Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, September 19, 2002
- Kharrazi on US-Iran Relations
- Protests in Paris against human rights violations in Iran
- Baku-Ceyhan pipeline
- Spread of drug addiction
- Cabinet approves value added tax
- OPEC leaves production quotas unchanged
- Women's police station in Mashhad
- Sale of young girls to marriage in Zahedan
- Cabinet sends anti-money laundering bill to Majles
- New law allows judges to shut lawyers out of fact finding phase
- RFE/RL Roundtable: Akbar Ganji's Manifesto
Kharrazi on Relations with the US
* Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, asked the US to un-freeze Iran's assets and apologize for its policies against the Tehran regime. He said the US lost "a golden opportunity" to mend relations with Tehran after Tehran showed its good will in Afghanistan. It appears that at a meeting of Iran's national security council, the regime's top officials decided not to counter the US on Iraq in order to avoid fomenting US wrath, says RFE/RL's Siavash Ardalan.
Human Rights Organizations Protest to EU against Violations in Iran
* Twenty-three international human rights advocacy groups signed a letter to Denmark, asking the EU to adopt a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran. Paris-based human rights advocate Abdolkarim Lahiji tells RFE/RL that the letter was initiated by the anti-torture organization ONCT and specifically addresses the judiciary's treatment of lawyers who defended political activists and journalists. He adds that human rights organizations have planned a demonstration later today in front of the Iranian embassy in Paris to express solidarity with jailed lawyer Nasser Zarafshan. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* Iranian writers in exile, representatives of human rights organizations and a large group of Iranians in Paris gather in front of the regime's Paris embassy to protest against human rights violations, reports RFE/RL's Jean Khakzad live from Paris.
Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline: A Victory for US Foreign Policy
* Washington-based Caspian Sea expert Sohrab Sobhani tells RFE/RL that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, which began construction yesterday, is a triumph for the US foreign policy that supported it for the past three years against opposition from Russia and Iran. He adds that the ruling clerics ruined Iran's chance to become a conduit for Caspian Sea oil and gas due to their 23 years of anti-American slogans, even though Iran had been the first choice of Azerbaijan and international oil companies. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline would anchor US and western interests in the region and link the Caspian basin to the west. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
Spread of Drug Addiction
* Mohammad-Reza Chamani, head of Iran's healthcare organization (Sazman-e Behzisti,) said nearly 3 percent of Iran's population is addicted to drugs and consumes 4 tons of opium and heroin per day. He that jailing drug addicts has failed to reduce drug addiction. Ali Hashemi, secretary of the anti-drug task force (Setad-e Mobareze ba Mavad-e Mokhader) said Iran's anti-drug campaign needs to be reformed. At the current pace, the number of drug addicts in the country would reach to 19 million by the year 2020. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Cabinet Approves Consumption Tax Bill
* A bill to tax consumption was approved in the cabinet today, according to economy and finance minister Tahmasb Mazaheri, who said essential goods would be exempted from value-added taxation. Tehran-based financial expert Gholamreza Salami says the Majles economy and finance committee considers VAT a necessity for increasing government income, but he predicts that the conservative Guardians Council would reject the bill. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
OPEC Decides Not to Change Production Quotas
* At yesterday's meeting in Osaka, Japan, OPEC oil ministers decided not to change the production ceilings for now. Iran's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh missed the meeting due to a flight delay. OPEC will review production quotas again in its December meeting. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Women's Police Station in Mashhad
* Fatemeh Aslani, head of the nation's first police station for women in Mashhad said her station is dedicated to serve the needs of women. Akram Hosseinzadeh, chief of the Mashhad chapter of the pro-government Jebhe-ye Mosharekat (Participation Front) party, tells RFE/RL that the women's police station has only seven officers, and they cannot move under the weight of their Islamic garb. She adds that most criminal cases involving women also involve men, and it makes no difference whether a man accompanies a woman to a women's only police station or a woman accompanies a man to a men's police station. She says she does not see how a police station of only seven officers can reduce crimes by and against women in a city of several million. (Shireen Famili)
Zahedan Council Member Denies Sales of Young Girls
* In an interview with RFE/RL, Zahedan city council member Azar Keshmiri denies unconfirmed reports that appeared on several Persian news websites that young girls were being sold by their parents to marriage at the price of 2 million rials ($250) per head in the south eastern province of Sistan va Baluchestan. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Cabinet Approves Anti-Money Laundering Bill
* Economy and finance minister Tahmasb Mazaheri said an anti-money laundering bill was approved Wednesday in the cabinet meeting. The bill, he added, seeks to end the underground economy that has been thriving since the revolution. RFE/RL's Paris-based economic commentator says at least 50 percent of Iran's economy is underground and the country is prone to money laundering schemes, due to of the activity of the numerous unregulated saving and loans institutions, and the billions that are earned in the drug trade, smuggling and large-scale embezzlement schemes.
