Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, January 15, 2004
<b>US & France Urge Iran to Stop Uranium Enrichment Activity</b>
• “Failure by Iran to live up to its promise and to adopt a comprehensive and indefinite suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities would be deeply troubling,” US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday. Vienna-based sources said amid disagreements over the scope of its pledges to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Islamic government is continuing. “It would indicate that Iran is neither serious nor genuine about its past promises to the IAEA and to others,” Boucher added.
• In a meeting in Paris with secretary of the Islamic government's supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani, French President Jacques Chirac urged Iran to fully implement its commitments under the recently signed additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, presidential spokeswoman Catherine Colonna said. “We would like a new future for relations between France and Iran and to reinforce political, economic and cultural relations,” she quoted Chirac as saying. (Mir-Ali Hosseini, Paris)
<b>Despite Lack of Popular Support, Reformists MPs Vow to Continue Sit-in Strike at Majles</b>
• The sit-in strike of 82 reformist Majles MPs, whose bids to stand for reelection was rejected by the Guardians Council, entered its fifth day, despite the Supreme Leader's call to the Guardians Council to review the decision to bar them. President Khatami's cabinet ministers and 28 provincial governors retracted their threats of resignation, which had been announced in support of the disbarred MPs, but despite lack of popular support, the pro-reform strikers vowed to continue their sit-in until they receive assurances of fair and free elections. The Guardians Council's election supervision committees disqualified nearly half of the 8,000 who applied for candidacy in the Majles February 20 Majles elections.
• After spending four nights at the Majles, the protesting MPs were faced with the fact that no ordinary citizens came to the streets in their support. The six-year battle between the regime's reformists and conservatives, which continues now at its height in the Majles building, has always missed one element: the people. Many listeners who called <b>Radio Farda</b> hotline said the people cared little for the struggle of the regime's reformists. Tehran-based journalist <b>Faramarz Qarabaghi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that many people did not even follow the news of the Majles MPs' sit-in strike. The doubt in people's mind about the authenticity of the reformists' struggle, which has been nurtured during the past four years, would not go away with four nights of sit-in strike, Paris-based leftist activist <b>Ali Keshtgar</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. People's memory about the conservatives' violence and the reformists' silence contributes to the present public apathy, journalist <b>Sina Motalebi</b>, who fled to Europe last month, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The reformists showed little attention in the past four years to people's demands, particularly for personal freedoms, whereas personal freedoms and boosting democratic institutions were on top of the reformists' election slogans four years ago, he adds. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• Strikers rejected President Khatami's plea to end their sit-in and said their strike would only end in mass resignations. The upcoming elections are a crucial test for the reformists, who have lost popular support as a result of their failure to implement their promised reforms. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• Moderate reformist website <i>Baztab</i> urged the Guardians Council to defend its decision to bar the reformists from standing for reelection, but reformist columnists called for retraction of the Guardians Council's vetoes. Meanwhile, the reformist daily <i>Shargh</i> predicated that the crisis would either end with a compromise, or the elections may be cancelled or postponed. (Shireen Famili)
• The striking MPs have in effect attacked the foundations of the Islamic government and clerical rule, conservative Tehran MP Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, a son-in-law of the Supreme Leader, told the daily <i>Etemad</i>. Any compromise would be to the detriment of the reformist strikers, pro-reform writer Ahmad Zeydabadi wrote in the reformist daily <i>Shargh</i>. (Ali Sajjadi)
• The Guardians Council decision to bar 82 reformist MPs from the upcoming elections may serve to reverse voters' apathy, which is rooted in the public's frustration with President Khatami's reforms. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
• “Now the Guardians Council has a good opportunity to review the cases (of the disqualified applicants) with precision and conforming to the law,” the Supreme Leader told members of the Guardians Council on Wednesday, reversing his decision announced a day earlier that he would not interfere. He said that in the case of the current MPs, 83 of whom have been barred from re-election, “if their aptitude was proved in the past, the principle is that they are still competent unless it can be proved otherwise.” Observers say the Supreme Leader's remarks have placed the striking MPs in a deadlock, since ending their strike would mean they only cared for their own jobs, instead of defending more than 3,000 other disqualified applicants. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• The review ordered by the Supreme Leader is only concerned with the 83 disqualified MPs, not the 3,500 of other mostly reformist election candidacy applicants whose credentials have also been rejected by the Guardians Council, former Majles MP, Tehran University law professor and constitutional reform activist <b>Qasem Shoaeleh-Saadi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Now, expecting that the Guardians Council would overturn the disqualifications, the MPs' strike may appear self-serving, if they end it. And, if they don't, they would risk splitting the reformist faction by defying President Khatami's plea, he adds. In any case, due to their inept performance in the past four years, the public is not expected to vote for them, he adds. If these reformist MPs had stood firm on their positions during the past four years, they would not have faced such an ending, he says. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• London's <b>Guardian</b> quotes editorials from Iran, Pakistan and UAE newspapers about the Majles protest. (Shahran Tabari, London)
• “The fact that there have been no street protests in support of the "reformers" suggests much of the public has already lost faith in their ability to be agents of change,” writes the <i>Wall Street Journal</i> in an editorial. “Ordinary Iranians won't risk the wrath of religious police just to ensure power for another faction. This loss of public support didn't deter the Iranian Guardian Council -- appointed by and accountable only to, the Iranian Supreme theocrat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- from seeking to curtail the parliamentarians' meager influence.”
