Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiTuesday, December 24, 2002
<b>US Takes More Active Stance on Iran</b>
* Three recent events mark a move in the US towards a more active policy on Iran. These include: the freezing of the bank accounts of the Iran Interest Section of the embassy of Pakistan and the news agency IRNA's bureau in Washington, the detention of 600 Iranian visa violators in California and President Bush's message last Saturday welcoming the Iranian people to Radio Farda broadcast. Nearly all of the Iranian detainees in California have been released and the foreign ministry announced that the issue of the bank accounts of the Iran Interest Section in Washington has been resolved.
* Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who advocates an active US policy vis-…-vis Iran, tells Radio Farda that the three events were not concerted actions, but they do reflect the more active stance the US government is taking on a whole variety of issues concerning Iran, such as the pursuit terrorists and the encouragement of democracy in the Middle East. He adds that the US President said in his message on Radio Farda that if Iran moves towards democracy, it would have no better friend than the US. It is clear that the progress to democracy can take a variety of different forms. It could take a new government, which would be entirely different from the Islamic Republic or it could take of a government which would evolve out of the Islamic Republic's current practice to be a much more open and democratic society. He says a fundamental difference between Iran and Iraq's situations, since there is no discussion whatsoever of a US-led military invasion to overthrow the government of Iran. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian, Prague)
<b>Ukrainian Antonov Crash Kills 46 Near Esfahan</b>
* Forty-six Russian and Ukrainian aviation engineers died last night in the crash of an Antonov 140 passenger jet in Ardestan, near Esfahan. The victims were on their way to attend the maiden flight of an Anotonov 140 model built in Esfahan. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
* The Ukrainian Antonov passenger jets, a model of which is being produced at the Esfahan facility set up by Ukraine, were expected to solve Iran's shortage of new passenger jets. The US sanctions block Iran's access to American jets, as well as European jets with American parts. But Iran-Air, Iran's largest airline has refused to order the Antonov-140's, due to their safety record. Transportation minister Ahmad Khorram said producing passenger jets in Iran is not economical. At the outset, 30 percent of the jets' parts will be Iranian-made, a ratio that would increase to 70 percent within a few years, according to Ukrainian officials. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
* Iran's civil aviation authority said pilot error was the cause of the crash, and the bodies of the 46 victims have been recovered. However, Ukraine officials put the number of the victims at 50. (Siavash Ardalan)
<b>Khatami on Pakistan-Iran Cooperation
</b>* President Khatami told Pakistani officials in a speech at the dinner in his honor in Islamabad that Iran is ready to expand its cooperation with Pakistan in all possible fields. General Musharraf thanked Iran for the efforts to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan, and stressed on the need for the two neighbors to cooperate on Afghanistan. Khatami is to begin talks with Pakistani prime minister Zafarollah Jamali on Tuesday. He is also to visit Lahore to meet with Pakistani investors. (Mahdieh Javid, Washington)
* In his joint press conference in Islamabad with Pakistani prime minister, President Khatami said Iran has no plans to keep nuclear fuel waste from the Bushehr nuclear plant. (Nazi Azima, Prague)
<b>Press Review: Today's Tehran Headlines</b>
* <i>Resalat</i> quotes healthcare minister who says more than 11,000 medical school graduates are out of work. Etemad quotes Hossein Seyyed-Abadi saying that President Khatami cannot be compared to former President Bani-Sadr, who fled Iran after Ayatollah Khomeini dismissed him. <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i> quotes Russia's atomic energy minister that Russia has prepared atomic fuel for shipment to the Bushehr nuclear plant. <i>Hayat-e Now</i> reports that Golam-Hossein Elham, the Guardians Council spokesman, was named to replace Mir-Mohammad Sadeqi as the spokesman of the judiciary. <i>Entekhab</i> reports on the statement by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US national security council advisor on the Near East, who said in an interview with Radio Farda that access to nuclear weapons in countries that have a history of supporting terrorist groups is worrying for the US and the rest of the world. (Ali Sajjadi, Washington)
<b>Iranian Writers Association in Exile on the Detention of Iranians in California</b>
* The Iranian Writers Association in Exile issues a statement protesting the detention of Iranian visa violators in California. The society of Iranian professionals in California held a meeting to educate Iranians about the new immigration rules. The society of Iranian-Americans in San Diego staged a peaceful demonstration against the detentions in front of the Federal Building. (Homa Sharshar, Los Angeles)
<b>Iran-Iraq to Open Khosravi Border Station
