LMI says press bill will shrink freedom
Tehran - The liberation movement of Iran has charged that a draft new press law would significantly shrink the already narrow parameters of press freedom in Iran. [...] LMI said that the proposed law would 'seal a hole of freedom our people have gained over the years". Due for debate in the Majlis next month, the bill would empower the Culture ministry to close publications they deem to violate the law. The law currently requires that charges against the media go before a special media court and be heard in open session. However, the Cultural Ministry has closed one newspaper and one magazine in recent months and seized one issue of at least one other publication without prior court action.
Thus, it would appear the bill would bring the law in line with reality. But the proposed changes have had the effect of unifying those concerned about narrowing press freedom. The LMI argued that the new law "would lead to new restrictions and to growing interference by executive power in the duties of the judiciary".
Scandalous: Majlis deputy Reza Sahfei says an unnamed former top executive in the tobacco monopoly stands accused of embezzling $15 million over seven years. He used the funds to buy a house in Britain and jewlery for his wife and mother-in-law. Which is more scandalous; embezzling or buying jewlery for your mother-in-law?
After Months of debates and studies into the feasiblity of joining the General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade, Iran may be prepared to take the plunge. "The draft for Iran's membership in GATT has been presented to teh cabinet... and the result will be announced in the near future,'' Economy and Finance minister Morteza Mohammad Khan said.
He said he is optimistic that the government would approve the proposal. Some officials have expressed concerns that GATT membership would require Iran to lower its tarrifs on imports, thus hurting domestic production. But many others said they believe the treaty would ultimately be beneficial, raising the standard of the domestic goods and boosting non-oil exports. Iran also does not want to be seen as one of the few countries that has not signed the treaty.
Mohammad Khan said Iran's membership would not have any adverse effects because Iran's imports and exports were becoming more balanced. "Last Year, we exported about $6 Billion wotth of non-oil goods and imported less than $8 Billion." he said.
Reality Check [Correction by myself (Kourosh)]: Non-oil exports stood at 4.4 Billion last year. The Black market import was $6 Billion which made the total import stand at $14 Billion.
Iran Business Monitor (July Issue): Fixed Rate Exchange Policy May Slow Exports:
the policy will put the export through a shakedown, purging those who have been using foreign trade as ma means to export personal wealth.
The obligations to exchange all export earnings into local currency at Iranian Banks will not affect traditional merchants, an economist who supports the fixed rate policy said. He said serious merchants are actually eccouraged by the new policy because it protects them against risks and uncertainties of a volatile, unpredictable and panicked foreign currency market.
Exporters of manufactured products complain that the below market exchange rate forces a high, uncompetetive dollar value on their goods. they say it would effectively slow down exports of industrial products, which according to senior economic adviser have otherwise the greatest expansion potential among Iran's exportable goods. He warned that it would be difficult for the industrial sector to maintain growth in exports.
Iran's handmade carpet industry will increase exports to $2 Billion in the current fiscal year [1.67 Billion last year]. But new regulations requiring the return of all non-oil export earning to the Central Bank may jeopardize that target.
Dr. Khatemi in the opening ceremony of the Cultural Development Seminar: Hojatoleslam Khatami is the former head of Ershad Ministry.
Democracy should become part of the law Azadi Bayad Ghanoonmand shavad
Dr. Khatami has said; " We have approached the western civilization from a narrowminded (Gheshri) point of view which aslo been with love and hate.
Freedom of thought (Andisheh) and expression (amniat ebraz andishe) is a pre-requisite to growth and development."
He also stated that familiarity with the western civilization is another significant factor for achieving growth.
He called on the elite to reach an agreement on a definition for freedoms and demcracy and make it part of the law.
He criticized Sufism as a scholl of thought which did not venture into political domain and thus created a "Gheshri" thinking.
4/5 of Iran's non-oil export [4.4 Billion] income was not returned to the banking system and was dedicated to "non-productive economic activites" and "smuggling of goods" into Iran.
Ghassem shoele Saadi, Shiraz representative to the Parliament criticized existanc eof a "feudal" system in teh judiaciary and legislative system in IRI. He indicated that this is extended into the economic system as well.
He said: ' in the legistaltive system we have several law making organs, parliament, Majmaee Tashkhees Maslahat, Showraye Alieh Amniate Melli have the law-making powers [mahmelle Ghanoone Assasi darand]... At minimum, this creates chaos in law making.
He also criticized the fact that the parliament does not get to see and approve major international economic contracts. He said that the parlaiment's role is reduced to being the fall guy for inflation.
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