Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSunday, February 22, 2004
<b>Conservatives Prepare to Assume Majles Majority</b>
• The conservatives won more than 140 of the 290 Majles seats, reversing the reformists' majority, official sources announced on Sunday, after 206 of 208 electoral districts finished counting more than 23 millions votes. The reformists won 60 seats. Tehran had the lowest turnout, with a total of 2.8 million, or nearly 30 percent of eligible voters. The highest vote getters in Tehran were members of the conservative Abadgaran (Builders) coalition, headed by Majles minority faction leader Ghlamali Haddad-Adel, who is expected to be the next Majles speaker. However, only 10 received the required 25 percent of the votes to win their seats in the first round; the rest of Tehran's 30 seats will be decided in runoff elections. The reformists, including Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi, did not receive enough votes to make it to the top 30. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• More than 50 percent of eligible voters turned out for the Friday elections, 17 percent less than the previous Majles elections, but still more than expected by the reformists, who had boycotted the elections. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• We shall turn Iran into an Islamic Japan, top vote getter Gholamali Haddad Adel, a relative of the Supreme Leader, and possibly the next Majles speaker, said in an interview with Tehran daily <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i>. The Majles under the conservatives will endeavor to attain maximum freedom within the law for the people, editor of the conservative daily <i>Resalat</i> Amir Mohebian said, adding the conservatives will push forward social and institutional reforms. (Amir Armin)
• The reformists charge that the conservatives padded the election results in order to claim that more than 50 percent of the eligible voters participated in the elections, London Arabic daily <i>Asharq-ol-Awsat</i> writes. (Farideh Rahbar)
• The conservatives, preparing to takeover the Majles after their victory in Friday's elections, said they will focus their attention on the country's economic problems, not suppression of dissent. The Abadgaran (Builders) coalition is neither conservative nor reformist, Fatemeh Aliyan, a candidate, said. Abadgaran's priority will be passing laws to improve the country's economic conditions, she added. Abadgaran rejects use of force and violence against opponents, the coalition's top vote getter Gholamali Haddad-Adel said. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
• The conservatives have not announced any plan or project to improve the economy, <b>Radio Farda</b>'s Paris-based economic commentator <b>Fereydoun Khavand</b> says. Within the conservative faction, there are diverse and often contradictory tendencies within the conservative faction, he adds. A progressive branch of this faction hopes that after taking over all levers of power, it can move to country towards reconciliation with the world powers and integrating Iran's into the world economy. However, the experience of the past 25 years has shown that any attempt to reform the economy has been thwarted by political and religious concerns, he adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
• The regime will increase its pressure on liberals and democratic forces after the elections, head of the Cologne-based committee for defense of human rights in Iran <b>Arzhang Boranazad</b>, who spoke at a gathering last night in Cologne, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. But the new pressures would not last long, since the regime has lost much of its influence, he adds. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
• The vote count for the province of Sistan-va-Baluchestan appears exaggerated, editor of the bi-lingual Baluchi-Persian weekly <i>Ey Marz-e Por Gohar</i> <b>Mohammad Barahoui-nezhad</b>, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Three of the eight winners are the reformist candidates who had advocated large voter turnout. Compared with previous elections, the results were announced too early, which increased local doubts about the validity of the figures, considering that very few voted in provincial center Zahedan and other major cities, where the turnout appeared lower than ever, he adds. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
• Some Kermanshah residents believe that official voter turnout figures in Kurdish towns were exaggerated, local journalist <b>Masoud Kurdpour</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> The competition was among five conservative candidates, since all the reformist and independent candidates had been disqualified by the Guardians Council from running in the elections, he adds. The conservative candidates did not offer any social or economic program, he adds. (Farin Asemi)
• In Tehran's middle-class uptown neighborhoods, voting centers were as empty as deserts, writes French daily <i>Liberation</i>. In poorer downtown neighborhoods, voters did not have access to booths in order to write their ballots in secret, Paris daily <i>Le Monde</i> writes. The voters believe that they would need the election stamp in their IDs for such things as government subsidies, passport renewal and the universities' entrance exams, it adds. Unofficial statistics that indicate low voter turnout would bring the legitimacy of the future Majles under question, writes the <i>Parsian</i>. (Mir-Ali Hosseini)
• After taking over the Majles, the conservatives' next move is to install one of their own as president in next year's presidential election, Swedish daily <i>Svenska Dagbladet</i> writes. (Elaheh Ravanshad, Stockholm)
<b>Responsibility for the 1988 Mass Executions of Thousands of Prisoners</b>
• In his memoir, dissident cleric Ayatollah Hosseiniali Montazeri claims that Ayatollah Khomeini was too sick to have issued the order attributed to him for the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. In an interview last week, former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani disputed Montazeri's claim, and said confirmed the authenticity of the Khomeini's directive. New Haven-based human rights activist <b>Ramin Ahmadi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that by confirming Ayatollah Khomeini's order, Rafsanjani, who was practically running the country under Ayatollah Khomeini, tries to deflect his own responsibility in the killings. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>Nine Protesters Die in Clashes with Police in Fiourzabad and Izeh</b>
