Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, October 30, 2003
<b>White House Calls for Change of Iran's Policy on al-Qaeda Detainees</b>
• Iran should hand the members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network it has in custody over to the US, or their countries of origin, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Wednesday. The United States is continuing to insist that Iran “stop supporting terrorism and that they turn over to the countries of origin the al-Qaeda terrorists that they are now harboring,” McClellan said. He also called on Iran to respect its commitments under the international nuclear treaties. “We have no intelligence exchange program with the US and see no reason to provide the US with intelligence on al-Qaeda,” cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said. (Leyli Sadr)
• Before any talks can begin between the US and Iran, the US government should stop making accusations against Iran, cabinet spokesman Ramezanzadeh said in reactions to the position stated by the US Deputy State Secretary Richard Armitage. (Kian Manavi)
• As the October 31 deadline approaches for Tehran to answer all the IAEA's questions about its nuclear program, media attention is focusing on the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as the main forum for solving the debate over Iran's suspected efforts at weapons development. But in the United States there is vigorous debate over whether Washington can afford to leave the issue solely in the hands of the international arms control community. Given the divisiveness in the crisis over Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, many U.S. policymakers say "no" -- and the search is on for other multilateral steps. In the second part of a two-part series, RFE/RL's Charles Recknagel looks at how one idea, for Washington to engage Iran in tension-reducing dialogue, is attracting renewed attention. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• There is no negotiations currently going on between Iran and the US, President Bush's representative in Afghanistan and the Middle East <b>Zalmay Khalilizad</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Mr. Khalilzad, who is about to be confirmed by the Senate foreign relations committee as the new US ambassador to Afghanistan, said there are many positive aspects to Iran's policy towards Afghanistan, but there are many negative aspects to it, which he hoped would be lessened in the future. He added that the Geneva talks between Iran and the US broke down, due to Iran's refusal to hand-over its al-Qaeda detainees. (Mahdieh Javid)
<b>Nobel Laureate Ebadi Calls for the Release of Political Prisoners</b>
• In a letter to President Khatami, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi called for the release of political prisoners. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b>Russian Atomic Energy Minister Holds Talks with Iranian Delegation</b>
• There is no obstacle to sending nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Russian nuclear energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev said on Wednesday after a meeting in Moscow with Iranian ambassador Gholam-Reza Shafei. (Kian Manavi)
<b>Canada's Foreign Minister Welcomes Majles Report on Kazemi's Case</b>
• Canada's foreign affairs minister Bill Graham welcomed the reading at the Majles of the Majles complaints committee's report on the judiciary's handling of the investigation into Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. He said the Canadian government has always maintained that there is “an internal political dimension” to Ms. Kazemi's death. “Her death gives the reformers in Iran an opportunity to step up to the conservatives who run the judiciary and say to them, "Look, you mishandled this,'” Mr. Graham said. The report clearly indicates that the reformers have “no faith” in the prosecutor, and it confirms the need to maintain a strong Canadian diplomatic presence in the country. The Majles reports accused Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi of involvement in Kazemi's death and its cover up. (Maryam Aghvami, Toronto)
<b>Iran Willing to Talk to Israel, Says Israeli Newspaper</b>
• Iran's Islamic officials sent a secret message to Israel saying they are ready to hold talks, Jerusalem daily Ha'aretz reported on Thursday. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom have been advised of the message, which was not delivered directly, it said. The source of this news item is not trustworthy, Tel Aviv-based Middle East expert <b>Barry Rubin</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. However, it is possible that Iran, due to the problems it is facing because of its nuclear program, has started a new maneuver, which need not be taken seriously, he added. Naturally, Israel is willing to talk and to have normal relations with Iran, but such relations are not possible, considering the positions of the regime presently ruling Iran. (Jamshid Chalangi)
<b>New Student Group Calls for Demonstrations against Nuclear Protocol</b>
• A newly minted student group calling itself “student movement for defense of intendance” announced that it will hold a demonstrations tomorrow following the official Friday prayers to protest against Iran's decision to sign the additional protocol of the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty. (Nima Tamadon)
