the goals you have set for yourself.

This "astute diplomacy", engaging others to help you rise up higher and
higher, is part of a Chinese tradition preserved to this day. Chinese
tradition and, more specifically, its particular understanding of time and
space, has generally contributed to China's weathering all sorts of crises.

After 50 years of trial and error, the PRC has reached a stage where all
other countries feel the need to approach it, show it respect, offer
financial help and try to be on good terms with it. The race to win China's
favor is picking up speed, with the Chinese leaving their options open,
enjoying the benefits coming from all sides without really opting for one or
the other.

Trying not to play hard to get, Beijing tags along with all the various
enthusiasts, acting as if it favors them all. So this astute diplomacy --
based on real strengths -- that China has acquired through 20 years of
self-sufficiency and thirty years of active participation in world affairs,
has paid off. The two are indeed complementary to each other.

The Chinese came to the right conclusion in the late sixties and early
seventies when they decided that resolving their differences with the United
States was to their advantage. Having relations with the United States did
not mean sacrificing national interests, but actually defending them. It has
resulted in unprecedented strength for China and has brought about a $47
billion surplus in trade with the United States in the current year. Beijing
exports to the United States this year amounted to $70 billion, compared to a
mere $340 million in 1978.

Working with the West has paid off, with no compromises on the Chinese side.
It is thanks to its economic development and its average growth rate of 9
percent over the past twenty years that China has been able to strengthen its
sovereignty, which indeed confirms the idea that without economic development
there can be neither internal nor external security.

The United States recently demonstrated its intention of further expanding
ties with the Chinese by giving the nod to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
to accept Beijing's membership application, thereby granting the Chinese an
almost automatic entry into the 135 member-state body.

The Chinese reckon that joining the WTO will add one percent to their
economic growth rate and double their exports within five years. Being fully
engaged in the world economy was a rather wise decision for China, to say the
least.

China's astute diplomacy, and the economic development it has fostered,
prompted Moscow to seek closer ties with Beijing, as confirmed by Boris
Yeltsin, the ailing Russian president, who rushed off amid doctors' protests
to get China's approval of Russia's brutal Chechnya campaign.

To get Beijing's backing, Moscow signed three border demarcation treaties
with China, thereby ending a 30-year dispute. The two countries cooperate
extensively with each other on the military level, with Moscow supplying 40
SU-30 MK Russian fighters to help Beijing ensure parity with Taiwan's
U.S.-made F-15 fighters.

In short, everyone wants to be on good terms with Beijing. The so-called
Unipolar, or "only one superpower" (the United States) concept ushers in a
new era for China's economic development while the former superpower that
cannot contend with America's "Policeman of the World" designation wants
Beijing to help it build a multilateral world order.

The desire of all countries to engage China is a sign of Chinese power and
prestige. China's success story should be closely studied by all those who
want to defend their national interests while achieving economic progress.

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 03:31:30 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Shariatmadari as Interrogator?

Shariatmadari as Interrogator?

IRAN * The newspaper quoted BBC radio as saying: "Kayhan afternoon daily
implicitly admitted on Sunday that Hussein Shariatmadari, its managing
director, had collaborated with Saeed Emami, former deputy intelligence
minister who was behind the serial murders and then committed suicide in the
prison. Shariatmadari also worked as an interrogator forcing political
prisoners to confess and ask for forgiveness for their political beliefs."
The radio also said that Akbar Ganji, the outspoken and reformist journalist,
plays a leading role in disclosing the facts about Shariatmadari.

Lari Resigns as Police Acting Commander

IRAN * This leftist daily reported that interior minister, Abdolvahed Musavi
Lari, has resigned from his post as the acting commander of the Law
Enforcement Forces (LEF). The reason behind his resignation was that the LEF
refrains from cooperation with the committee which investigates the dormitory
incidence and also the LEF's support for some of its members who were behind
the incident.

Following the closure of moderate daily Salaam by the Press Court, university
students held a rally in protest against the closure after which the LEF
attacked Tehran University hostel on July 9. This provoked the country's
worst social unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which lasted for four
days.

