Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceMonday, September 02, 2002
- Government proposes bill to curb Guardians' power
- Iraq appeals to Iran for cooperation
- GCC discusses improving relations with Iran
- Iran sees itself surrounded by the US
- UAE re-exports embargoed US goods to Iran
- Government cancels limits on imports through FTZs
- Appeal court acquits girls' shelter officials accused of prostitution
- Chicken industry and free market reform
- Privatization failure
- Iran and sustained development
- RFE/RL Roundtable
Government Presents Bill to Reduce Guardians' Power
The Khatami government said the bill it presented today to the Majles would reduce the power of the Guardians Council to vet candidates for the Majles and other elective bodies. The Guardians Council announced last week that in order to prevent some of the reformist MPs from being reelected, in evaluating qualifications of the applicants for Majles candidacy, it would shift the burden of proof to the applicants, who should prove their belief in Islam and their commitment to the constitution. The government spokesman said the election reform bill seeks to further the principle of presumption of innocence.
* RFE/RL's Mehdi Khalaji says the bill does not eliminate the Guardians Council's power to reject applicants for candidacy in the parliamentary and municipal elections, since it keeps the belief in Islam and the commitment to the absolute power of the Supreme Leader as qualifying conditions. It only limits the Guardians' power enough to allow the government's own pro-reform candidates stand for election, leaving all other activists out of the political process.
Iraq Appeals to Iran for Help Cooperation
* Iraqi VP Ramadan, who called Iranians Zionists' allies yesterday, said today during an interview with al-Jazira TV that there are great opportunities for political, economic and humanitarian cooperation between Iran and Iraq. He said Iran's declared neutrality towards possible US military action against the Iraqi regime does not conform to Iranian government's anti-US position and its "Death to the US" slogan. Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said in Tehran that Iran encourages Iraq to allow the UN arms inspectors to return in order to prevent US military action. (Alireza Taheri)
GCC Discusses Iran Relations and Possible US Attack on Saddam
* GCC Foreign ministers sought better relations with Iran and discussed the possible US military action against Saddam during their Jeddah meeting today. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
Iran Sees Itself Surrounded by the US
* Iran feels the presence of the US in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, as well as older bases in Turkey and the six GCC countries, writes Jane's Defense Weekly. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
UAE Re-Exports Embargoed US Goods to Iran
Tehran economic daily Abrar reported that some UAE companies have approached Iran with offers to buy embargoed US goods, such as jet engines and parts, on behalf of Iran in exchange for a commission. The paper with an annual trade volume of $3 billion to $5 billion, UAE is Iran's greatest trade partner. More than 3500 state-owned and private Iranian companies have registered to operate in the UAE.
* Political editor of Cairo's weekly al-Ahram-ol-Arabi and a Persian Gulf expert Khaled Salah tells RFE/RL that re-exporting embargoed US goods to Iran by UAE companies is not new. There was no need for the UAE companies to write to Iran's foreign ministry to propose re-export deals to Iran. But the news in the Abrar daily is the first official acknowledgment of what has been going on for a long time. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
Government Cancels Limits on Imports through FTZs
* In order to boost tourism in the free trade zones of Qeshm and Chahbahar, the government's anti-smuggling committee asked that the limits on importing goods from FTZ's by passengers be lifted. The limits were proposed by the customs to stop wholesale importers from exploiting the $80 per passenger duty free import provision as a means for avoiding duties. The limitations decreased FTZ tourism by 90 percent. (Jamshid Zand)
Appeals Court Acquits Officials of Karaj Runaway Girls Shelter
* An appeals court acquitted the officials of a shelter for runaway girls in Karaj, Khane-ye Hedayat-e Eslami (Islamic Guidance Home), who were convicted by a lower court on charges of sexual exploitation, prostitution and human smuggling of 20 12- to 20-year old girls. The head of Karaj Islamic revolutionary courts, cleric Hadi Montazeri-Moqadam, who also headed the girls' shelter, had been convicted to 10 years in prison and lifetime ban from government and judicial jobs. The shelter was closed last year after the father of a runaway girl complained to President Khatami's office that his daughter was sold to prostitution by the shelter's officials. People close to the father say he will appeal the appeal's court acquittal to the supreme court. Trials were held behind closed-doors and the details of the four-year operation of the shelter were held from the public. The shelter had been set up by Mohsen Rafiqdust, a high ranking member of the conservative Hey'at-e Mo'talefeh-ye Eslami and an advisor of the Supreme Leader. (Alireza Taheri)
Chicken Industry: Healthy or in Trouble
Mohammad Kazemi, head of the union of chicken producers of Hamedan province said the chicken industry is on the verge of bankruptcy. He said as a result of free market reforms in the industry, more than 45 percent of chicken farmers have gone out of business, 900 bankrupt chicken farmers are in jail for bad checks and 1500 of them are on the run from their creditors.
