Summary of Today's BroadcastRFE/RL Persian ServiceMonday, October 14, 2002
- ECO summit in Turkey
- Majles faults judiciary in Zarafshan case
- 7 years in jail for reformist cleric
- Police make copies of writers association board meeting minutes
- Execution of three Kurds
- Bakers protest ban on using baking soda
- Judiciary summons two MPs
- Subsidies block economic reforms
- Smuggling street children for body parts
Khatami at ECO Summit
* In a speech at the conference of the 10 leaders of the Economic Cooperation Council member states at Istanbul, President Khatami said Iran opposes any unilateral US action against Iraq. Afghan transitional government president Hamid Karzai asked western and Arab countries to honor their pledges of financial support for the Afghan reconstruction program. (Alireza Taheri)
Majles Complaints Committee Faults Judiciary on Zarafshan Conviction
* The Majles complaints committee (Article 90 Committee) accused the judiciary of illegal prosecution and jailing of Nasser Zarafshan, lawyer of the families of the victims of the 1998 serial murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry agents. The Article 90 committee's previous condemnations of the judiciary's prosecution of dissidents have had no impact. (Siavash Ardalan)
Clerics' Court Commutes Reformist Cleric's Death Sentence to 7 Years in Jail
* The special court for the clergy commuted the death sentence of reformist cleric Hasan Yusefi Eshkevari to seven years in jail, of which he has already served two. Eshkevari was arrested two years ago upon returning from the April 2000 Berlin conference on political reform in Iran. His family told the official news agency IRNA that four of the seven years sentence are for declaring the mandatory Islamic head cover for women optional; two years of it are for "propagating lies" about the serial murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry agents, and one year is for participating in the Berlin conference. (Siavash Ardalan)
Police Makes Copies of Writers Association Meetings' Minutes
* In a raid at the house of Iranian Writers Association's board member Nasser Vahdati on Friday night, Tehran police took records of IWA meetings. Prominent poet and IWA board member Simin Behbahani tells RFE/RL that the police brought back the records a day later after making copies. She says IWA board discussions have centered on freedom of speech, ways to get legal standing, finding a building to rent and holding ceremonies in memory of dead writers. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Tehran's Fear of Possible US Attack
Some in Iran fear that after Iraq it is the Tehran regime's turn, reports the Associated Press. (Alireza Taheri)
Human Rights Advocate Protests Execution of Three Kurds in Iran
* The Paris-based society for defense of human rights in Iran protested last week's execution of three Kurdish political prisoners in Iran. The society's director Abdolkarim Lahiji tells RFE/RL that the families of the executed prisoners were not told of their trial and conviction. Their bodies were returned to the families on condition that they bury them at night without ceremonies. In an interview with RFE/RL, Khosrow Abdollahi, a spokesman of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) said that 12 of the 110 party members in jail are on death row. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
Tehran Bakers Protest Ban on Baking Soda
* In a demonstration on Tehran's Malek street a group of Tehran bakers protested the government's ban on using baking soda in bread bakeries. Hasan Akbarian, a nutritionist in Tehran, tells RFE/RL that bakers use baking soda to speed the dough's rising, but the result is incomplete fermentation, which creates excess stomach acid. He says the flour provided by the government is made of a mixture of domestic and imported wheat with uneven gluten. Masud Mohajer, an economic journalist in Tehran, tells RFE/RL that urban bakeries use baking soda instead of yeast because they lack storage space for a lot of dough. A ban on baking soda cuts their production and profits. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Tehran Judiciary Summons Two Majles MPs
* Tehran MPs Fatemeh Haqiqatju and Ahmad Burqani were summoned to two different branches of the Tehran judiciary today. Haqiqatju is charged with insulting public officials and spreading lies during her speeches at the Majles. Burqani's summons relates to the opinion poll ordered by the Majles which showed that 75 percent of Iranians favor relations with the US. (Siavash Ardalan)
Italian Press Faults Referee of Iran-South Korea Soccer Match
* The Italian press accused the referee of last week's Iran-South Korea semi-final Asian Olympics soccer match in South Korea of unfair support for South, but expressed delight that Iran, unlike Italy during the last World Cup, beat South Korea on its way to the finals. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
Artificially Low Prices Block Economic Reform
* In an interview with the government daily "Iran," plan and budget organization head Mohammad Sattari said concern for social order compels the government to hold prices of essential goods at artificially low levels. But price subsidies waste valuable resources and block economic reform, says RFE/RL's Paris-based economic commentator Fereydoun Khavand.