IRIB Helping the Powerful!

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily quoted Soheila Jelodarzadeh, MP from
Tehran, as saying that if Majlis elections are held in one phase, instead of
the current two-phase elections, then those who enjoy either high government
positions or have access to institutions such as the IRIB, have better
chances for winning the elections, while many figures who are truly in the
service of the nation, are deprived of such facilities.

truly in the service of the nation, are deprived of such facilities.

Nouri Could Be in Jail for 3 or 5 Years!

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Abdullah Nouri's lawyer, Mohsen Rahami, said there should be
a difference between an offense in form of making speeches or writing
articles [which are against the law] and the publication of those articles or
speeches. "If we can prove that there exists a difference between these two
offenses, then the prison term of Nouri would be decreased to three years
from the current five years."

Nouri Unlikely to Be Released

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily quoted Gholamhussein Mohseni Ejei, head
of the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC), as saying that the leftist faction
would probably hold majority in the next Parliament.

If so, the SCC is likely to be dissolved. He added that not only Abdullah
Nouri did not offer a good defense, but he called the fundamentals of the
current political system into question [which is not allowed].

His defense was prepared by two teams, led by Akbar Ganji and Emaddedin Baqi.
Nouri is unlikely to be released, because he did not appeal against the
ruling, and moreover, he does not recognize the SCC as a lawful body.

Forouhars' Attorney Upset About a Candidate

AZAD * Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer of the Foruhars, sent a letter to the
prosecutor of the Armed Forces Judicial Organization, protesting the
candidacy of former acting minister of intelligence, Pour-Mohammadi, for the
upcoming Majlis elections.

Pour-Mohammadi was among those Intelligence Ministry agents who were involved
in the serial murders.

Monopoly Virus

ENTEKHAB * Ahmad Hakimipour, Tehran City Council member, said monopoly is
like a virus which can be found anywhere even among the reforming camp. No
one can claim that he has brought success to May 23 Front.

Coup Against Khatami If Reformers Don't Won!

QODS * This rightist daily reported that an institute close to Zionist
circles predicted that if the reformers cannot win the Majlis elections,
university students may stage country-wide demonstrations and the IRGC may
stage a coup d'etat against President Khatami.

Assad's Son to Consult Tehran

ABRAR * This rightist daily reported that the son of Syrian President Hafez
Assad, would visit Iran soon in order to inform the Iranian officials of
latest developments in the peace process with Israel.

The son of Assad is seen as the next president of Syria.

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:40:12 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Irish Nobel Winner Praises Idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations

Irish Nobel Winner Praises Idea of Dialogue Among Civilizations

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN - Famous Irish poet Seamus Heaney in a letter to the Iranian
ambassador to the United Nations has praised the idea of dialogue among
civilizations put forward by President Seyed Mohammad Khatami of Iran.

Heaney, who won a Nobel Prize for literature in 1995, said in his letter that
the idea of dialogue among civilization is a sign of respect for different
cultures and ideologies and "efforts to bring about further understanding
could lead us to a world in which many cultures are promoted."

The decision to name the year 2001 as the year of dialogue among
civilizations is a good beginning, Heaney said, adding that he hoped that the
initiative would be further promoted and his country could contribute to the
materialization of the idea, reported IRNA.

Heaney who has taught at the universities of Harvard and Oxford as a
professor of literature has authored many books and has won many awards, the
most important of which was the Nobel literature prize of 1995.

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 03:29:06 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rafsanjani Says He Can Be a Good Support for Gov't in Majlis

Rafsanjani Says He Can Be a Good Support for Gov't in Majlis

* Iran-U.S. Ties Will Not Be Severed for Long

* I'm Anxious About the Detention of the Students

* I and President Khatami Are of the Same Mind

* President Assad Will Not Sacrifice Palestinians for Land

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency
Council, here yesterday defended his performance at the time of his
presidency and said he can be a good support for the government and the
Judiciary if he finds his way into the Parliament again.

