ماه منير رحيمي، مصاحبه با هوشنگ طالع، روزنامه نگار (تهران)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceMonday, April 29, 2002
- Impact of the exodus of managers at the planning organization
- Journalist Zeydabadi talks about his jail sentence
- Iran and foreign investment
- The capital of Iranians living abroad
- Application of Chinese economic model to Iran
- Tehran international book fair
- Diminishing public interest in books
- Tightrope walking of Iranian filmmakers
Managers of Iran's Planning Organization Resign
* Tehran newspapers link the resignation of top managers at Iran's Management and * Planning Organization to differences with the organization's new boss, Vice President Mohammad Satarifar. Economist Hushang Taleh tells RFE/RL that management shakeups are common within the large bureaucracy charged with drafting the national budget, planning and implementation of development projects. He says the resigning managers are responsible for 100,000 unfinished projects, at least 10,000 of them major, and should apologize to the nation for their incompetence. The arrival of new management would make the situation worse, since they would blame the planning chaos on their predecessors. He calls the planning and budget organization "bloated, all skin and air with no brain." (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Judiciary Bans Reformist Journalist Zeydabadi
* For the first time since the Islamic Revolution a journalist is being banned by the judiciary from writing, says Tehran-based reformist Ahmad Zeydabadi, who is sentenced to 23 months in jail and banned from working in journalism for five years. He tells RFE/RL that although the trial took place last year, the verdict was only issued last week in reaction to his recent articles criticizing the Islamic Republic's policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He plans to appeal.
Iran and Foreign Investment
* Mediating the conflict between the Majles and the conservative Guardians, the Expediency Council agreed with the Majles to include Iranian-born investors from abroad among the beneficiaries of the bill to facilitate foreign investment. The investors must, however, show foreign sources for their investments, and determining those sources would be difficult, says Tehran-based economist Mohammad Taqavi. He tells REF/RL numerous factors have contributed to the flight of capital since the Islamic Revolution. There are significant political risks to investors, due to the regime's tensions with foreign countries, as well as economic risks stemming from domestic concerns, such as low productivity of the Iranian workforce and a labor law which contributes to that low productivity. The recent reduction in production taxes, however, was a positive step to encourage investment. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
Expatriate Iranian Capital
Shahin Fatemi, professor of economy at the American University in Paris, tells RFE/RL Iranian-owned businesses in the United States and Europe may be worth more than $400 billion, but the capital they can potentially invest in Iran may be closer to $100 billion. It would take a long time for the Islamic Republic to attract even a fraction of this capital to projects inside Iran. He adds that the bill to facilitate foreign investment currently under review at the Expediency Council is largely for propaganda and would have little effect in attracting foreign capital to Iran. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
Chinese Economic Model and Iran
* Contrary to what some right-wing commentators in Iran have assumed, Iran cannot implement the Chinese economic model. Economic development minus political freedoms would not work in Iran, since, as the reformist commentator Said Hajarian maintains, it clashes with the democratic spirit of the Iranian people. Furthermore, the Chinese model is based on central planning and a specific strategy for growth, which are missing in Iran. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
Tehran International Book Fair
More than 2500 publishers from 37 countries display their wares in the 15th Tehran International Book Fair. Most of the 600 foreign publishers are from Arab countries, specifically Lebanon, says Sadeq Sami, head of the Tehran-based publishing company "Ketabsara." He tells RFE/RL that Iranian publishers introduce their most popular books during the fair and display some 75,000 different titles published during the past 10 years. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
Writer Sees Decline of Book Publishing a Result of Self-Censorship
* Readership of books has declined in the past decades, says prominent writer and literary critic Javad Mojabi. First print runs of literary books are now around 1000 copies, compared to 3000 during the 1970's, when some books had initial press runs in excess of 30,000. Self-censorship and numerous controls and limitations on books have dampened the public's interest. The proliferation of other media, including satellite television, video and foreign radio, contributes to the diminishing public interest in books. Furthermore, fiction and poetry books are not being recognized in government-sponsored book prize programs. Majabi adds recent public efforts to relax censorship are coming to fruition at a time when little energy is left in the market and the connection with readers has already been broken. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
National Unity: Conservative's Tactic to Hijack Reformists
During interviews with RFE/RL, three Tehran-based political analysts comment about "national unity," proposed by a columnist in the conservative daily Resalat as a means to resolve the current political standoff.
* Tehran-based political commentator Qasem Sholehsadi says the outcome of any unity between the regime's two political factions would be the isolation of true reformists and the collapse of the reform process. The fall of the reform movement, however, would unsettle the foundations of the Islamic Republic. In the name of national interest, the conservative faction would try to appropriate the popularity of the reform faction. This would destroy any public credibility the reformists have left. However, he adds, the article in Rasalat was only a personal opinion and none of Iran's political factions are organized enough to follow a cohesive policy.
* Sadeq Zibakalam, a Tehran University political science professor, says the conservatives' reaction to foreign threats is the driving force behind the policy of "national unity." If they were smart, the conservatives would say that in the name of national unity they will follow the will of the majority and move towards relations with the US, in spite of their own beliefs. Zibakalam says the reformists react positively to the conservatives' national unity appeal in order to use it for removing obstacles to reform. He says, however, the differences between the two factions are deeper than their ability to come together under the banner of national unity.
