Summary of the Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, January 30, 2003
<b>Reactions to President Bush's State of the Union Address</b>
* In his State of the Union Address last Tuesday, President Bush accused the Islamic regime of suppressing Iranians, supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. He said the US backs the Iranians' right to live in freedom and democracy.
* Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi rejected US President's charges on weapons and terrorism as baseless, and government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said Iran will not allow any one to interfere in its domestic affairs.
* US-based opposition leader Reza Pahlavi, son of the former Shah, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that President Bush's strong, direct expression of support for democracy and freedom in Iran was in response to the demands of the Iranian people, particularly the young people, in their recent protests.
* Tehran University international relations professor Davud Hermidas-Bavand tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the message for Iran in the President Bush's address is that the US expects Iran's domestic issues to be settled domestically and not by the means of foreign military intervention. He said President Bush was right when he called Saddam Hussein the enemy of Iraqi people.. (Ali Sajjadi)
* Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who appeared at a White House gathering for foreign correspondents to hear President Bush's State of the Union Address, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that unlike North Korea and Iraq, "in Iran there has been a great deal of open expression by the people of the desire to live in freedom and to have a different kind of government." (Mahtab Farid)
<b>Khrrazi to Meet Tony Blair in London</b>
* The Guardian reported that a planned visit to London next month by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi would include a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. According to the Guardian's sources in Iran, Kharrazi plans to convey to Blair Iran's support for a possible US-led attack on Iraq and wants to seek reassurances that Iran would not be attacked. (Maryam Ahmadi)
* Head of the British parliament foreign relations committee Donald Anderson tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Kharrazi's trip is clearly important, because of Iran geo-strategic position and its relations with Iraqi Shiites. He adds that it is necessary for Britain to hear Iran's position. He adds that Iran so far has subscribed to the importance of Iraq's territorial integrity. He says we (Britain) have always had a more positive view of Iran than the Americans. There are many positive features in Iran, like the release of Ayatollah Montazeri. (Shahran Tabari)
<b>Dissident Cleric Montazeri Steps Out after Five Years Under House Arrest</b>
* Dissident cleric Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, 80, emerged from five years under house arrest at 7 this morning to greet reporters and hundreds of well-wishers and to pay a visit to a holy shrine where his son Mohammad is buried. Montazeri said because the domestic radio does not air his views, he gives interviews to foreign radios. He adds that Ayatollah Khomeini did the same during the revolution.
* Montazeri's son Ahmad tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that his father's house arrested was lifted at 1:30 this morning. He adds that there are no restrictions on his father, but he might not resume teaching due to poor health. He says Montazeri's main reception hall has not yet been turned over to the family. He adds that his father's release would help promote sympathy between his followers and his captors. He says the release of other political prisoner and journalists would also be a welcome step in the direction of reconciliation. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
* Montazeri was the first senior religious leader to be released from house arrest. Many other senior Shiite clerics, who are, like Montazeri, sources of religious emulation, continue to live under house arrest. The continuation of Montazeri's house arrests would have become too costly for his captors, because Montazeri is, after Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's most political religious leader. He is the spokesman of a large segment of the regime's religious and non-religious opponents. (Mehdi Khalaji)
<b>MP Criticizes Serial Murders' Verdicts</b>
* Head of the Majles judicial and legal committee Nasser Qavami questioned the jurisdiction of the military court that convicted the intelligence ministry agents for the 1998 killings of dissidents and journalists. He criticized the supreme court for approving the military court's verdicts for 11 of the defendants. Two of the eleven, identified in court papers as the murders' masterminds, have been sentenced to four lifetimes in jail. The victims' relatives said the two men had confessed that they only carried out the orders of their superiors, including the intelligence minister. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
* Parastu Forouhar, daughter of Parvaneh and Dariush Foruhar, two of the victims of the serial murders of dissidents, said yesterday in an interview with Radio Farda that her rejection of death penalty did not mean that she and other relatives of the victims have absolved the killers. Tehran-based lawyer Ahmad Bashiri tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the court used the families' rejection of capital punishment as a sign of the relatives' absolution of the killers and based on that, issued light sentences against most of the defendants. (Fariba Mavedat)
<b>Economy Professors and Journalists Form Consumer Protection NGO</b>
* Four economic journalists and four economy professors formed a non-governmental organization to protect consumer rights. Tehran University professor Musa Ghaninezhad tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the new advocacy and lobbying organization will focus on ending monopolies that take away the consumer's right to choose. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
<b>Kharrazi: Iran Seeks 20 Percent Share in the Caspian Resources</b>
* Speaking to reporters yesterday after the meeting of President Khatami cabinet, foreign minister Khrrazi said Iran has made "progress" in talks with the Caspian littoral states over the division of its resources. He said Iran seeks an equal division, based on the principle of condominium. (Leyli Sadr)
<b>Book of Intelligence Reports on Politicians Angers Reformists</b>
* Top reformist politicians protested against the publication of <i>Eavesdropping on Ghosts (Shenud-e Arvah)</i> written by a former intelligence ministry official. MP Golamheidar Ebrahimbai-Salami, board member of the reformist party Hambastegi criticized the party's daily organ <i>Hambastegi</i> for carrying a chapter from the book in its yesterday issue. Tehran-based independent journalist Ahmad Zeydabadi tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the book quotes foreign articles and interviews with unnamed former intelligence ministry officials to smear some of the top reformist officials and MPs and portray them as foreign agents and spies. It is a product of hard-line conservative cleric Ruhollah Hosseinian, director of the Islamic Revolution's Documents Center. He says the book furthers the goals of the most radical branch of the conservative faction. He adds that the culture ministry issued a permit for the book to avoid being accused of censorship by the conservative press. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>Mysterious Disease of Young Kurdish Girls</b>
* The parents of 74 young Kurdish women from Sardasht, who have occupied the basement of the healthcare ministry claim that their daughters' strange illness accompanied with fatigue and swelling of hands was caused by the injection of a defected vaccine. They asked the Majles complaints committee to probe the healthcare ministry's handling of their case. (Bahman Bastani)
* Sardasht MP Hasel Dasi tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that healthcare ministry doctors have been examining these girls since 9 months ago and have found no sign of infection in them. They have concluded that they are afflicted with a form of hysteria that could be cured only though long-term psychotherapy. He said healthcare ministry has assured him that no vaccine has been administered to any of the 74. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
كمال خرازي، وزير امورخارجه جمهوري اسلامي هفته آينده به بريتانيا سفر مي كند تا با توني بلر، نخست وزير اين كشور به مذاكره بپردازد. هدف از اين ديدار در آستانه حمله احتمالي آمريكا به عراق، تحكيم موقعيت نيروهاي ائتلافي و روشن ساختن موضع ايران در قبال جنگ است. دانالد اندرسون، رئيس كميته روابط بين المللي مجلس عوام بريتانيا، در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد موقعيت جغرافيائي و استراتژيك ايران و رابطه ايران با عراق و شيعيان اين كشور اهميت دارد. وي مي افزايد: درمقايسه با آمريكا، بريتانيا همواره نظر مثبت تري نسبت به حكومت ايران داشته است و اتفاقاتي نظير رفع حصر از آيت الله منتظري را مثبت مي داند.