Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, December 19, 2002
<b><font size=+1>EU-Iran Human Rights Talks</font></b>
* EU representatives in Tehran called their two-day talks on human rights with Tehran officials open and positive. A woman MP said the EU delegation paid special attention to the bill banning all forms of torture, which the Majles approved a day before their arrival. The EU diplomats handed to Iran a list of 15 individual human rights cases to which EU officials said they attach "particular importance." A sign of Iran's cooperation, noted by EU delegation, was the agreement by Iran to receive a number of UN rapporteurs specialized on women's rights and other thematic issues. In a statement supported by US Secretary of State Collin Powell, EU linked trade talks to Iran's commitment to continue human rights and political dialogue. EU's policy on Iran, unlike that of the US, is to boost the reformists against their conservative rivals within the government. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
* Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moller said in Washington during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Collin Powell that if Iran wants to benefit from improved trade relations with Europe, it should show progress on human rights. Secretary Powell said US is concerned about Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. (Iraj Aryanpour, Washington)
* A Cologne, Germany, newspaper wrote that Iran seeks to leverage its improved trade relations with European countries to gain admittance to the World Trade Organization. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b><font size=+1>Majles to Review Khatami's Budget Bill</font></b>
* The budget bill submitted to the Majles by President Khatami for the next fiscal year beginning on March 22, 2003, shows a growth of 21 percent in spending. The government forecasts a 6 percent growth in the GNP, combined with 14 percent inflation and 14 percent unemployment. Defending his budget bill, President Khatami said the government intends to reduce dependence on oil income by privatization of state enterprises and attracting foreign investments. The budget calls for $35 billion in rials (at 8,000 rials to the dollar exchange rate) to be invested in development projects, an increase of 11 percent over the last fiscal year. Observers say the budget relies on oil prices between $19 to $23 dollars per barrel. Khatami said the budget lowers government expenses to increase civil servants' pay. (Mahdieh Javid, Washington)
* Khatami's 6.1 GNP growth projection for the next fiscal year appears doubtful. The growth rate is directly linked to the crude prices, which have kept steady at a high level during the past three years, but considering Iran's internal problems and the upcoming international events it is not certain that prices would stay at these levels in the near future. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b><font size=+1>Review of Tehran Morning Newspapers
</font></b>* Morning newspapers devote many front page stories to President Khatami's budget bill.
* Iran, the official news agency IRNA's newspaper, reports on the objections of the state radio-TV monopoly to the Majles bill lifting the ban on the use of satellite TV receivers.
* Hamshahri, the Tehran municipal government's newspaper, reports on the fourth conference on supervision of compliance with the constitution law, attended by President Khatami. (Amir Armin, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>INS Arrests Iranians and Others on Immigration Violations</font></b>
* Hundreds of Iranians and nationals of other Middle East countries were arrested on immigration violations charges in INS offices in Southern California, where they had gone to register in compliance with new Justice Department policy that requires all non-US citizen males 16 years and over to do so every year. (Amir Armin, Washington)
* A young Iranian, who spent a night in detention, tells <b>Radio Farda </b>that his application for permanent residency is pending. His mother and wife are both US citizens. He says he was freed on $1,500 bail. He adds that INS had little room to hold all those arrested, 75 were held in the same room with him. He says the detainees were not maltreated. (Mahtab Farid, Washington)
* Nearly 2000 Iranian-American held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Federal Building in Los Angeles against the new Justice Department policy that singles out Iranians and nationals of Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Syria. (Homa Sarshar, Los Angeles)
<b><font size=+1>IAEA Head to Visit Iran's Nuclear Sites</font></b>