• Angry demonstrators protesting against election fraud clashed with police in Firouzabad, of the Fars province, an eyewitness tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. They set fire to several vehicles of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the local police, and broke windows of state-owned banks, including local branches of the Saderat and Refah-e Kargaran banks, and occupied a police station. The police blocked access roads to the city, he adds. Another eyewitness says five were killed in the clashes with the police. Meanwhile, according to another eyewitness interviewed on <b>Radio Farda</b>, four people died on Saturday in clashes with police in the Khuzestan province town of Izeh. (Shireen Famili)
• Protests in Firouzabad began after the provincial government declared the conservative candidate winner of the Friday elections. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• Demonstrators in Borazjan and Bushehr challenged the provincial government's vote counts. People cast ballots, after clerics equaled voting with saying prayers, a Borazjan resident tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. They offered one memorial coin and 50,000 in cash to every two voters, and threatened that without election stamps, people would not be able to receive coupons to purchase subsidized food and fuel, and would not be able to enroll their kids in schools, he adds. The people dispute the election results, because the number of votes they said a candidate has received is higher than the total population of our city, he adds. (Farin Asemi)
• Several activists in Iran, including constitutional reform advocate and former pro-reform newspaper publisher Mohsen Sazegara have asked the UN to investigate the Friday elections for possible fraud. Former UNIFEM official <b>Parvin Paiydar</b> who returned to London after tours of duty in Afghanistan and Pakistan, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that UN intervention is a legitimate demand. When democracy is destroyed in one country, it is the responsibility of all democratic states to protest, she adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
• The Los Angeles Persian-TV broadcasters, who beam their shows to Iran via satellite, actively promoted elections boycott. We receive detailed information on the activities of the government officials from their bodyguards and IRGC members, who have now turned against the regime, operator of a Persian satellite channel <b>Reza Fazeli</b>. Knowing the truth is the people's right and we try to provide that in our broadcasts, owner of another channel <b>Zia Atabai</b> says. Most callers to my 90-minute daily broadcast were pro-Shah women, Azadi-TV broadcaster and monarchist activist <b>Behruz Suresrafil</b> says. (Firouzeh Khatibi, Los Angeles)
<b>Culture Minister Asks Khatami to Intervene on Behalf of Two Closed Reformists Newspapers</b>
• In an open letter to President Khatami, culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jamei asked him for advice on reversing the Tehran judiciary's bans on two reformist newspapers <i>Shargh</i> and <i>Yaas-e Now</i>. The two newspapers were closed a day before the Majles elections for having carried a letter signed by 130 Majles MPs blaming the Supreme Leader for the mass disqualification of 2,500 reformist election candidates. The judiciary said the newspapers were closed by the order of the secretary of the supreme national security council Hasan Rowhani, who yesterday denied judiciary's claim. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>Foreign Ministry Spokesman Admits Black Market Nuclear Buys</b>
• “We purchased some (nuclear) parts from some dealers, but we don't know what the sources were or which countries they came from,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said today, in an admission that confirms recent reports about the activities of an international black market in nuclear equipment and technology operated by Pakistani scientist. “It happened that some of the dealers were from some subcontinent countries,” Asefi added, refusing to name Pakistan. “We have said from the beginning that we acquired some equipment from some dealers. We haven't mentioned any specific scientist or government organization,” he added. (Shireen Famili)
<b>EU Foreign Minister to Discuss Iran Elections</b>
• In their meeting tomorrow in Dublin, the foreign ministers of the EU countries will discuss the Friday Majles elections in Iran, according to Austria's foreign minister, who said conservatives' takeover the Majles would endanger the future of the reforms. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b>Depositors Demonstrate Outside Three Failed Isfahan S & L Institutions</b>
• Angry depositors who lined up outside three failed Islamic savings and loan institutions on Saturday demanded the return of their deposits, an eyewitness tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The crowd blocked several highways and streets, he adds. Another eyewitness says people find it curious that the institutions closed a day after the elections. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
<b>Neyshabur Residents Block Rail Road in Protest against Poor Relief Work after Train Explosion</b>
• Four days after the massive cargo train explosion near Neyshabour, which killed 300, wounded 400, and leveled several villages, angry demonstrators blocked the Tehran-Mashhad railroad in protest against poor relief work. As people who have lost their loved ones in the explosion, we demand to know the nature of the cargo carried by the exploded train, a Neyshabur resident told the state-owned “students” news agency. A protestor said hospitals demand payment before admitting the surviving victims. (Ali Sajjadi)
شيرين فاميلي (راديوفردا): در حالي که شمارش آراي انتخابات دوره هفتم مجلس شوراي اسلامي به ويژه در تهران رو به پايان است، و قرار است نتايج قطعي انتخابات تا پايان امروز اعلام شود، به نظر مي رسد که محافظه کاران خود را براي اعلام پيروزي در انتخابات مجلس که روز جمعه برگزار مي شد، آماده مي کنند. درتهران، ميزان شرکت کنندگان در انتخابات حدود 33 درصد اعلام شده است.
