مهدی خلجی، مصاحبه با احمد سلامتيان (پاريس)
Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceThursday, August 29, 2002
- Khatami's bill would expand presidential power
- The Khatami government's economic achievements
- Week of solidarity with Naser Zarafshan
- New newspaper targets youth population
- Daftar asks Leader not to interfere
- Respect for clients in government offices
- RFE/RL Roundtable on unemployment
Khatami Challenges Conservatives
In his press conference yesterday President Khatami said he would introduce a new bill to expand president's power. The Majles reformists announced that they would pass a bill to end the Guardians Council's vetting election candidates.
* Paris-based political analyst Ahmad Salamatian says these two projects define the division of power within the regime and are the focus of the fight against autocracy. He tells RFE/RL that if the Guardians Council rejects these two bills, the president would have to propose a referendum, and if the Guardians reject a referendum he would have little choice but to exit the regime. He says the conservatives would certainly reject the two bills, but the reformists' ability to withstand their ground is uncertain. (Mehdi Khalaji)
The Khatami Government's Economic Score Card
In his press conference yesterday, President Khatami highlighted his government's economic accomplishments. He said he reduced inflation rate from 32 percent to 15.5 percent and increased GNP growth rate from 3.2 percent to 3.8 percent.
* Tehran University economy professor Musa Ghaninezhad tells RFE/RL that reducing inflation is Khatami's greatest economic achievement, but in his press conference, Khatami chose only to talk about the positive. Ghaninezhad says economic growth in Iran is always linked to oil income. During the first few years of Khatami's first term in office oil prices fell sharply but went up in the past three years. However, last year's tax reform, the unification of the exchange rate, and the law to promote and protect foreign investment were all positive, albeit belated, moves. If they are quickly followed by labor law and social security reforms and banking privatization, Khatami would have a better economic score card by the end of his term. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Review of Western Media on Khatami's Press Conference (Fariba Mavedat)
Week of Solidarity with Naser Zarafshan
* Paris-based human rights activist Karim Lahiji, head of the society for defense of human rights in Iran, tells RFE/RL that during the week of solidarity with jailed lawyer Naser Zarafshan, September 16-22, European bar associations and international human rights organizations will call for his release. He adds international pressure helped reduce the sentences of lawyers Mehrangiz Kar and Shirin Ebadi. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
New Newspaper Targets the "Third Generation"
* A newspaper, Golestan-e Iran (Iran's Rose Garden), began publication today under a 21-year old editor. Political commentator and publisher of banned reformist newspapers Mohsen Sazegara, who heads the new newspaper as the chair of its policy council, tells RFE/RL that with short reports and articles, the new newspaper seeks to appeal to university students, whom he called the third generation. (Mehdi Khalaji)
Islamic Students Ask Leader Not to Interfere in Student Organizations
In an open letter, the central council of the pro-Khatami faction of the union of universities Islamic students associations, Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat (Office of Reinforcing Unity), asked the Supreme Leader not to interfere in the affairs of student organizations. It said that unlike the Guardians Council and the Expediency Council, student organizations do not have to follow the Supreme Leader's decrees.
* Sweden-based Nima Rashedan says this letter only reflects the low stature of the Supreme Leader among the students. The Daftar cannot tell the leader not to interfere in its affairs, since in its by-laws it is committed to the absolute clerical guardianship (velayat-e faqih). He tells RFE/RL that the Daftar is in rapid decline, since there is no room in a civil society for a populist institution centered on charismatic power. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Government Begins "Respect for the Client" Project
Javad Farshbaf Maherian, Tehran director of management and planning organization, announced a series of reforms called "respect for the client" to improve service in government offices.
