فريدون زرنگار، مصاحبه با علي كشتگر (پاريس)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, June 27, 2002
- No early release from jail for Abdollah Nuri
- Italy sends aid for earthquake victims
- Military court vs. intelligence ministry on murders' investigation
- Students sit-in in front of judiciary
- Reformist Militant apologizes for criticizing clerical rule
- Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti's Legacy
- Shrinking farms
Court Denies Former Interior Minister Early Release
* The head of the special court for the clergy Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ezhei said today that Abdollah Nuri, former interior minister and publisher of banned pro-reform newspapers Khordad and Fath, fails to qualify for release on parole from his five-year sentence in Evin prison. Paris-based analyst Ali Keshtgar says those who maintain their criticism of the Supreme Leader and his policies usually remain in jail. Keshtgar, who published in France the text of Nuri's defense against charges of spreading lies and insulting Islam. He tells RFE/RL that in his defense, as in his newspapers, Nuri questioned the absolute authority of the Supreme Leader and accused him of using the judiciary to send his critics to jail. Nuri also said resuming relations with the US was in Iran's national interest, and questioned Tehran's Middle East policy, saying that Iran cannot be more militant than Yasser Arafat and other Palestinians by rejecting Israel's right to exist. Keshtgar says that nothing would remain of the Islamic Republic regime if it changes the core positions that Nuri had opposed. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Italy Sends Earthquake Aid
* An Italian delegation arrived in Tehran in advance of planeloads of aid from Italy in response to last week's earthquake in Qazvin and Hamedan. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
Military Court Head Challenges Intelligence Minister to TV Debate
* Responding to a charge by the intelligence minister that the military court derailed the investigation of the serial murders of political dissidents, cleric Mohammad Niazi, head of the armed forces judiciary, invited the minister to a live TV debate. The conflict between the two centers on the conduct of the investigators who were caught on videotape abusing and torturing the accused and their kin. Reformist MP Mohammad Kianush-Rad said that the two internal security organs ignore the main issue, which is the murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry officers. (Siavash Ardalan)
Five Students Stage Sit-in Hunger Strike in Front of the Judiciary
* Iran's largest pro-reform student organization, the office of reinforcing unity (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat), announced that the sit-in hunger strike of five of its central council members in front of the judiciary building in Tehran that began three days ago would soon expand. Many members of the Islamic student councils are ready to join the action, organized to protest the lax punishment of the perpetrators of the June 1999 attack on the Tehran university dormitories. Strikers demanded the freedom of student activists still in jail. A judiciary spokesperson said he knows of no sit-in going on in front of the building. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Aghajari Apologizes to Speaker for Criticizing Clerical Rule
* A day after Majles Speaker Mehdi Karubi berated reformist Tehran University professor Hashem Aghajari for rejecting the principles of clerical rule, Aghajari apologized in an open letter to "true believers" for his last week's remarks in Hamedan. In a speech about the ideas of the Islamic-intellectual Ali Shariati, Aghajari had said the ranking order of the Shiite clergy is an Iranian adaptation from the Catholic church and therefore un-Islamic. Aghajari also said people are not monkeys to imitate others, rejecting the Shiite principle of "emulation" (taqlid). Aghajari's harsh words for the clergy met with strong criticism from the conservatives and more traditional reformists. The Speaker shamed Aghjari by reminding him of the early hard-line, anti-liberal and anti-secular left actions of the Islamic leftist organization "Sazeman-e Mojahedin-e Enqelab-e Eslami" (Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization) of which Aghajari is a board member. A day after Aghajari's apology, President Khatami joined his critics. (Siavash Ardalan)
Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti's Legacy: Special RFE/RL Report
In a special report on the 23rd anniversary of his death from an explosion that killed 71 other prominent MP's and government officials, RFE/RL reviews the political career of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, the first post-revolutionary head of the judiciary, who had been the main candidate for succeeding Ayatollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader.
* London-based board member of the "Sazeman-e Fadaiyan-e Khalq (Aksariat)" tells RFE/RL that Ayatollah Beheshti used his skills as an organizer of both ideologies and people to shape the Islamic Republic by adding such elective offices as the Presidency and the Majles to the medieval concept of the clerical rule, giving it a modern appearance.
* Paris-based analyst Ahmad Salamatian tells RFE/RL that Beheshti was the first cleric to use the term "Islamic Republic" years before the revolution and predicted the fall of the monarchy earlier than other opposition leaders. He served as the Shah's seemingly loyal appointee as prayer leader at the Hamburg Islamic Center while working to get his allies appointed to prominent educational positions in Shah's government. However, his careful plans were railroaded by the sudden rise to prominence of Ayatollah Khomeini, with whom Beheshti had kept contact from a distance.
* Berlin-based head of the Society for Iranian Studies Hamid Ahmadi tells RFE/RL that Beheshti was the architect of many institutions and political organizations that provided the ideology and manpower for the domination of the clerics on Iran. Despite Ayatollah Khomeini's reservations, Beheshti also established the Islamic Republic party with the goal of keeping power within the clerical ranks.
