Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiSaturday, January 24, 2004
<b>Senator Biden and Foreign Minister Kharrazi Talk at Davos Meet</b>
• On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Senate foreign relation committee's senior member Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) held a meeting with foreign minister Kharrazi, during which they were each accompanied by only a note taker. Neither party gave any details to the press after the meeting which lasted 90 minutes. Kharrazi admitted to reporters that Europe can play a major role in bringing the US and Iran closer together, responding to reporters' questions . (Alireza Taheri)
• The Biden-Kharrazi meeting in Davos will soon be followed by a meeting between the two countries' lawmakers, US-Iran relations activist and head of the Princeton-based advocacy group American-Iranian Council <b>Houshang Amirahmadi</b>, who a few years ago arranged a meeting between Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi and US senators at New York's Metropolitan Museum, predicts in an interview with <b>Radio Farda</b>. The meaning of the Kharrazi-Biden meeting is that the US and Iran getting prepared for normalization of relations. It shows that the two sides no longer feel that such meetings should be kept secret. However, there are now certain conditions in Iran that does not encourage the Americans to seriously enter into talks with Iran, he adds, referring to the dispute over mass disqualification of election candidacy applicants by the Guardians Council. (Alireza Taheri)
• The Biden-Kharrazi meeting took place with the permission of the Supreme Leader, without which such a meeting could not have happened; and for that reason, the meeting marks a turning point in the US-Iran relations, former Iran representative to the UN and a conservative candidate in the upcoming Majles elections <b>Saeed Rajaee-Khorasani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. This first step will be followed by other steps that would include meetings between the two countries' lawmakers, he adds. (Golnaz Esfandiari)
• The conservatives will normalize US-Iran relations after pushing the reformists out of the Majles and presidency, Tehran University political science professor told the state-run labor news agency ILNA. However, the official news agency IRNA played down the Biden-Kharrazi meeting's importance by claiming that it was accidental. (Ali Sajjadi)
<b> Khatami Ministers Turn in Their Resignations in Support of the Majles MPs Banned from Reelection</b>
• The Guardians Council has until next Friday to announce its final decisions on the more than 3,500 applicants whose bids to stand for election to the Majles have been rejected by local election supervision committees, spokesman of the central election supervision committee Mohammad Jahromi said today. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
• As TV reporters from BBC, CNN and Aljazeerah continue to provide updates on the sit-in protest of 83 Majles MPs, the state-run radio-TV monopoly has stopped reporting on the Majles altogether, following the striking MPs' decision to block Iranian TV cameras' access to their sit-in. Meanwhile, the state television began airing several comedy sketches ridiculing the reformist MPs' sit-in protest. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
• The Guardians Council's mass disqualifications of elections' candidacy applicants amounts to turning the elections into selections, the association of reformist Shiite clerics – Majma-e Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez – said in a statement in support of the Majles MPs banned by the Guardians Council from standing for reelection. The association, of which President Khatami and Majles speaker Karrubi are ranking members, denounced the Guardians Council's blacklisting of the reformist MPs as a move by the conservative faction to take over the Majles. It said the Guardians Council's refusal to follow the Supreme Leader's advice to reinstate those approved to run in previous elections, counters the Guardians Council's claim of loyalty to the Supreme Leader. A group of government officials in the Gilan province said in their statement that if the Majles MPs had stood up against the conservatives from the beginning, they could have avoided the current face-off. (Mahdieh Javid)
• A Tehrani resident tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that most of the people mistrust both of the regime's factions, and believe that the sit-in protest and the political maneuvers of the reformists are only a ploy to generate enthusiasm for the upcoming elections, in which very few would vote. There are about 200,000 lucrative management jobs in this country, and all that the officials are doing is to fight over those positions. The people have nothing to gain from either side's victory in the elections, he adds. (Amir Armin)
• President Khatami and Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi dared secretary of Guardians Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati to publish the minutes of the meeting last week between the two the Guardians Council members, after Jannati said in a speech at the official Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran University campus that the two had nothing to say in defense of the banned candidacy applicants. (Jamshid Zand)
• The resignations of cabinet ministers and their deputies are serious, according to vice president for women's affairs Zahra Shojai. We are serous in our resignations, because one cannot work with a Majles made up of selected deputies, she added. (Bahman Bastani)
• Khatami should not back out this time, as he did before, when the Guardians Council rejected his two reform bills that would have ended the Council's power to vet election candidacy applicants, reformist daily <i>Shargh</i> writes. The conservatives have moved to block reformists from running in the February 20 elections, having learnt a lesson in the last Majles elections, in which reformists won the majority, reformist daily <i>Etemad</i> writes. Maybe the conservatives think a Majles that represents only a fraction of the electorate would be preferable to a Majles representing the majority of the people, just as they rejoiced at taking over the Tehran municipal council with only 100,000 votes in a city with one million voters, reformist daily <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i> writes. (Amir Armin)
• The voters' bitter frustration with the reformists during the past four years is the cause of their current apathy, German weekly <i>Rheinischer Merkur</i> writes. The reformists lack of follow-up to their past resignation threats has erased the public trust, it adds. No end can yet be seen for the crisis that has befallen Iran, German daily <i>Die Welt</i> writes. The reformists are not happy with their relative victory and threaten to boycott the elections, it adds. (Parviz Farhang)
<b>Austrian President to Visit Iran</b>
