Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSunday, April 11, 2004
<b>US Criticizes the Islamic Republic's Human Rights Record</b>
• The US Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Labor and Human Rights released a fact sheet on the struggle for democracy in Iran entitled “Iran—Voices Struggling to be Heard.” The 16-page brochure denounces steps by Iran's un-elected clerical leadership. The Iranian people are being stifled as they call for their rights, beliefs and needs to be respected, the brochure says. It details several recent incidents in Iran, including the death in custody of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi last year and the closure of reformist newspapers and the disqualification of 2,400 of reformist candidates from the February 20 Majles elections. The Iranian youth, who have staged massive pro-reform rallies, represent hope for the future of Iran, according to the US State Department brochure.
<b> Iran's Support of Moqtada Sadr</b>
• The clerics, who supported Moqtada Sadr's clashes with the US forces in Iraq, are now worried that his rebellion might lead the Iraqi Shiites into a dead-end, the Italian daily <i>La Republica</i> writes. Recent contacts between Iranian officials and the Shiite Iraqi organizations such as the al-Dawa party and the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI) show that the Islamic Republic officials are worried about the outcome of Moqtada Sadr's rebellion, it writes. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
• There is no doubt that the regime is playing a role in the Iraqi unrest, Berlin-based author <b>Behruz Khosrowzadeh</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Not only the Americans, but the Iraqi interim governing council members are aware that Iran is somehow behind the present unrest in Iraq, he adds. The Iraqi Kurds have found documents proving Iran's involvement, and it is interesting that the foreign ministry in Tehran has been silent about the issue, he says. (Siavash Ardalan)
• A high level Iraqi Shiite cleric went to Tehran to arrange for Moqtada Sadr's asylum in Iran, according to London Arabic daily <i>Asharq-ol-Awsat</i>.
• In a meeting on Saturday with member of the Iraqi interim governing council Ibrahim Jaafari President Khatami denied Iran's role in Moqtada Sadr's rebellion. He said Iran will not intervene in the internal affairs of Iraq, despite its objection to the US occupation. He added that had the U.S. handed over the authority to the Iraqi people since the beginning and a democratic government put into office in Iraq, there could have been no catastrophes or killings in the country. Khatami stressed that Iran supports the moderate policies of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), headed by Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, and Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. His comments came one day after former president Hashemi Rafsanjani praised Moqtada Sadr's al-Mahdi Army as a heroic force. Meanwhile, reformist Shiraz MP Reza Yusefian, member of the Majles national security and foreign relations committee, criticized Rafsanjani's support for Moqtada Sadr. In an interview with the pro-reform party the Participation Front's website Rooydad, he said hasty judgments of some government officials has given ammunition to those who want to implicate Iran in the Iraqi unrest. Moqtada Sadr has anti-Iranian sentiments, and his opposition to Ayatollah Sistani is in part due to Sistani's Iranian origin, he said. Meanwhile, <i>Baztab</i>, an internet site close to Mohsen Rezai, secretary of the Expediency Council, quoted member of the Iraqi governing council Adnan al-Asadi that the only solution to end the present unrest in Iraq is to transfer Moqtada Sadr to Iran. (Nima Tamadon)
<b>What About Iran, Asks Columnist Jim Hoagland</b>
• The defeat of the Baathists changed much in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. But Washington has not used that victory and the year that has passed to seek a change in relations with -- or regional strategy toward -- Iran. The administration has chosen not to choose when it comes to the nation that is Iraq's most important and most dangerous neighbor, a major supporter of international terrorism and the only country ruled by a Shiite majority, columnist Jim Hoagland writes in the <i>Washington Post</i>. The administration left US policy on Iran in a steadily deepening limbo: Once a member of the “axis of evil,” Iran became the embarrassing, unaddressed missing link in the Bush administration's bold ambitions to transform Iraq and to becalm the world's most volatile and treacherous region. Iran slipped into the “too hard” file, he added.
