Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, January 01, 2004
<b>US Suspends Iran Banking Sanctions</b>
• U.S. humanitarian aid to earthquake victims should prove that America is compassionate even though it lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, President Bush said on Thursday. “What we're doing in Iran is we're showing the Iranian people the American people care, that we've got great compassion for human suffering,” he added. The United States is glad the Iranian government has allowed U.S. humanitarian aid flights into the country, he said. “It's right to take care of people when they hurt, and we're doing that,” Bush said. But he added: “The Iranian government must listen to the voices of those who long for freedom, must turn over al-Qaeda that are in their custody and must abandon their nuclear weapons program.” He said he hopes Iran will hand over members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization to their countries of origin, scrap its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way and abide by an accord it signed on December 18 to open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors. (Amir Armin)
• The US treasury department suspended banking restrictions on Iran temporarily in order to speed the flow of humanitarian relief to victims of the December 26 earthquake in Bam. The Bam earthquake was only an excuse, the thaw in the US-Iran relations had began earlier, head of the Princeton-based US-Iran relations advocacy group American-Iranian Council <b>Houshang Amirahmadi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. More than any other time, the Islamic regime is ready for accepting the US moves as positive, practical steps towards better relations. The US-Iran relations involve other countries, such as Israel and Turkey. In the past, the Islamic regime was not ready to take into account the concerns of Israel, but the situation appears to have changed, and steps have been taken in that direction as well. Hardliners who oppose any thaw in the relations exist on both sides. Now that the hardliners in Iran have defeated their reformist rivals, they appear more comfortable with the idea of rapprochement. The US conservatives too appear to be pleased with their gains, and appear ready to deal with the Iranian regime. However, if the Islamic regime continues to ignore the people's demand for democracy and human rights, coming to terms with the US in the upcoming negotiations would be difficult, he adds. (Nima Tamadon)
• Under a special 90-day measure, US citizens and non-profit groups can donate money directly to non-governmental organizations working in Iran on reconstruction and relief efforts after the quake that killed up to 50,000 people. The administration also moved to make it easier for relief groups to bring donated equipment such as satellite telephones and computers into the country.
• Iran would respond to the US good will with good will, deputy Majles speaker Mohammad-Reza Khatami, President Khatami's brother, said in an interview with the Reuters. Diplomatic circles began discussing potential thaw in US-Iran relations, since Iran agreed, for the first time since the 1979 revolution, to receive humanitarian aid from the US. (Alireza Taheri)
• “The Bush administration's decision to lift sanctions on Iran for 90 days to allow aid to enter was a “positive step,” foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Thursday. Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani also welcomed the U.S. move. Asked if these signals could mean improved Iran-U.S. relations, he said: “I am not sure but the signals point in that direction.” (Maryam Ahmadi)
<b>Rescue Work Ends as Quake Casualties Mount to 30,000</b>
• More then 27,000 Bam earthquake victims have already been buried, a Kerman municipal government official said. The death toll is estimated to reach 30,000. An 80 year old woman was pulled from under the rubble alive, six days after the earthquake. (Nima Tamadon)
• The Bam earthquake made 70,000 people homeless, the World Health Organization said. (Nima Tamadon)
• The disorder and chaos in relief services in the early hours after the earthquake were due to the fact that all local government employees were killed, injured or lost their families and homes in the earthquake, interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari said. Half of Bam's water system became operational since last Tuesday and power was restored to most of the city, energy minister Habibollah Bitaraf said. Funds would be appropriated for reconstruction of Bam in the budget bill for the next fiscal year currently being deliberated by the Majles, Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
• Disappointed Austrian rescue workers who returned to Vienna last night after five days in Bam told <i>De Presse</i> that they could not rescue even one person. (Parviz Farhang, Cologne)
• The British Red Cross made a donation of an unspecified amount of cash and planeloads of goods by order of Prince Charles. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
• Before speaking about Germany's domestic issues, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed sympathy for Bam earthquake victims. (Parviz Farhang, Cologne)
• Hospitals in Bandar Abbas are charging advance fees before committing the earthquake victims, are short of nurses, and refuse visits from relatives, a caller to <b>Radio Farda</b> earthquake hotline says. There is no sign of an American or European tent in the entire city of Bam. Most of what one sees are the goods donated by the people. Donations from the UN and foreign countries did not reach the people of Bam, another caller says. The Islamic Republic police cannot stop bandits and thieves from stealing truckloads of donated goods, yet another caller says.