• Before heading for Iran, Austrian President Thomas Klestil met with the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. The European newspapers predict that Iran's nuclear program and the sit-in protest of the Majles MPs will be at the center of Klestil's talks with Iranian authorities. Iran has trade relations with 165 Austrian companies which exported 222 million euros of goods to Iran in 2003; in return, Austria imported only 18 million euros of Iranian-made products. Nearly 100 trade officials and business representatives accompany the Austrian president in his trip to Iran. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
• Austrian firms increased their investment in Iran by 40 percent during the past year, according to the Austrian embassy's economic attaché, who announced that on Monday, 500 business representatives from Austria and Iran will meet in Tehran at a conference arranged by the Iran-Austria chamber of commerce. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
<b>Pakistani Scientists Sold Nuclear Technology to Iran, Says Musharraf</b>
• At a press conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Pervez Musharraf admitted that Pakistani scientist for the reason of personal gain sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Pakistan has sent delegations to Iran and Libya to investigate the matter, he added. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>UNICEF Opens Schools for 2000 Students in Bam</b>
• The German-based office of the UNICEF opened temporary schools under tents for nearly 2000 Bam children. Nearly 10,000 Bam students and one-third of the city's teachers died in the December 26 earthquake that leveled 90 percent of all schools. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b>Opposition Activists in Europe Call for Release of Jailed Tabrizi Journalist</b>
• The union of secular, non-monarchist anti-regime coalition Etehad-e Jumhurikhahan issued a statement denouncing the arrest in Tabriz of independent journalist Ensafali Hedayat, who was charged with insulting the Supreme Leader and spying, on his return home after attending last month's conference of the group in Berlin,. Mr. Hedayat attended that conference as a journalist and did not join the group, Berlin-based anti-regime activist <b>Maliheh Mohammadi</b>, who helped organized the Berlin conference, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. He not only refused to join the union, but did not speak at any of the conference's meetings, in accordance with his status as a reporter, she adds. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
• For the first time since his arrest last month, Hedayat's family was allowed to briefly visit him in jail. His lawyer <b>Abbas Jamali</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that his case is now going through the fact finding and investigation process. For now, he is only accused of insulting the Supreme Leader and spying, but more charges may follow, he says, adding that for now Hedayat is being held at the intelligence ministry detention center. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>IAEA to Submit Report on Iran's Nuclear Program Next March</b>
• The UN International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei pressed Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities or face serous sanctions, Paris daily <i>Le Figaro</i> writes. Foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany, who went to Tehran last year to persuade the Islamic government to sign the additional protocol to the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty, do not hide their displeasure with Iran, which now says the suspension of its uranium enrichment program was meant to be temporary, it writes. (Mir-Ali Hosseini, Paris)
• In an interview with German weekly <i>Der Speigel</i> ElBaradei said without the international controls, nuclear war would become a reality. He warned against the spread of the international black market in nuclear weapons technology. (Bahman Bastani)
<b>Ethnic Groups Hold a Symposium in Denmark</b>
• Various groups and political parties representing Iran's various ethnic groups, such as Baluchis, Kurds, Turkemans, Azeris and Arabs, met today in a symposium held at the Danish parliament building. The meeting's participants also included some anti-regime political parties, such as monarchists and communists. During the afternoon session, those who believe that the lack of democracy is the country's main problem clashed with secessionist ethnic groups, who were a minority at the meeting. The majority of participants defended freedoms for ethnic minorities in the framework of a democratic Iran. (Mehdi Khalaji, Copenhagen)
<b>Embassy Denies Defector's Claim about Iran's Cooperation with al Qaeda on September 11 Attacks</b>
• In a statement issued to the German press, the embassy officially denied defector Hamid-Reza Zakeri's claim that the Islamic authorities cooperated with al-Qaeda on September 11 attacks. Zakeri is scheduled to testify in the trial of a Moroccan student who was friends with September 11 attackers. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
<b>MKO Organizes Gathering in Washington DC Convention Center</b>
• A Saturday night gathering at the Washington DC convention center, which billed itself as fund-raising for the Bam earthquake victims, was sponsored by groups tied to the Mojahedin Khalq Oragnization (MKO), charged US Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), head of the House Administration. This event is for showing solidarity with the Bam earthquake victims and with the Iranian people who denounce and boycott the February 20 Majles elections, organizer <b>Shirin Nariman</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>, denying any links to the MKO. However, meeting participants who say they came from Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Canada and many US cities, tell <b>Radio Farda</b> in separate interviews that they attended the gathering on behalf and at the behest of the MKO. “I have no problem with getting money to these earthquake victims at all, but this is the MKO again trying to resurface,” Ney said Thursday. “This is, I think, a roundabout way for the MKO to try to get their hands on some money.” (Leyli Sadr)
امير مصدق کاتوزيان (راديو فردا): ديک چني معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا امروز در مجمع جهاني اقتصاد در داووس سوئيس از ادامه جنگ آمريکا با تروريسم دفاع کرد و تصميم به توسل به اقدام نظامي، و گفت توسل به اقدام نظامي بسيار دشوار است، اما کشورهاي آزاد بايد آماده باشند در صورت لزوم چنين تصميمي اتخاذ کنند. ديک چني همچنين در بخشي از سخنان خود به ايران پرداخت که جزئيات بيشتر در اين باره را از همکارم گلناز اسفندياري مي شنويم:
گلناز اسفندياري (راديو فردا): معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا در سخنراني امروز خود در نشست اقتصاد جهاني در داووس، از حکومت جمهوري اسلامي خواست تا به تقاضاي مردم ايران براي دموکراسي و پيش برد حقوق بشر احترام بگذارد. آقاي چني از ايران خواست به تعهدات خود مبني بر عدم گسترش سلاحهاي هسته اي پايبند بماند.
معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا روز شنبه از اروپا خواست در مسير گسترش دموکراسي در کشورهاي خاورميانه به آمريکا بپيوندد. وي پيشبرد مبارزه با دموکراسي را کليد مبارزه با تروريسم دانست:
(صداي ديک چني، معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا) : ما بايد با ترويج دموکراسي در سراسر خاورميانه و فراتر از آن، با ايدئولوژيهاي خشونت و منشاء آن مقابله کنيم.
ديک چني در ادامه سخنراني خود گفت که اروپا و ايالات متحده آمريکا بايد با هم متحد شوند تا حکومت ايران را تشويق کنند تا به آنچه که خواستهاي مشروع مردم ايران ناميد، احترام بگذارند.
(صداي ديک چني ) : حاکمان ايران بايد از الگويي که توسط ديگران در سراسر خاورميانه شکل گرفته پيروي کنند. در اين کشور بزرگ تقاضاي فزاينده اي براي دستيابي به دموکراسي و حقوق بشر وجود دارد. اروپا و آمريکا بايد متحد شوند و از حکومت ايران بخواهند تا به خواستهاي مشروع مردم ايران احترام بگذارند. مردم ايران چيزي بيش از حق خداداد براي زندگي آزاد نمي خواهند.
مقامات رسمي ايران در گذشته اين گونه گفته هاي مقامات بلند پايه آمريکا را دخالت در امور داخلي کشور دانستند و آن را رد کردند. هنوز واکنش ايران به گفته هاي امروز ديک چني منتشر نشده است.
معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا در بخشي ديگري از سخنراني خود در داووس موضوع برنامه اتمي ايران را مورد توجه قرار داد. وي ضمن استقبال از گفتگوهاي اخير مقامات ايران با وزراي خارجه سه کشور بريتانيا، فرانسه و آلمان که به تعهد ايران بر شفافيت کامل در خصوص برنامه هسته اي خود منجر شد گفت بايد ببينيم که آيا اين نشست نتيجه مورد نظر را به دنبال خواهد داشت يا نه؟ وي گفت تهران در گذشته با جديت بسيار تلاش کرده است تا به سلاحهاي هسته اي دست پيدا کند. مقامات ايراني همواره بر صلح آميز بودن برنامه هسته اي خود تاکيد کرده اند.
آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي هم اعلام کرده است که تا کنون شواهدي مبني بر اين که ايران در حال توليد سلاحهاي اتمي است، به دست نياورده است.
پيش تر محمد خاتمي رئيس جمهوري اسلامي نيز که در داووس حضور داشت، در پاسخ پرسشي در مورد احتمال ملاقات با ديک چني معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا گفته بود که دولت آمريکا هنوز آماده گفت و گو بر اساس احترام متقابل نيست. کمال خرازي وزير امور خارجه ايران هم که در داووس حضور دارد، در گفت و گو با شبکه تلويزيوني CNN گفت: در حال حاضر شانسي براي گفت و گو ميان ايران و آمريکا وجود ندارد. ديك چني، معاون رييس جمهوري آمريكا در يك سخنراني در مجمع اقتصاد جهاني در داوس سوئيس، از اروپا خواست در كنار آمريكا از گسترش دمكراسي در ايران حمايت كند. آقاي چني گفت بهترين راه براي شكست دادن ايدئولوژي هاي خشونت گسترش دمكراسي است. وي گفت او گفت اروپا و امريكا بايد متحد شوند تا حكومت ايران را تشويق كنند به خواسته هاي مشروع مردم ايران احترام بگذارد. . وي گفت: حاکمان ايران بايد از الگويي که توسط ديگران در سراسر خاورميانه شکل گرفته پيروي کنند. و ادامه افزود: در اين کشور بزرگ تقاضاي فزاينده اي براي دستيابي به دموکراسي و حقوق بشر وجود دارد. وي همچنين از اروپا خواست در مسير گسترش دموکراسي در کشورهاي خاورميانه به آمريکا بپيوندد. معاون رئيس جمهوري آمريکا پيشبرد مبارزه با دموکراسي را کليد مبارزه با تروريسم دانست. هنوز واکنش ايران به گفته هاي امروز ديک چيني منتشر نشده است.