Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceMonday, August 05, 2002
- Majority of Iranians support US-Iran relations
- Government reformists oppose court ban on FMI
- Arrest warrant against Masud Behnud
- Qazvin reformist weekly closes after 4 weeks
- Majles reaction to $550 million Afghan aid package
- Professional Afghans in Iran
- Approval of medical diplomas of former Soviet bloc universities
- Conservative daily on short-term marriages
- Economic impact of a regime change in Iraq
- Daily Internet, books, arts and ideas reports
Majority of Iranians Support US-Iran Relations
* Two opinion surveys quoted today by reformist media indicate that 73 percent to 89 percent of Iranians favor better relations with the US. Unlike most Middle Eastern countries, in Iran the majority of people are pro-US while the regime is anti-US. Last week a group of diverse Iranian political activists in Europe called for steps towards normalization of relations with the US. The Washington Post said today that President Bush's recent statement on Iran boosted the conservatives instead of the reformists, but some reformists say a segment of Iranian society sees the US as Iran's savior. (Siavash Ardalan)
Government Reformists Oppose Court Ban on FMI
* The Islamic Iran Participation Front, Jebheh-ye Mosharekat Iran-e Eslami, the largest pro-Khatami block in the Majles, condemned the judiciary's ban on the nationalist opposition party Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI). The Mosharekat said it supports political activity within the framework of the constitution. Government reformists came out in support of reformists outside the government, says RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji.
Court Issues Warrant for Arrest of Reformist Journalist Behnud
* Press court in Tehran issued an arrest warrant for banned reformist newspapers columnist Masud Behnud, who is in London to give a series of lectures. Behnud, on leave from serving a 19-month jail sentence, tells RFE/RL that his arrest warrant is nothing new, but he hopes that an appeal court would vacate the verdict against him and cancel the arrest warrant. He says he is willing to return to Iran to serve the rest of his jail term and wait for a "wiser system" to emerge. (Shahran Tabari, London)
Qazvin Reformist Weekly Closes Voluntarily
* Mahjabin Abutorabi, a pro-Khatami Qazvin council member, said yesterday that she stopped publishing her weekly political magazine Aref after only four issues because a judiciary official told her on the phone that she would go to jail if she didn't. Abutorabi and some of her fellow city council members belong to the local "society for development and freedom of Qazvin," and planned to use the weekly magazine in their reelection campaign. Qazvin-based journalist and nationalist-religious coalition activist Fatemeh Govarai tells RFE/RL that Qazvin has large numbers of politically aware people of both camps due to the many educational and industrial establishments in the city and its proximity to Tehran. Pressure groups suppress any action that might seem to threaten the interests of the conservatives. She adds that Aref weekly would have been shut down if it had not done so voluntarily. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Majles Divided on Government's Afghan Aid Bill
* A government bill to give $550 million in reconstruction aid to Afghanistan over five years provoked strong pro and con reaction in the Majles today. The final vote was postponed to Wednesday after opponents of the bill questioned the results of today's voting. Ali Kadkhodazadeh, an editor of the Tehran municipality's Hamshahri daily, tells RFE/RL that a part of the aid will insure Iranian contractors in Afghanistan reconstruction projects and the other part will pay for crop replacement to reduce opium cultivation. Hasan Fathi, an editor of Tose'e newspaper tells RFE/RL that considering Iran's current economic problems, public opinion rejects aid to Afghanistan or any foreign country. (Siavash Ardalan)
500,000 Afghan Professionals Stranded in Iran
* Toriali Qiasi, Afghan consul in Mashhad, tells RFE/RL that of the 2 million Afghan refugees in Iran 500,000 are educated and work in technical positions in factories or teach in universities. The shortage of housing and schools in Afghanistan prevents them from returning home and taking part in the reconstruction effort. He says 25 percent of these are women whose families allowed them to go to school in Iran, learn European languages, computers and office skills. They now mostly find work in private offices. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Approval of Soviet Bloc Medical Diplomas
