Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiFriday, April 23, 2004
<b>Foreign Minister Rejects US Charges On Nuclear Weapons</b>
• Foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi rejected US President George Bush's charge that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. “The Americans level a charge and make conclusions based on the same groundless charge,” Kharrazi said on Thursday in an interview in London with the official Islamic Republic news agency IRNA. “Iran definitely has no plan for producing nuclear weapons and any such plan is not a part of our security strategies,” he added.
• British Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Kharrazi Thursday for Iran's continuing cooperation on Iraq. Speaking at a joint press conference with Kharrazi following his talks with Blair, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that “progress” was also made over the agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
• Kharrazi said on Thursday that he had held “useful talks” over nuclear issues with British and French officials in his European tour.
• Iran has always tried to have a positive role in solving regional problems, including in Iraq, Kharrazi said in an interview with Paris daily <i>Le Monde</i>.
<b>Doubts Over the 4th Economic Development Plan</b>
• In their final months in office, the reformist-dominated Majles and the government of President Khatami appear to be determined to pass the bill for the fourth five-year economic development plan, in order to leave behind an important legacy. The Majles reviewed the plan quickly in the “combined” committee and tomorrow will put it to vote, according to a spokesman of the management and plan organization. The development plans are a legacy of the pre-WWII Soviet Union, and their combination with Iran's oil-based economy creates an astonishing elixir which has resulted in unrealized goals, or goals realized due to good luck only. Observers ask how can a plan be developed which would be agreeable to both the left and the right factions. They doubt whether the next Majles and the next administration should have to follow a plan produced by President Khatami and the reformist Majles? The economy-minded politicians of the conservative faction have already mounted an attack inspired by communist slogans on Khatami's development plan, accusing him of following the directives of the International Monetary Fund, they say he is trying to drag the Islamic Iran's economy towards capitalism and globalization. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Iran to Charge Saddam with POW Torture</b>
• The foreign minister is currently preparing a complaint against (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussein for the torture inflicted on the Iranian war prisoners (during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war), which was inhumane and contrary to international law,” General Abdollah Najafi, head of Iran's POW commission said on Thursday in an interview with the state-run “students” news agency ISNA. He said around 39,000 Iranian soldiers were taken into captivity in Iraq during the conflict. Neither side now holds any more of the other's soldiers, the general said.
<b>Italian Foreign Minister Calls for Iran and Syria's Military Participation in Iraq</b>
• Italy's military intelligence agency SISMI reported that Iran was training, arming and providing support for Iraqi insurgents, including the radical cleric Moqtada Sadr's militia. Two days after that report was issued, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini suggested that Iran and Syria join the future UN peacekeeping forces in Iraq. He said Italy agrees with Iran and Syria on the need for the UN to play an important role in the future of Iraq. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi doubted UN's ability to take charge of the military forces in Iraq. Observers in Rome blame the conflicting Italian foreign policy statements on the foreign minister's lack of experience in foreign affairs. The experts also point out that, faced with its anti-war opposition in next June's EU elections, the Italian government wants to appear seeking a moderate solution on Iraq. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
<b>Tehran Unveils Plaques Blaming Germany for Iraq's Chemical Attacks</b>
• In retaliation for the plaque unveiled yesterday in Berlin, which blames the Supreme Leader and other top officials for the 1992 killing of four top anti-regime activists, the Tehran municipal government announced that two plaques will be unveiled in Tehran in honor of the victims of Iraq's chemical attacks during the `980-88 Iran-Iraq war for which German companies had allegedly provided Saddam Hussein's government with materials, equipment and know-how. Head of the Iranian Kurdistan Democratic Party Sadeq Sharafkandi, along with Kurdish activists Fatah Abdali, Homayoun Ardalan and Nouri Dehkordi, were gunned down in Berlin's Mykonos restaurant, in an attack that, according to a German court's ruling, had been ordered by the Islamic regime's top officials. (Mina Baharmast)
<b>Security Police Arrest 10 Azerbaijani Political Activist in Tehran</b>
• On the eve of a demonstration by the Armenians in Tehran to commemorate the 1915 massacre of the Armenians by the Ottoman army, plainclothes security police arrested 10 Azerbaijani political and cultural activists in Tehran. Said Naimi, a founder of the committee for defense of Azerbaijani political prisoners, was arrested last night at his home in Tehran. Ilqar Marandi, another founder of the committee, was arrested yesterday at the central office of the Tehran police, where he had gone to investigate the arrests of two other fellow Azerbaijani activists. Eight activists were arrested last night at the home of Javad Mousavi in Aryashahr, near Tehran. Said Naimi's brother <b>Mohammad Naimi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that five men, who said were his brother's friends, came to their house, showed a letter, and ransacked the house in a four-hour search, before taking away his brother. Said Naimi was taken to Rajaishahr prison in Karaj, his brother adds. The plainclothes security forces on Wednesday arrested Azerbaijani activists Gholamreza Amani, Said Mohammadi Moghanlu, Said Sadri, Mohamoud Fazli, Fazel Mousavi, Javad Ark-Mousavi, Dr. Abdollahi and Ebrahim Jafarzadeh. No official organ has yet admitted to the arrests, Gholamreza Amani's lawyer <b>Saleh Kamrani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Amani, who had been released after spending four years in jail, was in Tehran on personal business, and was arrested along with seven others in the home of Mousavi, he says. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>Guardians Council Rejects Demand to Explain Election Bans</b>
• An organ that is charged with making the final decision on the election candidates, and is not answerable to anyone, cannot be drawn into arguments over its decisions with individuals and politicians, secretary of the Guardians Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said, responding to a Majles demand for explanation of the mass rejection of reformist candidacy applicants before the February 20 Majles elections, in which the conservatives won the majority of votes.