• The number of casualties may reach 50,000, according to some estimates. Before last Friday's quake the city's population was 180,000. In the past 24 hours, five people have been rescued, including a deaf and blind 80-year-old woman, and a 27-year-old man. Ninety percent of Bam's structures have been ruined by the earthquake. The 80-man US rescue and medical team has been received warmly by Iranians. More than 1,700 international rescue and relief worker s are active in Bam. (Alireza Taheri)
• The transportation of aid to Bam is so chaotic that trucks have to wait for hours and sometimes days before they can unload their cargo, the official news agency IRNA reported. Lack of coordination in transporting and distributing the donated aid is a major problem, Kerman-based lawyer <b>Mina Majdzadeh</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Shireen Famili)
• Instead of sending money to the Islamic regime, which he does not trust, Houston businessman Mahmoud Olya said he will build at least two houses for Bam victims. His wife Samineh who lives with his daughter in Tehran will find the two families in Bam for whom Olya will begin building houses next March, when he plans to visit Iran. (Leyli Arman)
• Rescue and relief workers pulled a 9 year old girl and a 45 year old man alive from under the rubble, Kermani journalist <b>Shahram Parsa-Motlaq</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Victims began to receive warm food today, he adds, and in the past two days, the police have made a concerted effort to prevent robberies.
• A tent city is forming in Bam, and 40,000 earthquake refugees are being housed in 2,000 fresh tents erected in an army camp, which still lacks water and electricity. Tents are equipped with cooking and heating equipment. (Maryam Ahmadi))
• The association of Iranian physicians in Austria will send parcels of medicine and aid to Bam tomorrow, along with two Iranian doctors, the association's spokesman <b>Dr. Hamid Hematpour</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Kianoush Farid, Vienna)
• Mourning ceremonies were held across Iran Thursday night for the Bam earthquake victims, IRNA reported. (Maryam Ahmadi))
• Following building codes already on the books in Iran would prevent disasters such as last week's Bam earthquake, Tehran-based architect <b>Taraneh Yalda</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The reconstruction of Bam, based on standard, earthquake-proof building codes, will turn the city into a magnet; people will flock to it from the surrounding towns and villages, she adds. (Jean Khakzad)
<b>Senior Cleric Criticizes Egyptian Religious Leader for Siding with French Government on Hijab</b>
• Senior Qum-based cleric Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani accused Sheikh Muhammad Tantavi, the religious leader of Cairo's al-Azhar Islamic university, of disregarding the principles of Islam by not condemning the French government's ban on Islamic headgear and calling it a French domestic issue. Golpayegani said President Chirac restricted the freedom of French Muslim girls and women, and asked all Egyptian clerics to reject Sheik Tantavi's position. President Khatami and other officials spoke against the French ban, and the government staged a demonstration of 150 Islamic students in front of the French embassy. Zahra Mostafavi, a daughter of Islamic revolution leader Ayatollah Khomeini, asked the government to condemn President Chirac's ban. She said denying French Muslim women's choice violates their human rights. Wearing the Islamic headgear is mandatory in Iran, not only in schools, but in all public places, and violators are often arrested, fined, jailed and/or flogged. (Mina Baharmast)
• Hijab is one of the necessary requirement of Islam and banning it amounts to violating personal freedom, senior dissident cleric Ayatollah Hosseiniali Montazeri said, condemning the French ban on the Islamic headgear for women, or hijab. Just as it is wrong to force a person to pray or fast or wear the hijab, it would be a violation of personal freedoms to ban the hijab, Qum-based reformist Shiite theologian <b>Mohammad-Ali Ayazi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. However, he adds, Sheikh Tantavi of Cairo's al-Azhar university made his statement out of concern for French Muslims, who would be deprived of education if they don't follow their government's ban on the hijab. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>Judiciary Postpones Execution of Bride in Killing of Mother-in-Law</b>
