گلناز اسفندياري، مصاحبه با عبدالكريم لاهيجي (پاريس) ، الهه هيكز (نيويورك)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceFriday, March 22, 2002
- Human rights organizations condemn lawyer's jail sentence
- 1380: Year in review
- American intellectuals letter in Le Monde and reactions
- Review of the week
- Hajj Seyyed Javadi urges social disobedience
- Zibakalam sees reform movement's progress
Human Rights Organizations Condemn Lawyer's Jail Sentence
* New York-based Human Rights Watch and Paris-based Society to Defend Human Rights Defenders condemned the harsh sentencing of lawyer Nasser Zarafshan who represented several families of the victims of the 1998 serial assassinations of political activists in Iran. HRW's Elaheh Hicks tells RFE/RL that this is not the first time that the conservative Judiciary has silenced efforts to seek and reveal truth about the assassinations. Paris-based Abdolkarim Lahiji tells RFE/RL that Zarafshan's only crime was saying that the Judiciary wants to cover up the assassinations. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Year in Review
Two analysts, Mohsen Sazegara in Iran and Ahmad Salamatian in Paris, review the political events of the year.
* Despite continuing Judiciary action against the reformist press, new newspapers have replaced the ones closed down, says Salamatian. Internet users will grow three folds to 3 million by the end of the new year, says Sazegara.
* The inactivity of the reformist faction and the inefficiency of the security apparatus resulted in increased expression of demands by workers, trade and teachers associations, says Salamatian, adding that trade associations took the impetus away from political players.
* In bringing prominent businessman Shahram Jazayeri to trial, the conservative faction wanted to embarrass reformists and take advantage of the public outcry against widespread corruption, says Salamatian, predicting the anti-corruption campaign will go nowhere during the new year due to the nature of such trials.
* Mohsen Sazegara sees the expansion of riotous night-time soccer demonstrations as a sign of the restlessness of young Iranians with the government's attempt to enforce its cultural clich‚s.
* Salamatian says appointing the same people to the Expediency Council, which happened in the final week of last year, showed the conservative leaders are deaf to the demands of their reformists partners. (Mehdi Khalaji)
American Writers and Academicians Letter in Le Monde and Iran's Reaction
*In an open letter in Paris newspaper Le Monde, 60 prominent American intellectuals criticized President Bush while calling the war on terrorism a just and necessary war for defending American values and way of life. Strayer University professor Dr. Rasool Nafici tells RFE/RL that the Islamic Republic Leader and Muslim clergy in the Middle East did not appreciate the letter's blanket criticism of religious governments for their intolerance. He adds that French and Arab intellectuals responded to the Le Monde letter by reminding Americans of the US treatment of Native Americans and African Americans. They also said the US should have allowed the UN to determine the necessity of war. Another criticism to the letter came from Columbia University professor Edward Said, who regretted the fact that so many American scholars signed the letter and warned about the emergence of cultural oppression in the US. In another response to the Le Monde letter, the French social theorist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard says terrorism is the reverse side of globalism and warns that repeated terrorist attacks in America will gradually destroy the very freedoms of which the Americans intellectuals are so proud. (Homayoun Majd)
Iran: The Week in Review
In an article from Tehran, RFE/RL's analyst reviews the week:
* Deregulation of the foreign exchange rate took effect on March 21, with the beginning of the Iranian new year. Based on the bitter memories of 1992, the first time the foreign exchange was allowed to officially float, some observers are concerned. The new, unified exchange rate will be based on 7,700 rials to the dollar and will replace the multi-rate system. The actual rate will be determined by supply and demand and anyone can transfer any amount of money abroad.
* Rumor has it that the Central Bank Governor Nourbakhsh will be replaced by Irvani, who was appointed to Nourbakhsh's seat in the Expediency Council.
* Thousands will remain jailed for having issued bad checks, because the Judiciary could not reach an agreement with the Majles over new check laws. The judiciary wants to thin the prison population by relaxing the law, whereas the Central Bank believes weaker check regulations will result in chaos in the economy.
* People celebrated the Iranian New Year, regardless of its coincidence with religious mourning days.
Veteran Political Analyst Proposes Social Disobedience
* In his New Year message on RFE/RL, veteran political analyst and commentator, Ali Asghar Hajj Seyed Javadi says last year marked the failure of the reform movement in Iran. The Iranian people now have no choice but to express themselves through social disobedience and widespread strikes, he says.
Tehran Professor Sees Opening of the Political Environment
* Tehran-based political science professor Sadeq Zibakalam says the political environment opened further last year, proving the reform movement can go forward, in spite of setbacks. He expresses relief that the nationalist-religious coalition members were eventually freed from jail. He believes, however, that the country's problems, including drug addiction, joblessness, and the frustrations of young people, will become more pervasive in the new year. As long as the government controls the economy, he says, wage earners will continue to suffer.
* US envoy Zinni meets with Arafat. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* The US will try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Italy seeks new regulations to combat its illegal refugee problem, as 1200 Kurds from Iraq and Turkey approach Italian waters in four ships. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* President Bush calls VP Cheney's Middle East trip a success. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* UN convenes anti-poverty conference in Mexico. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Review of international press articles about the UN anti-poverty conference in Mexico. (Fariba Mavedat)
* Russian Prime Minister meets with 6 major oil companies to discuss OPEC demands for production cuts. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* One person killed and 80 arrested in Turkey as Kurds demonstrated against the ban on New Year celebrations. (Jamshid Zand)
ARTS AND IDEAS
* Tehran-based political historian and RFE/RL contributor, Dr. Gholamreza Mirzasaleh says the most important historical event of last year was the establishment of American military bases in Afghanistan and former Soviet Union republics in Central Asia.
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book reviewer Kamran Fani finds the publishing of serious books declined last year, while the number of overall titles increased by almost 10 percent to 24,000.
* Dr. Said Peyvandi, RFE/RL's Paris-based education and youth issues commentator, says the new education minister did not change much in the ministry. The most important events of last year, Peyvandi says, were widespread teachers' demonstrations. Riotous post-soccer disturbances once again showed the wide gap between the youth culture and the culture advocated by the government officials.
الهه شريف پور هيكز، از سازمان ديده بان حقوق بشر و عبدالكريم لاهيجي، نايب رييس انجمن جهاني سازمان هاي دفاع از حقوق بشر، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي در باره حكم صادره از سوي دادگاه نطامي براي ناصر زرافشان، وكيل مدافع همسر جعفر پوينده، يكي از قربانيان قتل هاي زنجيره اي سال 1377 اظهار نظر مي كنند. لاهيجي مي گويد تنها گناه زرافشان اين بود كه گفته بود قوه قضاييه مي خواهد خون اين شش قرباني خشونت را پايمال كند. الهه شريف پور هيكز مي گويد اين نخستين بار نيست كه تلاش براي كشف حقيقت در پرونده قتل هاي زنجيره اي به سكوت وادار مي شود. ديده بان حقوق بشر اين حكم را در بيانيه اي مورد انتقاد قرار داد و سازمان دفاع از مدافعان حقوق بشر از همه سازمان هاي هوادار حقوق بشر خواست نسبت به حكم صادره براي زرافشان اعتراض كنند.