* Tehran daily Hamshahri's economic reporter Mohammad-Sadeq Janan-Sefat tells RFE/RL that since 1998 all price controls have been lifted from the chicken industry and it was allowed to set its own prices according to the market demand. Considering the high number of chicken farmers - 9000 units across the country - some who could not adjust to the free market were naturally bound to go out of business. Since March 2002, the industry has been enjoying a 40 percent rise in chicken prices. He says Iran produces 720,000 tons of chicken per year, which is sufficient for the domestic consumption at current levels. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Privatization of Government Businesses
* Ideological concerns, monetary instability, labor unrest, lack of capital and political resolve in the Majles and the government, have been preventing the privatization of government businesses, writes the Economist. (Fariba Mavedat, London)
Iran and Sustained Development
* Iranian press reporting on the Johannesburg UN summit on sustained development should ask whether Iran is considering the interests of the future generations in its treatment of the environment and natural resources. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
RFE/RL Roundtable: Failure of Reforms and Iran's Future
* Iran's last pre-revolution press minister, Swiss-based Dariush Homayoun, says reform means government by the people's representatives.
* Tehran University political science professor and pro-reform commentator Sadeq Zibakalam says reforms are possible within Islam and the regime's constitution.
* Independent reformist journalist and editor of the now closed Tehran monthly Goftegu (Dialogue), Morad Saqafi, says reform means Iran for all Iranians. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Venice Film Festival
* New York-based artist Shirin Neshat, producer of K, a film by Shoja Azari, which has a chance to receive the Silver Bear for the first feature at Venice international film festival, and the film's actor Mohammad-Baqer Ghaffari tell RFE/RL about this film and their views about Iranian films in the festival. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Venice)
Daily Internet Report
* Bukhara literature and arts magazine written by prominent scholars puts its entire issues online, expanding its audience from a few thousands to hundreds of thousands around the world. (Behnam Nateghi)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Daily Book Review
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic Kamran Fani reviews a new Persian translation of Carl Gustav Jung's "Modern Man in Search of a Soul." by Mahmud Behforuzi.
Daily Science Report
* A new research performed at Purdue University suggests that metal trimmings, that machine shops discard as trash, may be a valuable industrial building material. These scientists demonstrate that these scraps have a fine microscopic structure called nanocrystalline structure that makes them extremely hard and resistant. This cheap waste materials may be soon used to manufacture gears and shafts for cars and aircrafts as well as agricultural machinery. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
Civil Society and Human Rights: Presidential Powers
* Washington-based lawyer and human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar discusses the provisions about presidential power in the Islamic Republic constitution.
Farhad Mehrad Obituary
* Two days after the death of Farhad Mehrad, 1970's popular pop singer in Paris at the age of 59, Abbas Bakhtiari, Paris-based concert promoter who produced Farhad's last concert and Mohammad Shahms, composer of many of Farhad's songs, tell RFE/RL about his final days and his impact on Persian pop music. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
Song: Jamshid Sheybani
* RFE/RL's music critic Mahmud Khoshnam plays a sampling of songs recorded by Jamshid Sheybani, a pioneer of pop music in Iran who was active in the 1950s.
* Los Angeles DJ Afshin Gorgin spins the latest Persian pop tunes.