<b>Government Prepares Bill To Raise Teachers' Salaries</b>
• Responding to the teachers' repeated protests, sit-ins, demonstrations and strikes, including the widespread strike last month, the education minister said a bill is being prepared for submission to the Majles. The bill would raise the power of schools' principals, and create division in the ranks of the teachers, veteran teacher <b>Ahmad Behrang</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. While the bill's details have yet to be worked out, it proposes to raise the salaries of the teachers by 20, 35 and 50 percent, depending on a ranking system which would divide the teachers eligible for raise into three categories. The teachers are not optimistic about this bill, he says. But reformist Hamedan MP <b>Hossein Loghmanian</b>, who is a veteran teacher, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the Majles and government have joined forces to see that the bill gets passed and be implemented. However, he adds, the teachers have been given too many empty promises, and have become distrustful of the government's intentions. The teachers had announced protest plans for next month. But, according to Ahmad Behrang, many leaders of the teachers' unions have been summoned by the authorities, and were told to modify their plans. “The constitution allows the teachers to stage protests in order to demand their rights, and their protests have been peaceful,” MP Loghmanian says. The teachers' union plans to discuss the education ministry's bill in a meeting next week, in which decision will be taken about next month's planned protest actions. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>Asylum Seekers Demonstrate in Amsterdam</b>
• In a demonstration yesterday in Amsterdam attended by more than 15,000, asylum seekers protested against the Dutch government's new immigration policies. An Iranian refugee who attended the demonstration tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that after 4 years in Netherlands, the immigration court ruled to expel her, saying that it received her documents too late. She adds that due to her lawyer's smart maneuvers, including his appeal to the European Union, she has received permission to live in a refugee camp. Another Iranian refugee tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that he has lived in Netherlands for the past six years along with her sister, and his appeals for political asylum have been rejected. He says he does not know when he will be deported. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b>Economist Defends Oil-less Economy</b>
• Economist <b>Anwar Khamehi</b>, who spoke at a gathering of Iranian exiles in Vienna, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that if the policies of populist prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq, who presided over the 1952 nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, had been allowed to continue, the Iranian economy would not have been so dependent on oil revenues. (Kianusch Faried, Vienna)
<b>No Change In University Admission Policies</b>
• Despite the government's proposed bill to change the universities' admission policies, head of the national entrance exam organization Hossein Rahimi said there will be no change in the universities' entrance exam and admission policies. University professors had complained that the government's policy to exclude war veterans and relatives of the victims of Iran-Iraq war from university entrance exams has filled classes with students who are not at the same academic level of those who gain admission through the grueling national entrance exam. (Keyvan Hosseini)
<b>RadioFarda Democracy and Human Rights Roundtable: Accountability</b>
Today's roundtable is devoted to accountability. In his New Year message, the Supreme Leader said the authorities are accountable to the people and to the nation's elite.
• Frankfurt-based leftist activist <b>Mehdi Khanbaba-Tehrani</b> says: The Islamic Republic's organs, such as the judiciary and the supreme administrative court, cannot be trusted with the campaign against corruption. Furthermore, the Supreme Leader, who talks of accountability, does not consider himself accountable to any earthly being. Corruption cannot be prosecuted in societies where no democracy exists.
• New Haven based human rights activist <b>Ramin Ahmadi</b> says: Unlike the US, where a democratically elected president is accountable to the Congress, in Iran the real power is in the hands of the Supreme Leader's appointees. Once in a while, the elected government is called upon to defend the policies which it has had no role in devising. Accountability will only become a possibility in Iran when the country enters a period of transition.
• Berlin-based activist <b>Reza Charandabi</b> says: In democracies, accountability is imbedded in the system. But in a country where nobody is allowed to ask any questions, accountability remains as an empty slogan. (Maryam Ahmadi)
<b>ISNA Interviews On Possible Cabinet Shuffle</b>
• After the victory of the reformist candidates in the February 20 Majles elections, possible changes in the line-up of the Khatami cabinet were discussed by the reformist media. The state-run “students” news agency ISNA published comments by conservative and reformist officials and political figures. Central committee member of the centrist Kargozaran party Mohammad Hashemi said: There is no need for a change in the cabinet in the short period remained from Khatami's term in office. Head of the political office of the right-wing Motalefeh-ye Eslami party Assadollah Badamchian said: President Khatami would be relieved from the reformists' pressure when the conservatives take charge of the Majles. He called for the dismissal of the finance and education ministers. Tehran MP Abass-Ali Abtahi said: Any change in the cabinet depends on Khatami's decision. MP Fatemeh Alia said no change is needed in the cabinet. Meanwhile, Khuzestan MP Ali Falahian, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said: Change in the cabinet line-up is welcome and would help Khatami's legacy.
