Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiMonday, February 09, 2004
<b>Bush on Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program</b>
• There is no question (Iran) is a danger, US President said on Sunday in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. “Every situation requires a different response and a different analysis,” he added. “The international community is now trying to convince Iran to get rid of its nuclear weapons program,” he said, in a wide ranging interview in which he defended his decision to go to war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and said diplomatic approach to reverse North Korea's nuclear policy appears to be working.
<b>Britain's Crown Prince Visits Bam, Meets Khatami</b>
• “Would you tell them that my people in Britain are very concerned and they're praying for the Iranian people,” British Crown Prince asked his interpreter on Monday in Bam, where he visited the victims of the December earthquake that killed 45,000 and destroyed the city's ancient citadel. Charles also expressed his condolences to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami when he paid a courtesy call to the head of state in the capital Tehran.
• This symbolic visit tells of the formation of a new era in Iran's relationship with the West, reformist daily <i>Shargh</i> writes. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>Reformist Clerics' Party Urges Voter Turnout to Defeat Conservatives</b>
• Highlighting a growing rift in the ranks of the pro-reform faction, the reformist clerics' party society of the militant clerics (Majma-ye Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez), of which President Khatami and Majles Speaker Mehdi Karrubi are ranking members, urged voters to turnout for the February 20 elections in order to defeat the conservative candidates. On the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, we are witnesses to one of the most complicated plots against the democratic pillars of the Islamic Republic, the pro-reform clerics said in their statement, condemning the conservative Guardians Council's bans on nearly 3000 reformist candidacy applicants, which, according to the interior ministry, has left 150 of 290 electoral districts without a reformist challenger. In the districts where no reformist candidate has been allowed to run, vote for the independent candidates, the clerics' statement directed its supporters, ignoring the reformist Majles MPs who were banned by the Guardians Council from reelection. Sanandaj reformist MP Jalal Jalalizadeh, a Sunni, who is among the 87 banned MPs, had called on the voters to boycott the elections as a religious duty. The mass disqualifications of election candidates, the bans on newspapers and the jailing of journalists and activists show that the regime has strayed far away from its democratic promise. Instead of the Majles elections, he suggested holding a simple referendum on the form of Iran's future government. (Alireza Taheri)
• The Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat-e Iran-e Eslami), which has the largest bloc of MPs in the Majles, and the leftist Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution (MIRO), said they will not participate in the elections. The totalitarian faction's election bans was nothing short of a parliamentary coup, the banned reformist MPs said in their 19th communiqué issued a week after they turned in their resignations. (Bahman Bastani)
• Pro-reform Islamic student activists held several meetings in Tehran University, Science and Industry University and Shiraz University, in which speakers denounced the Guardians Council's disqualification of election candidacy hopefuls. One of the speakers at today's TU gathering was reformist MP and head of the Majles complaints committee Hossein Ansarirad, who said the Supreme Leader cannot rule in opposition to the people's will. The anti-reform headquarters has set up shop at the office of the Supreme Leader, Tehran MP Ali-Akbar Mousavi Khoeini said . The characteristic of these student gatherings is the participation of resigning Majles MPs, member of the general committee of the association of the Islamic student councils <b>Seyyed Amir Pakzad</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>.
