Thursday, July 17, 2003
<b>Death of Canadian-Iranian Photographer</b>
• The death of Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi, 54, after her arrest and interrogation by security officials, could not have happened at a worse time for President Khatami, reports the AFP. The affair focused international attention on human rights violations in Iran, and also put the spotlight on Khatami, who set up a committee of four cabinet ministers to probe the case. Already out of favor with students and the general –public for his failure to deliver the promised reforms, Khatami may stand to lose more face if his investigation leads to hard-line institutions such as the judiciary or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), against whom he will be powerless to act. (Fariba Mavedat)
• Kazemi died of blows to her head by Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who whacked her in the head with his shoe during three-day interrogation that followed her arrest on June 23, reports the Paris daily <i>La Liberation</i>. (Mina Baharmast)
• Cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Wednesday that the perpetrators of Kazemi's death will be punished, but he added that since Kazemi was an Iranian citizen, Canada cannot interfere in the probe into her death. He said despite Canadian's prime minister request, Kazemi's body will not be turned over to Canada. (Shireen Famili)
• Tehran-based lawyer and human rights advocate <b>Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Iranian government does not recognize Kazemi's Canadian citizenship. (Fariba Mavedat)
• Iranian officials confirmed that Kazemi died from blows to her head during investigation by judiciary's security forces. She had been tortured for several days, and Iran's “Islamic human rights commission” officials, who visited Kazemi in a coma at the hospital, said there was little hope that she could survive, Paris-based lawyer <b>Abdolkarim Lahiji</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Lahiji, who has been retained by Kazemi's Vancouver-based son Stephan Hashemi as a legal advisor, says Kazemi was tortured to death by security agents under Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who had signed her arrest warrant. (Fariba Mavedat)
• Three Hundred writers, journalists and political activists gather in Toronto to hear a speech by poet and literary critic Reza Barahani. The Toronto University professor and former president of PEN Canada condemned Kazemi's death as another human rights violation by the Islamic regime. The government's effort to protect the life of a Canadian citizen and to protest against her death came under the criticism of opposition party NDP's chief <b>Howard Hampton</b> who tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Canada has not protested strongly against Iran's human rights violations. (Maryam Aqvami, Toronto)
• Kazemi's son asked Iran to allow her body to be transferred to Canada. Canadian prime minister called for punishment of those responsible for Kazemi's death. Canada's deputy prime minister John Manley warned that the issue could be a “setback” for Canada's neutral relationship with Iran. Canada sent an envoy to Iran to probe Kazemi's death. (Maryam Aqvami)
• Poet <b>Simin Behbahani</b>, board member of the Iranian Writers Association tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that all her organization can do is to deplore the death of a fellow journalist and voice its protest through the statements it issues. She adds that authorities have not allowed writers to hold a general meeting to elect a new board. (Nazi Azima)
• Italy's minister of equal opportunities Stefania Prestigiacomo condemned Kazemi's death as a “horrible crime.” Spokesman of the majority party Viva Italia and deputy chair of the Italian parliament's foreign relations committee Dario Riolta said Iran's Islamic officials, first tried to distribute false information, but later confessed that Kazemi had been murdered by security forces. He said an international commission should investigate Kazemi's death, as well as the mass arrests of journalists. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
<b>Writing Protest Letters to the Supreme Leader, Activists Jockey for Position After the Regime's Fall</b>
