Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiMonday, February 02, 2004
<b>US Renews Call for Free and Fair Elections</b>
• “We've always been supporters of the idea that the Iranian people should have a right to decide their government and their government's policies,” US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, renewing the US call to Islamic government authorities to respect the Iranian people's wish for free and fair elections. Mr. Boucher also said the United States has made clear its concerns about the status of political freedom and human rights in Iran and is watching the events unfolding in Tehran in that context. (Leyli Sadr)
<b>Banned from Reelection, MPs Resign, & Call for Revision of All Election Bans</b>
• The reformist Majles MPs, who resigned yesterday after the Guardians Council refused to overturn bans on their election, called for reinstatement of all election candidacy applicants in their 16th communiqué, issued after their joint resignation letters was read at the open session of the Majles. Of the 290 Majles MPs, 124 resigned, and announced that they would accept no deal until all 2,800 reformist candidacy applicants who have been disqualified by the Guardians Council from standing in the February 20 elections are allowed to run. Even if all disqualifications were overturned, still the elections have to be postponed, the communiqué said. (Bahman Bahman)
• The MPs' resignations have bolstered the Islamic student activists. The Islamic student council of Tehran's Amir-Kabir University announced that it will hold a meeting on Tuesday in support of the reformist MPs. Members of the Islamic student council of the Tehran University's medical school applied for permit to hold a rally on Wednesday in front of the university's gate. In Shahrekord, a town in Kurdistan, nearly 1,000 demonstrated against bans on reformist candidacy applicants, and the Islamic student council of the city's medical school announced that it will hold a street demonstration to protest what it called “illegal and undemocratic move by the totalitarian faction.” (Bahman Bastani)
• The gathering scheduled for tomorrow takes place inside the university campus and does not require permission from the government, secretary of the Amir-Kabir University's student Islamic council <b>Mehdi Habibi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The meeting is called “in defense of the republic,” and will be held to protest the violation of citizens' right to free and fair elections, he adds. (Farin Asemi)
• In a second letter to the Guardians Council, interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari asked once more for postponement of the elections date, arguing that the candidates need more time for campaigning. (Bahman Bastani)
• President Khatami and Males speaker Mehdi Karrubi began a new set of negotiations last night to resolve the elections crisis, Karrubi announced at the open session of the Majles. (Bahman Bastani)
• The Guardians Council cannot agree to the interior ministry's request to postpone the elections, Guardians Council member Hadi Zavarei said, arguing that such a move would delay the start of the next Majles. (Alireza Taheri)
• Tehran's elections executive board announced that it will not be able to hold free and fair elections on February 20. (Bahman Bastani)
• The state radio-TV monopoly did not air the news of the MPs resignations. In statements of support, Islamic student councils and other political groups tried to broaden the protest to demand other suppressed social and individual freedoms. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
• The vetting process, in which the Guardians Council “determines” the qualifications of applicants for standing in the Majles elections, is against the constitution, member of the initial constitutional assembly Mohammad Hojati Kermani said in an interview with state-run reformist labor news agency ILNA. Head of the initial constitutional assembly Ayatollah Montazeri said the Guardians Council has added another stage to the elections process by vetting the candidacy applicants, which is contrary to the constitution and a violation of people's right to chose. (Amir Armin)
• In a meeting chaired by vice president Mohammad-Reza Aref, the cabinet announced that holding elections on the scheduled date would only be possible if elections could be free, fair and competitive. (Nima Tamadon)
• The pro-reform party Participation Front (Jebhe-ye Mosharekat), which has the largest block of MPs in the Majles, announced that it will not take part in the upcoming elections. The party does not tell the voters not to turnout for the elections, but believes that with major parties staying out, voter turnout would be low, party chief Mohammad-Reza Khatami said. (Farin Asemi)
• If 124 of British MPs resign, the government would fall, and new elections would have to be held immediately, British MP <b>David Chidgey</b>, member of the Parliament's foreign relations committee and an expert on Iran politics, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Behind the elections crisis is a hard battle brewing between the Guardians Council and its opponents, he says. It is ultimately up to the Iranian people to decide the form of their government, he adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
