Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSunday, May 30, 2004
<b>Iran Rules Out Cooperation with US on Iraq</b>
• “There is no question of any cooperation between Iran and the United States in Iraq,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Sunday. He refused to say if the Islamic republic, which recognizes the US-appointed interim Governing Council, will also offer recognition to the new caretaker government due to take power by June 30. He criticized the US and Britain's draft Security Council resolution for what he called “a number of ambiguities.”
<b>Court Summons Jailed Writer for Complaining to Khatami about Torture</b>
• Jailed writer and Tolstoy translator Alireza Jabbari was summoned to court for writing an open letter from his jail cell to President Khatami in which he complained about being tortured and beaten by his interrogators, his wife <b>Gohar Shemirani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Jabbari explained to the judge that in his letter he only wanted to inform Khatami of the conditions of the prison, she adds, noting Jabbari has served 16 months of his two-year jail sentence. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
<b>Guards Chain Journalist Hedayat to Hospital Bed</b>
• Prison guards transferred Tabrizi journalist Ensafali Hedayat to that city's Sina Hospital, after he fell critically ill following his hunger strike, during which he refused water and medicine. He is now chained to his hospital bed and handcuffed, his lawyer <b>Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The judge should advise the guards on such ethical matters, because each time the patient needs to be taken to another ward of the hospital for tests, or other procedures, guards have to unlock his handcuff, he adds. We were hoping that he would be given a medical furlough and a parole, but the judicial authorities refused, he says. (Leyli Arman)
<b>Government Drops Permission Requirement for Tours</b>
• Tour organizers and travel agencies were relieved of the requirement to obtain permission from the culture ministry for every tour they organize for domestic and foreign group travel, vice president Hossein Mar'ashi, the new head of the travel and tourism organization announced in a circular issued yesterday. The tour organizers' association has been asking for lifting of the permission requirement for a long time, member of the association of the travel agencies <b>Faramarz Saeedi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. We believe that if the travel and tourism organization has licensed an agency, that agency should not have to ask for permission for every tour it organizes, he adds. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
<b>RadioFarda Democracy and Human Rights Roundtable: Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Emergence</b>
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has emerged as the dominant power in the country's political, economic and social spheres. In the February 20 Majles elections, it played a major role in approving the list of candidates, and scores of former IRGC officers entered the Majles as conservative MPs. Last week, the Supreme Leader named a former IRGC officer as the new head of the state-run radio-TV monopoly, and last month, the IRGC occupied the just opened Tehran international airport and forced the transportation ministry to cancel its contract for the operation of the airport with the Turkish-Austrian firm TAV and turn the management of the airport to an IRGC officer. The IRGC also plays a dominant role in import/export, construction and many other businesses, in addition to controlling Iran's nuclear program. The IRGC was formed by the clerics who dominated the 1979 revolution for armed protection of the fruits of the revolution. It has spread its sphere of influence from the regime's security to economic and administrative fields during and after the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. In today's Human Rights and Democracy Roundtable, <b>Radio Farda</b> asks three commentators about the impact of IRGC's dominance of Iran's political, social and economic spheres on the future of democracy in Iran.
• Former IRGC member and editor of several banned reformist newspapers, <b>Mashallah Shamsolvaezin</b>, who is now a spokesman for the Tehran-based society for defense of press freedoms, says after every revolution the group that carried out the revolution forms an organization to operate and protect and continue the revolutionary project. Since the clerics, who carried out the revolution, did not have the economic know-how and necessary ties with production to operate the project, they concluded that they must give the management of the revolutionary project to the IRGC. By occupying political positions, the IRGC members are now extending their military loyalty to the political sphere, in order to best utilize their experience. But it appears that the IRGC's emergence as the operatives of the revolutionary project was and will be to counter the emerging civil society institutions. This will be resolved with time, however, because civil society institutions will gradually impose their will on the operative class.
• Paris-based nationalist commentator and activist <b>Ahmad Salamatian</b>, a former deputy in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the Majles), says: The presence of military personnel in the political arena is common in third world countries which suffer from a lack of political development and the absence of checks and balances. The Islamic Revolution weakened the clergy as the only independent political institution; it reduced the religious and political legitimacy of the clergy as an institution of political control. The IRGC stepped into that vacuum, and it is natural for a military force, which has organization, hierarchy and geographical distribution, to use its power and influence in the political arena. The IRGC was formed as an ideological force, and it would be impossible to block such a force, mandated to defend an ideological political system, from intervening in politics. Furthermore, operatives of many profitable economic activities could not find any better support for their actions than the IRGC. Soon we may reach a stage where the IRGC will no longer need the protection of the clerics and will directly take charge of political power.
• Paris-based leftist activist and commentator <b>Ali Keshtgar</b> says: In countries with totalitarian regimes, the armed forces counter democratic and civil society institutions. The reason that IGRC has gradually emerged as a dominant force is that the clerics' regime has distanced itself from the popular will. Since the clerics have lost their popular support, they are more and more relying on military support for their survival. In the meantime, the IRGC has turned itself into a major economic force, and is now controlling nearly one-third of the country's economy. Thus, it has economic and financial incentives, in addition to political, for spreading its power. Now, we see that the IRGC officers have not only infiltrated the executive branch, but have entered the Majles as MPs and I think the form of government in Iran will become more militaristic in the future.
حميدرضا آصفي، سخنگوي وزارت امورخارجه جمهوري اسلامي هر نوع همکاري با آمريکا در عراق را رد کرد و خواهان بازگرداندن حاکميت کامل به دولت جديد عراق شد که قرار است در سي ام ژوئن زمام امور را به دست گيرد. وي افزود در قطعنامه پيشنهادي بريتانيا و آمريکا به شوراي امنيت سازمان ملل متحد درباره عراق ابهام هايي وجود دارد. آصفي از پاسخ دادن به اين پرسش خودداري کرد که آيا جمهوري اسلامي دولت جديد عراق را نيز مانند شوراي حکومتي کنوني به رسميت خواهد شناخت يا نه. او گفت: امر مهم آن است که عراق از حاکميت کامل برخوردار شود، و نيروهاي اشغالگر هر چه زودتر آنجا را ترک کنند.