• A group of conservative theologians and seminary students threatened to march to the Majles from Qum in support of the Guardians Council. Their plan was cancelled, even though they had lined up buses for the trip to Tehran, Qum-based reformist cleric <b>Ahmad Ahmadpour</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The reason the right-wing pressure groups have any impact on the country's politics is that the reformists have been weak. Each time their opponents, who are a minority in the society and very few, stepped forward, the pro-reform group moved one step back, he adds. There is talk in Qum that pro-reform clerics may mobilize a group to go to Tehran to stage a demonstration in support of the striking MPs, he says. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
• No permit has been issued for any demonstrations in front of the Majles, announced an interior ministry spokesman. (Farin Asemi)
• In a communiqué issued at the Majles today, the protesting MPs said they would continue their sit-in “until all illegally disbarred election candidacy applicants receive approval.” “We are waiting to see how the Guardians Council interprets the Supreme Leader's remarks, pro-reform MP Meysam Saeedi said. President Khatami's administration did not boost its Majles supporters yesterday, and the MPs rejected Khatami's plea to end their strike. However, they called the Supreme Leader's order a positive step. (Siavash Ardalan)
• In their 8th communiqué, the striking MPs called for fair and peaceful resolution of the crisis. The Majles has been accused of radicalism by the conservatives, but this Majles silenced many critics of the regime outside Iran and showed a democratic face for the Islamic Republic to the outside world, MP Hossein Mar'ashi said. Forty-five applied in Chenaran, of Khorasan province for candidacy in the elections, but the Guardians Council rejected 21 of them, including one Friday prayer leader, on the basis of lack of commitment to Islam, said MP Ahmad Moradi, who resigned yesterday in protest against the disqualifications. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• In his meeting with secretary of supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani, the French foreign minister called for democratic elections in Iran and release of political prisoners. (Farin Asemi)
• Free election is not defined by the number of people who went to polling booths, Virginia-based human rights advocate and lawyer <b>Mehrangiz Kar</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The variety of filters set in the constitution to vet candidates block many social and political groups from entering the elections, she adds. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan</b>
• The fourth five-year economic development plan, submitted to the Majles yesterday amid the elections crisis, aims at lowering the double-digit inflation and jobless rates, but the Majles MPs and Khatami, both in the final months of their terms, would not have a chance to either vote for it or implement it. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Increase in Oil Revenues</b>
• Iran earned $24 billion in 2003 from selling its crude oil, thanks to higher oil prices. The annual revenue was $6.5 billion more than the previous year, according to head of the National Iranian Oil Company's international affairs Hojatollah Ghanimi-Fard. Oil exports increased by 400,000 barrels per day to 2.4 million bpd, and oil price averaged $3.75 per barrel higher than 2002. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Bam Earthquake Victims Lack Tents and Warm Food, Despite Massive Support</b>
• Nineteen days after the devastating earthquake in Bam that leveled 90 percent of the city and killed more than 42,000, the survivors continue to lack tents and warm food, according to a group of Tehran city council members who visited the city. This is in spite of the massive donations of tents, food, medicine and blankets from more than 60 countries. The tents provided to the survivors by Iran's Red Crescent society are not suitable for the winter climate, Kermani journalist <b>Vahid Qoraee</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Warm food is still hard to come by in many parts of the city and foreign medical relief teams continue to provide essential services, he adds. The temporary buildings, containers and shelters that were promised, have not arrived yet, he adds. One reason many lack proper shelter is the influx of people from neighboring villages into the city, which has swelled the population. (Farin Asemi)
علي سجادي (راديو فردا): حسن روحاني، دبير شوراي امنيت ملي ايران، صبح روز پنج شنبه به همراه دومينيک دوويلپن، وزير امور خارجه فرانسه، در يک کنفرانس مشترک خبري در پاريس شرکت کرد. گفتگوهاي حسن روحاني با ودمينيک دوويلپن پيرامون برنامه هسته اي ايران، مسائل عراق، انتخابات ايران، و امنيت خليج فارس انجام شد. دوويلپن در مورد انتخابات مجلس ايران گفت: ما با دقت انتخابات مجلس ايران را پيگيري مي کنيم و اين انتخابات براي پاريس اهميت بسياري دارد، زير اين امر يک مرحله از دموکراسي است. وي در خصوص حقوق بشر در ايران افزود: بحث حقوق بشر در ايران به عنوان يکي از عوامل محرک گفتگوي بين ايران و اتحاديه اروپا است و فرانسه اين مساله را نيز مد نظر دارد. آقاي روحاني گزارش هاي مربوط به ادامه غني سازي در ايران را تکذيب کرد. جمشيد زند گزارش مي دهد.