* RFE/RL's Paris-based education commentator Said Peyvandi reviews the education ministry's new campaign against student smoking.
Smuggling Street Children for Organ Trade
* An advocate of the street children told the official news agency IRNA that human smuggling gangs take street children to Kuwait in order to sell their organs. Dr. Shiva Dowlatabadi, head of the child protection association, a Tehran-based NGO, tells RFE/RL that she cannot confirm the news, even though her organization has also received unconfirmed reports about the practice from the Sistan va Baluchestan province. She also says that two boarding houses for street children, closed last month by the Tehran municipality for lack of funds, reopened last week under two separate NGOs. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
RFE/RL Roundtable: Evaluating Khatami Reforms
* In advance of the general congress of the 18 political parties that make up the pro-government reform bloc in the Majles, nationalist-religious journalist Ahmad Zeydabadi, editor of the pro-reform party Mardomsalari's daily organ, Said Haqi, and Berlin-based secular republican activist Mehran Barati evaluate the results of the Khatami reforms. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
ARTS AND IDEAS
Daily Internet Report
* The judiciary's committee to develop laws against computer and internet crimes are discussing Iran's becoming a signatory to the international copyright convention, according to Iranian ISPs association director Mohammad Sadeqi. However, Tehran MP popular filmmaker Behzad Afkhami told the state-owned student news agency ISNA that joining the international copyright convention, which is among the conditions of World Trade Organization membership, would mean that otherwise expensive computer and educational software, books and music records would no longer be available in Iran at very low prices. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
Daily medical advice (Dr. Mansur Moslehi, Los Angeles)
Daily Book Review
* RFE/RL's Tehran-based book critic Kamran Fani reviews the Dictionary of Qajar Military Terms, edited by Yahya Modaresi, Hossein Sami and Zahra Safavi.
Daily Science Report
* Genetic studies provides new hopes for cure and prevention of Parkinson disease. (Fatemeh Aman, Washington)
Song: Iran, Sarzamin-e Man (Iran, My Land)
* RFE/RL's Frankfurt-based music critic Mahmud Khoshnam plays Sarzamin-e Man, an anthem performed by Germany-based singer Soroush Izadi.
* Los Angeles DJ Afshin Gorgin spins the latest Persian pop tunes.
* This week's topics include: Rome city government's celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles, wine-therapy and latest Italian pop tunes. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Terrorist bombing at Bali discothŠques (Jamshid Adili, Sydney; Fariba Mavedat, London; and Homayoun Majd, Washington)
* Arafat begins to form a new cabinet. (Jamshid Chalangi, Cairo)
* Israel defense minister and Palestinian Authority foreign minister visit Paris. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
* Britain dissolves Northern Ireland's collation government. (Shahran Tabari, London)
* Serbia voids the results of presidential elections due to below 50 percent voter turnout. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)
* Gas and oil conferences in Qatar and Abu Dhabi discuss the future of the energy markets and potential impact of the possible US attack on Iraq. Iran's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said oil prices would fall in the aftermath of the projected regime change in Iraq. (Jamshid Zand)
* Ten years after the fall of Soviet Union, civil society institutions have taken root in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, writes RFE/RL's Anthony Bellow.
* A survey in 24 European countries shows that inequalities threaten democracy, writes the Le Monde. (Jean Khakzad, Paris)
حامد كرزي، رئيس حكومت انتقالي افغانستان در اجلاس سران كشورهاي عضو پيمان همكاري اقتصادي (اكو) از جامعه جهاني خواست به قولي كه براي كمك مالي به افغانستان داده است، عمل كند. محمدخاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي در اين اجلاس تاكيد كرد كه حكومت ايران تنها در صورت حمايت شوراي امنيت سازمان ملل با حمله نظامي آمريكا به عراق مخالفتي ندارد.