Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, August 22, 2002
- Conservatives to block Majles candidacy of reformists
- Tehran council members call for mayor's removal
- Government freezes hiring new civil servants
- Law under the absolute clerical rule
- Poverty and joblessness, falling per capital income
- Iran buys 3.5 billion euros
- Investment risk and capital flight
Guardians to Nix Reformists in Next Election
* In vetting candidates for the 2004 Majles elections, the conservative Guardians Council will focus on such qualifying factors as practical commitment to Islam and the constitution, particularly the principle of the absolute authority of the Supreme Leader, according to Gholam-Hossein Elham, the Guardians Council's director of investigation. Secretary of the Guardians Council Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said the Council had erred in approving some of the current reformists in the Majles. RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji says many of the reformist MPs can expect to be disqualified He adds that the constitution has given the Guardians the power to approve applicants for the Majles and they have used their role as the sole interpreter of the constitution to adopt the most extreme interpretation of that power.
Six City Council Members Demand Tehran Mayor's Removal
* In an open letter, six members of the Tehran City Council, led by deputy council chair Ebrahim Asgharzadeh today demanded the resignation or removal of Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Hassan Malek-Madani, nearly a year after they unanimously voted to hire him. City council member Ahmad Hakimipur, who signed the letter, tells RFE/RL that the mayor's decision to halt selling air rights in excess of capacity to high-rise builders was a shock to the nation's economy, since it nearly doubled the real estate prices in and around the capital city. He says the mayor is uncooperative, makes decisions unilaterally and issues orders verbally to avoid responsibility. He says the council had similar problems with the previous mayor, who did not want to submit to its supervision. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Government Freezes Hiring New Civil Servants
All new hiring in government organs from now on will be on contract basis, except when approved by the high administrative council, according to government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh. He said the new decision by the cabinet would improve efficiency and allow better pay for better-qualified, harder-working employees.
* Tehran University economy professor Musa Ghaninezhad tells RFE/RL that civil employment contract is hard to break and is not tied to performance. The new rule would introduce efficiency and temporary employment as new conditions for civil employment and might provide some new employment opportunities, because government organs were avoiding hiring on civil employment contracts. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Law under the Absolute Clerical Rule
* Ebrahim Azizi, a spokesman of the Guardians Council, said today that the high council of cultural revolution and the special courts for the clergy, two organs opposed by reformists as unconstitutional, were formed by the Supreme Leader using the absolute powers given to him by the constitution. The decisions of the two organs were cited several times by the Guardians Council as a basis for rejecting legislation. In the face of the absolute clerical authority, the reformists' concept of rule of law loses substance, says RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji.
Increasing Poverty and Joblessness
According to the World Bank, Iran's per capita income fell to $1,640 in 2001. Abolqasem Mahdavi, deputy minister of cooperatives, said more than 3.1 million are out of job, 14 percent of them with college education.
* Paris-based political commentator Jamshid Asadi tells RFE/RL that Iran's per capita income has fallen to a third of what it was before the revolution. He says at the pre-revolutionary growth rate, Iran's per capita income would have reached that of France by 2006. The rapid spread of prostitution and the growing number of street children are indications of the worsening economic conditions, he adds. Some of the civil servants are now living under the poverty level, since their salaries did not keep pace with inflation.
Iran Turns Half of Its Foreign Exchange Reserves into Euros
* To show its support for euro, Iran converted 50 percent of its $7 billion in European banks into euros, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
Investment Risk and Capital Flight
In a ranking of 60 countries for investment risk, Iran finished at 56th. Also, according to the central bank, during the past five years, $16 billion in capital left Iran.
* Tehran-based economist Habib Chini tells RFE/RL that foreign investment is secure in Iran and the new foreign investment law protects foreign investors against loss of capital to actions of Iranian government, such as nationalization of assets. However, lack of foreign investment and the flight of domestic capital are due to the fact that in today's Iran investment is not profitable. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Government Denies That Abu Nidal Crossed into Iraq through Iran
* Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh denied yesterday's remarks by an Iraqi official that Palestinian terrorist leader Abu Nidal, reported dead in Baghdad, entered Iraq from Iran in 1999. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
Two economics professors discuss Iran's economy and its future in today's RFE/RL roundtable.