* Tehran-based journalist Atosa Ravash tells RFE/RL that the plan includes better signage in government offices and guides to direct people to the right person or office in order to reduce confusion. She adds that due to the lack of a rational hierarchy and system of rewards and punishment in government offices, the respect for the client project may not succeed. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
RFE/RL Roundtable: Unemployment
* Northeastern University economics professor Kamran Dadkhah says government policies have made investment in Iran too risky. Tehran University economics professor Mehdi Taqavi says joblessness of university graduates is on the rise. Editor of Tehran reformist daily Hambastegi Ali Mirzakhani says the ratio of investment to GNP is too low in Iran. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Daily Internet Report: peiknet.com
* A site with leftist tendencies and articles in support of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution (MIRO) attacks the Supreme Leader in strongly worded articles with no by-line. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Venice Festival to Screen September 11 Film
* Young Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf and Egyptian veteran filmmaker Yusef Shahin are among the 11 directors who each submitted an 11-minute piece to a movie about the world reaction to September 11 terrorist attacks which will have its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
Daily Book Review
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic reviews a Persian translation of the novel "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book," by human rights activist Nat Hentoff, translated by Behruz Kia.
Science Report: Studying Smog
* A team of scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory flew a laboratory-equipped plane into pockets of pollution hovering over Boston for two weeks at night in order to determine the amount of reduction in emission required during the day to fight against smog. They data they gather will be used in developing state and national anti-pollution policies, as well as the effects of pollution and global warming on the spread of disease-causing agents, or pathogens, such as the West Nile virus.
Weekly Soccer News and Commentary (Mehrdad Masudi)
Song: "Yad Bad"
* RFE/RL's music critic plays Yad Bad, a song based on a poem by Hafiz, with the music of Mohammad-Reza Meshkatian, performed by Mohammd-Reza Shajarian.
* Los Angeles DJ Afshin Gorgin spins the latest Persian pop tunes.
Los Angeles Report
* Tonpak (Persian drum) player Pezhman Hadadi, who performed with his group along with Turkish and Pakistani drummers in Los Angeles, tells RFE/RL that with his group of Iranian drummers, he wants to explore the rhythmic part of Persian music. (Fahimeh Barati, Los Angeles)
* The UN sustained development conference in Johannesburg. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* US arrests six men of Arab origin in Michigan on charges of links to al-Qaeda. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* German investigators find new evidence on al-Qaeda elements planning the September 11 attacks in Hamburg. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Republican leaders disagree about the US over military action against Saddam, according to the Los Angeles Times (Fariba Mavedat, London)
* In a reversal of positions, France says it would not object to a US unilateral military attack on Saddam.
* Sudan arrests 100 members of the national congress party. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Turkey to import natural gas from Russia through a new pipeline. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* Italian organizer of international beauty pageant tells RFE/RL that pageant candidates plan to boycott this year's event in Nigeria in protest against the stoning sentence against a young mother accused of adultery. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Any military action against Saddam would raise oil prices and slow down economic growth in the US and Europe, writes London's Independent. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
در پيامد سخنان ديروز محمدخاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي درباره لزوم افزايش اختيارات رئيس جمهوري و طرح اصلاح طلبان مجلس براي لغو نظارت استصوابي،
احمد سلامتيان، تحليل گر سياسي در پاريس، در مصاحبه با راديو ازادي مي گويد: اين دو برنامه، اساس مقابله با اقتدارگرايي در جمهوري اسلامي است. وي مي گويد: اين دو طرح رابطه مستقيم با توزيع قدرت در راس حاكميت دارند و موجب چالشي بزرگ مي شوند. در صورتي كه پس از تصويب در مجلس اين دولايحه در شوراي نگهبان رد شوند، رييس جمهوري مجبور مي شود براي داوري به رفراندم و آراي عمومي متوسل شود و اگر رفراندم هم مورد قبول قرار نگيرد تنها راه باقيمانده خروج از حاكميت است. وي مي فزايد اقتدارگرايان بدون ترديد با اين دو طرح برخورد منفي خواهند كرد، اما درمورد ثابت قدمي و قدرت اصلاح طلبان براي مقابله با آن ها بخاطر سابقه پنج سال گذشته شان ترديد وجود دارد.