• The society of pro-reform clerics (Jame-ye Rowhaniyoon Mobarez) is in talks with other reformist parties in order to come out with a mutual list of favorite candidates, head of the Rowhaniyoon Mobarez's bloc in the Majles Rasoul Montajebnia said. (Kian Manavi)
• The popularity of the Supreme Leader will be measured in the number of votes that members of newly formed conservative coalition Abadgaran will garner. Abadgaran won 14 of 15 seats last February in the Tehran city council elections. Former labor minister Ahmad Tavakoli introduced the Abadgaran candidates in a press conference today in Tehran, claiming that the coalition is “independent,” but after he spoke, the Supreme Leader's son-in-law and head of the Majles conservative bloc Gholamali Haddad-Adel expressed support for the Abadgaran's list. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• Compared with the previous elections, in which voter participation and excitement were high, the people who no less interest in these elections, Karaj-based journalist <b>Babak Aryanpour</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The lack of interest is also evident in the officials in charge of holding the elections, he adds. Also, not much activity can be seen in the election headquarters of the candidates and places such as printing houses and ad agencies, which were active and busy in previous elections do not have much work to do in these elections, he adds. Considering the popular disaffection with the political process, which is a result of the mass disqualification of election candidates by the Guardians Council, the lack of interest in the elections is very clear in the Khuzestan province, Ahwaz-based journalist <b>Mojtaba Gahestani</b> says. The voter turnout will be very low, he adds. The mass disqualifications dampened people's interest in the elections, Charmahal-va-Bakhtiari based journalist <b>Mehdi Makaremi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Jamshid Zand)
• President Khatami's reform movement would end, if he succumbs to his rivals' wish and hold the elections on the scheduled time, Italian daily <i>La Stampa</i> writes. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
• The reformists distanced themselves from the center of power and joined the people, Paris daily <i>Le Figaro</i> quotes reformist Tehran-based journalist Isa Saharkhiz. This is the first time in its four years in the Majles that the reformist faction has taken a firm position against oppression, and acts as true opposition, sociologist Ehsan Naraghi told <i>Le Figaro</i>'s correspondent in Tehran. (Mir-Ali Mousavi, Tehran)
<b>Iran Denies Nuclear Deal with Pakistani Scientist</b>
• “Iran is denying it received nuclear technology from top Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeeer Khan, who recently said he had passed secrets to Tehran. The denial is the latest twist in a complex story of nuclear proliferation that centers on Khan but the details of which may never become fully clear,” RFE/RL's Charles Recknagel reports. (Ali Sajjadi)
• Nuclear technology was sold to Iran by German scientists, Pakistani foreign minister said in an interview with Munich daily <i>Süddeutsche Zeitung</i>. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b>Scammers Collect Earthquake Relief</b>
• A man with 170 food aid coupons was arrested in the earthquake-stricken city of Bam, announced Kerman province armed forces commander. The arrest is just one indication of the widespread scamming which has been going on in Bam, Keramni journalist <b>Ali Dabesani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. There were many shortcomings in the management and distribution of aide and relief services after the earthquake, he adds. For example, instead of donated tents from foreign countries, most survivors were given inadequate tents provided by the Iranian society of Red Crescent, he adds. Loads of tents, donated foreign clothes and medicine are now being sold in Tehran markets, he adds, at a time when foreign medical relief teams in Bam face shortages of medicine and supplies, he adds. The survivors who return to their city are confronted with continued shortages, nearly two months after the revolution, he says. Compared to the first fifteen days, the chaos and disorder is somewhat less today, he acknowledges. (Masoud Malek)
• The German medical relief team in Bam delivered their 100th baby today, announced the German society of the Red Cross, adding that the team has provided medical service to more than 20,000 in its nearly two months in Bam. Our organization has opened 15 clinics and 20 temporary schools in Bam, spokesman of Germany's relief agency Maltezer <b>Dr. Claudia Kaminski</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>.
جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريکا، روز گذشته در يک مصاحبه تلويزيوني در پاسخ به اين پرسش که چرا به حكومت هاي مستبد كه همچنان خطري از نظر دولت آمريکا به شمار مي آيند، مانند کره شمالي و ايران، حمله نظامي نشد، گفت: هر موقعيتي پاسخ متناسب با آن موقعيت را مي طلبد. وي افزود: کره شمالي گام هاي ديپلماتيک آغازين برداشته شده است، در پيوند با عراق، ديپلماسي به بن بست رسيد. آقاي بوش گفت: شکي نيست که جمهوري اسلامي ايران يک خطر است و اکنون جامعه بين المللي در حال تلاش براي متقاعد کردن حكومت ايران است که از برنامه تسليحات هسته اي دست بردارد. جرج بوش گفت: داده هاي اطلاعاتي در باره عراق به ما نشان مي دهد که صدام حسين خطر بالقوه اي بود که مي توانست هر آن به فعل تبديل شود و ما نمي توانيم منتظر فعال شدن خطر بمانيم.