<b>Prison Officials Flog Son, Father Jailed Students Says</b>
• Officers at the Tehran Evin prison flogged jailed student activist Manouchehr Mohammadi for insulting the judiciary officials, Mohammadi's father Mohammad Mohammadi said. A court last year had sentenced Mohammadi to 30 lashes and 300,000 rials fine for having “insulted” the judiciary officials when he protested against the conditions of his detention. Mohammadi's father, who's other son Akbar is also in jail, asked the judiciary officials to stop harassing his sons, and release them in honor of the religious fasting month of Ramadan. (Nima Tamadon)
<b>Officials Estimate Budget Deficit at Over 40 Trillion Rials</b>
• The Islamic government's economy and finance officials disagree on the size of this year's budget deficit and how to pay for it. Head of the planning and management organization Mohammad Sattarifar predicted that the deficit for the fiscal year that began on March 22, 2003 would reach to 20 trillion rials. He expressed hope that it could be paid for by savings. However, deputy finance and economic affairs minister Mehdi Karbasian said the budget deficit would grow larger than 40 trillion rials. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Tabriz Sentences 12 Students to Six Months Jail for Demonstrating</b>
• At least 12 students of Tabriz University, who have been in jail since last June's pro-democracy demonstrations, were tried behind closed doors and sentenced to six months in jail, according to relatives. Tabriz-based independent journalist <b>Ensafali Hedayat</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that two of the convicted students are 17 years old. He says some of them will be tried again on charges of apostasy. Two Tabriz University professors are said to have convicted too, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>Three out of 10 Young People Fast in Ramadan</b>
• The city is observing the religious month of Ramadan. All food shops and restaurant are closed during the day, and even the people who do not observe the Ramadan pretend that they do, secretary of the religious rules enforcement headquarters Mahmoud Salehi said in an interview with the official news agency IRNA. Religious rules enforces, such as the members of the Basij unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, have been given instructions not to physically attack anyone whom they find to be breaking the fasting rules. They have agents placed in every intersection to catch those who appear not fasting. They say they give warnings to people, but they do much more than warning, and there maybe flogging as punishment for not observing the fasting rules. Fewer than three out of ten young people observe the Ramadan and fast, management student of the Azad University <b>Mahnaz Qolipour</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Girls fast more than boys do, but young people in general show little interest in observing religious customs, she adds. (Leyli Arman)
جمشيد چالنگي (راديو فردا): روزنامه اسرائيلي هاآرتص خبر از آن داده است كه حكومت ايران با فرستادن پيامي براي رهبران اسرائيل، خواهان گشودن باب گفتگو با اين كشور شده است. هاآرتص، نام و مقام فرستنده اين پيام و نيز تاريخ ارسال آنرا ارسال نكرده است، اما مي نويسد مقامات اسرائيل اين پيام را براي دست يافتن به صحت آن در دست بررسي دارند. اسرائيل ايران را حامي سازمانهاي فلسطيني حماس و جهاد اسلامي و نيز حامي اصلي سازمان حزب الله لبنان مي داند. همچنين پاره اي از منابع اسرائيل خبر از آن داده اند كه خلبان اسرائيلي ران آراد كه در اثر سقوط هواپيمايش در لبنان به اسارت حزب الله درآمد، به ايران منتقل شده است.
بري روبين، كارشناس اسرائيلي امور خاورميانه در پاسخ به اين پرسش من كه خبر ابراز تمايل جمهوري اسلامي را براي گفتگو با اسرائيل چگونه ارزيابي مي كنيد، مي گويد: منبع خبر چندان قابل اعتماد نيست. احتمالا ايران به دليل مشكلاتي كه در ارتباط با برنامه هاي اتميش پيش آمده، به يك چنين مانوري دست زده است كه به نظر من نبايد اين درخواست را جدي تلقي كرد. (صداي بري روبين)
بري روبين در باره اخبار ديگري درباره تماسهاي غير مستقيم ايران و اسرائيل مي گويد:
فكر نمي كنم گفتگويي ميان طرفين در جريان باشد، اما تماسهاي غير مستقيم احتمالا در جريان است. اين تماسها پيگير نيست، بلكه مثلا تماسهايي درباره سرنوشت خلبان ناپديد شده اسرائيلي، ران آراد است. واسطه اين تماسها هم دولت آلمان است.
مي پرسم آيا اسرائيل نيز خواهان گفتگو و داشتن روابط با ايران است.
بري روبين، كارشناس اسرائيلي امور خاورميانه مي گويد:
طبيعي است كه اسرائيل خواهان گفتگو و داشتن روابط با ايران باشد، چون ايران كشور بسيار مهمي در منطقه است، اما تصور نمي كنم اين گفتگو و داشتن رابطه در حال حاضر با توجه به حكومت كنوني ايران امكان پذير باشد. روزنامه اسرائيلي هاآرتص خبر داد كه حكومت ايران با فرستادن پيامي به رهبران اسرائيل، خواهان گفتگو با اين كشور شده است. هاآرتص، نام و مقام فرستنده اين پيام و نيز تاريخ ارسال آنرا ارسال نكرده است. بري روبين، كارشناس اسرائيلي امور خاورميانه در مصاحبه با راديو فردا مي گويد: منبع خبر چندان قابل اعتماد نيست. شايد ايران به دليل مشكلاتي كه در ارتباط با برنامه هاي اتميش پيش آمده، به يك چنين مانوري دست زده است كه به نظر من نبايد اين درخواست را جدي تلقي كرد. من فكر نمي كنم گفتگويي ميان طرفين در جريان باشد، اما تماسهاي غير مستقيم احتمالا در جريان است. وي مي افزايد: طبيعي است كه اسرائيل خواهان گفتگو و داشتن روابط با ايران باشد، چون ايران كشور بسيار مهمي در منطقه است، اما تصور نمي كنم اين گفتگو و داشتن رابطه در حال حاضر با توجه به حكومت كنوني ايران امكان پذير باشد.