* A delegation headed by Mohammad Elbaradei, the UN International Atomic Energy Agency chief, is to visit Iran on February 25, particularly to inspect the two sites in Arak and Natanz that the US says can be used to produce nuclear ammunition. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b><font size=+1>Political Murders Victims Seek UN Investigation</font></b>
* In a statement issued in Tehran today, the relatives of the victims of the 1977 serial murders of political dissidents said they would ask the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the murders, since their own four-year efforts to expose the murders' culprits have been fruitless. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
<b><font size=+1>Khatami Denies Giving Secret Documents to Jailed Pollsters</font></b>
* President Khatami today defended his office against allegations in conservative newspapers that his office passed secret documents to the jailed officials of the two state-owned public opinion polling agencies, who are accused of providing information to foreign governments, including the US. The two polling agencies, Ayandeh and the culture ministry's national public opinion survey institute, were closed by the judiciary after the publication of an opinion poll that showed more than 74 percent of the respondents favored relations with the US. Yesterday, cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, who was summoned to testify in the pollsters' trial, said the intelligence ministry has not confirmed the rumors on conservatives' plots to kill reformist officials, including MP Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipur. Pollsters Akbar Abdi, Hossein Qazian and Behruz Geranpayeh are being tried on charges of spying for the US. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Writer's Daughter Implicates Khatami in Her Father's Death</font></b>
* US-based Sayeh Saidi-Sirjani, daughter of writer and political activist Ali-Akbar Saidi-Sirjani, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that she considers President Khatami and Keyhan newspaper publisher Hossein Shariatmadari responsible for her father's death in prison in 1994. The intelligence ministry had announced that Sirjani died in jail of heart attack. Sayeh Sirjani said Sirjani's family was silenced during the past eight years by threats of violence. She published an open letter to President Khatami last week about her father's death. She says her father told her during their last meeting a few months before his death that his life was in danger. She says she regrets that she could not locate the letter her father said he had written to her about the conditions of his detention. She says the culture ministry under Khatami banned her father's books and the Keyhan newspaper ran a campaign of defamation against her father. She says she plans to publish her father's books. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>US Judge Orders Iran to Pay $301 Million to Former Hostage</font></b>
* US District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Iran to pay $301 million in damages to American scholar John Cronin, who nearly died in November 1984 while held hostage in Lebanon by an Iranian-backed Islamic militia group in Lebanon. (Nazi Azima, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Judiciary to Prosecute Importers of Contaminated Meat</font></b>
* Cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh maintained that the healthcare ministry has not received any reports on food poising from consumption of the large shipments of illegally imported meat. But the judiciary announced that five people arrested on charges of importing and distributing infested meat will go on trial next Friday. (Shirin Famili, Prague)
در گفتگوهائي كه هم ايران و هم اتحاديه اروپا مثبت و سازنده خوانده اند، مسئله شكنجه و تبعيض هاي قانوني عليه زنان مطرح شد. يكي از نمايندگان زن مجلس كه در اين گفتگو ها شركت داشت گفت: هيات اعزامي اتحاديه اروپا به طرح منع شكنجه توجه جدي نشان دادند.
مجلس شوراي اسلامي يك روز پيش از ورود هيات اتحاديه اروپا به ايران طرح منع شكنجه را از تصويب گذراند.
همچنين، اتحاديه اروپا فهرستي از 15 پرونده مربوط به نقض حقوق بشر كه اين اتحاديه آنها را با اهميت ويژه مي داند، به مقامات جمهوري اسلامي تحويل داده است. اتحاديه اروپا نام پرونده ها را فاش نساخت و روشن نيست مقامات جمهوري اسلامي در باره رعايت حقوق بشر چه تضمين هائي به اتحاديه اروپا داده اند.
در آنچه مي تواند نمونه اي از اين تضمين ها باشد، رئيس هيات اتحاديه اروپا خبر داد جمهوري اسلامي پذيرفته است كه سال آينده ميلادي، فرستاده اي را از اتحاديه اروپا براي پيگيري موضوع خشونت عليه زنان ميزباني كند.
اتحاديه اروپا بهره مندي ايران از مناسبات تجاري و اقتصادي با اين اتحاديه را به پيشرفت جمهوري اسلامي در زمينه حقوق بشر منوط كرد -- سياستي كه ديروز كالين پاول، وزير امورخارجه آمريكا هم آن را تائيد كرد. اما برخلاف سياست آمريكا، اتحاديه اروپا مي كوشد موقعيت اصلاح طلبان حكومتي در جمهوري اسلامي را در برابر محافظه كاران تقويت كند.