Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, April 18, 2002
- Reformists worry about exclusion from US Talks with conservatives
- Three views in Islam about Suicide Bombings
- Activist Taqi Rahmani free on bail
- Factions clash on Middle East policy
- The impact of seeking edicts from Grand Ayatollahs on legislation
- Women MP's call for action on the rejected divorce bill
- Users complain about Iran Telecom's mobile phone service
- Reza Pahlavi speaks in Washington
- 11th anniversary of the assassination of Abdolrahman Borumand
- Iran's Baluchestan sees bright future in the rebirth of Afghanistan
Iran's Reformists in the Dark about Possible Talks with the US
* As rumors about secret meetings between Islamic Republic officials and the US take hold, the reformist faction worries that it may be excluded from decisions about negotiation with the US. All rumors point to conservative figures as members of a team that has had or will have contacts with the US, probably in Cyprus. A conservative newspaper, Siasat (Politics) nominated former foreign minister Ali-Akbar Velayati to represent the Islamic Republic in contacts with the US. Hamedan MP Hossein Loqmanian says conservatives want to "monopolize" contact with the US. The reformists believe that the conservative faction, with the permission of the Leader, seeks to put into action the project of talks with the US, even though the reformists initiated the idea after September 11. The reformists say the success of any negotiations with the US would depend on the participation of all political factions. The Islamic Mojahedin Organization, a leftist member of the Majles pro-reform coalition, says in a statement that wrong foreign policies have led some sectors of the Iranian society to see the US as a savior. The former President Rafsanjani's statement about possibility of non-governmental contacts between the two countries did not tell much to the reformists about their opponents' action plan. So far, the conservatives, and the Leader Khamenei, who makes the final decision, prefer to keep the reformists in the dark. (Siavash Ardalan)
Three Views in Islam about Suicide Bombing
* Veteran journalist Amir Taheri writes in the Los Angeles Times that suicide bombing is a form of organized warfare directed by politicians, and portraying it as self motivated expression of a frustrated individual disregards the large support system required to recruit, train, equip and deploy suicide bombers and produce propaganda materials after each action to promote it. Islam forbids suicide, he writes, and martyrs are those who unwillingly die in battle. (Alireza Taheri)
Court Frees Taqi Rahmani, Nationalist-Religious Activist
* In an interview with RFE/RL a day after his freedom on bail after 14 months in jail, Taqi Rahmani, 41, political activist and member of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition, says the hardships of jail, six months of it in solitary confinement, did not weaken his support for the reform process in Iran. He says Iran's reform movement suffers from strategic, tactical and planning problems, while it has to deal with the problem of meanness in its own ranks. The Nationalist-Religious Coalition believes that the reform movement would thrive, even though as a political group outside the regime, it has benefited little from the reforms, he adds. (Siavash Ardalan)
Iran's Factions Clash on Middle East Policy
* Conservative newspapers criticized foreign minister Kharrazi for asking Lebanon's Hezbollah to avoid provoking Israel. Tehran-based political analyst Mohsen Sazegara tells RFE/RL that Kharrazi's statement was a positive response to the US Secretary of State Powell, who asked Iran and Syria to help prevent an outbreak of war between Israel and Hezbollah. Sazegara says Iranian's general indifference to the Palestinian issue is a direct result of the high volume of pro-Palestinian government propaganda. Of the three approaches in the Iranian government to the Palestinian issue, the one aimed at peace with Israel is gradually taking hold. The extremists' calls for destruction of Israel or an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in the Palestinian lands are unrealistic. Khatami's recent hard-line statement was out of line with the positions expressed by his own foreign minister and the reformist faction.
