Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, August 01, 2002
- Dual reactions to Pourzand's confessions
- Court summons religious-nationalists activists
- US reaction to Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation
- Russia assigns oil fields in the Caspian
- Author and law professor Mostafa Rahimi dies
- Closed economy and information embargo
- RFE/RL roundtable about Iran's future
- Internet report
Some officials Differ with Supreme Leader on Pourzand "Confessions"
* In press interviews and articles, some Khatami government officials and reformist Majles MPs indicated that the jailed veteran journalist Siamak Pourzand's TV confessions were untrue, a view in direct contrast with that of the Supreme Leader, who portrayed Pourzand last Saturday as "a US lackey." Vice president Mohammad-Ali Abtahi wrote in the government's "Iran" newspaper that high-level police officials told him that their investigation discredited Pourzand's statements that certain writers and artists were agents of the US or US-based monarchists. But a day later, the police stated that Pourzand's confessions were true. Abtahi again wrote in Iran newspaper that the cabinet believes the confessions were lies and that high-level police officials are well aware of the lies in Pourzand's confessions. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Court Summons Religious-Nationalist Opposition Activists
* A branch of the Tehran revolutionary court summoned for a new round of trials the members of the religious-nationalist coalition who were freed on bail two months ago after nearly one year in jail. Eleven coalition members issued a letter calling for open trials with jury. Mohammad Maleki, first post-revolutionary head of Tehran University, who signed the letter along with 10 fellow defendants, tells RFE/RL that the first trial will begin on Sunday. He says Abdolfatah Soltani, lawyer of some of the coalition members, was convicted to jail because he revealed to the press his clients' complaints about torture. The coalition members, he adds, complained in secret to the heads of the three branches of government about the torture and maltreatment they endured in jail. He says the trials of nationalist political activists are a part of the political power struggle between the two factions of the government. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
US Reaction to Iran-Russia Nuclear Cooperation
US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham asked Russia to end its nuclear cooperation with Iran. Russia plans to expand its 1990 contract with Iran to include six other plants in Bushehr and Ahvaz at a time when US is focused on changing the Iraqi regime. US Secretary of State Colin Powell ruled out military action against Iran's nuclear power plant, but the Supreme Leader called the armed forces to be ready to defend against possible US military action. (Siavash Ardalan)
Russia Assigns Two Oil Fields in the Caspian
* Russian prime minister announced that two Russian companies won contracts to drill for oil in the Caspian. Foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi said based on its treaties with the former Soviet Union, Iran believes that a new legal regime should be established with the agreement of all five littoral states, writes RFE/RL's Michael Lelyveld. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
Spread of AIDS and Sexual Relations
* Ahmad Qavidel, spokesman of Iran's Hemophilia Society, said in spite of official figures, AIDS in Iran, like everywhere else, spreads mainly through unprotected sexual relations. Healthcare ministry officials said 70 percent of AIDS patients are intravenous drug users and prisoners. Experts say the unusually high percentage is because it was easier for surveyors to count prisoners and addicts. With the spread of prostitution and a lack of public education about protected sex, AIDS and other STD's are on the rise despite official denials. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Author and Law Expert Mostafa Rahimi Dies
* Ehsan Naraqi, former UNESCO advisor, talks about his friend and colleague Mostafa Rahimi who died yesterday in Tehran at 79. Rahimi, he says, was one of the first among Iranian intellectuals of his generation to breakaway with Marxism-Stalinism. Among Rahimi's many publications, his open letter to Ayatollah Khomeni is best known, in which he warned against clerical rule. Rahimi wrote that the clergy have always protected people against tyrannical governments in Iran, but a clerical government would deprive people of that protection.
Closed Economy and Information Embargo Mislead Consumers and Investors
* Iran's closed economic system, combined with a lack of free flow of information, facilitates and encourages corruption, and misleads consumers and investors. The most important economic institutions mislead the public by hiding key financial facts. For example, state-owned power authority Tavanir issued bonds without telling investors that most of its plants are over 20 years old and it already owes 19,000 billion rials to banks. In the 2000-2001 fiscal year, banks lost 2500 billion to embezzlement by officials, according to Central Bank figures. RFE/RL's Paris-based economic commentator Fereydoun Khavand says corporate fraud and misrepresentation of financial facts happen everywhere, but in the US and other countries, government and corporate officials get punished for such things, whereas in Iran they remain in their jobs.