جمشيد زند (راديو فردا): حسن روحاني، دبير شوراي عالي امنيت ملي، پس از ملاقات با ژاک شيراک، رئيس جمهوري فرانسه، در کنفرانس هاي خبري خود گزارش هاي منتشر شده درباره ادامه برنامه غني سازي اورانيوم را تکذيب کرد و گفت: آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي مطلع است که ايران از ماه نوامبر گذشته برنامه غني سازي را به حالت تعليق در اورده است. او با اشاره به اين که به دليل صلح آميز بودن فعاليت هاي جمهوري اسلامي ايران نگران بازرسي نيست، گفت: طرف ما آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي است و بين ما و آژانس مفاد پروتکل الحاقي است که حاکم است.
اين در حالي است که روز گذشته سخنگوي وزارت خارجه آمريکا تاکيد کرد که ايران بايد به اجراي تمام تعهدات خود در مقابل آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي پايبند باشد و نمي تواند بخش هايي از آن را انتخاب کرده و به آنان عمل کند. آقاي باوچر با اشاره به گزارش هاي منتشر شده در مطبوعات غرب و اظهارات منابع ديپلماتيک نزديک به آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي، درباره ادامه کار بر روي سانتريفوژها که مي تواند در غني سازي اورانيوم به کار رود، گفت: چنين خبرهايي شديدا نگران کننده است. او عدم اجراي تمام تعهدات و تعليق کامل و نامحدود تمام فعاليت هاي مربوط به غني سازي اورانيوم از طرف ايران را عملي مشکل آفرين خواند.
چند روز پيش برخي از ديپلمات هاي غربي در وين، مرکز آژانس اتمي، ادعا کردند که ايران به کار تکميل سانتريفوژها ادامه مي دهد. مقامات ايراني شديدا اين موضع را تکذيب کرده و مي گويند: ايران تعهد کرده است که تنها فعاليت هاي خود را در تاسيسات نطنز متوقف کند، ولي مي تواند به کار تکميل سانتريفوژها ادامه دهد. زيرا اگر زماني ايران بخواهد فعاليت هاي غني سازي اورانيوم را از سر بگيرد، به اين سانتريفوژها براي غني سازي اورانيوم در نيروگاه هسته اي بوشهر نياز دارد، در حالي که ديپلمات هاي غربي مي گويند آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي خواستار توقف هرگونه فعاليت هاي غني سازي در ايران است.هفته آينده گروهي از کارشناسان آژانس اتمي به ايران خواهند رفت تا گزارشي از ميزان همکاري هاي ايران با اين آژانس تهيه کنند. اين گزارش در اواسط فوريه به شوراي حکام فرستاده خواهد شد.
از سوي ديگر آقاي روحاني در کنفرانس خبري خود در پاريس، هرگونه همکاري هسته اي بين ايران و پاکستان را تکذيب کرد. محسن امين زاده، يکي از معاونان وزارت خارجه، نيز بار ديگر گزارش هاي منتشر شده درباره کمک دانشمندان پاکستاني به ايران را تکذيب کرد و گفت: پنج فرد خارجي براي خريد تجهيزات لازم به ايران کمک کرده بودند. به گفته او اسامي اين پنج نفر که سه تن از آنان از اتباع کشورهاي اروپايي و دو نفر از آن ها از شهروندان کشورهاي آسيايي هستند، به آژانس داده شده است. درحاليکه حجت الاسلام حسن روحاني، دبير شوراي عالي امنيت ملي، طي سخناني در پاريس، ادامه برنامه غني سازي اورانيوم را تکذيب کرد، سخنگوي وزارت امور خارجه آمريکا، با اشاره به گزارش ها درباره ادامه کار بر روي دستگاه هاي غني سازي اورانيوم گفت: چنين خبرهايي شديدا نگران کننده است. چند روز پيش برخي از ديپلمات هاي غربي در وين، مرکز آژانس بين الملي انرژي اتمي، ادعا کردند که ايران به کار تکميل اين دستگاهها (سانتريفيوژها) ادامه مي دهد. مقامات جمهوري اسلامي گفتند: حكومت ايران تعهد کرده است که تنها فعاليت هاي خود را در تاسيسات غني سازي اورانيوم نطنز متوقف کند، ولي مي تواند به کار تکميل سانتريفوژها ادامه دهد.