سياوش اردلان، صادق آل محمد، نعمت احمدي، فرامرز قره باغي
Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceTuesday, November 19, 2002
Court Acquits Powerful Recipients in Jazayeri-Arab Bribery Trial
* A Tehran court sentenced 31-year-old billionaire businessman Shahram Jazayeri Arab to 27 years in jail and 50 lashes on the charge of sabotaging the nation's export system and paying off government officials in exchange for loans and guarantees, but the high level clerics, MPs and political party chiefs who were among the 49 accused of bribe taking in the case, where cleared of any wrongdoing, even though they had received the larger share of Jazayeri's largesse. The sons of three powerful ayatollahs, who were tried as Jazayeri's business associates, received mild sentences, even though the judge had said the case started with the investigation of the business dealings of ayatollahs' sons.
* Jazayeri's lawyer Sadeq Al-e Mohammad tells RFE/RL that his client was surprised by the verdict. He said he needs weeks to study the 400-page ruling and will file an appeal, since there is no evidence that Shahram Jazayeri's activities damaged Iran's exports.
* Lawyer Nemat Ahmadi, who represented several defendants in the trial, tells RFE/RL that the court discriminated among the defendants. The powerful clerics, who head major economic-religious institutions, the Majles MPs and heads of political parties, were cleared because the court said they did not have a criminal intent when they accepted Jazayeri's money.
* Tehran journalist Faramarz Qarabaghi tells RFE/RL that parts of court proceedings were held in secret. The judiciary was not serious in its pursuit of economic corruption crimes, since economic criminals are those who use their close connection to the officials and powerful clerics in order to receive government contracts, loans and concessions. It was only natural that in a show trial like this some become sacrificed. (Siavash Ardalan)
Students Protesting Aghajari's Verdict Call for Constitutional Referendum
* A demonstration staged by the Students' Basij and members of Basij volunteer revolutionary guards in support of the judiciary's verdict against professor Hashem Aghajari and the supreme leader attracted some 2000, while pro-reform students in universities in Tehran and around the country continued to hold rallies calling for a constitutional referendum and condemning Aghajari's sentence. In Tehran and many cities, Basiji and Hezbollah forces attacked students at campus rallies. Akbar Atri, former central council member of the association of university students' Islamic councils, tells RFE/RL that during his two speeches at student rallies in Shiraz and Ahvaz he witnessed attackers driving into crowds of 4000 with clubs, motor bikes and even cars. (Jamshid Zand)
* Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Shahrudi defended the Hamedan court's verdict against Hashem Aghajari, two days after the Supreme Leader ordered the judiciary to revise it. He said the law does not allow the judges to rule based on national expediency. Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said the judiciary should obey the Supreme Leader, just as the Majles obeyed him two years ago by setting aside the press law reform bill. (Jamshid Zand)
* The New York Times writes in an editorial today that students demand an end to Islamic dictatorship. The Los Angeles Times wrote in an editorial today that the unelected clerics cannot win in Iran. (Shahran Tabari)
* The student protest against Aghajari's sentence was a turning point in the relationship between universities and religious seminaries, which have been trying to control them since the 1979 revolution. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Foreign Minister Kharrazi in Brussels
* Foreign minister Kamal Karrazi arrived in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran's relations with the EU, as well as the Iraq crisis. The EU has insisted that the talks on the EU-Iran trade cooperation treaty, due to resume next week, continue in parallel with talks on human rights violations in Iran. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Iran's Experience in Chemical Warfare
* The Christian Science Monitor writes that the US can learn from Iran's experience in dealing with chemical attacks from Iraq. (Fariba Mavedat)
Asylum Seeker in Turkey Dies of Suicide
* Kamran Farmandeh, a refugee in Turkey who had committed suicide on November 3, died yesterday after spending more than two weeks in coma. His brother, psychiatrist Dr. Ali Farmandeh, tells RFE/RL that Kamran was one of the 12 refugees who were told the by UNHCR's Ankara office that they would be deported to Iran after their requests for refugee status was denied. The UN officials thought nothing of the letter the 12 sent threatening to commit suicide one by one to prevent authorities from sending them to Iran alive. He adds that after examining the remaining 11, he found four of them to be suicidal and reported them to the UN. Shahran Sharifi, one of the 120 Iranian asylum seekers who live in the town of Eskishahir, where Kamran Farmandeh lived, tells RFE/RL that the UN officials do not trust Iranian refugees and reject their applications. Behruz Hosseinzadeh, another refugee in the same town, tells RFE/RL that most refugees suffer from psychological problems. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Teaching Literature of Ethnic Minorities
* The High Council on Cultural Revolution began deliberation on a plan that would add courses on the culture and literature of the non-Persian ethnic minorities of Iran. RFE/RL's Paris-based education commentator says this would be a beginning for the education system in paying attention to the realities of the Iranian population mix. (Shireen Famili)
Iran's WTO Membership Depends on US-Iran Relations
* Esfandiar Omidbakhsh Head of Iran's mission to WTO says Iran's joining the World Trade Organization depends on its relations with the US. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
شهرام جزايري عرب، بازرگان جواني كه به جرم ارتباط مالي با مقامات بلندپايه جمهوري اسلامي تحت محاكمه قرار گرفت، دوشنبه گذشته به 27 سال حبس محكوم شد و 48 متهم ديگر پرونده او به زندان، تازيانه و جريمه محكوم شدند. پنج نماينده مجلس متهم به دريافت رشوه، برائت حاصل كردند و سه تن از فرزندان روحانيون پرنفوذ، نجف آبادي، مقتدائي و رستگاري، محكوميت هاي سبك تر يافتند. قاضي پرونده شهرام جزايري را به دادن رشوه متهم كرد اما برخي از گيرندگان پول از او را رشوه گير ندانست. صادق آل محمد، وكيل شهرام جزايري، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي، اتهام اخلال در نظام صادراتي عليه شهرام جزايري را غير مستدل توصيف مي كند و مي گويد آماري براي اثبات اثر منفي وي بر صادرات در دست نيست. وي مي افزايد: اين حكم براي شهرام جزايري غيرمنتظره بود. نعمت احمدي، وكيل چند متهم اين پرونده، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي مي گويد: روحانيون برجسته، مسئولين احزاب سياسي و نمايندگان مجلس از ديگر متهمان جدا شدند، زيرا بنا به حكم دادگاه، سوء نيت نداشتند، در حاليكه ابتدا اعلام شده بود جزايري در ارتباط با تعقيب آقازاده ها دستگير شده است. فرامرز قره باغي، روزنامه نگار و تحليلگر درتهران، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي مي گويد: طبيعي بود كه در دادگاهي نمايشي، برخي قرباني شوند و در حق برخي پنهانكاري شود. وي مي گويد بخش عمده اي از اطلاعات اين پرونده افشا نشد. وي مي افزايد: مفسدان اقتصادي غير از كساني كه به حكومت وابسته اند واز رانت هاي آن استفاده مي كنند، كسان ديگري نيستند. وي مي افزايد حكومتي كه با شكل تماميت خواه مي خواهد باقي بماند ناگزير از قرباني دادن است، گاه سرباز است، گاه رخ يا وزير.