* Germany-based Hassan Shariatmadari, son of the prominent source of emulation Grand Ayatollah Shariamtmadai, tells RFE/RL that Beheshti developed the curriculum of Qom's Haqani school of religious law, which indoctrinated the future hard-line judges, security agents and conservative officials of the regime. As a young cleric, Beheshti used to follow nationalist politicians and was committed to the Shah and kept his distance from militant Islamists. He was appointed to the Hamburg Islamic center at the suggestion of Ayatollah Khansari, who was close to the court through his connection with former prime minister and senate chief Jafar Sharif-Emami. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Iran Most Tolerant of Religious Minorities
* According to the annual report on religious tolerance issued by a Vatican-based society, Iran is more tolerant of religious minorities than most Islamic countries. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
Bill Seeks to Prevent Shrinking Agricultural Land Parcels
* Faced with ever shrinking farms, a result of several land reforms and Islamic inheritance laws, the government is devising a bill to ban further division of farms into smaller parcels. Nearly 84 percent of all farms are less than 10 acres wide and 66 percent of them are smaller than 5 acres, making it impossible to attract investment and modernize farming. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
* UNSG Kofi Annan and four African heads of state to propose a new anti-poverty plan for Africa at the G8 summit in Calgary, Canada. Russia's Vladimir Putin joined European leaders in opposition to the US plan for peace in the Middle East which includes the removal of Yasir Arafat from power. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
* Two thousand reporters see the G8 summit 100 kilometers away on a large, silent video screen, according to Agence France Press. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* The head of the world food program says Afghanistan is still unable to feed itself. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* UN and the transitional government of Afghanistan to cooperate on a new program against opium cultivation. (Shireen Famili)
* Malaysia's Mahatir Muhammad resigns. (Fariba Mavedat)
* Bill approved that would allow Bahraini women to take part in next October's parliamentary elections; meanwhile, Kuwait's parliament prepares to impeach the economy minister, an advocate of women's rights. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Dollar falls against the euro. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
* Europe on the brink of recession as a result of the dollar's fall against euro, writes Stratfor, a publication of the Strategic Forecasts research institute. (Fariba Mavedat)
* Russia's Caspian magazine finds the current OPEC price window of $22 to $28 per barrel is 25 cents higher than the price that would keep non-OPEC producers off the market. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
ARTS AND IDEAS
RFE/RL's Daily Coverage of Soccer World Cup
* RFE/RL's soccer commentator, Mehrdad Masudi, reports from Seoul on today's World Cup games.
Conductor Shahrdad Rouhani to Return to Iran for Concerts
* Los Angeles-based composer and conductor Shahrdad Rouhani tells RFE/RL about his plans for a second tour of Iran and recounts the bitter and sweet memories of his first trip last year during which he performed Karl Orf's Carmina Burana with Tehran philharmonic and choir. (Fahimeh Barati, Los Angeles)
Weekly soccer news and commentary. (Mehrdad Masudi, Seoul)
Classic Love Stories: Vis va Ramin
* Sadredin Elahi continues his recitation of the story of Vis va Ramin based on Fakhredin Asad Gorani.
Cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh
* Germany-based veteran cartoonist Kambiz Derambakh tells RFE/RL about his start 40 years ago in Tehran magazines and the development of his work. (Bahman Bastani)
Interview with Reformist journaslist Masud Behnud: Press and National Movements
* Reformist journalist Masud Behnud, who gave a joint talk with Mashallah Shamsolvaezin at London's "Anjoman-e Sokhan" Persian literary club, tells RFE/RL that the press in Iran had little role in instigating national movements such as the Qajar era constitutional movement, the more recent oil nationalization movement, and the Islamic Revolution, but played a greater role afterwards in the success or failures of these movements. (Shahran Tabari, London)
غلامحسين محسني اژه اي، رئيس دادگاه ويژه روحانيت اعلام كرد عبدالله نوري، وزير سابق كشور و ناشر دو روزنامه تعطيل شده، شرايط لازم براي استفاده از آزادي مشروط را ندارد. علي كشتگر، تحليلگر سياسي در پاريس، در مصاحبه با راديوآزادي مي گويد: آنها كه بر انديشه هاي خود در انتقاد از حاكميت و به ويژه از شخص ولي فقيه پافشاري كنند، امكان آزاد شدن ندارند. كشتگر، ناشر دفاعيات عبدالله نوري در پاريس، مي افزايد: عبدالله نوري در دفاعيات محاكمه خود در دادگاه ويژه روحانيات، به صراحت از شخص علي خامنه اي، رهبر جمهوري اسلامي انتقاد كرد و خواستار اجراي مفاد قانون اساسي در محدودساختن اختيارات ولي فقيه شد و از جمله گفت ولي فقيه حق ندارد از طريق قوه قضائيه مخالفان سياست هاي خود را به زندان بفرستد. نوري همچنين از برقراري رابطه با آمريكا دفاع كرد و آن را براي منافع ملي ايران ضروري دانست. وي همچنين تاكيد كرد كه ايران نمي تواند در مخالفت با اسرائيل از ياسر عرفات و اكثريت فلسطيني ها، تندرو تر باشد. كشتگر مي گويد: در صورت تغيير مواضع و سياست هائي كه عبدالله نوري از آنها انتقاد كرده است، "ديگر چيزي از نظام جمهوري اسلامي باقي نمي ماند."