Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiFriday, January 03, 2003
<b>Pollster Geranpayeh Changes Lawyers</b>
* Lawyer Ramezan Hajji-Mashhadi, who represents some of the defendants in the pollsters' trial, said today that he has taken over the legal defense of Behruz Geranpayeh, head of the national center for public opinion research. He said he conferred with his client for three hours at the Evin prison, and that after 70 days in solitary confinement, Geranpayeh was moved out of the solitary confinement to a cell shared by his co-defendant Hossein Ghazian, head of the Ayandeh polling agency. Hajji-Mashhadi added that the court rejected his petition for an open session on Monday. Geranpayeh's former lawyer Amir Hossein-Abadi resigned four days ago over the fact that Geranpayeh had not been allowed to consult with him before submitting his defense. (Mina Baharmast, Prague)
* The most serious charge confronting the officials of two padlocked public opinion polling agencies, on trial for espionage and fabricating poll results, is that they sold state secrets taken from President Khatami's office to foreign governments. Abbas Abdi, a board member of the pro-Khatami party the Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat), and the party's leading theoretician, confessed in open trial last week that, as a director of the Ayandeh polling agency, he erred in approving commissions from foreign clients, as did his co-defendants, Hossein Ghazian, another Ayandeh director and Behruz Geranpayeh, head of the national center for public opinion research. The Mosharekat party denied that Abdi and others had access to top secret documents, but yesterday intelligence minister Ali Yunesi said the documents had been stamped "Top Secret." Under these circumstances, no political effort can save the pollsters from certain conviction and heavy sentences. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
* The Mosharekat party defended its board member Abbas Abdi, who is on trial along with other officials of two padlocked polling agencies. The four were arrested two months ago after the publication of a poll that showed more than 75 percent of respondents favor the resumption of US-Iran relations. Mosharekat said in its statement that under extreme pressures from the conservatives, it has no option but to pull out of the government and the Majles. In the aftermath of a possible mass resignation by the reformist MPs and government officials, former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani is poised to launch an emergency government. (Maryam Ahmadi, Washington)
<b>Three Points on Iran and the World Trade Organization</b>
* Iran's economic representative to the UN Baqer Asadi cited three points in a recent interview about Iran's application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). 1) To expand exports Iran has no option but to join, and it would have to deal with the consequences of such a move, particularly the rising unemployment due to the closure of inefficient and uneconomical factories. 2) The US blocks Iran's application from reaching WTO's general assembly. 3) So far, all Iran's requests for joining WTO have been rejected, due to a lack of consensus. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Germany Denies Tehran Newspaper's Account of Kharrazi-Fischer Talks</b>
* The German foreign ministry said the report that appeared in today's daily <i>Entekhab</i> about a phone conversation between German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi was totally false. Germany said Fischer did not tell Kharrazi that he favors peaceful removal of Saddam Hussein, and that the US is working with Russia to arrange a bloodless coup against Iraq. (Ali Sajjadi, Washington)
<b>Euro's Rise and Iran's Buying Power</b>
* Euro's rise against the dollar poses a problem for Iran and other oil exporting nations. Iran sells its oil in dollars but pays for most of the goods it imports from Europe with euros. The higher euro exchange rate wipes out nearly 20 percent of Iran's buying power. Within a year, the euro rose in Tehran's foreign exchange market from 7,030 rials to 8,360 rials or 320 rials more than dollar, which trades at 8,040 rials. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Students Ask for Transfer to Afghanistan</b>
* In an open letter to Afghan transitional president Hamid Karzai, 100 students of Tehran's Amir-Kabir University asked to continue their studies in Afghanistan, due to the frustration they feel in Iran. The students said in Iran they are faced with an ambiguous future and have to deal with a questionable past. The letter was seen as a stinging political statement against the regime. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
<b>Political Parties Prepare for Local Councils Elections</b>
* The pro-Khatami Mosharekat party fielded two candidates for the Tehran city council. Former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh and former publisher of several banned reformist newspapers Hamid-Reza Jalaipour - both are Moshareket board members. Interior minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari declared Iran's first post-revolutionary experiment with local councils successful, and called for greater participation of people in the upcoming elections. He added that 170,000 council members served in 34,000 local councils, but only three councils had to be shut down. In Tehran, the city council continued to be divided over support for the mayor. (Ardavan Niknam, Prague)
<b>Culture Ministry Threatens Inactive Newspapers</b>
* In a warning issued to more than 300 inactive publications, the culture ministry threatened them with the revocation of their publishing licenses. (Kian Manavi, Prague)
<b>Peykan Phase-out </b>
* A Tehran-based auto industry expert tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the rumors about a possible phase out of the popular Peykan sedans cannot be true. Citing the car's gas consumption and above-standard emissions, ecologists have been calling for the phase out to reduce air pollution in Tehran and other major cities. He says automaker Iran-Khodro makes 600 and 700 Peykans per day, and the car, despite its old-style engine and low gas mileage and emissions, is hugely popular due to the widely available spare parts. (Maryam Ahmadi, Washington)
<b>Majles Speaker Says Women Can Join Experts' Assembly</b>
* Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said today that there is no religious ban on women becoming judges or even members of the Assembly of Experts, the body charged with appointing and overseeing the Supreme Leader. (Golnaz Esfandiari, Prague)
<b>Fuel Shortages in Western Provinces</b>
* Tabriz MP Akbar Alami complained today of a widespread shortage of fuel, particularly in the villages of the Eastern Azerbaijan province, one of Iran's coldest areas.