* Iranian graduates of med schools in Russia, Ukrain, Romania and other Soviet bloc countries have to go through a complicated process that takes almost three years in order to receive approval for their education by the healthcare ministry's diploma review boards. Eastern block medical graduate Nima Jafari tells RFE/RL that the problem is due to the incompatibile educational systems. Iranian students in Eastern block countries receive better access than in Iran to teachers and equipment and study in English from up-to-date textbooks, he adds. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Economic Impact of Regional Political Developments on Iran
* Iran is bracing itself for a regime change in Iraq, which would affect the international oil market and regional commerce. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
Conservative Daily Links Controversial Movie to Chastity Home Proposal
* The conservative daily "Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Islamic Republic), published under a license issued to the Supreme Leader, linked "Naked Night," a movie that depicts the path of a war widow and her son through poverty and prostitution, to the heightened discussion in the media about the proposal for opening centers for introducing prostitutes to customers under the Islamic short-term marriage. In both cases poverty leads to prostitution, the paper wrote. Islamic short-term marriages were first promoted in modern Iran by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani after the Iran-Iraq war as a solution for returning soldiers and war widows. Last year cleric Mohammad-Kazem Montazeri-Moqadam, head of Islamic revolutionary courts in Tehran's neighboring town Karaj, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for selling runaway teenage girls to prostitution in foreign countries when he headed a housing institution to keep young girls out of prostitution.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Daily Internet Report
* A review of an Internet site started today by veteran photographer Kamran Adle. Iranian journal of Photography, iranjop.com includes sampling of the work of sports photographer Mehdi Aqeli. Also, New York Times' article on young Iranians' use of Internet chat to communicate with the opposite sex. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily Medical Advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Daily Book Review
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic Kamran Fani review "Hava-ye Aftab (Longing for Sunshine)," a collection of poems by contemporary poet Siavash Kasrai who died last year.
Today in History (Gholamhosein Mirzasaleh, Tehran)
Review of Iran's Constitutional Movement
* On the 96th anniversary of the constitutional revolution, Oxford University professor Homayoun Katouzian, author of several books on Iran's contemporary history, discusses it roots in the fourth of this seven-part series. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Father of Russia's Biowar Industry
* Russian biowar researcher Igor Domaradsky, credited for having initiated bio warfare research in Russia, recounts in his book, "Troublemaker, the Story of an Inconvenient Man" his vain struggle to redirect some of his ground-breaking research away from military uses. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
Rumi Song by Shakila
* RFE/RL's music critic Mahmud Khoshnam plays a song by Los Angeles-based singer Shakila composed by veteran composer Mohammad Heydari, based on poetry by Rumi.
* Israel expanded control of Palestinian towns. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* Major conservative Israeli newspapers began criticizing prime minister Ariel Sharon's retaliation policy. London-based journalist Alireza Nurizadeh tells RFE/RL that Hamas showed that in violence it is no less capable than Israel.
* Saddam seeks to convince Iraqi Kurds to stay neutral in case of US attack, writes USA Today. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* British Labor party MPs join the opposition in questioning UK's participation in a US attack on Iraq. MP Bruce George of Labor Party tells RFE/RL that British parliament will have a position on the matter after seeing convincing evidence that proves Iraq is a national threat to a country like Britain. (Shahran Tabari, London)
* Basques terrorist group ETA kill 2 in car bomb attack on Spain's Santa Paola beach resort. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
نظرسنجي هاي وزارت هاي ارشاد واطلاعات نشان مي دهد كه بين 73 درصد تا 78 درصد از مردم ايران خواهان مذاكره با آمريكا هستند. برخلاف كشورهاي خاورميانه، حكومت ايران موضع ضد آمريكائي دارد ولي اكثريت مردم خواهان حل اختلافات دوكشورند. فعالان سياسي خارج از كشور نيز از مسئولان جمهوري اسلامي خواستند در راه عادي سازي روابط ايران با آمريكا قدم بردارند. اعضاي كميسيون سياست خارجي مجلس چند بار كوشيدند از شرايط سياسي داخلي براي حل مشكل با آمريكا بهره برداري كنند ولي با مخالفت رهبر جمهوري اسلامي مواجه شدند. واشنگتن پست ديروز نوشت گفته هاي اخير رئيس جمهوري آمريكا موقعيت محافظه كاران ايران را تقويت كرد به جاي آنكه به اصلاح طلبان نفعي برساند. برخي اجناح اصلاح طلبان يادآور شدند كه بعضي از مردم ايران آمريكا را رهائي بخش خود از وضع موجود مي بينند.