Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSaturday, February 14, 2004
<b>US President Urges Fight against Nuclear Proliferation</b>
• “Terrorists and terrorist states are in a race for weapons of mass murder, a race they must lose,” US President George Bush said today in his weekly radio address. “We must strengthen laws and international controls that fight proliferation,” he adds. “We must ensure that the International Atomic Energy Agency is fully capable of exposing and reporting banned nuclear activity, Mr. Bush said, urging all nations to sign the additional protocol to the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “The Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to any state that does not already possess full scale, functioning enrichment and reprocessing plants,” he said, proposing that the world's leading nuclear exporters close the loopholes through which nuclear materials could reach terrorists and rogue states. “Thanks to the tireless work of intelligence officers from the United States and the United Kingdom and other nations,” the underground network created by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who “sold nuclear technology and know-how to rogue regimes around the world, such Iran and North Korea, is being dismantled.” (Jamshid Zand)
• “We do not believe that Iran has made the strategic decision to abandon its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability,” US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Friday. “We do not believe that Iran has been fully transparent in its October declaration to the IAEA on its nuclear activities,” he added. “Iran has continued to hide information from the IAEA related to its ongoing efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability,” Boucher charged, also citing the Islamic regime's alleged “failure to suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities.” The IAEA's report on Iran's compliance with its pledges is due in March. The IAEA board of governors “will meet again on March 8 to 10 and at that time the board can judge whether at that moment Iran is meeting its pledges,” Boucher said. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
• The sanctions against Iran and Libya have had little impact in curbing those countries' nuclear programs, the <i>Washington Times</i> writes, quoting a report prepared by the US State Department for the US Congress. (Siavash Ardalan)
<b>Iran Ready to Sell Nuclear Fuel, Foreign Minister Says</b>
• Iran was willing to sell nuclear fuel to international buyers. Foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Saturday. The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country that has the potential to produce nuclear fuel, is ready to offer fuel to international markets,” he said. (Siavash Ardalan)
• Selling weapons-grade uranium would contradict Iran's commitment to the IAEA, however, if by selling nuclear fuel, Kharrazi means 3 percent to 5 percent enriched uranium, which is good for nuclear power plants, the plan does not contradict Iran's new and old commitments to IAEA, Stockholm University's international law professor <b>Saeed Mahmoudi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>US Continues Pressure for Regime Change</b>
• The Bush White House thinks that pressure on Iran can help bring the regime down, even though it has not ruled out the possibility of a limited dialogue on specific issues when in US national interests,” writes London's <i>Financial Times</i>'s Washington correspondent Guy Dinmore. “In general the administration is coming to believe that the regime cannot be changed gradually, but only through internal tumult, like another revolution,” FT quotes an unnamed US official. “We can aid this by isolating them,” the official adds, according to FT. (Siavash Ardalan)
<b>550 Candidates Drop out of Majles Elections</b>
• In the past three days, a total of 550 candidates in Tehran and major cities pulled out of running in the February 20 Majles elections, in protest against mass disqualification of nearly 3,000 reformist candidacy applicants, including leading reformist Majles MPs. Hundreds of independent candidates, approved to stand in the elections by the Guardians Council, were among those who dropped out. Meanwhile, Mashhad MP Ali Tajernia, who resigned his seat along with 120 of 290 Majles MPs, warned against widespread election fraud. He said the conservatives may claim that 40 million of the total 45 million eligible voters turned out in the elections, since the Guardians Council's election supervision boards have tripled their staff in a bid to take over the vote counting from the interior ministry's election executive boards. Many are being trained on how to erase election stamps in IDs, produce duplicate IDs and make fake IDs. Meanwhile, spokesman of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Masoud Jazayeri expressed satisfaction with the Guardians Council's move to prevent the reformist faction from regaining its majority in the Majles. Responding to resigned Tehran MP Behzad Nabavi, who had compared the upcoming elections with the controlled Majles elections under the Shah, Jazayeri said we hope that we would not be witnessing the return of misled elements to sensitive positions. (Amir Armin)
• Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said the resignations of 120 MPs will not be accepted, since it would, in effect, paralyze the Majles at a time when important bills, such as the government's budget for the next fiscal year, are up for Majles vote. (Behruz Nikzat)
• In a statement issued in Tehran, the pro-reform society of the Islamic university professors denounced the February 20 elections as “unlawful,” because, it said, by eliminating competitions, a majority of the contests have already been decided. Ignoring the people's demands in the past few years has brought the democratic aspect of the Islamic regime under question, Georgetown University sociology professor and political activist <b>Mehrdad Mashayekhi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Today, he adds, one faction says it would be happy if only less that 15 percent of voters turn out to vote. The regime, following what it considers the Chinese pattern, has moved to purge itself from any dissent, hoping to prop itself through better relations with the west. However, the positions of the US and EU on dialogue with Iran have been getting closer in the past two years; and the EU has announced that improvement in human rights is a condition of improving economic ties with Iran, he says. (Shireen Famili)