<b>Jailed Veteran Journalist Pourzand Speaks with Daughter</b>
• In a brief phone conversation with his daughter from his hospital bed, jailed veteran journalist Siamak Pourzand, 74, said despite his failing health, he was in high spirits, Pourzand's Toronto-based daughter <b>Leyli Pourzand</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. “He was very emotional, since it was the first time in 14 months that the two of us could speak,” she adds. Pourzand suffers from a clogged artery, enlarged prostate, kidney failure and a strange tumour that has appeared on his chest, Pourzand's daughter says. Pourzand needs immediate medical attention, and has asked for medical furlough, she adds. Pourzand, who was taken to hospital last week after a heart attack, is serving an 11 year jail sentence. (Maryam Ahmadi)
<b>Special Report: Cabinet Shuffle</b>
• President Mohammad Khatami told reporters on Wednesday that he ousted finance and economic minister Tahmasb Mazaheri and head of the management and plan organization Mohammad Sattarifar, after the two did not end their dispute, which ran for two years. The delay in meeting the government payroll was an outcome of their dispute, Khatami added. Tehran-based economist <b>Ali Rashidi</b> says the disputes between officials, which stifled growth and disrupted planning, are natural in an administration whose officials owe their positions to different power centers. Tehran University economy professor <b>Jamshid Pazhouyan</b> says the finance ministry, the central bank and the management and plan organization had been fighting a turf war for a long time. When there is no economic decision making core within the administration, such differences become paralyzing, he adds. Tehran-based economist and university professor <b>Mehdi Taqavi</b> says policy disagreements among cabinet ministers are good for the government, and should not have led to the disputing ministers' dismissal. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
ماه منير رحيمي (راديوفردا): کمال خرازي، وزير امور خارجه جمهوري اسلامي به خاطر برطرف کردن اتهام آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي كه ايران اطلاعاتي را درباره برنامه ها هسته اي اش پنهان کرده، روز چهارشنبه در فرانسه وعده داد که ايران گزارش تازه اي دراين باره براي آژانس تهيه و با اين آژانس همكاري کند، اما ساعتي نگذشت که رئيس جمهوري آمريكا هشدارهاي خود را به ايران در باره توليد سلاح هاي هسته اي تكرار كرد.
آقاي بوش همچنين يادآوري کرد که اگر جمهوري اسلامي به برنامه توليد سلاح هاي هسته اي بپردازد با آن برخورد خواهد شد که شروع اين برخورد از راه سازمان ملل متحد است.
در برابر، وزير امور خارجه جمهورى اسلامي، به اين سخنان رييس جمهورى آمريکا واکنش نشان داد. کمال خرازي گفته جرج بوش را در باره تصميم ايران براى توليد جنگ افزارهاى هسته اى، اتهامي واهي خواند. آقاي خرازى، عصر پنجشنبه، در گفت وگو با خبرنگار ايرنا در لندن، گفت: آمريکاييها يک اتهام وارد مي کنند و بعد از روى همان اتهام بي اساس خودشان هم نتيجه گيرى مي کنند.
وزير امور خارجه ايران گفت : ما قطعا برنامه اى براى توليد تسليحات هسته اى نداريم و اصلا چنين برنامه اى جز استراتژيهاى امنيتي ما نيست. خرازى تاکيد کرد : ما حق خودمان مي دانيم که در چارچوب تعهدات آژانس بين المللي هسته اى، فعاليتهاى صلح آميز داشته باشيم.
در حاشيه اين سفرها، وزير امور خارجه جمهور? اسلام?، ديدار با رئيس جمهور فرانسه را بسيار گرم و خوب توصيف کرد و افزود : آقاى شيراک در اين ديدار، از ايران به عنوان شريک منطقه اى فرانسه ياد کرد و در زمان حاضر هم روابط ميان تهران و پاريس روابط بسيار صميمانه و دوستانه است. اقاي خرازى گسترش روابط ايران و اروپا را براي امريکا ناخوشايند توصيف کرد. کمال خرازي، وزير امور خارجه جمهوري اسلامي به خاطر برطرف کردن اتهام آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي كه ايران اطلاعاتي را درباره برنامه ها هسته اي خود را پنهان کرده است، روز چهارشنبه در فرانسه وعده داد که گزارش تازه اي دراين باره براي آژانس تهيه و با اين آژانس همكاري کند، اما ساعتي نگذشت که رئيس جمهوري آمريكا هشدارهاي خود را به ايران در باره توليد سلاح هاي هسته اي تكرار كرد. در برابر، وزير امور خارجه جمهورى اسلامي، عصر پنجشنبه، در مصاحبه با خبرنگار ايرنا در لندن، گفت: آمريکاييها يک اتهام وارد مي کنند و بعد از روى همان اتهام بي اساس خودشان هم نتيجه گيرى مي کنند.