مينا بهارمست، مصاحبه با احمد بشيري (تهران)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceWednesday, July 24, 2002
- New police unit for raiding parties
- Argentine newspaper says NYT report was old news
- Judiciary closes Nowruz
- Tehran bar association condemns sentencing of lawyers
- Kinship marriages and birth defects
- Behbahan court sentences young woman to be blinded
- Sandstorms threaten 100 Sistan villages
- Islamic leftist reformers regret rejecting US talks offer
- Qom enforces black veil
New Police Force for Raiding Parties
The judiciary formed a new police unit for raiding parties in private homes. Judge Vali Khani of the Ershad judicial complex in Tehran said private homes that hold parties in which males and females mix are not considered private and thus are not covered by the constitutional protection of private sanctuaries.
* Tehran-based lawyer Ahmad Bashiri says the Ershad judge's concept of privacy does not agree with laws. He tells RFE/RL that a person's home is his legal private sanctuary and is immune to police aggression; otherwise even a dinner party for four in a private house would become subject to police raid. Holding a party does not eliminate the homeowner's right to privacy. He adds that a neighbor's complaint about noise cannot be an excuse for a judge to order the police to raid it and arrest all the guests. (Mina Baharmast)
Argentine Paper Says NYT Story on Iran Terror is Nothing New
* Clarin, an Argentine newspaper, wrote today that the New York Times report last Monday about the Islamic Republic's involvement in the 1994 bombing attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish center was old news, since Clarin (www.clarin.com) published the same findings a year ago. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
Judiciary Shuts Down the Reformist Newspaper Nowruz
* An appeal court upheld the press court's six-months ban against the reformist newspaper Nowruz and the six-months jail sentence for its publisher Mohsen Mirdamadi, head of the Majles national security and foreign relations committee. Nowruz was accused of anti-regime propaganda, insulting officials and propagating western culture. Mirdamadi had said he would go to jail if his sentence were not overturned in appeal. RFE/RL's Siavash Ardalan says Mirdamadi knows that his going to jail would create a bigger crisis for the conservatives than the jailing last year of Hamedan MP Hossein Loqmanian. The Supreme Leader freed Loqmanian after he spent only three days in jail when Speaker Mehdi Karrubi threatened to resign. Deputies are expected to react to Mirdamadi's sentence next Sunday, during the first official session of the Majles after holidays. (Siavash Ardalan)
Tehran Bar Association Condemns Sentencing of Lawyers
* In a statement issued today, the Tehran bar association questioned the legality of court sentences against lawyers representing political activists. It said only special bar association tribunals can legally suspend or disbar lawyers. RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji says the judiciary tries to undermine the bar association, not only by sentencing a few lawyers, but also through establishing a parallel bar organization.
Kinship Marriages and Birth Defects
Hossein Motalebi, a social pathologies prevention official at the Healthcare Organization (Sazeman-e Behzisti), said today that a growing number of kinship marriages contribute to the increasing birth defects in children, especially mental retardation.
* Tehran University sociology professor Davar Sheikhavandi tells RFE/RL that kinship marriages are actually on the decline due to the increasing participation of women in the workforce and education.
* Dr. Babak Qarai-Moqadam tells RFE/RL that kinship marriages are only one of the causes of birth defects. (Mina Baharmast)
Behbahan Court Sentences Young Woman to be Blinded by Acid
A court in Behbahan, Khuzestan province, sentenced a 21-year-old woman who blinded a man by splashing acid on his face, to be similarly blinded, according to the Islamic eye-for-eye, or "qesas" law. The judge rejected the woman's claim that she had acted in self-defense.
* Hossein Baqerzadeh, a London-based political activist who has campaigned against the eye-for-eye, says the violent, inhuman Islamic punishment increases the number of handicapped in the society. He tells RFE/RL that Islamic regulation limiting social interaction between men and women has increased sexual crimes against women. Victims, who cannot complain to police in fear of prosecution, have no recourse but self-defense. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Summoning Writers and Artists to Interrogation Sessions Resumes
* The reformist newspaper Nowruz reported yesterday in its final issue before being shut down that three more writers and activists, Parvin Ardalan, Shirin Ebadi and Payam Fazlinezhad, were summoned to the Tehran police "office of public places supervision." Deputy director of police public relations Hasan Zakeri said the summons are signed by the judiciary, but those who have been interrogated at the basement office say they were either summoned by phone or received written summons signed by police officers, not judges. They also said the questions put to them during the interrogation were probably related to the "confessions" of the jailed veteran journalist Siamak Pourzand. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Sandstorms Threaten 100 Sistan Villages with Obliteration
Inhabitants of Zabol, the center of Sistan province, say sandstorms have made breathing difficult. Reza Najafi, head of Zabol agricultural crusade says due to a lack of funds, nothing can be done to save more than 100 villages threatened by severe sandstorms.
