Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiFriday, July 04, 2003
<b>Russia Shares US Worries about Iran's Nuclear Program</b>
* Russia shares the US concerns about Iran's nuclear program, Russian President Vladimir Putin told US President George Bush in a phone conversation on Thursday. Putin told Bush that Russia would not provide fuel for the Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, until it could be assured that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program, a Bush Administration official said. He added that Putin's assurances contributed to a growing notion within the Bush administration that Russia was ready to help in stemming the spread of nuclear technology.
* Mohamed El Baradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is due in Tehran next week to ask Iran to accept a new protocol that would give the agency unannounced access to Iran's nuclear facilities for closer scrutiny. He also is expected to urge Iran to permit monitors to take environmental samples at a location where it has allegedly enriched uranium - a possible step in producing nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, representatives of the US and 10 other nations will meet in Brisbane, Australia, next Wednesday and Thursday to consider ways to keep weapons of mass destruction and weapons technology from reaching Iran.
<b>Students Protest Arrests with Hunger Strike</b>
• A number of students at Tehran's Allameh Tabatabaei and Shahid Rajaei universities entered their fourth day of hunger strike to protest the arrests of their fellow students during Iran's recent pro-democracy demonstrations. Three reformist MP's visited the strikers in Allameh Tabatabaei university on behalf of the Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi. Tehran MP Elaheh Koolaei said that the striking students demand the release of all detained students, prosecution of the plainclothes security agents who attacked student dorms, and official permission to hold a rally on July 9, the fourth anniversary of the police attack on student dorms.
• Meanwhile, another student hunger strike ended in the Ferdowsi University of Mashad, some 900 km northeast of Tehran. In their statements, the strikers blasted President Khatami and the reformist faction for their lack of support for pro-democracy protesters. Islamic officials said all arrested students are in the intelligence ministry's custody, but little information has been given about the whereabouts of 3000 other detainees.
<b>Nationalist-Religious Activists Protest Arrests of Four</b>
• In an open letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahrudi, a number of nationalist-religious activists protested against the jailing, since the start of pro-democracy protests, of four fellow activists. Activist <b>Mohammad Bastehnegar</b>, who has signed the letter, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that no reason or proof has been given to support the charges of inciting student protests. He adds that the arrested four believe in peaceful pursuit of their political objectives and reject violence and lawlessness.
<b>Japan Puts Off $2 Billion Oil Deal </b>
• Concerned about Iran's nuclear program, Japan put off a $2 billion project to develop Iran's key Azadegan oil field, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Thursday. Japanese government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda told reporters that the nuclear development issue has turned into a big concern.
• Foreign Minister Kharrazi said Japan's deadline has expired and the door is open for other bidders.
<b>Foreign Minister Kharazi Finds Powell “Accepting” Iran Realities</b>
• Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Friday that US Secretary of State Collin Powell's remarks on Thursday that the US should not directly intervene in Iran's factional conflict should be seen as a sign that Powell has accepted Iran's realities. He accused the US of flip-flopping on Iran, citing recent expressions of support from US officials for pro-democracy protestors in Iran.
<b>Police Confiscate Satellite Antennas</b>
• Combined squads of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the paramilitary Basij force and the police, armed with batons, pistols and handcuffs, carted away satellite TV antennas, and searched homes of those who refused to hand over their satellite receivers. Those who did were summoned to courts and would be forced to pay $200 to $600 in fines. The operation, which began a few days ago, is focused on the neighborhoods where recent pro-democracy demonstrations took place.
<b>Exile Activists Support Pro-Democracy Students</b>
• Iranians living in Sweden announced plans to hold a rally on July 9, the fourth anniversary of the police attack on Tehran University's student dorms. Sweden-based activist <b>Mehrdad Darvishpour</b>, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the rally, organized by secular republicans, is a part of the week-long events to express solidarity with pro-democracy protestors in Iran.
<b>Thousands celebrate Anti-Islamic National Hero in Azerbaijan Province</b>
• Despite the official ban, thousands flocked to Kalaybar, a small town in the northwestern province of Azerbaijan, for the annual celebration of Babak Khoram-din, a national hero who fought Islam and introduced a new, Persian religion, nearly a century after the Arab occupation of Zoroastrian Iran. Paris-based political analyst <b>Amir Khosravai</b>, an Iranian Azeri tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the annual festival started years ago with only a few hundred participants, and became popular after a few years, as a joyous, cultural event of poetry and music. He rejects assertions by some Islamic officials that the Azeri secessionists dominated the gathering. The ceremony is neither religious nor ethnic, he adds. However, he says, the gathering is a form of protest against the Islamic regime, since it has banned free expression of joy, love and solidarity. Besides, he adds, the clerical regime has always tried to replace nationalist sentiments with religious ideology, and this is an opportunity for people to show their reaction.
<b>Reporters sans Frontiers Blast Beating of Tabrizi Journalist</b>
• Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers blasted the beating and arrest of journalist Payman Pakmehr, 30, by armed, plainclothes security force on Thursday. RSF said hours after giving an interview to <b>Radio Farda</b> about the Babak Khorramdin annual festival, the Tabriz-based journalist was beaten and arrested.
<b>Boston Columnist Warns Against US-Led Regime Change</b>
• “Regime change is coming to Iran anyway as its young people tire of the theocracy, but they don't need the Bush administration to do it for them.” H.D.S. Greenway writes in <i>the Boston Globe</i>.
<b>Iran Becomes Money Laundering Paradise</b>
• Inefficient tax system, widespread practice of cash transactions, anonymously held, marketable government bonds and free trade zones have turned Iran into a heaven for money laundering, head of Iran's accountants' association Gholamreza Salami said on Thursday. He added that President Khatami's anti-money-laundering bill would have little effect, if passed.
<b>1.4 Million High School Grads Compete in Universities' Entrance Exam</b>
• More than 1.4 million applicants compete over 120,000 seats in state-run universities and colleges.
كمال خرازي، وزير امورخارجه چمهوري اسلامي، سخنان كولين پاول، وزير امورخارجه آمريكا درباره ايران را نشانه پذيرفتن واقعيت ها از سوي پاول دانست و گفت براي داوري در باره نگرش واشنگتن نسبت به رخدادهاي ايران بايد ديد آيا اين واقع بيني ها پايدار است يا حالت موقت دارد. آقاي خرازي گفت مواضع آمريكائي ها از ثبات برخوردار نيست و حمايت شتابزده آمريكائي ها از ناآرامي هاي اخير، نمونه اي از ناآگاهي آنان به واقعيت هاي ايران است. وي افزود، آنان، اكنون در يافته اند كه اين ناآرامي ها اهميت نداشته است. كولين پاول، وزير امورخارجه آمريكا روز پنجشنبه گفت واشنگتن نبايد به طور مستقيم عليه نظام ايران مداخله كند.