Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiWednesday, December 25, 2002
<b>Iran's Nuclear Programs</b>
* The Washington Post wrote that the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, and North Korea's threat to resume work at its plutonium enriching plant, has confronted the US with the greatest nuclear threat since the 1990s.
* Director of the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Center Henry Sokolski tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the purpose of Iran's nuclear installations in Natanz and Arak is to make nuclear bombs. He says Iran is in compliance with the international non-proliferation treaty, but has violated the treaty's spirit. He adds that the Iranians say they do not have nuclear bombs, and they may not have any, but they are pushing to arrive at a stage to quickly be able to make their own nuclear bombs. (Mahtab Farid, Washington)
<b> Pollster "Confesses" to Crimes on the Fourth Day of Trial</b>
* Former hostage-taker Abbas Abdi, a high ranking board member of the pro-Khatami party the Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat), confessed in open court today to the charges of selling information to foreign powers and faking opinion polls. He denounced his "exiting the regime" proposal earlier this year to the reformists, and said mass resignations would have weakened the regime. He also denounced as "regime-breaker" some reformists' call for a national referendum. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
* The officials of the two pad-locked public opinion survey agencies will face judge Said Mortazavi later today in the fourth day of their trial on spying charges. The three were arrested and detained last October after the publication of a poll that showed 75 percent of respondents favor the resumption of the US-Iran relations. The judiciary announced that the trial will be open to public. But on the first day of the trial, reformist MPs and journalists complained that the judiciary blocked their access to the trial by packing the courtroom hours before the trial. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b>Iran-Pakistan Plan Joint Maneuver</b>
* Iran and Pakistan will stage a military maneuver in early 2003. In the past, Iran and Pakistan had limited military cooperation in naval exercises and light weapons and ammunition trade. Relations between Iran and Pakistan improved after General Musharraf stopped in Tehran last year on his way to New York.
* London's <i>Independent</i> wrote that the growth of the US power and presence in the region, pushes the regional powers closer together. (Iraj Arianpour, Washington)
<b>Iran Retracts Statement on Cause of Ukrainian Antonov's Crash</b>
* Iran's civil aviation authority said it is too soon to pin down the exact cause of the crash of the Ukrainian Antonov-140 passenger jet last night near Esfahan. Forty-six passengers, nearly 40 of them Russian and Ukrainian aviation engineers who died in the crash, were on their way to attend the first test flight of an Iranian-made Antonov-140 in a facility shared jointly with Ukraine. Earlier today Iranian radio quoted the Esfahan flight control tower that pilot error was the cause of the crash.
* The spokesman of the Iranian-Ukrainian jet manufacturing plant announced that despite the crash, the first test flight of the Iran-140 Antonov passenger jet will go on as scheduled. (Jamshid Zand, Prague)
<b>Judiciary Sets High Bails for Jailed Student Activist</b>
* Tehran MP Ali-Akbar Mussavi-Khoeini said many jailed students arrested during early December student protests cannot afford the high bails set by the judiciary for their release. The students' Islamic council of the Tehran University's faculty of social sciences demanded the immediate release of Behnam Amini. It said he has been in detention for a month, which is the legal limit for detention without a charge. He told his family in a brief phone call that his bail was set at 1 billion rials ($125,000).