سياوش اردلان (راديو فردا): نويسنده روزنامه لارپوبليكا از نقش جمهوري اسلامي در ناآراميهاي عراق و حمايت ايران از مقتدي صدر مي نويسد. دولت ايران تا كنون رسما كوشيده است خود را از مواضع مقتدي صدر دور كند، اما روزنامه لارپوبليكا در عين حال كه انگشت اتهام را در حمايت از مقتدي صدر به سوي ايران دراز مي كند، از اين موضوع ابراز نگراني مي كند كه مقاومت افراطيون شيعه در برابر نيروهاي ائتلاف، موقعيت كل شيعيان را در آينده سياسي عراق به خطر بياندازد.
احمد رافت (راديو فردا، رم): روزنامه لارپوبليكا La Republicaچاپ رم، در تحليلي از اوضاع كنوني در عراق و نقش جمهوري اسلامي در اين بحران مي نويسد: با گذشت روزها، مقتدي صدر، روحانيان ايراني را نيز نگران ساخته است. در ادامه اين تحليل آمده است:
اگرچه ايران با حمايت از مقتدي صدر سعي كرد از او به عنوان اسلحه اي براي گل آلود ساختن آب سياست در عراق و بهره برداري از آن استفاده كند، وليكن امروز بيم آن مي رود كه اين شورش با ابعادي كه يافته است، شيعيان عراق را به بن بست بكشاند.
ظهور مقتدي صدر در صحنه سياست عراق به گفته مفسر لارپوبليكا ، آرايش نيروهاي شيعه را به هم ريخته است و احتمال فروپاشي شوراي موقت حكومتي عراق روز به روز قوت مي گيرد. مقتدي صدر با شورشي كه در عراق به راه انداخته است، به نوشته روزنامه ايتاليايي مي تواند از وزن نيروهاي سياسي شيعه در آينده اين كشور و در دولت موقتي كه قرار است حكومت را در هفته هاي آينده به دست گيرد، بكاهد.
در تحليل لارپوبليكا پس از نام بردن از اعضاي شيعه شوراي موقت حكومت كه در روزهاي گذشته استعفا داده و يا اعلام كرده اند كه در ساعات آينده كناره خواهند گرفت، به اخراج حسين كاظمي قمي، كاردار سفارت جمهوري اسلامي در بغداد كه از او به عنوان پاسداري كه به ديپلماسي قرض داده شده است نام مي برد، اشاره مي كند و مي نويسد: اين اخراج و اين استعفاها نشان از عمق بحران كنوني و نقش جمهوري اسلامي در اين بحران را دارد.
لارپوبليكا مي نويسد: تماسهاي ساعات اخير مقامات جمهوري اسلامي با ابراهيم جعفري، رهبر حزب الدعوه و عبدالعزيز حكيم، رهبر شوراي عالي انقلاب اسلامي، حاكي از نگراني تهران از عواقبي كه شورش مقتدي صدر در صحنه سياسي خواهد داشت هستند.
لارپوبليكا مي نويسد: جمهوري اسلامي مي تواند مقتدي صدر را به پذيرش پيشنهاد شوراي موقت حكومت عراق، مبني بر تسليم شدنش به نيروهاي ائتلاف در قبال ضمانت دادگاهي با حضور وكلاي مدافع وادار سازد. در اين صورت حداقل در جنوب عراق به گفته لارپوبليكا بحران كاهش خواهد يافت و نيروهاي ائتلاف فرصت خواهند يافت به جستجوي راه حل سياسي جديدي براي خروج از مرداب عراق بپردازند. روزنامه لارپوبليكا، چاپ رم، در تحليلي از اوضاع كنوني در عراق و نقش جمهوري اسلامي در اين بحران مي نويسد: مقتدي صدر، روحانيان ايراني را نيز نگران ساخته است. بيم آن مي رود كه اين شورش با ابعادي كه يافته است، شيعيان عراق را به بن بست بكشاند. ظهور مقتدي صدر در صحنه سياست عراق آرايش نيروهاي شيعه را به هم ريخته است و احتمال فروپاشي شوراي موقت حكومتي عراق روز به روز قوت مي گيرد. اخراج حسين كاظمي قمي، كاردار سفارت جمهوري اسلامي در بغداد نشان از عمق بحران كنوني و نقش جمهوري اسلامي در اين بحران را دارد. تماسهاي ساعات اخير مقامات جمهوري اسلامي با ابراهيم جعفري، رهبر حزب الدعوه و عبدالعزيز حكيم، رهبر شوراي عالي انقلاب اسلامي، از نگراني تهران از عواقبي كه شورش مقتدي صدر در صحنه سياسي خواهد داشت، حكايت دارد.