RFE/RL Roundtable: Future Outlook
Tehran University professor Sadeq Zibakalam, reformist Tehran-based journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, editor of four banned newspapers, and Paris-based political analyst and former Majles MP Ahmad Salamatian, discuss Iran's immediate future in the light of rising public discontent and factional conflict within the regime.
* Mashallah Shamsolvaezin says reforms take time and the process includes crisis.
* Sadeq Zibakalam says there is light at the end of the tunnel. He predicts that in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the Guardians Council would block hard-line reformists and both the Majles and presidency would go to moderate conservatives who will form a new coalition with moderate reformists.
* Ahmad Salamatian says if conservatives do not respond to people's demands now, the regime will not last to see the next Majles elections. (Mehdi Khalaji)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Daily Internet Report
A site to deliver Iranian movies over the web started operations today with two recent features by veteran directors Massud Kimiai and Tahmineh Milani.
* The Federal Communications Commission asked the US Congress for laws to help it prevent a possible shut down of the Internet operations of the bankrupt phone company Worldcom.
* The Islamic Iran Participation Front, Jebhe-ye Mosharekat, started a new web-based daily journal after the judiciary shot down the party's unofficial tribune, the daily Nowruz. Toronto-based Internet expert and weblogger Hossein Derakhshan tells RFE/RL that with the Iran's Internet population at above 500,000 and rising, newspaper publishers can reach more readers on the web than they could through the newsstands. He points to the important trend towards web publishing by the reformist faction that began with emooz.org, published by president Khatami's advisor Said Hajjarian. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily Medical Advice and Commentary
* Crowded schools boost children's immunity to infectious diseases, according to a new study. (Dr. Mansur Moslehi)
Daily Book Review Show
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic reviews an anthology of poetry by women poets edited by Kamiyar Abedini.
Today in History. (Gholam-Hossein Mirzasales)
* RFE/RL's music critic discusses the poetry of modernist poet Nima Yushij used in a song called by Barf (snow), performed by 1970's pop singer Farhad.
Weekly Soccer news and commentary. (Mehrdad Masudi, London)
* Los Angeles-based radio host Afshin Gorgin plays a selection of new Persian pop songs.
Los Angeles Report
* Iranian musicians of the LA-based ensemble Lian improvise along with western musicians in a concert of Persian and world music last week attended by more than 2000. Band leaders Pirayeh Hurafar and Houman Purahmadi tell RFE/RL about working with non-Iranian musicians. (Fahimeh Barati, Los Angeles)
Celebration of Iranian Painting
* Mohsen Movaqar, organizer of a benefit at Los Angeles Public Library to celebrate Persian art, tells RFE/RL that the gathering celebrates the touring exhibition of contemporary art from Iran which is organized by the Meridian Foundation in association with Tehran Contemporary Museum. (Fahimeh Barati, Los Angeles.
* A Palestinian delegation arrives in Washington for talks with the US. (Jamshid Chalangi)
* King Abdullah of Jordan warned that possible US attack on Iraq might lead to that country's disintegration and regional crisis. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* ASEAN countries signed an anti-terrorism pact with the US in the final day of their conference in Brunei. (Mina Baharmast)
* EU asked the Palestinian authority for detailed report about the financial aid it receives from the EU. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Foreign ministers of France and Spain meet in Madrid to discuss terrorism and illegal immigrants. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
موضع دولت و نمايندگان مجلس در برابر «اعترافات» سيامك پورزند عليه اهل فرهنگ وقلم، آشكارا با موضع اخير رهبر جمهوري اسلامي متفاوت است. رهبر جمهوري اسلامي چند روز پيش در يك سخنراني، پورزند را از «عوامل و ايادي آمريكا» قلمداد كرد. محمدعلي ابطحي، معاون حقوقي و پارلماني رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، در يادداشتي در روزنامه ايران از قول يك مقام عاليرتبه نيروي انتظامي نوشت «اعترافات» پورزند عليه روشنفكران و هنرمندان با تحقيقات انجام شده توسط پليس در باره آنها تطبيق نمي كرد و دروغ بود. ابطحي نوشت دامان اهل فرهنگ و انديشه حتي مخالفان جمهوري اسلامي از وابستگي به خارج پاك است. نيروي انتظامي در اطلاعيه اي ادعاي ابطحي در باره دروغ بودن اعترافات پورزند را تكذيب كرد و بر درستي آنها پافشرد. ابطحي بي درنگ در يادداشت جديدي در روزنامه «ايران» نوشت دروغ بودن اعترافات پخش شده پورزند صريحا در هيات دولت مطرح شد و مسئولان عاليرتبه نيروي انتظامي نيز در جريان آن هستند.