Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceSunday, October 20, 2002
- Khatami's economic performance
- Khatami's criticized institutions under the Supreme Leader
- Reformists and serial murders
- Reformists meet with dissident cleric Montazeri
- Amnesty International condemns Iran's executions
- Cultural center closing denied
- Judiciary charges pollster with espionage
Khatami's Economic Scorecard
* Defending his government's economic record in a speech at the Majles, President Khatami said during the past two fiscal years 410,000 and 460,000 new jobs were created. He put annual growth at above 4 percent. But RFE/RL's Paris-based economic commentator Fereydoun Khavand says the figures, even as exaggerated as they are, show that the government fell short of the Third Five-Year Economic Development Plan's annual goal of creating 760,000 jobs per year. He adds that the growth rate in Iran is a product of increased oil income due to higher prices. Despite a few good economic moves, such as unification of the exchange rate and tax reform, Khatami did not institute any major structural change to transform Iran's oil dependent, state-run economy.
Khatami Unelected Institutions and Constitutional Violations
* In his speech at the Majles, President Khatami also said the main goal of his government was to struggle for democracy. He criticized unelected institutions that operate directly under the Supreme Leader and are not answerable to anyone. He rejected the conservatives' charge that his proposed expansion of presidential powers would lead to a dictatorship of the president, saying this criticism comes from opponents of democracy. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Reformists and Serial Murders
* In his fourth letter to President Khatami's brother Mohammad-Reza, Habibollah Asgaroladi, head of the conservative party Jam'iyat Motalefeh-ye Eslami, said the reformists must clarify the ambiguities that still exist about the serial murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry officials since they took place under Khatami and his reform government. Tehran lawyer Ahmad Bashiri, who represents the family of murdered writer Mohammad Mokhatari, tells RFE/RL that the groundwork for the murders dates back to years before Khatami took office. (Shireen Famili)
Reformists Meet with Ayatollah Montazeri
* Mohammad-Reza Khatami, along with a group of reformists from the Majles and government, met with Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the highest ranking dissident Shiite leader, who is under house arrest in Qom. The unusual meeting, during which the visiting officials spoke with Montazeri in his courtyard from the balcony of his son's residence next door, was a part of the reformists' campaign in advance of the Majles vote on Khatami's bills to expand presidential powers and reform the election law, says Ahmad Salamatian, a Paris-based former MP from Isfahan. He tells RFE/RL that the meeting, in defiance of the Supreme Leader under whose order Montazeri is being held since 1998, was meant to show that the conservative clerics do not have a monopoly on religious jurisprudence. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Italy's Radical Party Chief Criticizes Stoning
* Marco Pannella, founder of the Italian Radical Party, criticized death by stoning practiced in Iran and Nigeria as a crime against humanity. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
Germany's Amnesty International Condemned Public Hangings in Iran
* In a letter signed by more than 1000 German politicians and celebrities, the German chapter of the Amnesty International protested the rise of public executions in Iran. Kazem Hasehmi, a member of the Iran committee at the Amnesty International's German chapter, tells RFE/RL that the convicts hanged during the past few weeks in Iran did not have access to lawyers. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
Tehran Municipal Government Denies Closing of Cultural Center
* State radio-TV's newspaper Jam-e Jam reported that a cultural center in Tehran's sixth district was closed by order of a judge who found the filming of a concert there un-Islamic due to the lack of proper Islamic head cover on women participants. Reza Mohebi, a spokesman of the sixth district's municipal government, tells RFE/RL that the Jam-e Jam report was false. The concert took place not at the cultural center but in an open area adjoining the cultural center, he adds. Most cultural centers in Tehran are operated by the municipal government's cultural affairs organization and conservatives often criticize their well-attended events. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Judiciary Charges Polling Institute Chief with Espionage
* The Tehran judiciary charged Behruz Geranpayeh, head of the culture ministry's "national institute for public opinion research (Moasseseh-ye Melli-ye Pazhouhesh-e Afkar-e Omumi) with espionage, treason, financial irregularities and other crimes, including weakening the country's foreign policy. Geranpayeh's institute, along with two other polling centers, were responsible for the opinion poll that showed 75 percent of Iranians favor relations with the US. The institute, which was padlocked by the judiciary last month, has conducted other opinion polls on behalf of the government and reformist parties that showed the regime's officials lack public support. The culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jamei defended Gernpayeh, saying none of the intelligence organs take the espionage charge against Geranpayeh seriously. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Iran's Position on the Possible US Attack against Iraq
* By helping some Iraqi opposition groups, Tehran hopes to have a say in the post-Saddam Iraq, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
Higher Education Ministry's Plan to Admit Non-Attending Students
* Students and educators criticized the higher education ministry's plan to admit non-attending students in universities, which they said was a ruse to increase revenues at the expense of quality of education. (Said Peyvandi)
Iran's Foreign Trade Ranking
* In Iran October 20th is celebrated as the day of export promotion. Excluding oil, Iran's revenues from exports does not exceed $4 billion, placing Iran at the lowest rank in the world. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Daily Internet Report
* In her new column, "Public Notes (Yad-dasht-ha-yeh Omumi)" in the Internet site "Zanan-e Iran" (www.womeniniran.com), women's rights advocate Shadi Sadr comments on the new official attitude towards sexual education for girls and a recent regulation that allows schoolgirls to wear colorful veils instead of black or grey, saying that the government should apologize for its past ban on sexual education and its heavy-handed enforcement of the Islamic dress code. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Daily Book Review: "I'll Turn Off the Lights"
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic, who was a member of the "Mehregan" literary award, reviews the novel by Zoya Pirzad "I'll Turn Off the Lights," which won the first prize among the 186 novels published last year in Iran.
