Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, January 29, 2004
<b>Majles Speaker Said Elections will be Held on Time</b>
• The February 20 Majles elections will be held on time, Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said, adding that the crisis that started 19 days ago by the Guardians Council with the mass disqualifications of nearly half of 8,000 election candidacy applicants would soon be resolved. Meanwhile, 83 reformist MPs banned by the Guardians Council from reelection vowed to continue their sit-in protest at the Majles. The Guardians Council has 48 hours to publish a final list of approved candidacy applicants. In a letter to President Khatami, provincial governors asked him to postpone the elections to give the Guardians Council more time to review the disqualifications decisions made by its local election supervision boards and for the candidates to have more time to campaign. But the government is determined to hold the elections on time, President Khatami said at the end of today's cabinet meeting. No one will resign, he added, rejecting the resignations of six cabinet ministers, all of his own deputies, and scores of other deputy ministers and government officials. If President Khatami, in spite of his duty, does not stand up against the mass disqualifications, he is no different from the conservatives, and he will have answer to history, striking reformist MP Meysam Saeedi said in a speech at the open session of the Majles. The reformists have no brotherhood deal with anyone, he added. Do not worry, high-ranking reformist religious leader Ayatollah Mousavi-Khoeiniha told the gathering of the striking Majles MPs. With their votes, the people disqualified the conservatives in the 1996 and 1998 and 2000 elections, and if this trend continues, will disqualify them in the 2004 elections, he added. (Keyvan Hosseini)
• In a letter to President Khatami, provincial governors announced on Wednesday that under the present conditions, holding fair and free elections was impossible. Cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Wednesday that we cannot hold a non-competitive, unhealthy and un-free election. Judiciary deputy for international affairs Mohammad-Javad Larijani welcomed the mass resignations of reformist Majles MPs, adding that it would help the health of the elections if they all resigned, Meanwhile, through propaganda on the state radio-TV monopoly, conservatives encouraged massive turnout for the elections. (Shireen Famili)
• The Supreme Leader's daily <i>Jumhuri-ye Eslami</i> accused the striking Majles MPs of representing foreign interests and working to foment chaos in the society. The moderate conservative daily <i>Entekhab</i> quoted secretary of the Guardians Council Ayatollah Jannati that being approved to run in one elections does not mean lifetime approval. (Amir Armin)
• Deputy Majles speaker Mohammad-Reza Khatami said he did not expect much to come out of behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Guardians Council. If the local supervision boards succeed in preventing half of the applicants from running in the elections, then a large portion of the society would lose their right of having representation at the next Majles, Tabriz MP said at the Majles. Meanwhile, Tehran conservative MP Gholamreza Haddad-e Adel expressed hope that the people would vote for a Majles dominated by the conservatives, just as the minority of voters, who turned out for the last municipal elections in Tehran, elected a conservative council. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
• The problem is that too many applicants have been rejected illegally, and it is their right to stand for election, head of the Majles national security and foreign relations Mohsen Mirdamadi said. Instead of pursuing the minimum, achieving the turnover of all disqualifications should be our aim, he added. (Baktash Khamsehpour)
<b>UN Envoy Meets US Congressman in Washington</b>
• Robin Wright of the <i>Washington Post</i> reports: “Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Javad Zarif, visited Washington yesterday to meet with a bipartisan congressional group, the latest in a string of recent overtures by both nations. The visit, which included a private talk at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was approved by the United States and Iran, according to officials of both countries. It comes a week after Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi met with Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.” (Siavash Ardalan)
• “Iran and Western governments have been flirting with rapprochement sporadically for years. What's remarkable is that the latest effort is developing at a moment when Iran's conservative clergy is engaged in an aggressive campaign to destroy, once and for all, the country's democratic reform movement. Before proceeding, the United States and Europe ought to draw the right conclusions from that political struggle,” the Washington Post</i> writes in a January 28 editorial. (Ali Sajjadi)
• The Guardians Council, which was first appointed by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini, is by law charged with supervision of the elections, not selecting the candidates, Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, former designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, said in an interview with Vienna weekly <i>News</i>. The people revolted against the Shah's regime to be free not to replace him with another dictator, he added. (Shahram Mirian, Colgne)
• A selected or appointed MP is not a real representative of the people, reformist Isfahan MP Ahmad Shirzad tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. If the government selects the elections' candidates, that what takes place cannot be called elections, he adds. (Maryam Ahmadi)
• The conservatives are at a crossroads: either give in to the protesting MPs' demand and allow them to stand for reelection, or wait until they MPs get tired and give up their protest, pro-reform columnist Ahmad Zeydabadi says. (Maryam Ahmadi)
<b>Looking Forward to Higher Oil Prices</b>
• The government has pinned its hopes on rising oil prices in the coming fiscal year, and predications of oil market experts indicate that oil prices will increase beyond the level estimated by the government. The demand for energy from China is a driving force behind the oil prices. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>President Khatami Inaugurates Intelligence Museum</b>
• In a ceremony held in Tehran on Wednesday, President Khatami inaugurated the county's first intelligence museum in the renovated building that for nearly a century housed the country's most notorious jail and torture chamber. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
<b>Pakistan Questions Atomic Bomb Father on Nuclear Cooperation with Iran</b>