"I think if I serve in the Majlis, I can be a good support for the
government, the Judiciary and their positive programs," Rafsanjani told
reporters at a press conference attended by both domestic and foreign media
representatives.

Pointing to himself as an "influential personality" in the past 38 years when
the Revolution took shape, the system was established and the sacred defense
and construction effort were stabilized, he said despite achievements there
existed deficiencies which should be compensated, IRNA reported.

He expressed hope that he could defend the Islamic Republic's honors
vis-a-vis the conspiracies of biased people.

In reply to a question, Rafsanjani gave an account of the performance of the
Expediency Council under his chairmanship and said the body has become a
source of reference for the officials in case any problem arises.

Answering another question, Rafsanjani denied that his eight-year
administration paid less attention to political and cultural development than
economic development and that his reappearance on the scene connoted that the
same policy would be followed again. To support his statement, he presented
some figures on the achievements during his presidency. "Politics does not
mean to chant mere slogans and make hue. At our time, support for detente and
removing excuses for hostilities were the principles of the foreign policy.
In internal affairs too, the ever-increasing growth of the press is a
criterion for cultural and political development which was crystallized in
the recent two elections (presidential and parliamentary)," Rafsanjani said.

At present the Third Five-Year Development Plan is in conformity with the
first and second ones and follows the same trend, the Expediency Council
chairman further added.

Asked whether he had consulted with certain groups or factions before
deciding to run in the forthcoming parliamentary elections and what were the
guarantees for his Majlis presidency, Rafsanjani said it was not him who
consulted with the people.

Rather, he added, people came to him and demanded his presence in the
elections, saying that this was not confined to a certain group.

He said the Leader and the President were also among the personalities who
had urged him to take part in the parliamentary elections, adding: "But I am
not thinking of Majlis presidency. What is important is to be present in the
scene of the elections and under the present historical juncture help the
trend of political, economic and cultural development of the country."

In reply to another question on the economic situation at the time of his
presidency, Rafsanjani said when he took the office, the inflation rate was
29.5 percent whereas when he handed it over the figure was 17 percent in view
of the adjustment planning.

Asked to comment on the new atmosphere created following the May 23, 1997
presidential elections for partnership and political freedom, the ideas which
were also supported by Abdullah Nouri, and also on Nouri's conviction,
Rafsanjani stated: "I tried hard that this (Nouri's imprisonment) would not
happen the way it did. But what was done was according to the regulations and
this is a separate issue."

On his recent remarks about certain local press which he said relayed ideas
of the enemy and promulgated liberalism, Rafsanjani said that what he said
was that the United States, Israel, the MKO (terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq
Organization) and anti-revolutionary trends were not in conformity with the
Islamic Revolution since the very beginning and that still they were
repeating the same old words.

He further added that given people's faith and the state of clerics,
separating the Revolution and the government from people will be tantamount
to striping the government and the system from their most valuable asset
which would be harmful to national unity.

Another reporter asked about the statement attributed to Ali Fallahian, the
former minister of information (intelligence), that his boss should accompany
him to court to give an answer concerning his management of the ministry,
Rafsanjani said: "In his interview with Entekhab daily, Fallahian has already
denied making such a statement and I wonder why a reporter raises a statement
that has already been denied."

"Some people are under arrest for involvement in the chain murders in Tehran.
They had been selected in the ministry before my presidency and the murders
happened after my presidency," Rafsanjani said.

"It seems that some people want to do business with the job, therefore, I
think it is now the best time to focus on the case of the serial murders by
relevant officials," Rafsanjani said.

Immediately after the murders, the Supreme Leader formed a meeting in
presence of the top officials and gave full authority to President Khatami to
select a group to conduct thorough investigation into the case, Rafsanjani
said, adding that when recently difficulty had appeared in the legal
proceeding, once again the Supreme Leader assigned President Khatami and the
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi to follow up the case
with no other considerations.

Moreover, he added, the Military Court is working on the case and the
Information Ministry was assigned to cooperate in the case.