* Zabol MP Abolqasem Mokhtari tells RFE/RL that years of drought have dried Hamoun lake and as a result, the seasonal hot winds have turned into sandstorms, covering rural roads and burying houses and fields. Last Monday, Zabol lost electricity and water, shops and offices closed and the entire city stopped functioning. The only way to stop sandstorms is stabilizing the sand through plantation, but Afghanistan blocks water from reaching the Hamoun lake. He says people expect the foreign ministry to resolve the issue with the new government in Afghanistan based on a 1978 treaty that guarantees flow of water through Hirmand river to the Hamoun lake. Faced with severe sandstorms and extreme weather, people are abandoning their villages and towns. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Islamic Leftist Reformers Regret Iran's Lost Opportunity to Mend US Relations
* The leftist Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), a key partner in Khatami's reformist coalition, wrote in a statement published today that Tehran's rejection of the US offer for unconditional negotiations was a mistake. It said that whenever Tehran behaved in a more democratic manner, the US abandoned its language of threats. (Siavash Ardalan)
US Continues Efforts to Engage Tehran, Says the White House
* White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that the US continues efforts to somehow engage the Iranian regime in spite of five years lack of success. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
Qom Enforces Black Veil
* Women in Qom, the center of Shiite clergy, told IRNA that they are forced to wear the traditional black veil in the city and the police enforce a ban on colorful clothes. RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji says Qom has turned into a center of resistance against the cultural and social policies of the regime and an increasing number of young people leave the city to avoid pressures.
Iran, Democracy and Development
* In its 2002 report, the United Nations Development Program indicates that there is a strong correlation between democracy and economic development. (Fereydoun Khavand)
* Israel regrets civilians' death in Tuesday's attack on Gaza. (Jamshid Chalangi)
* Syria's Bashar Asad promises reforms on the anniversary of his coming to power. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Europeans should end their criticism of the US and join in a strategic alliance with the US. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* The British parliament criticized the government and private sector for the country's vulnerability to external terrorism. Liberal democrat MP Mike Hancock, an author of the parliaments report, tells RFE/RL that little has been done since September 11 in defense against external terrorist attacks. (Shahran Tabari, London)
* UN Development Program links economic reform to democracy in its annual report. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Georgia's army commander resigns along with his officers protesting the presence of NATO and US advisors. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* The Pope visits Canada. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* Human rights organizations protest US position on anti-torture treaty. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* France celebrates Alexander Dumas' bicentennial. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* More than $5 billion is spent worldwide on sexual exploitation of children, according to a report issued in Rome by the international organization against sexual abuse of children. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Civil Society and Human Rights
* Washington-based human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar says in a commentary for RFE/RL that the Majles MP's avoided confrontation with the ruling clerics on the rights of women by asking three conservative ayatollahs their opinion on Iran's joining the international treaty to ban all forms of discrimination against women. She adds that a majority of the MPs oppose women rights for religious reasons.
Weekly Science Magazine
Long-term Gene Therapy for Hamsters' Chronic Heart Failure
* Dr. Kenneth Chien and his research team at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, have developed a therapeutic gene and molecular delivery system that provides successful long-term gene therapy that halts chronic heart failure in hamsters. The study is expected to proceed into human clinical trials within 12-18 months.
Smoking and MS
* Dr. Parviz Ghadirian, director of the epidemiology research unit at the University of Montreal, tells RFE/RL about a case-control study conducted by him and his colleagues involving 200 MS patients and 202 controls. This study revealed that high calorie and saturated fat intake, and lower intake of vitamins and fiber would increase the risk of developing MS.
Carbon Fullerenes Use in HIV Drug Research
* Research being done at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and several drug companies on a class of carbon, cage shaped molecules known as fullerenes, is leading to new drugs for treating HIV, cancer, and neurological conditions, and has resulted in new diagnostic tools.
Synthetic Polio Virus
* Dr. Eckard Wimmer of the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his team, have synthesized the polio virus. Their finding that the possibility to create viruses as biological agents is easier than previously thought has important implications for protection against supposedly eradicated diseases such as small pox.
Youth, Society and Education
* Paris-based sociologist and education expert Said Peyvandi compares Catholic and Muslim young people's relation to religion. (Nazi Azima)
قاضي ولي خاني، قاضي دادگاه مجتمع قضائي ارشاد، استدلال كرد منازلي كه در آنها ميهماني برگزار شود جزو حريم خصوصي افراد حساب نمي شود. احمد بشيري، وكيل دادگستري و حقوقدان در تهران، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي مي گويد: تعبير قاضي ارشاد از حريم خصوصي با قوانين جور در نمي آيد. وي مي گويد محيط زندگي هر كسي حريم امن او است. وي مي افزايد برگزار كردن ميهماني در منزل، حق صاحب خانه نسبت به حريم خصوصي خود از بين نمي برد. مشيري مي گويد: اگر همسايه از سروصدا شكايت كند، پليس در نهايت مي تواند اخطار بدهد و فرداي آن روز صاحب خانه را به دادگاه جلب كند تا جربمه بدهد ولي ريختن از درو ديوار به داخل خانه مردم و دستگير كردن ميهمان ها در پاسخ به شكايت همسايه از سروصدا، با قوانين تطبيق نمي كند.