• In a letter to the Supreme Leader, more than 350 university professors, political and cultural activists and journalists said the regime had no other way but to allow reforms, including restructuring the conservative non-elective bodies, such as the Guardians Council and the Expediency Council, and disbanding plainclothes security forces. The signers of the letter called their demands a minimum requirement for restoring legitimacy, but their demands amounted to the rejection of everything the Supreme Leader had stood for since his assumption of power in 1989. The rising wave of writing open letters to the Supreme Leader marks an attempt by activists to claim a position in the aftermath of the regime's fall, which they consider imminent. Most of those who signed the letter are Islamic politicians and activists who were cast off by the regime during the past ten years, and some of them are still in jail. (Mehdi Khalaji)
<b>Iran's Chahbahar Fell Behind Pakistan's Gwadar Port</b>
• Head of Chahbar port free trade zone Mohammad-Taqi Salehi said Iran fell behind Pakistan in developing a successful commercial port close to the Indian Ocean, which used China's investment and technical support in developing the Gwadar port, with 250 percent more capacity than that of Chahbahar. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>EU's Worries about Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Dash Iran's Hopes for an Economic Treaty</b>
• The EU called off trade cooperation talks with Iran, as the EU foreign ministers issued a statement in Luxemburg on Wednesday urging Iran to sign the additional protocol of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. (Fereydoun Khavand)
<b>Iran Telecom Orders ISP to Unblock Persian Weblogs</b>
• A spokesman of the communications ministry said Iran's biggest Internet service provider blocked 30,000 weblog pages on Persianblog and Blogspot services as a result of a misunderstanding. It said Iran Telecom had asked Pars online and other ISP's to block a few weblogs, not the entire weblog service sites. Meanwhile, <b>Vahid Qasemi</b> author of the first anthology of Persian weblogs, which was released today as a 340-page tomb, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the book represents the writings of some 200 pioneer bloggers, some of whom are no longer online. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
<b>Iran to Sign Two-Way Agreement on Caspian with Azerbaijan</b>
* Despite public statements to the contrary, it appears that Iran is close to reaching an agreement with Azerbaijan on dividing Caspian Sea resources. Baku hopes that its talks on the status of the Caspian Sea with Iran will be a success, Novruz Mamedov, head of the presidential foreign relations department, told the press on Wednesday. “We are likely to make certain progress in our current talks," Mamedov said. Experts are drafting a bilateral agreement on delimitation the Caspian Sea to be signed during Iranian President Mohammed Khatami's upcoming visit to Baku, reported Russia's Interfax news agency. (Alireza Taheri)
كشته شدن زهرا كاظمي، عكاس و گزارشگر ايراني-كانادايي در اثر خونريزي مغزي در تهران توسط ماموران امنيتي جمهوري اسلامي، به بحراني در عرصه سياسي ايران تبديل شده است.
فريبا مودت (راديو فردا): خبرگزاري فرانسه در گزارشي تحليلي نوشت: براي محمد خاتمي واقعه درگذشت زهرا كاظمي در بدترين زمان ممكن رخ داد. زيرا دولت وي نه تنها به خاطر برنامه هاي هسته اي جمهوري اسلامي بلكه بخاطر فراريان سازمان القاعده در اين كشور تحت فشارهاي بين المللي است.
در داخل نيز وي محبوبيتش را در ميان جوانان كه وي را در رويارويي با نهادهاي محافظه كار منجمله قوه قضائيه ناتوان مي بينند، از دست مي دهد. آنها مي بينند ميان ارزيابي آقاي خاتمي از تظاهرات دانشجويان كه وي آن را جزوي از دموكراسي خوانده بود و بازداشت هزاران جوان در اثر شركت در اين تظاهرات، تضادي مطلق وجود دارد.
قتل زهرا كاظمي، مسئله حقوق بشر و فقدان آن را در ايران بارديگر در سطحي بين المللي مطرح كرد و خاتمي را تحت فشار گذاشت تا عوامل اين واقعه را در جناح محافظه كاران مجازات كند. اينكه آيا وي قادر به انجام چنين اقدامي خواهد بود يا نه جاي سئوال دارد. زيرا اگر بار ديگر سر نخ تحقيقات به پاسداران انقلاب يا قوه قضائيه برسد، احتمالا دست آقاي خاتمي در مقابله با آن كوتاه خواهد بود. كشته شدن زهرا كاظمي، عكاس و گزارشگر ايراني-كانادايي در اثر خونريزي مغزي در تهران توسط ماموران امنيتي جمهوري اسلامي، به بحراني در عرصه سياسي ايران تبديل شده است. خبرگزاري فرانسه در گزارشي تحليلي نوشت: براي محمد خاتمي واقعه درگذشت زهرا كاظمي در بدترين زمان ممكن رخ داد. قتل زهرا كاظمي، مسئله نقض حقوق بشر در ايران را بارديگر در سطحي بين المللي مطرح كرد: اينكه آيا رئيس جمهوري اسلامي قادر به انجام چنين اقدامي خواهد بود يا نه جاي سئوال دارد. زيرا اگر بار ديگر سر نخ تحقيقات به پاسداران انقلاب يا قوه قضائيه برسد، احتمالا دست خاتمي در مقابله با آن كوتاه خواهد بود.