* Nationalist-religious activist Taqi Rahmani, who was released last month after 14 months in jail, says national unity is just a theoretical proposal mentioned in a newspaper article, and none of the prominent conservative politicians have commented about it. He adds, however, that he supports the idea of national unity in general, but today national unity is being proposed under threat. For Rahmani national unity would require some practical consequences, such as releasing the jailed journalists, students and political activists and lifting bans on political activity in universities. Rahmani says the gradual release on bail of the jailed members of the nationalist-religious coalition cannot be applauded as a gesture towards national unity, especially when these activists are denied the most basic citizens' rights. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
US Human Rights Lawyer Protests the Senate Visa Bill
* Russ Peters, a human rights lawyer in the US, protests passage of the bill to limit non-immigrant visas to citizens of Iran and six other countries on the State Department list of terrorism sponsors.
A Mystery Institution Razes Trees in Qum's Largest Park
* Thousands of blossoming trees in Salarieh, Qum's largest park, were razed yesterday by construction machinery belonging to an unknown institution. Neighborhood residents say the activity is related to the Islamic Republic's police and security forces who plan to develop residential high rises in the area. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Washington Post Finds Iranian Cinema a Kind of Tightrope Walking
* Desson Howe of the Washington Post writes that Iranian filmmakers perform the cinematic equivalent of tightrope walking to make movies that satisfy both artistic integrity and the mullahs. (Alireza Taheri)
* Arafat plans to visit Arab capitals after Israel ends the siege of his compound in Ramallah in reaction to President Bush's appeal. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Israel's lifting of the siege of Arafat's compound would be the first sign of an agreement between the US and Israel on ending Middle East violence. (Siavash Ardalan)
* Commander of the Palestinian al-Aqsa unit, who assumed responsibility for several of the recent suicide bombing attacks says Palestinians would seek revenge during an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Saudi Arabia calls Iraq to allow the mission of the UN weapons inspectors resume. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* The al-Touhid terrorist group arrested in Germany planed taking of hostages. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Italian inspectors identified the killer of the four European journalists in Afghanistan. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Creator of the Barbie doll Ruth Handler dies at 85. (Siavash Ardalan)
* Washington will soon have a spy museum. (Jamshid Zand)
* The OPEC Secretary General meets with Russian officials in Moscow. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* Saudi Arabia plans to transfer to public the shares of Aramco, world's largest oil producer. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Songs and Song Makers: Parviz Meshkatian
* Parviz Meshkatian, master santur player and a founder of the ensemble Aref tells RFE/RL about his career as a composer and his work with master singer, Mohammad Reza Shajarian. (Mahmud Khoshnam)
A Book, an Author: "The Story of Roshan"
* Prominent writer and literary critic Javad Mojabi respond to the questions of RFE/RL's London-based book review Bahman Bastani about his new collection of short stories, "The Story of Roshan," published last month in Iran. (Bahman Bastani, London)
Ancient Iranian Stories
* San Francisco-based scholar of old Persian texts tells the story of "Domes" from Nezami's "Haft-Peykar."
Islamic Revolution & Political Parties
* In the eighth segment of RFE/RL's ten part series on Iran's political parties before, during and after the Islamic Revolution, political analysts, historians and former activists describe the role played by the nationalist and leftists parties in shaping the ideological framework of the Islamic Republic. (Mehdi Khalaji)
هوشنگ طالع، پژوهشگر امور اقتصادي و روزنامه نگار در تهران در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي مي گويد با تغيير رئيس، مديران نيز در سازمان برنامه تغيير مي كنند و اين باعث گسيختگي در امور مي شود. وي مي گويد اين تغييرات اصولي نيست و مديران مستعفي سازمان مديريت و برنامه ريزي مسئول ناتمام ماندن صدهزار پروژه بزرگ و كوچك هستند. وي مي گويد اين مديران بايد مدتها پيش استعفا مي كردند واز مردم ايران معذرت مي خواستند. طالع مي افزايد آمدن مديران جديد بر مشكل اضافه خواهد كرد و مديران جديد خواهند گفت به يك وضع خراب وارد شده اند و از دستگاه خود انتقاد مي كنند ولي از مزايا و حقوق و منافع ناپيدا بهره مند مي شوند. وي مي گويد اين سازمان از ناكام ترين بخش هاي دولت هاي گذشته و حال در ايران است كه نتوانسته است به هيچ يك از اهداف برنامه هاي اول ودوم وسوم توسعه در جمهوري اسلامي برسد و بيش از ده هزار طرح عمده ناتمام، حاصل كار آن است. وي مي افزايد: اين دستگاه به طرز غول آسائي متورم شده است و پوست بزرگي است بدون مغز. بنابه گزارش روزنامه انتخاب، احمد صميمي ده كردي، مدير دفتر رياست؛ جعفر عبادي، معاون اقتصادي؛ مهدي حسني، رئيس دفتر اقتصاد كلان: مجتبي جبل عاملي، مدير روابط عمومي و مهدي اخلاقي، رئيس دبيرخانه شوراي اقتصاد سازمان مديريت و برنامه ريزي جمهوري اسلامي، به علت اختلاف نظر با محمد ستاري فر، مدير اين سازمان، استعفا دادند. طي هشت ماه اخير مديران اين سازمان در چندين استان از جمله گيلان، شيراز و هرمزگان نيز تغيير كردند. سازمان مديريت و برنامه ريزي فعلي از تركيب سازمان برنامه و بودجه و سازمان مديريت به وجود آمده است.