* Tehran University economics professor Ali Rashidi says the Islamic revolution's confiscation of businesses and turning them over to incompetent people has had grave economic consequences for the country. In spite of an annual $25 billion oil income and the efforts of farmers who produce 80 percent of the country's food, Iran has not achieved any meaningful economic growth in the past 23 years. He adds that the only solution is a change in the country's political power structure.
* Tehran University economics professor Fariburz Raisdana says that in Iran truth and national interest are being sacrificed to the interests of political power. (Feredyoun Zarnegar)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Stoning by Iranian Writer Rabihavi Premieres in London
* Stoning, a play about adultery during the Iran-Iraq war by London-based writer Ghazi Rabihavi and produced by Harold Pinter, went on stage in London to critical acclaim. Ghazi Rabihavi tells RFE/RL that he wrote the play before leaving Iran in reaction to the Islamic punishment for adultery. In his play, he says, a simple relationship turns into the focal point of sexual politics. He says he writes about social ills and does not consider himself a political writer. Last year, he staged a play based on the jailed student Ahmad Batebi's letter. (Shahran Tabari, London)
Daily Internet Report
* 4rah.org, a cultural website, invites entries by Iranian youth in and out of the country, and the youth from Persian-speaking Central Asian countries. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Today in History (Gholamhossein Mirzasaleh, Tehran)
Daily Book Review: Digital Library
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic Kamran Fani reviews "Digital Library," a 16-volume collection of essays.
Civil Society and Human Rights: The Rights of Secular Iranians
* Washington-based lawyer and civil rights activist Mehrangiz Kar says Iran's laws deny the right of secular Iranians to free expression, participation in the political process and civil employment. (Mehrangiz Kar)
Weekly soccer news and commentary (Mehrdad Masudi, London)
Song and Lyrics: Khosha
* RFE/RL's music critic Mahmud Khoshnam plays Khosha, performed by 1970's popular singer Houshmand Aqili, based on poetry by Manuchehri Damghani, with music by Esmail Mehrtash.
* Los Angeles DJ Afshin Gorgin plays a selection of pop tunes.
Middle East Magazine
* Dance festival in Egypt, interview with Iranian belly dancer Ayda Samari, a look at the life and art of the Egyptian filmmaker Atef Salem. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
Daily Science News
* Contour spacecraft, lost since Thursday when it left the earth's orbit, is orbiting the sun. Its multi-year mission is to collect data from three comets.
* Researchers at Rockefeller University have discovered an enzyme that can detect and destroy anthrax, and should work even against antibiotic-resistant strains.
* Scientists at the London University College have found that caffeine and a related molecule called theophylline can form the basis for new drugs for treating cancer, heart disease and inflammation.
