Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceMonday, April 15, 2002 - Majles seeks religious edict about torture ban - Khatami calls for one month Islamic oil embargo - Judiciary Summons Majles Deputy Speaker Nabavi - Majles Criticized Expediency Council Makeup - Majles to investigate auto industry MP's Seek Religious Edicts about Ban on Torture * The heads of Judiciary and National Security and Foreign Relations commissions of the Majles write separate letters to two Shitie "Sources of Emulation," Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sanei and Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Musavi-Ardebili, seeking their religious edicts about the Majles bill to ban all forms of torture which the conservative Guardians Council rejected as unconstitutional. Law professor Qasem Shoaleh Sadi, a former Majles MP, says the inquiry would intensify the war of religious edicts or "fatwas," with political opponents soliciting contradictory rulings from different Grand Ayatollahs. He tells RFE/RL that the two Grand Ayatollahs approached by the Majles had been both appointed by Ayatollah Khomeini to high positions in the Islamic Republi Judiciary, both had been prosecutor general, and Musavi-Ardebili had been the head of the supreme court and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council. (Alireza Taheri) Khatami Calls for One-Month Islamic oil embargo * In a letter to the Emir of Qatar, who is the present head of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), President Khatami called for an Islamic oil embargo against the west to show support for Palestinians. The move contradicts Foreign Minister Kharrazi's statement in Lebanon last week urging Hezbollah to avoid provoking Israel, says RFE/RL's Alireza Taheri, adding that Iran appears confused in its Middle East policy. He says Khatami's statement seem to mean merely words of encouragement for the Palestinian Authority's foreign relations official Farouq Qaddumi, who is visiting Tehran. OIC has no influence on the oil policies of its member countries. (Alireza Taheri) Judiciary Summons a Majles Deputy Speaker * A Tehran court summons Islamic leftist Tehran MP Behzad Nabavi, deputy speaker of the Majles, in relation with irregularities in oil and gas contracts the oil ministry awarded to Petropars, a semi-private company Nabavi ran until last year. (Siavash Ardalan) Majles Criticized Leader's Appointments to the Expediency Council * Reformists in the Majles began criticizing the conservative makeup of the Expediency Council, which Leader Khamenei reafirmed last month by appointing seven new members and removing four. Tehran MP Fatemeh Haqiqat-ju said the Expediency Council's makeup does not reflect the people's demands. The reformists see the council as a powerful barrier to reforms, since it is charged with resolving deadlock between the reformist Majles and the conservative Guardians Council over Majles legislations. In most cases, the Expediency Council has ruled in favor of the Guardians. (Siavash Ardalan) Iran Reduces Exporters' Guarantee Deposits * Tehran-based economist Habib Chini tells RFE/RL that exporters no longer have to tie up large sums of money as guarantees that they would sell all foreign exchange earned from their trades to the government. He says relaxing export and import regulations and dues would cut smuggling profits and return capitals to mainstream economy. (Fereydoun Zarnegar) Majles to Investigate Auto Industry * Majles investigation of the auto industry is a response to the increasing criticism of the quality and prices of Iranian cars. Majles wants to reduce car prices by 20 percent. Minister of industries Eshaq Jahangiri apologized to the public for the poor quality of Iranian cars. The outdated and heavily protected auto industry has turned into a complicated puzzle. It cannot be closed down, and keeping it running costs too much and is bad for the environment. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris) RFE/RL's Listener Responds to Economic Commentary on Subsidies * In response to RFE/RL's economic commentator Fereydoun Khavand who, during Sunday's program, supported the idea of replacing government subsidies for energy and food with direct financial assistance to the poor, Jahan, a radio listener, says direct financial assistance would create a huge new bureaucracy and would provide the government with a new means of social control. He adds that the state economy has created an illusion in the minds of the government officials that the state is providing subsidies to people, whereas in reality, it is the people who are subsidizing the government's 24 years of mismanagement, waste and inefficiencies. (Mina Baharmast) Zemin's Upcoming Visit to Tehran: Iran-China Relations * In advance of the upcoming visit to Iran by the Chinese president Xiang Zemin, the daily "People" writes that the year 2000 visit of President Khatami to China was a turning point in the relations between the two countries. (Shahram Tehrani, Beijing) WORLD * The EU foreign ministers meet in Luxemburg on Middle East policy. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne) * Secretary of State Powel meets with leaders of Lebanon and Syria. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo) * Powell's mission in the Middle East. (Homayoun Majd, Washington) * Review of western press reports on the Middle East crisis. (Fariba Mavedat) * Iraqi Foreign Minister to meet the UNSG Anan next month. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo) * Israel arrests Arafat deputy Marwan Barghouti. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo) * Election begins in northern Afghanistan for the 1500-member Supreme Council. (Golnaz Esfandiari) * Italian deputy foreign minister Margherita Boniver who will accompany former Afghan king Mohammad Zaher on his historic return to Kabul, tells RFE/RL that Italy trained and equipped the 40 Afghans assigned to protect him. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome) * Burma fills the vacuum created by the Taliban ban on puppy cultivation in Afghanistan. (Jean Khakzad, Paris) * Coup fails in Venezuela. (Jean Khakzad, Paris) * Al-Azhar Islamic university in Cairo says US has no role in "What is Islam" conference. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo) ARTS AND IDEAS Songs and Songmakers * A review of the music of the major pianist and composer, Javad Marufi, who wrote some of the most popular piano music in Iran. (Mahmoud Khoshnam) One Book, One Author * The prominent literary critic and Toronto University professor Reza Barahani talks to RFE/RL's London-based book reviewer about his 1964 book "Gold in Copper," which was recently reprinted in Iran. (Bahman Bastani, London) Satire and Humor in Persian Poetry * In a program taped 12 years ago, the late literary scholar professor Mohammad Mahjoub recites a satirical poem by classical contemporary poet, Malekoshoara-ye Bahar. Review of Iranian Poetry From Yesterday and Today * RFE/RL begins rebroadcasting the 33-part series of talks on Iranian poetry by the prominent late contemporary poet, Nader Naderpour in conversations with Iraj Gorgin. Recorded 10 years ago in Los Angeles, the series shed a new light on major Iranian poets. (Iraj Gorgin) Iranian Progressive Music * RFE/RL's Mahmud Khoshnam reviews the music of Tehran-based composer Farhad Fakhredini.