Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceTuesday, May 14, 2002
- Khatami Withdraws Resignation Threat
- Iran Moves Up in Fitch's Sovereign Rating
- Russia and Kazakhstan Divide Caspian's North Among Themselves
- EU to Benefit from US Sanctions against Iran
- EU considers signing an economic cooperation treaty with Iran.
- US-Iran Relations: Roots of Anti-Americanism
- Highway pollutes Urumieh lake
- Iranian Cinema at Cannes.
Khatami Recasts his Threat
* In an interview with the centrist daily Entekhab yesterday, President Mohammad Khatami said the press had misinterpreted his remarks of last week in which he had said he would "step down" from his office if he felt his government is "losing the path" of reforms. Last week he had also said he would not contribute to the country's present "unrest" by expanding on his complaints. Khatami's resignation remarks of last week were seen as a new willingness to confront the powers that block reforms. MP Mohsen Mirdamadi, head of the Majles national security and foreign relations committee, backed Khatami by threatening that reformist MPs would also resign should Khatami leave office. Some reformist analysts see Khatami's resignation threat as a political maneuver to keep up with the public opinion. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Military Court Sentences Serial Murders Investigators to Jail and Lashes
* The Islamic Republic Armed Forces Judiciary gave jail terms and lashes to five intelligence ministry investigators involved in the interrogation of their fellow agents in the 1999 serial murders of the regime's political opponents and journalists. On a video leaked abroad, the five are seen beating, threatening, insulting and abusing the accused, their friends and family members, including the wife of the murders' alleged mastermind Said Emami, a former deputy intelligence minister for security. The convicted interrogators appealed their sentences and will remain free while their appeal is under review. (Siavash Ardalan)
Iran Moves Up in Fitch's Sovereign Rating
* Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, assigned last week long-term ratings of 'B+' and short-term rating of 'B' to Iran's foreign currency and local currency, based on improved oil income for the past two years and a relatively low foreign debt to GDP and debt to foreign exchange receipts ratios, 7 percent and 28 percent respectively. The ratings apply to Iran's credit as a borrower, says London-based economist Hasan Mansur. He tells RFE/L that Fitch rates Iran's overall economy a weak "C," due to Iran's state-run economic structure and the conflicts within the ruling factions. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Russia and Kazakhstan Divide Caspian's North
* In a treaty signed yesterday at the Kremlin, Russia and Kazakhstan resolved their differences over several Caspian oil fields and agreed on a two-way division of the have not reacted, even though Iran opposes bilateral and multi-lateral treaties on the Caspian. President Khatami last month at the Ashgabat summit repeated Iran's position that the 50-50 treaties between Iran and the former Soviet Union are still in force. (Alireza Taheri)
Sddeutsche Zeitung: EU to Benefit from US Sanctions against Iran
* As the EU considers signing an economic cooperation treaty with Iran, the German daily Sddeutsche Zeitung writes that European countries benefit from the US economic sanctions against Iran. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
US-Iran Relations: Roots of Anti-Americanism
A political science professor and two former activists with leftist and nationalist backgrounds discuss the roots of anti-Americanism in contemporary Iran's political culture.
* Tehran University political science professor Javad Zibakalam says anti-Americanism did not exist in the political thinking of the Islamic Revolution and was injected into the political culture after the revolution by the leftists.
* Farokh Negahdar, a member of the central committee of pro-Soviet Fedayian Khalq-e Iran organization, says anti-Americanism was not uniquely a trend within the left. Since the 1953 pro-Shah coup, all anti-Shah groups opposed the US influence in Iran. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Carter Administration initiated policies to soften Iran's hard-line positions, but admitting the Shah for medical treatment in the US changed the political scene in Iran and the US lost the opportunity.
* Paris-based Ahmad Salamatian, a nationalist activist before the revolution, who joined the first post-revolutionary government as deputy minister of foreign affairs, says the 1953 pro-Shah coup was a turning point in the Iranian opposition's attitude towards the US, and even the nationalists, who did not oppose the US fundamentally and culturally, condemned the US backing of the Shah. (Shahran Tabari, London)
Highway across Lake Urumieh Destroys the Ecosystem
* The 15-kilometer incomplete highway across Lake Urumieh in northwestern Iran is destroying the ecosystem, warns the environmental activist group Qalam-e Sabz (Green Pen). It has issued a statement that damming rivers that empty into the lake could dry the lake within 12 years. Tehran University ecology professor and environmental activist Esmail Kahrom tells RFE/RL that the final phase of the highway project, which would link the two parts by a one-kilometer bridge, would eventually expose the deepest layers of the lake to heavy pollutants from highway traffic. (Shireen Famili)
Iranian Cinema at the 55th Cannes International Film Festival
* Two Iranian directors will join two juries at this year's Cannes film festival, according to French documentary filmmaker Alain Brunet, who reviews the festival's programs in an interview in Persian with RFE/RL's Paris correspondent, Jean Khakzad.