Interrogations without the Presence of Lawyer
* A new law in Iran allows judges to prevent lawyers from attending the fact finding phase of criminal court proceedings, says Washington-based lawyer and human rights advocate Mehrangiz Kar.
RFE/RL Roundtable: Akbar Ganji's Manifesto
* In RFE/RL's Roundtable tonight, the Geneva-based constitutional party member and Shah's last press minister Darioush Homayoun, Paris-based nationalist republican Bijan Hekmat, and Qom-based reformist cleric Ahmad Qabel comment about jailed investigative journalist Ahmad Ganji's new book, Manifesto, which appeared last week on several Persian websites. In it, Ganji renounces his former stance as a religious modernist and calls for the establishment of a secular democracy in Iran. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Daily Internet Report
* The site www.artnet.com provides a database on 16,000 living artists, reviews of New York gallery shows, and links to art sites all over the world. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Daily Book Review
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic reviews to recent Persian books on street theater. "Street Theater: Changing of Dramatic Conventions" written by Farindokht Zahedi, and "Street Theater" by Bill Nelson, translated by Shirin Bozorgmehr.
Daily Science Report: Artificial Diamonds
* A joint team of scientists of the ABB Groupe Services in Vaesteras, Sweden, and De Beers Industrial Diamonds in Ascot, England, has fabricated the purest diamond ever made or found, hastening the prospect of a new class of more capable microchips made from diamond. Another group at Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C., has devised a way to grow high-quality diamonds up to 100 times faster than typical growth rates. In the future this diamond might be used in high-power, high-voltage devices used in trains, radar systems, and electric power-grid circuits. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
Weekly Soccer News and Commentary
* RFE/RL's London-based soccer commentator reviews the latest soccer news.
Song: Guiti's Sings of Rumi
* RFE/RL's music critic Mahmud Khoshnam airs a song based on Rumi's poetry performed by Guiti with the BBC orchestra.
* Los Angeles DJ Afshin Gorgin spins the latest Persian pop tunes.
Los Angeles Report
* In an interview with RFE/RL, astronomer Ebrahim Viktori, author of "The Wonders of the World" talks about mankind's eternal questions about the universe. (Fahimeh Barati)
* Iraq would compete with Soviet Union over domination of the world's oil market, after the fall of Saddam's regime, speculates the Wall Street Journal. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* Five die in the latest Palestinian terrorists' bombing attack in Tel Aviv. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Afghanistan FM asks Iran and Pakistan to halt the flow of Afghan refugees back home. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
* US President seeks special powers from Congress in dealing with Iraq. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* US has no way but to change the undemocratic regimes in the Middle East in order to win in the worldwide campaign against terrorism, write Alan Franchon and Daniel Vernet in today's Le Monde. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* General Tommy Franks meets with Qatari Emir. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* Pope welcomes Saddam's decision to allow UN arms inspectors to return. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
كمال خرازي، وزير امورخارجه جمهوري اسلامي كه براي شركت در مجمع عمومي سازمان ملل متحد در نيويورك به سر مي برد، در مصاحبه اي آمريكا را از مداخله در امورداخلي ايران برحذر داشت. وي افزود شرط بهبود روابط دو كشور، عذرخواهي آمريكا از ايران و آزادكردن دارائي هاي مسدود شده ايران است. وي گفت حكومت ايران «نيت خير» خود را نسبت به آمريكا در مواردي مانند افغانستان نشان داد. خرازي ضمن اعلام آمادگي حكومت ايران براي رفع اختلاف با آمريكا گفت: آمريكا فرصت طلائي براي بهبود روابط با ايران را از دست داد. اخيرا در محافل ايران شايع شد كه سران رژيم در يك جلسه شوراي عالي امنيت ملي، تصميم گرفتند دربرابر اقدام نظامي آمريكا عليه حكومت صدام حسين، اقدامي خلاف سياست هاي آمريكا انجام ندهند. بسياري از ناظران اعتقاد دارند در وراي تبادل اتهام ها، حكومت ايران نمي خواهد در ماجراي عراق خشم آمريكا را متوجه خود سازد.