"We should place confidence in the President, the Judiciary chief and the
Leadership who are working on the case and let the legal proceedings go
ahead," Ayatollah Rafsanjani said.

Asked about possible conflict if he were elected as the speaker of
Parliament, Rafsanjani said: "I don't think so. Mr. Khatami has been my
friend since he was young. We had the same thought. He was the minister of
culture in my Cabinet and then my adviser. He also held consultations with me
before running for the 1997 presidential elections.

Certainly, I and Mr. Khatami have no differences and occasionally consult
with each other and have the same thought."

Answering a question put forward by the Associated Press (AP) about the
prospects of Iran-U.S. relations and whether positive developments would take
shape, Rafsanjani said: "If you mean that something may happen in near
future, I do not think so. The severance of relations will certainly not last
for a far reaching time."

He said, "The United States is required to demonstrate goodwill. The Iranian
nation has been subject to U.S. hostility in the course of the Islamic
Revolution and the eight years of imposed war (1980s).

"I already set the precondition of freeing the Iranian frozen assets in the
U.S. banks as indication of goodwill and President Khatami spoke about
collapse of the wall of mistrust and made no mention of a precondition,"
Rafsanjani said.

A reporter then asked, "Your mayor, the interior minister of your government,
Mohsen Kadivar and tens of students are now in jail and many journalists are
in line to go to prison. Aren't there any contradictions between these events
and your statements about political development?"

Rafsanjani, in reply, added that he sees no contradiction, because he favors
political development and he had not wanted them to be arrested.

"I am anxious about their detention, but, I don't deem it appropriate to
quarrel with the judicial officials. I express my grievances privately and do
not embark on hue and cry in the press. I believe it was very good if they
were not in prison now and I hope the problem will be solved," he said.

Rafsanjani also said that "the Supreme National Security Council has approved
the lifting of restrictions against Ayatollah Montazeri."

Rafsanjani said he hoped that restrictions against Montazeri would be lifted
"without too many problems."

Rafsanjani further backed the possibility of a pardon for former Tehran Mayor
Gholamhussein Karbaschi, who is in prison on corruption charges.

"There is a possibility for an amnesty and I would support it," he said,
adding that he had met the former mayor on two occasions last week.

Karbaschi returned to his Tehran prison earlier this month after being
allowed to return home for a week to rest, as permitted under the Iranian
Penal Code.

The meetings between Rafsanjani and Karbaschi came as the former President
announced he would run in the key parliamentary elections in February.

Elsewhere in his remarks Rafsanjani said Iran should join the World Trade
Organization (WTO) as soon as possible.

"We cannot stay away and we now need to join this organization," said
Rafsanjani, adding membership in the world body would help defend the Islamic
Republic's share of international trade.

But calls to join have been mounting as Iran seeks to reduce reliance on oil
revenues, which have left the Islamic Republic with huge budget shortfalls
over the past two years amid fluctuations on the worldwide crude market.

An Arab reporter asked about the prospects of Tehran-Damascus relations with
reference to the current negotiations between Syria and Israel.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani said, "We believe the rights of the Palestinians should
be restored, otherwise, no lasting peace will be available and the fire will
remain under the ashes. On the other hand, President Al-Assad is not a man to
sacrifice the rights of the Palestinians in return for several plots of
land."

Asked about his predictions about the upcoming parliamentary elections, he
said it is too early to predict about and the predictions now being made are
just advertisement.

Answering a question about the status of the Special Court for the Clergy
(SCC), Ayatollah Rafsanjani made it clear that the late Imam Khomeini (R.H.)
has established the SCC and any objection to the legitimacy of the SCC is
null and void.

A reporter said, "Some say the detention of Abdullah Nouri paved the way for
your running for the parliamentary elections. What is your opinion?" He said
it is far from honesty to speak such unjust words.

"Mr. Nouri had doubts about running for the parliamentary elections.

He came to me for consultation. I provided him with an analysis and convinced
him to run for the elections. So he resigned from the TehranCity Council and
got ready for the elections. I believe that it would have been better if he
were present at the scene." Ayatollah Rafsanjani said.