Seeking Edicts from Top Shiite Clerics: Political Value for the Majles
* Majles MP's seek edicts from Qum's Grand Ayatollahs in support of their bills which have been rejected by the conservative Guardians Council on religious grounds. They believe the edicts might help conservatives to change their positions. The practice, which began with the current term of the Majles, has turned into a habit, but conflicting "fatwas" have little impact on the Guardians Council's decisions, which are based on Islamic rules as seen by the six Ayatollahs appointed to the Council by the Leader. According to the Islamic Republic constitution, even the Leader, who is not necessarily "a source of emulation", need not agree with the ideas of the "sources of emulation" about Islamic rules. Furthermore, the proliferations of religious edicts on both sides of an argument, has weakened the political impact which religious edicts once had and has pluralized religion itself. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Women MP's Call for Action on Divorce Bill
* The Expediency Council has for the past 18 months shelved a Majles bill defining the grounds which would give a wife the right to divorce her husband. According to Islamic laws, divorce is the sole right of the husband, except in cases when a marriage causes extra hardship for the wife. The new divorce law, termed "hardship of women" recognizes nine conditions in a marriage, such as the lack of financial support, husband's addiction to drugs or his conviction to jail, as woman's grounds for divorce. Azadeh Kian, a Paris-based expert of women's rights, tells RFE/RL that the burden of proof is still on the woman and she may not have the resources to fight her case in the court. However, she says, basically we should ask why our civil code gives the right to divorce solely to men. Monir Amadi, director of the Tehran Center for Women Studies tells RFE/RL that the specific definitions of nine woman's grounds for divorce in the Majles bill might exclude other legitimate reasons a woman might need to seek divorce and thus would be limiting. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
2 Million Iranian Mobile Phone Users Complain About the Service
* Iran Telecom's mobile phone service, now reaching more than 2 million customers, faces rising user complaints about poor quality and lack of connection. This is particularly true in peak hours, says Tehran-based communications expert, Bijan Akrami. He tells RFE/RL that Iran Telecom sold a million mobile phone numbers last year and still does not have the infrastructure in place to serve them. The state-owned phone company may not be to blame. It might have been directed by the government to do so, since pre-selling goods and services is a way to absorb excess liquidity. He says mobile phone service will improve within three months, after the installation of the new switchers, providing that the customer base remains study. (Jamshid Zand)
Reza Pahlavi Speaks at Press Conference in Washington
* Fifty-million young Iranians want political and social reforms and use every opportunity to show their displeasure with the cleric regime, says the former Shah's son, Reza Pahlavi during a press conference in Washington. He accuses the Islamic Republic of using Iran's resources at the service of polarizing the Middle East, and asks the world community to make the right choice in support of the events that would result in the establishment of a secular democracy in Iran. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
Daughter of an Iranian Terror Victim Says France Slowed its Investigation
* Ladan Borumand, daughter of Abdolrahman Borumand, the assassinated leader of a Paris-based anti-regime organization, says to keep its good relations with Iran, France seems to have slowed down investigations on Iran related terrorism cases. However, she tells RFE/RL that her father's file will remain active indefinitely as a case of terrorism. Borumand became the leader of the Paris-based anti-regime organization founded by his assassinated friend Shapour Bakhtiar, the Shah's last prime minister. Borumand's daughter says they honor the memory of all victims of terrorism at her father's annual memorial service. (Jean Khakzad)
Iran's South Eastern Province Stands to Benefit from Trade with Afghanistan
* As the first Iran-Afghanistan trade exhibit opens in Zahedan, the Sistan va Baluchestan province neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan can expect to reap the benefits of the rebirth of Afghanistan. For the poor province that subsides partly on smuggling, the outlook of free legal trade may point to a brighter future. Isa Ebrahimzadeh of the Sistan va Baluchestan university argues that the province stands to benefit from its geographic position as a link between Central Asia and Indian Ocean. (Fereydoun Khavand)
* Afghan women in the streets of Kabul and Kandahar tell RFE/RL that they hope Mohammad Zaher, the former shah, would use his immense popularity to bring back peace and tranquility to Afghanistan. (Shireen Famili)
* Former Afghan king leaves Rome for Kabul amid heavy security. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Israel forces return to Jenin refugee camp, a day after Powell leaves the Middle East. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Washington reflects on Powell's failed mission. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* London papers, Guardian and Independent print articles by Timothy Carlton Ash and Amos Oz.
* Britain's House of Lords pressures the government to find a new nominee for the post of the British ambassador to Iran. Lord Morris of Aberavon, who heads the Iran-Britain group, tells RFE/RL that Lords from all three major parties and a majority of the MP's agree with his position that relations with Iran are too important for the position of the ambassador to remain vacant for so long. (Shahran Tabari, London)
* Three die as a small plane hits Italy's tallest building in Milan. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Young Iranian Harpist in Cologne Wins
* Harpist Targol Dalir Azar, 17, who for five years in a row won the top award in Germany's youth musical competition, tells RFE/RL that she wants to study musical therapy after she graduates from high school. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
Weekly news and commentary about the world of soccer (Mehrdad Masudi)
Los Angeles Report
* Homa Sarshar, author of "Shaban Jafari's Memoirs," published last month in Los Angeles, tells RFE/RL that she wrote the book based on hours of taped interviews with the athletic club owner Shaban Jafari who played an important role in the 1952 US-backed pro-Shah coup that toppled prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq's rule. (Fahimeh Barati)با قوت يافتن شايعه ديدارها و گفتگوها بين مسئولان ايران و امريكا، اصلاح طلبان نسبت به بيرون ماندن از اين تحولات نگران شده اند. تمام شايعاتي كه در مورد تحولات پشت پرده راجع به رابطه ايران وا امريكا منتشر شده، حاكي از سپرده شدن ميدان به دست شخصيتهاي محافظه كار بوده است.