• One cannot be too proud of the elections in which the people's trust in the government has been destroyed, reformist daily <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i> writes. Though the conservatives believe that they will win in the elections, but not a single reformist believes there is any benefit to behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two factions, reformist daily <i>Yaas-e Now</i> writes. President Khatami is being hammered by radical reformists, because he did not go along with their demands, conservative daily <i>Resalat</i> writes. The upcoming Majles will be neither reformist nor conservative. It will be dominated by independent MPs, conservative Mashhad daily <i>Qods</i> writes. (Amir Armin)
• Thirty candidates started campaigning for Kerman's three Majles seats, editor of banned local daily <i>Hadith</i> <b>Mohammad-Sadeq Taheri</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Twenty-six of the candidates have declared themselves independent, while two are from the reformist faction and two from the conservative faction, he adds. The presence of reformists in the mix has created an atmosphere of real competition, he says, adding that no elections will be held in the earthquake-stricken Bam, according to the provincial governor. (Masoud Malek)
• With the reinstatement of reformist candidate Dr. Mohammad Farokhi, competition between the two factions has heated up in the central town of Jiroft, local journalist <b>Shahram Parsa-Motlaq</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. However, political alliances in this town are influenced by ethnic and tribal links, he adds. (Farin Asemi)
• In the absence of major political figures, who have been banned from running in the elections by the Guardians Council, in Shiraz there is hardly any interest in the elections, local journalist <b>Farid Yasamin</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The candidates' slogans do not go beyond such clichés as bread, justice and housing, which do not reflect the real demands of the voters, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
• The reformist candidates who have been approved by the Guardians Council to run in the elections, such as moderate reformist MPs Elias Hazrati, Jamileh Kadivar and Majid Ansari, say that by dropping out of the elections the reformists should not leave the Majles to the conservatives. Their position reveals a growing rift in the ranks of reformists, as MPs Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, Fatemeh Rakei and Shams Vahabi, along with hundreds of reformist and independent candidates who pulled out of the competition, no longer see any benefit in political participation. Reformist MP Fatemeh Rakei, who has been banned from reelection by the Guardians Council, and is among the 120 MPs who resigned, said the MPs plan to prevent the Majles from reaching a quorum in its final months. (Siavash Ardalan)
• There is no mention of the banned MPs and disqualified candidates in the Tehran press. The conservative newspapers played up the Supreme Leader's speech in their headlines, in which the voters were urged to turnout for the elections, but reformist daily <i>Yaas-e Now</i>'s headline says the Participation Front has no candidate in these elections. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
• Of 290 Majles seats, at least 190 will go to the conservatives, who are running unchallenged, Berlin daily <i>die tageszeitung</i> writes. The real power in Iran resides not with the Supreme Leader, but with the conservative clerics who, in addition to receiving all kinds of government subsidies and tax exemptions, control major economic levers, including widespread smuggling of goods and drugs, it writes. (Parviz Farhang, Cologne)
<b>Conservatives Switch Positions on US Relations, Press Law, Women's Dress</b>
• Campaigning to increase voter turnout in the February 20 elections, members of the leading right wing coalition Abadgaran retracted former hard-line positions on Islamic dress code for women, relations with the US, ban on satellite TV viewing and the press law. We shall reform the press law, if necessary, and rules on women's dress code, viewing foreign satellite TV broadcasts and relations with the US are all subject to change, due to the conditions of the time, Tehran conservative MP Gholamali Haddad-Adel, a relative of the Supreme Leader and head of the Majles conservative block, said today in a campaign speech. The sources of investments are not important for us, since any investment can be in the national interest, conservative politician Ahmad Tavakoli, former labor minister and a former presidential candidate, who is a major figure in the newly formed right-wing coalition Abadgaran, said, reversing the Guardians Council's position on foreign investment as a tool of foreign domination. (Amir Armin)
<b>Canadian Ambassador Calls for Trial of Zahra Kazemi Killers</b>
• It is in the interest of the Canada-Iran political and economic relations that the killer of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi be put on trial, Canada's ambassador to Tehran <b>Philip McKinnon</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Maryam Aghvami, Toronto)
<b>Iran Gets Support to Join WTO</b>
• “The United States this week found itself increasingly isolated in opposing Iran's application for membership in the World Trade Organization, writes <i>the Washington Times</i>. The European Union spearheaded a push to admit Iran at a meeting of the agency's ruling General Council on Wednesday, backed by a cross section of rich and developing countries. Other countries that spoke in support of Iran included China, India, Venezuela, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Switzerland and New Zealand. Tanzania took the floor on behalf of an informal group of developing countries. (Leyli Sadr)
<b>Government Postpones Implementation of Auto Imports Law</b>
• A year of its approval by the Majles, the industries ministry's development and renovation of industries organization announced that the law cannot be implemented at the present time. Citing low demand, the organization said domestic automakers have reduced their prices by 15 percent to 20 percent, and are offering financing to auto buyers. Meanwhile, the plan to retire cars older than 30 years was also shelved. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
سياوش اردلان (راديو فردا): جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريكا، امروز در سخنراني راديويي خود بار ديگر بر نياز به متوقف كردن گسترش سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي تاكيد كرد. جرج بوش نسبت به دستيابي تروريستها به سلاحهاي بيولوژيكي، شيميايي و هسته اي هشدار داد.