• The judiciary postponed the execution of Kobra Rahmanpour, 20, whose trial for killing her 95-year-old mother-in-law gripped newspaper readers for months. The execution was scheduled for December 31, but could not be arranged on time, the convicted woman's lawyer <b>Abdolsamad Khoramshahi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Kobra is a victim herself, he says, who had to marry an 80-year-old because of her family's poverty, and now her husband insists on her execution. Khoramshahr adds that, as Kobra's attorney, he tried to prevent her execution by asking the victim's son and her relatives to absolve her. Under Iran's Islamic laws, a murderer is executed only with the approval and at the expense of the victim's kin. Kobra's father has appealed to the judiciary chief for a retrial. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>Khatami Calls for Resurrecting Pre-revolutionary Civil Defense Organization</b>
• The resurrection of the civil defense organization, which was dissolved 25 years ago by the Islamic regime, is necessary for modern organization of relief work, President Khatami said. The Islamic regime destroyed many things, including the civil defense organization, which had been formed to provide emergency aid in peace time, retired Iranian army general <b>Asad Behboudi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. If they had allowed it to survive, it could save many lives in the major disasters that Iran had to face during the past 25 years, he adds. (Leyli Arman)
<b>Chinese Company Finds Oil in Kashan</b>
• Chinese oil company Sinopec's risk exploration in Aran and Bidgel fields near Kashah reached oil at 4,000 meters below ground. Further studies will show whether developing the field would make economic sense, the company's president said. (Leyli Sadr)
ليلي صدر (راديو فردا): رئيس جمهوري آمريکا در نخستين روز سال 2004 ميلادي از اقدام دولت خود در کمکرساني به آسيب ديدگان زمين لرزه ايران دفاع کرد اما گفت اين اقدام در حکم ذوب شدن يخهاي سياسي در مناسبات تهران- واشنگتن نيست.
امير آرمين (راديو فردا): جورج بوش رئيس جمهوري آمريکا اقدام دولت خود در کمک رساني به آسيب ديدگان زمين لرزه بم را اقدامي درست ارزيابي کرد، اما يادآور شد اين در حکم ذوب شدن يخ هاي مناسبات سرد دوکشور نيست.
آقاي بوش در نخستين روز سال نو گفت آنچه ما در ايران انجام مي دهيم نشان دادن اين نکته به ايراني هاست که مردم آمريکا رعايت مي کنند و با رنج انسانها برخورد عاطفي شديدي دارند.
آقاي بوش گفت اگر تهران خواهان مناسبات بهتر است بايد اعضاي شبکه القاعده اسامه بن لادن را که در بازداشت دارد تحويل بدهد، و از برنامه توليد جنگ افزارهاي اتمي دست بردارد رئيس جمهوري آمريکا گفت محدوديتهاي ارسال پول به ايران و نيز تجهيزات حساس به منظور کمک هاي بشردوستانه به ايران را موقتا کم کرده است آقاي بوش گفت مااز دولت ايران قدرداني مي کنيم که به ما اجازه دادکمکهاي بشردوستانه را باهواپيما به آن کشور بفرستيم. کمک رساني اقدامي درست بود وقتي مردمي دچار گرفتاري مي شوند ما به آنها کمک برسانيم . يکي از نزديکان آقاي بوش گفته است رئيس جمهوري آمريکا با مشاوران برجسته وزارت امور خارجه در باره کمک رساني به ايران رايزني کرد و وقتي به او گفته شد تحريمها عليه ايران مانع ارسال کمکهاي پولي است دستور رفع بخشي از محدوديتهارا داد. رئيس جمهوري آمريکا گفت اقدام دولت آمريكا براي كمكرساني به آسيب ديدگان زمين لرزه بم در حکم ذوب شدن يخهاي سياسي در مناسبات تهران- واشنگتن نيست. آقاي بوش گفت اگر تهران خواهان مناسبات بهتر است بايد اعضاي شبکه القاعده را تحويل بدهد و از برنامه توليد جنگ افزارهاي اتمي دست بردارد. رئيس جمهوري آمريکا گفت ما از دولت ايران قدرداني مي کنيم که به ما اجازه داد کمکهاي بشردوستانه را با هواپيما به آن کشور بفرستيم. به گفته يکي از نزديکان آقاي بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريکا با مشاوران برجسته وزارت امور خارجه در باره کمک رساني به ايران رايزني کرد و وقتي به او گفته شد تحريمها عليه ايران مانع ارسال کمکهاي پولي است، دستور رفع بخشي از محدوديتها را صادر كرد.