Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSaturday, January 03, 2004
<b>Intelligence Minister Urges US to Accept Regime as Reality of Iran</b>
• The US government has never accepted the reality of the Islamic Republic, intelligence minister Ali Yunessi said on Saturday, explaining the reason Iran rejected the trip of a high-level US humanitarian delegation headed by former head of the US Red Cross Senator Elizabeth Dole. The current US government has always tried to weaken and overthrow the Islamic Republic, Yunessi said, adding that the US has classified Iran among the ‘axix of evil.' He said as “concrete proof” of renouncing hostility to the Islamic Regime, the US can extradite to Iran members of the Iraq-based anti-regime group the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), and stop radio TV broadcasts of <b>Radio Farda</b> and Voice of America, which he said were aimed at weakening the Islamic regime.
• In fact, the Islamic Republic is asking the US to do all it can to preserve a dying regime, a regime that has lost its popular support and legitimacy, and has found itself in the same conditions that the Shah's government was in the years before the revolution, Los Angeles-based political activist <b>Mohsen Nezhad</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>Iran's Rejection of US Offer to Send Elizabeth Dole on Humanitarian Mission Not Political, US Says</b>
• The offer to send Senator Elizabeth Dole at the helm of a high-level delegation to investigate the needs of Bam earthquake victims was not made for political reasons, and we don't see the response as political either, US State Department spokesman said. (Amir Armin)
• Editor of conservative Tehran daily <i>Kayhan</i> said the goal of the US is to subvert our government, and we should not have accepted US help, but President Khatami, his brother, deputy Majles speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami, and foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi said yesterday that the US humanitarian aid and President Bush's lifting of Iran banking sanctions to facilitate flow of aid were positive. George Bush's earthquake diplomacy does not mean to improve relations with Iran, but seeks to show the American people that the differences with Iran are rooted in the ideological positions and the value system of the Iranian side, the reformist daily <i>Shargh</i> writes. Conservative daily <i>Jomhuri-ye Eslami</i> criticizes the foreign minister for calling US moves positive. (Amir Armin)
• Common interests pull US and Iran closer together, writes German daily <i>Frankfurter Allgemeine</i>. (Parviz Farhang, Cologne)
• People who enter our tents are very hospitable and welcoming, spokesperson of the US relief crew in Bam, <b>Marty Bahamonde</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. People stop by and look around our tents and they are very warm and kind, he adds. Iranian doctors work alongside the US medical relief team, he says. Iranian soldiers provide security for the US tents, he says. The team has been busy since it arrived, working around the clock. On the first day alone 200 people were treated. Among those treated by the US team were a soldier with bullet wounds, and an Iranian woman with broken skull. An Iranian woman is delivering a baby in one of our tents as we speak, he says. (Masoud Malek)
• The aid received from other countries, including the US, has been humanitarian, not political, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said. (Nima Tamadon)
<b>Earthquake Death Toll Reaches 45,000</b>
• By Friday night 28,000 bodies were buried in Bam and the neighboring Baravat, and relief workers counted another 17,000 bodies in 20 villages surrounding Bam. Of Bam's 96 healthcare centers, 95 have been destroyed by the earthquake. (Nima Tamadon)
• A UN team began assessing Bam's humanitarian needs. (Nima Tamadon)
• Inspectors found numerous violations of building codes in Bam, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp announced. Judiciary assigned a committee to investigate the violations and bring charges against the violators. Engineers say contractors, particularly those with strong regime connections, routinely disregard safety codes. (Alireza Taheri)
• People generally believe that the multitude of international help and the enormous amount of goods and cash collected from the people in Tehran and other cities would not reach the needy in Kerman and Bam, <b>Amir Zarrabi</b>, a volunteer relief worker who has lost many relatives in the Bam earthquake, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Trucks of aid are being hijacked by bandits on the way to Bam and even the dead and the injured are being robbed of any gold and jewelry, he adds. The charity he works with is an NGO that collects donations from private donors, he adds. The charity provides shelter and comfort for the relatives of the earthquake victims admitted to Kerman hospitals. It plans to build a nursing home in Bam, he adds. (Leyli Arman)
• Please tell the world to send their aid directly to the Bam people, or build houses for them, otherwise their aid may be misappropriated and misused, says a caller to <b>Radio Farda</b>'s earthquake hotline. The enormous amount of help which has been collected should be used by the people themselves, out of the reach of Islamic Republic officials, says another caller.