Asked about the continued presence of foreign refugees in Iran, he said the
refugees have brought difficulties for the country and the government and
called for taking a moderate solution to it.

Asked about whether the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) would be given
permission to run for the parliamentary elections, he said: "I think those
eligible candidates should be authorized to run, but on FMI, the criterion is
the letter forwarded by (former interior minister) Hojjatoleslam Mohtashami
to the late Imam and the late Imam has given an explicit response to the
question. Of course the matter should be settled in its own place, Rafsanjani
added.

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 03:25:46 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Research Foundation of Development

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL DECEMBER 22, 1999

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

Research Foundation of Development

Last Wednesday, the nationwide annually held week for the observation of the
significance of research was started. This is the fourth year for the
observance of this event in our country. During this week, When we talk about
development, we should definitely keep in mind the fact that research
actually constitutes the heart of any form of development. Today's human
achievements have been made possible because of painstaking efforts prior to
their fruition. It is really distressing to note that research is regarded by
many people in this country to be some sort of leisure activity taken up only
by the dedicated.

The deplorable fact is that our policy-makers have also failed to look at
research as the most important prerequisite for development and
industrialization. Of course, we should not close our eyes to colossal
obstacles in the way of our efforts to make room for research.

Our researchers confront a multitude of impeding parameters, such as
financial constraints, shortage of sources and amenities, limitation of
information banks, self-censorship, and a host of other difficulties.

Since research has not yet found its true position in our country, uled and
scoffed at by others are not few. We keep writing treatises that research
spirit must be inculcated into our youth in their tender ages, but fail to
make the necessary provisions.

Recent figures disclose the disastrous dimensions of our failure to make
allowance for research efforts. There are only a puny 338 researchers among
one million Iranians. In more developed countries the ratio.

It's time we took a serious look at the issue of research, and while the
researchers are accorded their true worth, we should try to implement the
results of many researches in the executive organs of the country's major
programs

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 17:41:22 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: A Glance at Majlis Elections

A Glance at Majlis Elections

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Millions of Iranians are expected to go the polls February 18 for
electing about 290 deputies for the Sixth Majlis (the Iranian Parliament).

To qualify as a candidate, the aspiring deputies of the Majlis would have to
meet a number of criteria, and would also have to be approved by the vetting
commission of their own constituency that is responsible to ascertain
candidates' basic qualifications, and ensure consistency of their
professional and ideological background with the established yardsticks for
that purpose. There are 207 such commissions for the Majlis elections this
time.

The decisions of the commissions in that respect will be subject to the
endorsement of elections supervisory councils which are also empowered to
take up grievances by candidates who have been declared unqualified by the
vetting commissions. The councils are also empowered to uphold or reverse the
decisions of the vetting commissions, in the latter alternative, on the
strength of counterevidence that may be offered by those candidates.

Disqualification of candidates in each case will have to be consistent with
the electoral laws.

Vetting commissions undertake character, political and ideological checks on
candidates by various means and relying on different sources, and where they
can disclose to rejected candidates the sources of their privately-gained
information without fear of unwelcome consequences they will have to do so at
the request of the candidates who have been rejected.

The commissions comprise of nine members, including one from the municipal
Islamic councils at the decision of the same councils.

Article 50 of the Majlis Electoral Law of Iran empowers vetting commissions
to probe into the character and overall qualifications of Majlis candidates
with a view to ascertaining their ideological probity and their general
integrity within 10 days after the expire of the deadline for candidacy.

The Electoral Law dictates that government employees and all government
officials intending to run in the elections for the Majlis must temporarily
resign their posts for the purpose.

Until Friday night, as many as 6,860 persons comprising of 6,356 men and 504
women registered for the elections throughout Iran that is substantially
higher than it was for the fifth term.

The minimum educational qualification for a Majlis candidate is a junior
college degree or its equivalent

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 15:34:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Khabar-e-Jonoob's First Page Service By E-mail
Subject: Khabar-e-Jonoob's First Page Service By E-mail

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