جمشيد زند (راديو فردا): احتمال حمله ناگهاني و مخفيانه با استفاده از سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي بزرگترين تهديد براي بشريت است. جرج بوش رئيس جمهوري آمريكا با اين هشدار سخنراني هفتگي خود را آغاز كرد. او گفت: آمريكا در حال توليد و گسترش سيستم دفاع موشكي است تا بتواند از مردم در برابر حملات احتمالي موشكهاي مجهز به سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي حفاظت كند. آقاي بوش تاكيد كرد كه آمريكا از تمام راههاي ديپلماتيك براي مقابله با رژيمهايي كه دست به توليد سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي مي زنند استفاده مي كند و دولت آمريكا در همكاري با بيش از 12 كشور ديگر سعي دارد از انتقال مواد كشنده از راه دريا، هوا و خشكي جلوگيري كند.
جرج بوش گفت: آمريكا عزم و اراده خود براي استفاده از زور در مواقع ضروري را نيز نشان داده است. او تاكيد كرد كه اكنون هيچ كسي نمي تواند درباره تصميم مقامات آمريكا براي جلوگيري و از بين بردن اينگونه تهديدها عليه امنيت كشور ترديد كند. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا همچنين به مبارزه اين كشور با دلالان بازار بين المللي مواد و تكنولوژي سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي اشاره كرد. او عملكرد سازمانهاي اطلاعاتي آمريكا در برملا كردن باند زير زميني پاكستان را كه تكنولوژي هسته اي در اختيار ليبي، ايران و كره شمالي گذاشته بود، بخشي از اين مبارزه خواند. چندي پيش عبدالقديرخان، پدر بمب هسته اي پاكستان به رهبري اين باند زيرزميني اعتراف كرد. آقاي بوش در سخنراني خود خواهان همكاري بين المللي نهادهاي بين المللي و پليس براي مبارزه عليه چنين باندهايي شد. توقيف مواد خام، مسدود كردن داراييهاي دلالان بين المللي، بستن آزمايشگاهها و محاكمه اعضاي اين باندها، از جمله اهدافي هستند كه آقاي بوش در طرح همكاري بين المللي نيروهاي امنيتي مطرح كرد. او همچنين از شوراي امنيت سازمان ملل خواست با صدور قطعنامه اي از تمام كشورها بخواهد تا صادرات خود را دقيقا كنترل كنند، تمام مواد حساس را در درون مرزهاي خود امن سازند و كساني را كه در گسترش سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي دست دارند محاكمه كنند.
رئيس جمهوري آمريكا در پايان سخنان خود گفت: كشورهاي تروريست و تروريستها شديدا درصدد دستيابي به سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي هستند و نبايد در اين كار موفق شوند. جرج بوش، رئيس جمهوري آمريكا، امروز در سخنراني هفتگي خود بار ديگر بر نياز به متوقف كردن گسترش سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي تاكيد كرد. آقاي بوش گفت آمريكا از تمام راههاي ديپلماتيك براي مقابله با رژيمهايي كه دست به توليد سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي مي زنند، استفاده مي كند. وي گفت: آمريكا عزم و اراده خود براي استفاده از زور در مواقع ضروري را نيز نشان داده است. رئيس جمهوري آمريكا همچنين به مبارزه اين كشور با دلالان بازار بين المللي مواد و تكنولوژي سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي اشاره كرد. او عملكرد سازمانهاي اطلاعاتي آمريكا در برملا كردن باند زير زميني پاكستان را كه تكنولوژي هسته اي در اختيار ليبي، ايران و كره شمالي گذاشته بود، بخشي از اين مبارزه خواند. او از شوراي امنيت سازمان ملل خواست با صدور قطعنامه اي از تمام كشورها بخواهد تا صادرات خود را دقيقا كنترل كنند و در پايان سخنان خود گفت: تروريستها نبايد به سلاحهاي كشتار جمعي دست يابند.