Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiWednesday, January 08, 2003
MP Calls for Action against Plainclothes Agents
* Lamard MP Jalal Mussavi called for an end to the operations of the so-called plainclothes forces that disrupt student demonstrations and reformists' political rallies. He said if the regime decides to stop the plainclothes force, it can. Since the 1979 revolution, the beating of demonstrators by club-wielding plainclothes agents has been a common sight, but no official organization has admitted their existence or claimed responsibility for their actions. Yesterday, the interior minister asked the high council on national security to probe into the management and funding of the plainclothes force. Deputy interior minister for parliamentary affairs Mohammad Mirlohi said some official organs protect the plainclothes force. (Bijan Farhoodi, Washington))
Guards Allow Tehran Doctors to Visit Dissident Cleric in Qom
* The medical team sent by President Khatami from Tehran were allowed to visit dissident cleric Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, who lives under house arrest in Qom since 1998. The conservative daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami, published by the Supreme Leader, quoted officials of the special court for the clergy that yesterday some of the members of the medical team headed by the deputy healthcare minister did not have proper IDs and the revolutionary guards prevented their entry.
* Seventy reformist MPs asked defense minister to explain the reason the guards blocked the doctors sent by President Khatami. (Alireza Taheri)
Defense Minister Defends Revolutionary Guards Political Role
* In response to the question of 86 MPs about the political activities of the armed forces, defense minister Ali Shahmkhani said the constitution gives the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) the mandate to protect the ruling system. The IRGC, he adds, consider the issuing of statements on the political and economic conditions of the country as parts of that mandate. The reformist MPs called the disruptions of their political rallies in Sari, Ahwaz by the IRGC and its volunteer unit, the Basij, unlawful and illegitimate. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
* In a strongly worded statement, the Khorasan unit of the IRGC protested against a a statement issued by the pro-reform party the Participation Front that said after a meeting in Mashhad that only 3 percent of the population take part in the official demonstrations in support of the regime. In its response, the IRGC said people would not be deceived by secularism, pluralism and Islamic Protestantism. (Bahman Bastani)
Mosharekat Condemns Pollsters' Detention
* The pro-Khatami party Jebheh-ye Mosharekt (Participation Front) said in a statement today that the continued detention of its board member Abbas Abdi is unlawful. Abdi, along with officials of two padlocked pollsing agencies, was put on trial for spying, after the publication of a poll that showed 74 percent of the respondents favored the resumption of US-Iran relations. Abdi's lawyer Nemat Ahmadi tells Radio Farda that Abdi's detention since his arrest in solitary confinement, and his continued detention after the trial, was and is unlawful. He wonders why the Mosharekat officials waited two months to protest against Abdi's unlawful detention. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Guardians Council Rejected Majles Bill to Ban Torture
* The conservative Guardians Council rejected, for the second time, a Majles bill to ban all forms of torture, including long-term solitary confinement. Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad-Ali Aghasi tells Radio Farda that if Majles changes the articles of the bill that the Guardians have rejected, nothing will remain of it. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Khatami Cancels Iraqi FM's Iran Visit
* President Khatami cancelled a scheduled visit to Iran by Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri and said Iraq has to meet four conditions before it can send its officials to visit Iran. The announcement came after scores of MPs threaten to impeach the foreign minister who had agreed to the Iraqi's visist. President Khatami's four conditions are: Saddam's announcement that Iraq honors its 1975 treaty with Iran; Saddam's commitment to full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 598 that includes payment of war damage to Iran; Saddam's apology to Iranian people for starting the 1980-88 war; and release of all remaining Iranian POWs. (Amir Armin)
Iraqi Kurdish Leader Talabani Visits Iran
* Jalal Talabani, secretary-general of the patriotic union of Iraqi Kurdistan, in Iran on a four-day visit, met Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi and is to meet President Khatami and former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani later today. Talabani is a member of the Iraqi interim governing committee elected during last month's Iraqi opposition meeting in London. Talabani said the US would not attack Iraq only if Saddam voluntarily leaves office and agrees to the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq with a new constitution. Talabani added that Iraqi opposition rejects any cooperation with Turkey, if that would mean presence of Turkish forces in Iraqi territory. (Mahdieh Javid, Washington)
MP Mohtashami Warns against Iraqi-Born Iranian Officials
* MP Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, secretary of the leftist society of combatant clergymen and head of the Majles reformist majority, warned against the influence of Iraqi-born officials, particularly members of Iraq's al-Dawa party.