* Russian prime minister signs multi-billion dollar weapons and nuclear power plant contracts with China, and expresses support for China's position on Taiwan and Tibet. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* US President says he would listen to US allies and the Congress before making a decision on military action against Saddam Hussein. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Saddam's VP Taha Yasin Ramadan calls for diplomatic relations with Washington and Riyadh. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* Algerian army surrounds the leader and 300 members of an Islamic extremist group responsible for murdering more than 1000. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Russia's Caspian maneuvers changes little in political alignments and balance of power in the Caspian, writes RFE/RL's Michael Lelyveld. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* International energy agency warns that in spite of continuing development in the world, 1.4 billion people would still be without electricity by 2030. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)مهدي خلجي (راديوآزادي): انتخابات سال آينده مجلس شوراي اسلامي و هم چنين انتخابات آينده شوراها نگراني هاي جناح هاي سياسي را درباره بررسي صلاحيت ها در شوراي نگهبان افزايش داده است. محافظه کاران از ورود نامزدهاي اصلاح طلب يا خارج از جناح بندي هاي داخل حاکميت به عرصه رقابت انتخاباتي نگرانند و اصلاح طلبان و ديگر فعالان سياسي نيز از رد صلاحيت شان در شوراي نگهبان. آيت الله احمد جنتي، عضو شوراي نگهبان در باره نمايندگان راه يافته به مجلس ششم صريحاٌ گفت که ما در بررسي صلاحيت نامزدها اشتباه کرديم و بسياري از کساني را که بايد رد مي کرديم به انتخابات راه داديم. اکنون غلام حسين الهام مسئول مرکز تحقيقات شوراي نگهبان اعلام کرده که در انتخابات آينده مبنا بر احراز صلاحيت است، نه احراز عدم صلاحيت. آقاي الهام افزوده التزام به اسلام و قانون اساسي، ولايت فقيه و حسن شهرت جزء شرايط مثبتي است كه داوطلبان بايد احراز كنند به نظر آقاي الهام اگر بر روي عدم احراز صلاحيت كساني كه داراي سوء شهرت و محكوميت كيفري هستند، كار شود شرايط براي عناصري که او آنها را وابسته مجهولالحال مي خواند فراهم ميگردد. آقاي الهام تصريح کرده که بايد نگران رفتار مخالفين و جريان برانداز باشيم آنها مشكلاتي در روند انتخابات ايجاد خواهند كرد و بايد براي باز كردن پاي مداخلههاي بينالمللي نگران باشيم.
اگر آن گونه که مسئول مرکز تحقيقات شوراي نگهبان مي گويد روال شوراي نگهبان در مجلس هفتم مبني بر وادار کردن نامزدها به اثبات اعتقادشان به اسلام و قانون اساسي و ولايت فقيه باشد، اين مشکل وجود دارد که راه اثبات و احراز اعتقاد به چيزي چگونه است؟
از سوي ديگر اين سخت گيري تازه در بررسي صلاحيت نامزدهاي انتخاباتي، احتمال دارد مخالفت اصلاح طلبان را با نظارت استصوابي شوراي نگهبان بر انتخابات به مرحله تازه اي وارد کند. طبق اصل نود و نه قانون اساسي جمهوري اسلامي شوراي نگهبان نظارت بر انتخابات را بر عهده دارد، اما از آن جا که بر پايه همين قانون اساسي تنها مفسر رسمي قانون اساسي شوراي نگهبان است، شوراي نگهبان اين نظارت را به سخت گيرانه ترين معناي آن تفسير کرده است.
تا کنون مخالفت اصلاح طلبان با نظارت استصوابي به جايي نرسيده است. به عقيده کارشناسان اصلاح طلبان در چارچوب قانون اساسي موجود امکاني بر تغيير نظر شوراي نگهبان يا تعديل نقش و تصميم گيري هاي آن ندارند.
غلامحسين الهام، مسئول مرکز تحقيقات شوراي نگهبان، گفت: روش شوراي نگهبان در اعمال نظارت استصوابي در انتخابات آينده، مبني بر احراز صلاحيت خواهد بود، نه احراز عدم صلاحيت. الهام افزود التزام به اسلام و قانون اساسي، ولايت فقيه و حسن شهرت جزء شرايط مثبتي است كه داوطلبان بايد احراز كنند به نظر آقاي الهام اگر بر روي عدم احراز صلاحيت كساني كه داراي سوء شهرت و محكوميت كيفري هستند، كار شود شرايط براي عناصري که او آنها را وابسته مجهولالحال مي خواند فراهم مي گردد.آيت الله احمد جنتي، عضو شوراي نگهبان در باره نمايندگان راه يافته به مجلس ششم صريحاٌ گفت که ما در بررسي صلاحيت نامزدها اشتباه کرديم و بسياري از کساني را که بايد رد مي کرديم به انتخابات راه داديم.