• The cabinet's agreement with the MPs to postpone the elections is an important step, European parliament member from Germany's social democrat party <b>Ozan Ceyuon</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. He denounces the mass disqualification of Majles MPs and other candidacy applicants, and condemns the lack of firmness in the EU policies on Iran. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
• The current elections crisis could mean the end of the reform movement in the Islamic Republic, Vienna's daily <i>Presse</i> writes. The reformists are worried that the conservative faction may hold the elections with the help of the armed forces, German daily <i>Die Welt</i> writes. (Parviz Farhang)
<b>Pakistan-Iran Nuclear Link</b>
• Pakistan arrested seven nuclear scientists, including the father of that country's atomic bomb, who is suspected of having sold nuclear technology and materials to Iran, Libya and North Korea. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
• In an 11-page confession, submitted to President Musharraf, top Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan said he helped transfer centrifuge technology and equipment to Iran. (Jean Khakzad)
• It does not appear that the Islamic regime has learned a lesson from the fall of Saddam Hussein, the <i>Washington Times</i> writes in an article on the Islamic authorities' assertion that Iran's uranium enrichment program would go on. There are serious suspicions that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has sold nuclear plans and equipment to Iran, writes the <i>Los Angeles Times.</i> (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>US Congressional Aides' Iran Visit</b>
• The decision to send US Congressional aides to Iran had been made by Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), neither of whom are involved in foreign policy, and neither of whom represent states with high concentration of Iranian exiles, head of the Iranian council of the US Republican party <b>Bijan Kian</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Behruz Nikzat)
<b>Iran's Non-Oil Exports</b>
• In the first ten months of the fiscal year which began on March 20, 2003, Iran exported $4.7 billion non-oil goods and services, the customs bureau announced. Saudi-Arabia's per capita non-oil exports at $375 were four times that of Iran's. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Strike in Isfahan's Stone Factories</b>
• The strikes in Isfahan's stone cutting factories entered its second week. Head of one of the city's stone cutting factories said factories in other cities may close down in support of the Isfahan factories. In an interview with <b>Radio Farda</b>, he adds that 1,500 stone cutting units in Isfahan and surrounding cities are on strike since two weeks ago to protest tax hikes, and increases in energy bills and worker insurance premiums. In a meeting four days ago with the provincial governors, certain promises were made, but the governor refused to put his promises on paper, he says. We had reached a dead-end in our efforts to resolve our problems, he adds. We hope that our strike would attract the attention of the authorities. (Farin Asemi)
علي سجادي (راديوفردا): دولت آمريکا بار ديگر از مقامات حکومت ايران خواست تا به راي مردم در زمينه برگزاري انتخابات آزاد و منصفانه احترام بگذارد. ريچارد باوچر، سخنگوي وزارت امور خارجه آمريکا روز دوشنبه گفت: ما اکيدا به حکومت ايران توصيه مي کنيم تا به خواست مردم در زمينه برگزاري انتخاباتي آزاد و منصفانه تن در دهد.
آقاي باوچر افزود: ما هميشه پشتيبان انتخابات آزاد و منصفانه و پشتيبان اين نظر بوده ايم که مردم ايران بايد حق داشته باشند در مورد حکومت و سياست هاي دولت خود تصميم بگيرند. آقاي باوچر گفت: واشنگتن تحولات ايران را از نزديک زير نظر دارد و افزود: ما از نزديک وقايع مربوط به انتخابات و چگونگي برگزاري آن را دنبال مي کنيم. ما همچنين روشن ساخته ايم که نگران آزادي هاي سياسي و رعايت حقوق بشر در ايران هستيم و تحولات در اين زمينه ها را نيز دنبال مي کنيم.
اوايل وقت روز دوشنبه در تهران، محمد رضا خاتمي، رهبر حزب مشارکت ايران اسلامي اعلام کرد که اين حزب در انتخابات مجلس شرکت نخواهد کرد، زيرا محافظه کاران از بسياري از داوطلبان نمايندگي رد صلاحيت کرده اند و حاضر نيستند تاريخ برگزاري انتخابات را به تعويق اندازند. آقاي محمدرضا خاتمي گفت: ما اميد نداريم ک انتخابات آزاد و قانوني در روز اول اسفند برگزار شود. وي تاکيد کرد که حذب مشارکت حاضر به تجديد نظر در اين تصميم خواهد بود، اگر با تعويق انتخابات موافقت شود.
خبرگزاري فرانسه در گزارش خود پيرامون بحران انتخابات در ايران نوشت: اين جدي ترين بحراني است که در تاريخ 25 ساله جمهوري اسلامي پديد آمده است و باعث شده تا 125 نفر از نمايندگان مجلس 290 نفري استعفا دهند و قوه مقننه را از کار بياندازند و به طور همزمان، بنا به گزارش خبرگزاري جمهوري اسلامي، 28 تن از استانداران نيز استعفاء دادند و انتظار مي رود که بسياري از مقامات اجرائي دولت خاتمي نيز در آينده نزديک، اگر توافقي حاصل نشود، از سمت خود استعفاء دهند. به اين ترتيب دو قوه از سه قوه نظام جمهوري اسلامي عملا توسط رهبر جمهوري اسلامي تعيين خواهد شد که مديريت قوه سوم، يعني قوه قضاييه را هم تعيين مي کند. دولت آمريکا بار ديگر از مقامات جمهوری اسلامی خواست تا به راي مردم در زمينه برگزاري انتخابات آزاد و منصفانه احترام بگذارد. ريچارد باوچر، سخنگوي وزارت امور خارجه آمريکا روز دوشنبه گفت: ما اکيدا به حکومت ايران توصيه مي کنيم تا به خواست مردم در زمينه برگزاري انتخاباتي آزاد و منصفانه تن در دهد. آقاي باوچر افزود: ما هميشه خواستار انتخابات آزاد و منصفانه و پشتيبان اين نظر بوده ايم که مردم ايران بايد حق داشته باشند تا در مورد حکومت و سياست هاي دولت خود تصميم بگيرند. آقاي باوچر گفت: واشنگتن تحولات ايران را از نزديک زير نظر دارد.