* London-based journalist Alireza Nourizadeh tells Radio Farda that after Ayatollah Khomeini's death, the Iraqi clerics and activists who had followed him to Iran gained prominent positions, particularly in the police and judiciary. He adds that the Iraqi-born judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahroudi, prosecutor general Mohammad Namzi and former internal security and intelligence director of the Islamic Republic Law Enforcement Force, have all been members of the Iraqi al-Dawa party. (Fariba Mavedat)
Privatization of Airlines
* Speeding up the privatization of state enterprises, the government prepared documents to sell six power stations and several petrochemical companies in an effort to raise an estimated 4,000 billion rials ($500 million). The cabinet also approved the privatization of Iran Air and other airlines, as well as their hotel chains.
* Tehran-based transportation reporter Massud Mohajer tells Radio Farda that so far, the government has transferred Aseman airline to the social security and retirement funds, and plans to transfer some of its shipping companies to other public concerns. He adds that instead of investing in money-losing airlines, the private sector prefers to start new ones. He adds that the government's decision last week to allow airlines to charge more for domestic flights was a first step in the right direction, because it would open the market to competition. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Press Review: Local Council Elections
* Entekhab quotes MP Mohsen Mirdamadi, head of the Majles national security and foreign relations commission saying that a feature of the upcoming elections of the local councils is the participation of the nationalist-religious coalition members whose trials last year on subversion charges have contributed to their popularity.
* Resalat quotes MP Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, head of the Majles reformist faction, asked voters not to elect politicians to local councils. He said the first sessions of local councils failed because politicians got themselves elected to the councils' seats.
* Hamshahri quotes former speaker of the Tehran city council that considering the social and political conditions, the work of the first post-revolutionary local councils has been satisfactory. Government announced that more than 225,000 applied for candidacy in the second elections since the revolution for 170,000 local council seats.(Maryam Ahmadi)
Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
* Social pathologist Azardokht Mofidi tells Radio Farda that the outbreak of SDTs in Iran is a result of the increasing difficulty of carrying on a deep and meaningful relations with the opposite sex for Iranian youth. He adds that young men can either make platonic friendships with marriage-minded "good" girls, or go to prostitutes. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Prof. Yarshater on New Book from Bibliotheca Persica Press
* Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Columbia University's Encyclopaedia Iranica, tells Radio Farda that Bibliotheca Persica Press published Legends, Tales, Fables of the Art of Soghdiana by Russian archaeologist Boris Marshak. The book focuses on the Iranian origins of the stories depicted in the art of Soghdiana, a civilization in eastern Iran that flourished after the fall of the Akamenids's central government, and survived until 6th Century, A.D. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Iranian-Armenians in Los Angeles
* On the day of the Armenians' Christmas, held a week after the new year, according to the Greek Orthodox tradition, Tomik Alexanian, secretary-general of the Iranian-Armenian association of Southern California, tells Radio Farda that of 80,000 Armenians living in the city of Glendale, CA, nearly 50,000 are Iranian. (Homa Sarshar, Los Angeles)
شوراي نگهبان براي باردوم مصوبه منع هرگونه شكنجه مجلس شوراي اسلامي را رد كرد. مجلس پس از آنكه باراول در خردادماه اين طرح را رد كرد، با تجديدنظر و اصلاح موادي، آن را براي باردوم تسليم شوراي نگهبان كرده بود. هدف اعلام شده نمايندگان اصلاحگرا از پيشنهاد اين طرح منع استفاده بازجويان، مسئولان زندان ها و ديگر مقامات از اعمال فشارهاي بدني و رواني بر زندانيان در دوران بازجوئي و محدود كردن حبس انفرادي بازداشت شدگان بود. محمدحسين آغاسي حقوقدان در تهران در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد با رد مجددا اين مصوبه، ممكن است قانوني تصويب شود كه هيچ يك از اهداف قانونگذاران در خصوص منع شكنجه را برآورده نخواهد كرد. وي مي گويد ايراد مجدد شوراي نگهبان عبارت است از مواردي در اين مصوبه است كه مي توانست براي مردم موثر و مفيد باشد و اگر ايرادات مطرح شده بخواهد توسط مجلس اعمال شود، متاسفانه چيزي به نام قانون منع شكنجه باقي نخواهد ماندو آنچه تصويب مي شود مسائلي است كه الان هم به نحوه هاي گوناگون در قانون مجازات اسلامي موجود است. بنابراين يا مجلس بايداز خير اين قانون بگذرد يا بر نظر خود پافشارد.