* Behnam Amini's father tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that his poor Kurdish family cannot afford the bail. He said he had only been able to speak with his son three times since his arrest a month ago, twice in Kurdish and once in Persian. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
<b>Review of Tehran Press</b>
* <i> Hayat-e Now</i> reports on the fourth session of the trial of the officials of two state-owned polling agencies accused of spying for the US. <i>Resalat</i> quotes Habibollah Asgharoladi, secretary general of the conservative Hey'at-e Motalefeh-ye Eslami, saying that President Bush must realize that starting a new wave of psychological operations and deceptive messages are not the ways to reach the Iranian people. <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i> quotes defense minister Shamkhani who threatens that any attack on the Bushehr nuclear plant will be met with a harsh response from the Iranian people. (Amir Armin, Washington)
<b>Iranian American Council Writes President Bush on California Detentions</b>
* In a letter to the US President, Princeton-based policy advocacy group the American-Iranian Council protested against the detention of Iranian visa violators in California. AIC's director, Professor Houshang Amir-Ahmadi, of Rutgers University, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that in its letter, AIC objected to the singling out of visitors of Iranian and Middle Eastern origin for the new annual registration requirement. He adds the detainees, many with pending applications for permanent residency, were reportedly kept in small, over-crowded rooms in unsanitary conditions, after they went to INS offices to register, in compliance with the new Justice Department regulations. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
<b>Court Sentences Women Smugglers to Death</b>
* A court in Mashhad, Khorasan province, convicted the leaders of an Afghan human smuggling ring to death. They were accused of buying young girls from poor families for selling to prostitution in Pakistan. (Nazi Azima, Prague)
<b>26% Rise in Teachers' Pay</b>
* Minister of education Morteza Haji said teachers' pay will rise by 26 percent in the next fiscal year. Paris-based education expert Said Peyvandi tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Iran's teachers are among the lowest paid civil servants. The average salary of a teacher is 1.2 million rials per month ($130), or more than half of what the national census center says is the minimum needed for an average family. If teachers' salary had kept pace with the inflation since 1980, it would have reached to 4 million rials per month. The 26 percent raise would not suffice, and teachers will continue to seek second and third jobs in order to make ends meet. (Nazi Azima, Prague)
<b>Earthquake in Kermanshah Destroys 3000 Homes</b>
* Mostafa Mohaqeq, Iran Red Crescent Organization's director of international affairs, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the 5.5 Richter earthquake in Kermanshah had no victims, but destroyed nearly 3000 homes that had been damaged in an earthquake last June. (Baktash Khamsehpour, Prague)
<b>Iranian National Youth Basketball Team Makes Asian Finals</b>
* Iran's youth basketball team defeated Qatar and made it to the finals of the Asian youth basketball championship. (Baktash Khamsehpour, Prague)
<b>Wrestling Champion Dabir to Operate His Shoulder in Germany</b>
* Alireza Dabir, a world wrestling champion and a member of Iran's national free-style wrestling team, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that he is in Germany for surgery this Friday on his injured shoulder. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
عباس عبدي، عضو ارشد شوراي مركزي جببهه مشاركت ايران اسلامي، در چهارمين جلسه محاكمه خود در جمع متهمان پرونده نظرسنجي، برخي از اتهامات را پذيرفت. اظهارات عبدي كه از سرسرسخت ترين مخالفان جناح راست به شمار مي رود، براي بسياري از اصلاح طلبان غيرمنتظره بود. عبدي به فروش اطلاعات به بيگانه، ارتباط با سرويس هاي خارجي و ضد انقلاب و نشر اكاذيب متهم شده است. هنگامي كه وي در جايگاه متهم قرار گرفت، از روي متن نامه اي كه در دست داشت شروع به خواندن كردو گفت نحوه بازجوئي ها و مديريت زندان قدرداني مي كنم. وي گفت در موسسه نظرسنجي آينده، «طبعا قصور واشتباهاتي داشته ايم واگر معلوم شود كه قصورها ما براي جامعه ضرر داشته، مسئوليت آن را مي پذيريم و در صدد جبران اشتباهات بر مي آئيم.»
عبدي در باره بحث خروج از حاكميت كه خود او به عنوان راهي براي مقابله با مخالفت شوراي نگهبان با لوايج پيشنهادي دولت پيشنهاد كرد، اظهارداشت: معتقدم خروج از حاكميت موجب كاهش اعتبار كشور خواهد شد. عبدي همچنين گفت با رفراندوم ساختار شكن نيز مخالف است. گفته هاي امروز عباس عبدي تسليم وي در برابر محافظه كاران را به نمايش گذاشت. گفته هاي امروز او مي تواند از سوي مخالفان اصلاحات براي ضربه زدن به اصلاح طبان به ويژه جبهه مشاركت ايران اسلامي به كار گرفته شود. عبدي كمتر از دو ماه است كه در زندان به سر مي برد و ناظرا ن او را مقاوم و اهل سياست مي دانستند.