* Tabriz-based independent journalist Ensaf-Ali Hedayat tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the shortage of heating oil in not limited to Azerbaijan province, but spreads to town and villages of other western provinces, such as Ardabil, Hamedan and Kermanshah. He says a 210-liter barrel of oil, if it could be found, contains only 190 litters, and sells between 37,000 rials to 70,000 rials. The oil distribution authorities claim that they have supplied the oil, but some local distribution centers say they have not had a delivery for weeks. (Jamshid Zand, Prague)
<b>Iran's Changing Iraq Policy</b>
* Foreign policy experts inside and outside Iran criticize the foreign ministry's position on Iraq. Piruz Mojtahedzadeh, head of the London-based research center Euroasia said in an interview with an Iranian news agency that there are no traces of wisdom, attention to the realities and regard for the country's security and interests in the regime's foreign policy.
* Tehran University international relations professor Davud Hermidas Bavand tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Iran could not begin expanding its relations with Iraq at a worse moment. However, he adds, in case of a US attack on Iraq, Iran's policy will change towards more coordination with the US, even though some Iranian officials believe that for the Islamic regime in Iran a weakened Saddam is preferable to a democratic, pro-US successor. He adds that ultimately Saddam's fall serves Iran's national interest. (Mehdi Khalaj, Prague).
رمضان حاجي مشهدي، وكيل دادگستري، امروز وكالت بهروز گرانپايه، مديرعامل موسسه ملي پژوهش افكار عمومي را به عهده گرفت و سه ساعت در زندان اوين با وي در باره كيفرخواست مدعي العموم گفتگو كرد. حاجي مشهدي گفت گرانپايه از انفرادي به زندان عمومي و بند حسين قاضيان، متهم ديگر پرونده منتقل شد. حاجي مشهدي گفت وكالت گرانپايه را به توصيه مديركل حقوقي وزارت فرهنگ و ارشاد اسلامي و به پيشنهاد انجمن صنفي روزنامه نگاران و تقاضاي خانواده گرانپايه و خود او، پذيرفته است. حاجي مشهدي گفت گرانپايه گفت لايحه دفاعيه اي كه در جلسه دادگاه قرائت كرد مبتني بر مدافعات و اعترافات شخصي خود او بود. اميرحسين آبادي، وكيل قبلي گرانپايه گفت به اين دليل از وكالت او استعفا داد كه گرانپايه براي تهيه متني كه تحت عنوان دفاعيات قرائت كرد، با وي مشورت نكرده بود.
بهروز گرانپايه به اقدام عليه امنيت ملي و سياست خارجي، دخل و تصرف غيرمجاز در اموال دولتي، جمع آوري اطلاعات مورد نياز بيگانگان در پوشش نظرسنجي و فروش اطلاعات داخلي به سازمان مجاهدين خلق متهم است. وي در دادگاه گفت از اشتباهات خود پوزش مي خواهد. همسر گرانپايه گفت بعد از 70 روز زندان انفرادي، اظهارات او قابل توجيه نيست.