• The orphaned children are so stressed that they can't even remember their names, writes <i>Frankfurter Rundschau</i> (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
• The union of arts professionals the House of Artists plans to hold a gala to collect donations for Bam earthquake victims, veteran actress <b>Pouri Banai</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Shireen Famili)
• Most of the surviving earthquake victims suffer from psychological trauma, a UN expert said in Bam. The traumatized survivors may commit suicide or develop permanent psychological problems, if not treated, a Kerman province health official said. (Shireen Famili)
• Three schools reopened in Bam. (Shireen Famili)
• Spain's eighth planeload of medicine and medical supplies took off for Bam this morning. A team of non-governmental relief workers were sent by the Madrid based Firemen without Borders. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
• The cooperation between the Iranians and the American relief team was outstanding, Chicago-based Bam-born Sean Bani-Asadi, who ran into the 80-member American relief crew, told the Agence France Press. (Leyli Arman)
<b>US-based Children's Charity Iran Zamin Collects Donations for Building Schools in Bam</b>
• US-based Iran Zamin children's charity collects funds mostly from American donors to provide relief for Bam children, says director <b>Mahnaz Motevali</b>. Through an NGO which Iran Zamin had selected a year ago as its domestic benefactor and was already working in Kerman, Iran Zamin managed to quickly shift its attention to Bam. The UNICEF representatives on the ground told Ms. Motevali that Bam children need school supplies and things such as painting material that would stimulate them intellectually and creatively, since most children appear stunned at the loss and unable to express themselves, she says. (Leyli Arman)
<b>Interior Ministry Qualifies Nationalist Opposition Party's Election Candidacy Applicants</b>
• The interior ministry's election committee accepted the qualifications of members of the nationalist opposition party Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) for standing in the February 20 elections. However, FMI secretary-general Ebrahim Yazdi protested against rejection of FMI applicants by Tehran provincial election committee, and asked voters to drop blank sheets in the ballot boxes. The Guardians Council will follow Imam Khomeini's instructions in dealing with FMI, judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said, meaning that the Guardians Council will once again disqualify FMI members. Citing Khomeini's letter as the reason for disqualifying FMI members violates the constitution and the election law, Yazdi said in an interview with the state-run “students” news agency ISNA. (Nima Tamadon)
<b>MKO Prevents Return of Members to Iran, Relatives Say</b>
• In interviews with London Arabic daily <i>al-Hayat</i>, relatives of the members of Iraq-based anti-regime opposition group the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) accused the organization of blocking the return of its members to Iran. Among those interviewed is a mother of a young man, who said US authorities did not allow her to take her son back to Iran, and returned her son to the MKO camp Ashraf, which is now under US control. (Leyli Sadr)
كيان معنوي (راديوفردا): جمهوري اسلامي پيشنهاد آمريكا براي اعزام يك هيات به ايران را رد كرد. آدام ارلي، سخنگوي وزارت امورخارجه آمريكا گفت اين كشور پيشنهاد اعزام يك هيات به ايران را براي همكاري در كمك با زلزله زدگان بم داده بود ولي دولت ايران پاسخ داده است با توجه به وضعيت جاري در بم نيازي به آمدن چنين هياتي در حال حاضر نيست.
آقاي ارلي اضافه كرد ما پيشنهاد را به دلايل سياسي نداديم و پاسخ ايران را نيز سياسي نمي دانيم اما پذيرفتن يا نپذيرفتن كمك هاي بشردوستانه موضوع جداگانه اي است. اگر نيازي به اين كمك ها باشد مي توان در باره تامين آن گفتگو كرد.
آدام ارلي (سخنگوي وزارت امورخارجه آمريكا): The offer was not made for political reasons, and we don't see the response as political either. On the subject of accepting or rejecting humanitarian aid, that is a separate issue, and if there is a need for humanitarian aid...
ك.م.: قرار بود سناتور اليزابت دول رئيس سابق صليب سرخ آمريكا رياست اين هيات را به عهده بگيرد. پيشنهاد آمريكا در حالي داده شده است كه سازمان ملل ارزيابي نيازهاي زلزله زدگان را آغاز كرده است. آدام ارلي، سخنگوي وزارت امورخارجه گفت جمهوري اسلامي پيشنهاد آمريكا براي اعزام هياتي به رياست خانم سناتور اليزابت دول، رئيس سابق صليب سرخ آمريكا را براي بررسي كمك هاي انساندوستانه لازم به زلزله زدگان بم رد كرد. وي گفت دولت ايران پاسخ داده با توجه به وضعيت جاري در بم، به آمدن چنين هياتي در حال حاضر نيازي نيست. ارلي اضافه كرد ما اين پيشنهاد را به دلايل سياسي نداديم و پاسخ ايران را هم سياسي نمي دانيم اما پذيرفتن يا نپذيرفتن كمك هاي بشردوستانه، موضوع جداگانه اي است اگر نيازي به اين كمك ها باشد مي توان در باره تامين آن گفتگو كرد. از سوي ديگر، ديروز در بم فرستادگان سازمان ملل ارزيابي نيازهاي زلزله زدگان را آغاز كردند.