* The Arab world reacts to Likud's vote to reject a Palestinian state next to Israel. Hatam Abdolqader, a founder of the PLO, calls for limitations on Yasir Arafat's power. (Jamshid Chalangi)
* The Washington Post reports that the leaders of the two Iraqi Kurds' paramilitary organizations met with CIA officials secretly in Germany. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Violence in Kashmir kills 33. (Alireza Taheri)
* US troops in Afghanistan capture 33 al Qaeda suspects. (Golnaz Esfandiari, Kabul)
* The interior and judiciary ministers of the seven industrial powers and Russia meet in Canada. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* Amnesty International says China suppresses labor protests. (Shireen Famili)
* Russia's Caspian maneuver is rooted in the failure of the Ashgabat summit on Caspian legal regime, writes Eurasia website. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
* Afghan interim government leader Hamid Karzai tells the German weekly Focus that the era of local warlords is over. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba only a few weeks after President George Bush added that country to his Axis of Evil. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Indonesia's defense minister says he would not allow US troops to establish bases in his country in the name of war against terrorism. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Syria bans anti-Saddam publications in the aftermath of the relaxation of tensions with Iraq. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* UAE and Iranian companies cooperate on exports to Afghanistan. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* Russia and Kazakhstan sign treaty to divide the north of Caspian between them. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
ARTS AND IDEAS
City of God in the Desert
* Dr. Iraj Yazdanbakhsh, an Iranian surgeon in Germany, tells RFE/RL that work on roads and landscaping is finished at Khodashahr (city of God), the desert town he is building north of Isfahan with his own money. The town featuring four places of worship for four permitted religions, will house "the elite, scientists and thinkers." (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
Love Stories from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh
* Sadredin Elahi continues his recitation of the story of Zal and Rudabeh based on the epic Shahnameh.
Weekly Book Review
* Tehran-based RFE/RL's book reviewer Kamran Fani reviews newly published books, including a collection of letters by the contemporary poet Ahmad Shamlou to the Vienna-based poet Mehdi Akhavan Langarudi, two translations in a series for young readers on modernism and post-modernism, and a collection of interviews about the process of modernity in Iran between political science scholar Ramin Jahanbeglu and Iranian scholars in foreign universities.
* Ahmad Shamlou reads two of his famous works.
Classical Love Stories: Khosrow va Shirin
* Sadredin Elahi continues his recitation of the story of Khosrow and Shirin, based on Nezami Ganjavi.
Poetry in Persian Music
* RFE/RL's music commentator reviews the impact of the contemporary poet Houshang Ebtehaj on national Iranian music in his roles as a songwriter and literary advisor to Iranian radio's music production team during the 1960's.
Research on the Impact of September 11 on Iranians in the US
* Professor Mehdi Bozorgmehr, director of Middle East and Middle Eastern American Centee at the City University of New York, tells RFE/RL that the National Science Foundation has funded his new research on the impact of the September 11 events in the lives of Middle Easterners living in the US. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
محمد خاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، هفته گذشته در مراسم معرفي معلمان نمونه کشور گفته بود: "اگر احساس کنم دولت از مسير اهداف انقلاب و جنبش اصلاح طلبي ملت ايران ذره اي منحرف شده است، لحظه اي در مسئوليت رياست جمهوري نخواهم ماند." وي در همين سخنراني گفت: جامعه ما در آستانه آشفتگي قرار دارد و من با وجود گلايه ها، نمي خواهم جامعه را آشفته کنم. شخصيت ها و گروه هاي سياسي و هم چنين رسانه هاي ايران و جهان، از سخنان خاتمي اين تفسير را کردند که وي مخالفان خود را به استعفا تهديد مي کند. هفته گذشته موضوع داغ محافل سياسي، تحليل و بررسي اين تهديد رئيس جمهور بود. حتا چند روز پيش محسن ميردامادي، رئيس کميسيون امنيت ملي مجلس گفت : در صورت استعفاي خاتمي نمايندگان اصلاح طلب مجلس کنار مي روند. اما اکنون محمد خاتمي، مطبوعات را به بدفهمي سخنانش متهم مي کند و مي گويد که مقصود او از نماندن در منصب رياست جمهوري، استعفا نبوده است. علي شکوري راد، عضو فراکسيون مشارکت مجلس شوراي اسلامي نيز گفته است، تهديد به استعفاي خاتمي صرفا برداشت رسانه ها بود و منظور آقاي خاتمي از کنار رفتن از سمت رياست جمهوري، استعفا نبوده است، چون کنار رفتن لزوما به معناي استعفا نيست. در عين حال آقاي شکوري راد تصريح کرده که شرايط کشور به گونه اي است که عملا اجازه نمي دهد دولت و مجلس اهداف خود را به پيش ببرند. واکنش محافظه کاران به موضع گيري تازه رئيس جمهور و اصلاح طلبان نزديک به او، هنوز روشن نيست و روزنامه محافظه کار کيهان در شماره روز سه شنبه خود در اين باره سکوت کرده است، اما رسالت، يک روزنامه محافظه کار ديگر مساله استعفا را عنوان نخست شماره اين روز خود قرار داده و طرح استعفا را فرافکني راديکال هاي اصلاح طلب و گريز آنها از پاسخ گويي خوانده است.
پاره اي از اصلاح طلبان، هفته گذشته، تهديد آقاي خاتمي به استعفا را کوششي براي نزديک شدن به افکار عمومي و يک مانور سياسي ارزيابي کرده بودند.
محمد خاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، به هنگام بازديد از غرفه روزنامه انتخاب درنمايشگاه مطبوعات تهران، در پاسخ به خبرنگار روزنامه انتخاب تهديد به استعفاي خود را پس گرفت و گفت مطبوعات آن را بزرگ كرده بودند. وي هفته گذشته در مراسم معرفي معلمان نمونه کشور گفته بود: "اگر احساس کنم دولت از مسير اهداف انقلاب و جنبش اصلاح طلبي ملت ايران ذره اي منحرف شده است، لحظه اي در مسئوليت رياست جمهوري نخواهم ماند." پاره اي از اصلاح طلبان تهديد او را كوششي براي نزديك شدن به افكار عمومي و يك مانور سياسي ارزيابي كرده بودند.