</b>* Iran and Iraq asked the UN for permission to open the Khosravi border station next January for trade of food, medicine and other permitted goods under the UN regulations. The border crossing would be the first to open between the two countries since the 1980-88 war, making it easier for Iranian producers to access the Iraqi market. (Jamshid Zand, Prague)
<b>Judiciary Proposes New Trial Law for Minors</b>
* Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Shahroudi called for a new trial law for children and young adults. At present, defendants under 18 are tried in separate courts but under the same law as adults. Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi tells Radio Farda that there are no laws governing the trials of minors He adds that the prison organization had promised to separate prisoners under 18 from others, but has not done so. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b>Croatian Coach of the National Soccer Team Resigns
</b>* Branco Ivanovic, the Croatian coach of the national soccer team resigned. Former national soccer team member and the director of Tehran's Shahin soccer club Jafar Kashani tells Radio Farda that Iran needs the knowledge and experience of European coaches, but the problem of the nation's soccer relies in the management of the soccer federation, not the coach. (Baktash Khamsehpour, Prague)
<b>Conservatives Disown Anti-Khatami Cleric</b>
* The conservative opponents of President Khatami retracted, played down and rejected the anti-Khatami statements made last Friday by hard-line cleric Mohammad-Reza Faker. By likening Khatami and his supporters to former president Bani-Sadr, he suggested that Khatami would be dismissed by the Supreme Leader. Former conservative MP Hamid-Reza Taraqi said Faker's statement does not solve any problem. Ali Zadsar, another conservative politician, said Faker expressed his personal opinion, not that of the Shiite seminarians in Qum. The conservative faction avoids attacking Khatami, especially since Khatami is expected to resign after the possible rejection by the Guardians Council of his bills to expand presidential powers and reform the election law. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
<b>Iraq Says It Used 6000 Chemical Bombs against Iran</b>
* In a top-secret document submitted among its 12,000-page report to the UN Security Council, Iraq revealed that it has used 6000 chemical bombs, 250-500 kg each, against the Iranian army during the 1980-88 war. (Baktash Khamsehpour, Prague)
<b>Nationalist-Religious Defendants Seek New Trial</b>
* Fifteen members of the nationalist-religious coalition, who were tried three months ago on subversion charges and are awaiting their sentences, warned today in an open letter that the judiciary plans to issue heavy sentences against them. Mohammad Maleki, former Tehran University president, who is among the letter's signers, tells Radio Farda that the judiciary's press statements in the past few days about nationalist-religious party the Freedom Foundation of Iran, whose leaders were tried on similar charges, indicates that his coalition is about to receive a similar treatment. He says in their letter, the coalition members call for a new trial in an open court with a jury of their peers. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
<b>Judiciary Jails Two Students for Protesting Aghajari's Death Sentence</b>
* The Malayer judiciary sentenced two students active in last month's protests against the death sentence of Hashem Aghajari to time in jail in remote towns away from their home. Science student Hojatollah Rahimi was charged with insulting religious sanctities and sentenced to 18 months in Sistan-va-Baluchestan province and six months jail in the Khorasan province. Parviz Torkashvand was sentenced to four months in jail and 40 lashes.
* The judiciary said that Aghajari's case has been assigned to an appeals court in Qom, to keep it away from political propaganda in Tehran. The Teacher's college history professor Hashem Aghajari, a board member of the leftist Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization, was sentenced to death last month for advocating Islamic Protestantism and criticizing clerical rule and the Shiite principle of religious emulation. (Amir Armin, Washington)
سه اقدام اخير دولت آمريكا از تشديد موضع سختگيرانه آمريكا نسبت به جمهوري اسلامي نشان دارند: بسته شدن حساب هاي بانكي دفتر حفاظت منافع جمهوري اسلامي و خبرگزاري ايرنا در واشنگتن، بازداشت موقت حدود 600 ايراني به جرم تخلفات مهاجرتي در كاليفرنيا، و پيام تازه رئيس جمهوري آمريكا به مناسبت آغاز كار راديو فردا به مردم ايران.
پاتريك كلاوسن Patrick Clawson، كارشناس موسسه تحقيقات خاورنزديك در واشنگتن و رايزن آمريكا در مسايل ايران و خاورميانه، كه از هواداران سختگيري بيشتر آمريكا در قبال جمهوري اسلامي است، در مصاحبه با راديو فردا مي گويد: اين اقدامات هماهنگ نبودند اما بازتاب آنها اين است كه دولت آمريكا برخورد فعال تري را در برابر مجموعه مسايلي كه به ايران مربوط مي شود، در پيش گرفته است. مسايلي مانند تعقيب تروريست ها و تقويت دموكراسي در خاورميانه. وي درباره پيام رئيس جمهوري آمريكا به مناسبت آغاز كار راديو فردا به مردم ايران، كه روز شنبه پخش شد، مي گويد: پرزيدنت بوش در ماه ژوئيه گذشته هم گفت اگر ايران درجهت دمكراسي و تعادل پيشرفت كند، دوستي بهتر از آمريكا نخواهد داشت. پيام جديد وي آنرا روشن تر مي كند. در آمريكا گفتگويي از يك دخالت نظامي براي براندازي حكومت ايران در بين نيست و از اين نظر ايران با عراق تفاوت دارد.