Daily Science Report
* Scientists found that the brain uses different sides for processing images of self and others. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
Song: Safar Beh Kheyr (Bon Voyage)
* RFE/RL's Frankfurt-based music critic plays Safar Beh Kheyr, based on a poem by Mohammad-Reza Shafiee Kadkani, with music by Cologne-based composer Majid Derakhshani, performed by Zohregh Juya.
* Israeli forces begin withdrawal from West Bank. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Saddam Hussein gave amnesty to all prisoners, including political. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* Kuwait began taking delivery of its national archives from Iraq after a 24-hour delay. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Tens of thousands of Australians marched in grievance for their compatriots who died in the Islamic terrorist bombing on Bali. (Jamshid Adili, Sydney)
* Irish and Dutch vote to admit 10 new members to the EU. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* Montenegro voters elect new parliament. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Russia's Kalmykia republic voters re-elect their chess-playing president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* US attack on Iraq may bring Iraq to the brink of implosion, writes Agence France Press. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* Nobel Peace Prize Laureates meet in Rome. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Forum 2000 conference ends in Prague. (Golnaz Esfandiari)مهدي خلجي (راديوآزادي): محمد خاتمي در جلسه امروز مجلس شوراي اسلامي دستاورد مهم دولت خود را تلاش براي دستيابي به دموکراسي خواند. آقاي خاتمي در پاسخ به کساني که پس از پيشنهاد لايحه تبيين اختيارات رياست جمهوري، او را به ديکتاتوري متهم کرده بودند، گفت: اگر بايد دغدغه بروز ديكتاتوري را داشت - كه بايد داشت - بايد سراغ دستگاهها و زوايايي رفت كه در آنها اختيار حتي نقض قانون اساسي هست، ولي ساز و كار پاسخگو كردن آنها نيست. احتمالاً اشاره رييس جمهوري به نهادهاي سياسي و اقتصادي زيرنظر رهبر جمهوري اسلامي است که خود را در برابر مجلس يا ديگر نهادهاي کنترل کننده پاسخ گو نمي دانند. آقاي خاتمي در بخش ديگري از سخنان خود گفت: واقعيت آن است كه از مردم سالاري فقط ديكتاتورها و ديكتاتور مآبها ميترسند. به اين سبب من خوشحالم كه حتي در ايراد به لوايح رييس جمهوري كه به مجلس داده شده است، شديدا روي نقد و رد ديكتاتوري سخن گفته شده است و خوشحالي مضاعف اين است كه احيانا اين سخن از سوي كساني گفته شده است كه اگر نگوييم دلايل، دست كم شائبههاي فراواني در گفتار و رفتار آنان وجود دارد كه مردم سالاري را مردود ميدانند. آقاي خاتمي اين احتمال را که با تصويب لايحه تبيين اختيارات رياست جمهوري زمينه ديکتاتوري رييس جمهور فراهم شود، رد کرد و اعلام نمود در نظامي كه رييس جمهوري آن بر اساس قانون اساسي در برابر مردم، مجلس و رهبري مسوول است و نيز راهكارهاي روشن و محكم براي نظارت و برخورد با او وجود دارد، امكان ديكتاتوري نيست. هم چنين آقاي خاتمي بدون نام بردن از طرح خروج از حاکميت که پيشنهاد شماري از اصلاح طلبان بود بر حضور خود در منصب رياست جمهوري تأکيد کرد و گفت رييس جمهور مسوول اجراي قانون اساسي است و علاقه و حق هم ندارد كه از اين مسووليت مهم ديني، قانوني و شرعي خود صرف نظر كند و پيمان خود با ملت و سوگند خود در برابر خدا را بشكند. با اين حال آقاي خاتمي مخالفان خود را به نحو ملايمي تهديد کرد و اظهار داشت: ما بر جفاي دوست و دشمن در راه خدمت صبوريم، اما براي پاسخگويي به حقوق اساسي مردم مزاحمتها و تاخيرها را بر نميتابيم.
فضايي که پس از پيشنهاد دو لايحه دولت درباره تبيين اختيارات رياست جمهوري و نيز انتخابات به وجود آمده، جناح هاي سياسي را به شفافيت بيشتري واداشته است. اگرچه آقاي خاتمي هم چنان بر سياست ميانه روانه خود اصرار مي ورزد، اما اشاره آشکار او به نهادهاي غيرمسئول و دغدغه ديکتاتوري از جانب آنها، تقابل او را با محافظه کاران تشديد مي کند و هرچه پيشتر مي رود بر اهميت سرنوشت ساز تصويب يا رد لوايح دولت مي افزايد.
محمد خاتمي رييس جمهوري اسلامي در جلسه امروز مجلس شوراي اسلامي دستاورد مهم دولت خود را تلاش براي دستيابي به دموکراسي خواند. خاتمي از نهادهاي سياسي و اقتصادي زيرنظر رهبر جمهوري اسلامي که خود را در برابر مجلس يا ديگر نهادهاي کنترل کننده پاسخگو نمي دانند، انتقاد كرد. آقاي خاتمي اين احتمال را که با تصويب لايحه تبيين اختيارات رياست جمهوري زمينه ديکتاتوري رييس جمهوري فراهم شود، رد کرد و گفت اين انتقاد را كساني مطرح مي كنند كه دست كم شائبه هاي فراواني در گفتار و رفتار آنان وجود دارد كه مردمسالاري را مردود مي دانند.