فريدون زرنگار (راديوفردا): برابر آمارهاي منتشر شده تا ساعات پاياني روز يکشنبه، سوم اسفند، تا کنون شمارش آراء در 206 حوزه از 208 حوزه انتخاباتي در کل کشور، به پايان رسيده است. مجموع آراي شمارش شده در اين حوزه ها، بيش از 23 ميليون گزارش شده است. با شمارش آراء تا کنون تکليف حدود 200 کرسي مجلس به طور قطعي روش شده است.
در بين کساني که تا کنون با کسب آراي مورد نياز به مجلس هفتم راه يافته اند، تنها يک زن از حوزه خلخال ديده مي شود. بر اساس آخرين گزارش ها، در حوزه انتخابيه تهران، ري، شميرانات، و اسلامشهر، تا کنون حدود دو ميليون و 800 هزار راي شمارش شده است. نام غلامعلي حداد عادل، رئيس فراکسيون اقليت مجلس ششم، با کسب بيشترين راي در صدر سي نفر اول قرار دارد.
برابر شمارش آراء در تهران، 30 نفر اول کساني که بيشترين راي را به خود اختصاص داده اند، از نامزدهاي ليست موسوم به ائتلاف آبادگران ايران اسلامي هستند. گفته مي شود که اين ليست مورد حمايت آيت الله خامنه اي، رهبر جمهوري اسلامي است. ناظران، شاهد اين مساله را حمايت علي اکبر ناطق نوري و علي اکبر ولايتي، مشاوران رهبر جمهوري اسلامي از اين ليست، پيش از برگزاري انتخابات ذکر مي کنند. همين ناظران شرکت بسيج و ائمه جمعه در سراسر کشور را نشانه اي ديگر از وابستگي اين ليست به رهبر جمهوري اسلامي و روحانيان محافظه کار مي دانند.
با وجود اين هنوز زود است که از پيروزي کامل ليست آبادگران در تهران سخن گفت. برخي پيش بيني ها حاکي از آن است که احتمالا تنها حدود 10 نفر از کساني که تا کنون بيشترين آراء را در اختيار دارند، در دور اول به مجلس راه يابند. نامزدهاي هوادار اصلاح طلبان، از جمله مهدي کروبي، رئيس مجلس شوراي اسلامي، در رديف هاي بعد از سي ام قرار گرفتند.
نتايج شمارش آراء تا کنون حاکي از آن است که به احتمال بسيار زياد، جناح محافظه کار نظام جمهوري اسلامي، اکثريت قاطعي در مجلس هفتم در اختيار خواهد داشت، در حالي که اصلاح طلبان با حدود 60 نماينده به فراکسيون اقليت مجلس تبديل خواهند شد. گزارش هاي پراکنده همچنين از حضور شماري نماينده که مستقل ناميده شده اند، خبر مي دهد. نتايج قطعي انتخابات تا پايان امروز اعلام مي شود. به نظر مي رسد که محافظه کاران خود را براي اعلام پيروزي در انتخابات مجلس هفتم و احراز اكثريت در مجلس آماده مي کنند. درتهران، ضريب شرکت کنندگان در انتخابات حدود 33 درصد اعلام شد. شمارش آراء در 206 حوزه از 208 حوزه انتخاباتي به پايان رسيد. مجموع آراي شمارش شده در اين حوزه ها، بيش از 23 ميليون گزارش شده است. اصلاح طلبان با حدود 60 نماينده به فراکسيون اقليت مجلس تبديل خواهند شد.