بر اساس اين شايعات، هياتي براي مذاكره با دولت امريكا تشكيل شده است و قرار است اين مذاكرات در قبرس هم دنبال شود. افرادي كه از حضور آنها در اين هيات نام برده شده، جزو سياستمداران محافظه كار بودند، هر چند يكي از آنها اصل موضوع را منتفي دانست.
در پي اين شايعات بود كه جناح اصلاح طلب و نمايندگان آن در مجلس، در عين اظهار بي اطلاعي از درستي شايعات، بر آن شده اند تا در اين ميان نقشي براي خود بيابند. نمايندگان مجلس، وزيران اطلاعات و خارجه ايران را براي اداي توضيحات به مجلس فرا خوانده اند.
جناح اصلاح طلب هر بار كه خواسته در نزديكي به آمريكا ابتكار عمل را به دست گيرد، توسط محافظه كاران و با مخالفت هاي آيت الله خامنه اي، رهبر جمهوري اسلامي، مجبور به عقب نشيني شده است. اما سكوت جناح راست در مورد شايعات اخير، براي اصلاح طلبان خبر خوشي نيست.
روزنامه سياست كه نزديك به محافظه كاران است، در شماره امروز خود پيشنهاد كرد مذاكره مستقيم با دولت آمريكا عيبي ندارد، به شرط آنكه در اين مذاكره وزير خارجه قبلي ايران، علي اكبر ولايتي، به عنوان طرف ايراني معرفي شود. آقاي ولايتي جز سياستمداران محافظه كار است. روزنامه محافظه كار رسالت هم ديروز از لزوم "مصلحت گرايي" در عين حفظ عزت نوشت.
هر چند جناح اصلاح طلب مدتهاست كه در تلاش براي نزديكي با آمريكاست تا جايي كه ديروز رئيس فراكسيون مشاركت در مجلس گفت تابوي مذاكره با آمريكا بايد شكسته شود، اما نگراني هاي اصلاح طلبان از آنچه اينك در جريان است از زبان يك نماينده مجلس بيان شد.
حسين لقمانيان، نماينده همدان گفته است: جريان خاصي در كشور مي خواهد رابطه با آمريكا را در انحصار خود بگيرد. آقاي لقمانيان افزود: اكنون حركتي در ارتباط با زمينه سازي و مذاكره در جريان است ولي ما را سرانجام به جايي ميرسانند كه در رابطه با آمريكا از يك انتخاب به يك تحميل برسيم.
اصلاح گرايان پس از حوادث 11 سپتامبر و در پي تهديدات رييس جمهور امريكا، ابتكار عمل را در تنش زدايي بدست گرفتند هر چند نتوانستند تا آنجا پيش بروند كه بحث مذاكره با امريكا را عملي كنند. اكنون آصلاح طلبان فكر ميكنند جناح راست با اجازه حاكميت، در صدد عملي كردن بحث مذاكره است، از اين رو نميخواهند مزاياي سياسي داشتن رابطه و مذاكره با آمريكا را به آساني به جناح رقيب واگذار كنند.
سازمان مجاهدين انقلاب اسلامي، از تشكل هاي اصلاح طلب، در بيانيه ديروز خود هشدار داد برخي سياست هاي نادرست كار را به جايي رسانده است كه برخي قشرهاي اجتماعي آمريكا را به چشم يك منجي مي بينند. ديگر اصلاح طلبان هم هشدار مي دهند اگر قرار است مذاكره اي انجام شود بايد با اجماع و اطلاع تمام جريانات سياسي باشد تا به موفقيت برسد.
ظاهرا اظهارات اخير علي اكبر هاشمي رفسنجاني، رئيس مجمع تشخيص مصلحت، هم مبني بر بلا اشكال بودن مذاكره غير دولتي هاي ايران و آمريكا، نتوانست به اصلاح طلبان دستمايه اي براي پي بردن به واقعيت امر بدهد. با اين حال، هنوز مقامات جناح راست در حاكميت و يا آيت الله خامنه اي كه تصميم گيرنده اصلي است، ترجيح داده اند، فعلا اصلاح طلبان را از حركت بعدي خود بي خبر نگاه دارند.
با قوت گرفتن شايعه ديدار هاو گفتگو ها بين مسئولان جمهوري اسلامي و آمريكا، جناح اصلاح طلب نگران آن است كه در تصميمگيري در باره مذاكره با آمريكا و در تماس با مقامات آمريكائي به آن نقشي داده نشود. جناح راست از محكوم ساختن مذاكره احتمالي با آمريكا امتناع ورزيد. تمام شايعات حاكي از سپرده شدن ميدان به دست شخصيت هاي محافظه كار بوده است.