In Memory of Parviz Natel Khanlari
* Late contemporary poet Nader Naderpur and late literary scholar Mohmmad-Jafar Mahjub discuss the life and art of literary scholar, poet and magazine publisher Parviz Natel Khanlari, who died 12 years ago on this day. (Nazi Azima)
* Returning from his summer vacation, President Bush faces dispute among his administration officials over the possible US military action against Saddam. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri arrives in Moscow. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
* Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield meets with Arab and Palestinian leaders. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* EU foreign ministers send the Danish foreign minister to the Middle East to discuss the EU plan for Arab-Israeli peace. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
* Libya arrests a group of al-Qaeda members. (Farideh Rahbar, Cairo)
* The international war against terrorism has not yet rooted out al-Qaeda a year after September 11 attacks, says the UN in its report on terrorism. (Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Prime Minister Blair criticizes the US in his speech at the UN earth summit in Johannesburg for not joining the Kyoto treaty on curbing carbon monoxide emissions. International coordinator of the advocacy group Friends of Earth Kieth Hampton tells RFE/RL that his organization will not allow the Kyoto accord to be forgotten. (Shahran Tabari, London)مهدي خلجي (راديوآزادي): لايحه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، يکي از سياسي ترين لوايح دولت محمد خاتمي، رييس جمهوري در پنج سال اخير است. قانون فعلي انتخابات، که بر شالوده نظارت استصوابي شوراي نگهبان استوار است، يکي از موضوعات اصلي جدال اصلاح طلبان و محافظه کاران به شمار مي رود. در لايحه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، مبناي بررسي صلاحيت نامزدها احراز عدم صلاحيت کانديداهاست نه احراز صلاحيت آنها. در اين لايحه موانع انتخاب شدن براي نمايندگي مجلس شوراي اسلامي، تنها عدم اعتقاد و التزام به اسلام و نظام جمهوري اسلامي و نيز تابعيت کشورهاي خارجي است. در حالي که طبق قانون فعلي انتخابات، علاوه بر اعتقاد و التزام عملي به اسلام و نظام جمهوري اسلامي و تابعيت کشور ايران، ابراز وفاداري به قانون اساسي و اصل ولايت مطلقه فقيه، حداقل مدرک فوق ديپلم و يا معادل آن، نداشتن سوء شهرت در حوزه انتخابيه، سلامت جسمي در حد برخورداري از حواس بينايي و شنوايي و قدرت گويايي، حداقل سن سي سال تمام و حداکثر هفتادو پنج سال تمام، شرط تأييد صلاحيت نامزدها براي ورود به عرصه رقابت انتخابات است. هم چنين اين لايحه به رييس جمهوري اجازه مي دهد تا علاوه بر شوراي نگهبان و وزارت کشور مأموراني را براي بازرسي و کنترل جريان انتخابات و شعب ثبت نام و اخذ راي تعيين و اعزام کند.
افزون بر اينها، بر اساس لايحه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، درباره شرايط معتمدان محلي که به عنوان ناظران حسن اجزاي انتخابات عمل مي کنند تغييراتي به وجود آمده است، از جمله اين که معتمدان محلي نبايد نقشي موثر در تحکيم مباني رژيم سابق يا وابستگي تشکيلاتي به احزاب و سازمان هايي که غيرقانوني بودن آنها از طرف مقامات صالحه اعلام شده داشته باشند.
با توجه به کاهش نقش شوراي نگهبان در نظارت بر انتخابات و تا اندازه اي بسته شدن دست آن در رد گسترده صلاحيت نامزدها، به نظر نمي آيد که اين لايحه حتا پس از تصويب در مجلس شوراي اسلامي، به تأييد شوراي نگهبان برسد. شوراي نگهبان بنابر سابقه اش، همواره طرفدار افزايش قلمرو اختيارات خود بوده است. بر اين پايه، احتمالاً سرنوشت نهايي اين لايحه در مجمع تشخيص مصلحت نظام رقم خواهد خورد. در عين حال، طرح موضوع اصلاح قانون انتخابات مي تواند چالش محافظه کاران و اصلاح طلبان را به مرحله تازه اي وارد کند. محافظه کاران تا کنون، مخالفان نظارت استصوابي را حتا به دستور گرفتن از نيروهاي خارجي متهم مي کردند.
با اين همه، بر فرض تصويب نهايي لايحه اصلاح قانون مطبوعات، اصل نظارت استصوابي از ميان نمي رود، بلکه دايره آن تنگ مي شود، زيرا طبق همين لايحه اعتقاد و التزام عملي به اسلام جزو شرايط نامزدان براي ورود به مجلس است. بر اين اساس، اين احتمال وجود دارد که گروه ها و سازمان هايي که خارج از حکومت وجود دارند و خود را به عنوان گروه هايي غيرمذهبي و با هويتي کاملاً سياسي تعريف مي کنند، از چارچوب اين قانون بيرون بمانند و در نتيجه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، بيش از آن که راهي براي همه فعالان سياسي در ورود به عرصه انتخابات باز کند، تنها راه اصلاح طلبان حکومتي را بازخواهد کرد.
دولت محمدخاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، هدف لايحه اي كه براي اصلاح قانون انتخابات به مجلس شوراي اسلامي ارائه داد تحقق هر چه بيشتر اصل برائت در انتخابات قلمداد كرد، اما بر فرض تصويب نهايي لايحه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، اصل نظارت استصوابي شوراي نگهبان از ميان نمي رود، بلکه دايره آن تنگ مي شود، زيرا طبق همين لايحه، اعتقاد و التزام عملي به اسلام جزو شرايط ورود به مجلس باقي مي ماند و در نتيجه اصلاح قانون انتخابات، بيش از آن که راهي براي همه فعالان سياسي در ورود به عرصه انتخابات باز کند، تنها راه اصلاح طلبان حکومتي را بازخواهد کرد.