• Pakistani security and intelligence officials questioned father of Pakistan's Atomic bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan, and placed him under virtual house arrest, after receiving tips from Iran that he and other Pakistani atomic officials sold nuclear technology to Iran. (Alireza Taheri)
• Most officials underestimate the role of atomic scientists in the spread of nuclear weapons, London-based Jane's Defense's expert on nuclear proliferation <b>Andrew Oppenheimer</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Any terrorist or rogue nation may have access to money and missiles, but cannot launch a nuclear weapons program without the help of nuclear scientists, he adds. The centrifuge equipment needed for enriching the uranium is probably one of the technologies that Pakistani scientists sold to Iran, he says. (Shahran Tabari, London)
<b>Saudi Arabia Beefs up Security before Hajj</b>
• There are more pilgrims this year and more policemen and security forces everywhere, <b>Ayatollah Abolqasem Dibachi</b>, representative of Iraqi Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> in an interview from Mecca. He adds that he expects more Iraqi Hajj pilgrims this year. The Iranian pilgrims will hold a ceremony to denounce the US, not in Mecca, but in their own tents in the Arafat desert, as they have been doing every year, he adds. (Mehdi Khalaji)
<b>Welfare Organization Identifies 1,800 Orphaned Kids in Bam</b>
• The national welfare organization – Sazeman-e Behzisti – identified 1,800 children who have been orphaned in the December 27 Bam earthquake. The welfare organization has set a deadline of six months for their parents or relatives to claim them, head of the Tehran-based NGO society for defense of children's rights <b>Shiva Dowlatabadi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. In the meanwhile, maybe they can be placed as guests in the houses of well-meaning qualified families, she suggests. (Farin Asemi)
<b>Police Suppress Townspeople after Fatal Clash with Striking Copper Workers</b>
• There is an atmosphere of oppression in the city that we don't date leave our homes, a resident of Shahrebabak tells <b>Radio Farda</b>, two days after the police opened fire from helicopters on a sit-in protest of laid-off Khatounabad copper factory workers and their families, which left four dead and 300 wounded. The provincial governor ordered the police units to attack the protesters, he says quoting residents. Workers went to the provincial governor's office to protest against the layoffs, but the officials' response was harsh and uncompromising. When people demonstrated, the guards shot at people. After one person was killed, people got angry and more people joined the demonstrators. They broke bank windows and set fire to government buildings, he says of the events that led to the deaths. One of the dead was a 16 year old student returning from school. People who have been identified from the pictures and videos taken during the sit-in protest are being rounded up; they are being taken to an undisclosed location, he adds. Last night they arrested someone who has relatives in the Islamic revolutionary guards' corps. His relatives managed to get him released. He said they beat him four times if he answered no to their questions, but only twice when he answered yes, so he answered yes to anything they asked, the interviewee says. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
• Workers of Isfahan stone cutting factory went on strike on Tuesday to protest against government decision to increase transportation costs. Also, workers of Qum Beheshti hospital went continued their strike for a second day today to protest against overdue wages and benefits. One of the strikers said more than 500 hospital workers have not been paid for over two years. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
<b>RadioFarda Roundtable: The Elections Crisis</b>
• A rift appeared in the reformists' camp, a day before the Guardians Council's final list of approved candidacy applicants is due for publication. As the interior ministry and provincial governors began studying ways to postpone the elections, President Khatami and Majles speaker Karrubi said firmly that the elections will be held on February 20, as planned. “Our way has no return,” Hamedan reformist MP <b>Hossein Loghmanian</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> about the sit-in protest of 83 MPs banned from reelection by the Guardians Council. “Any defeat would still be a victory, considering the pressures that we have endured,” he adds. The mass disqualifications of election candidacy applicants are a violation of the right of people to sovereignty, he says. President Khatami cannot hold free and fair elections under these circumstances, and if he tries to hold the elections anyway, he will not be forgiven by the people, Loghmanian says.
• Hamedan candidacy applicant <b>Hadi Ehtezai</b>, whose bid to stand for election has been rejected by the Guardians Council, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that there was no basis for his disqualification. He says when he asked Hamedan governor for proof; he showed him faxes that claimed he had been convicted of a variety of crimes, including rape and adultery. He says even though he has been arrested and tortured several times for political activities, he has never been convicted for anything. He adds that he expects the protesting MPs to continue their sit-in until every single banned candidacy applicant receives approval to stand for election. <b>Masoud Kordpour</b>, another banned applicants, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that “my bid to stand in the elections was rejected on the basis of lack of commitment to the Islam and the clerical rule, not by the Guardians Council, but by the interior ministry's local elections executive board. “We do not have any hope of being reinstated,” he adds. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
<b>UN Special Rapporteur Releases Report on Freedom of Express in Iran</b>
• In his 25-page report on Iran, Ambeyi Ligabo, the UN Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said the “Islamic Laws” to which all the Islamic Republic constitution and all Iranian laws refer to should be spelled out and defined, and should not conform to basic human rights set forth in the international declaration on human rights and other world charters, Paris-based human rights advocate <b>Abdolkarim Lahiji</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Alireza Taheri)
كيوان حسيني (راديوفردا): 48 ساعت پيش از پايان مهلت قانوني شوراي نگهبان براي اعلام نظر نهائي در باره صلاحيت متقاضيان نامزدي در انتخابات مجلس، استانداران ايران در نامه اي سرگشاده به وزير كشور برگزاري انتخابات در اول اسفندماه را ناممكن دانستند. ديروز رئيس ستاد انتخابات كشور نيز گفته بود كه اين ستاد مجري انتخابات فرمايشي نخواهد بود.
درنامه استانداران از وزير كشور خواسته شده تا انتخابات را به تعويق بياندازد تا شوراي نگهبان در بررسي صلاحيت ها تجديدنظر اساسي اعمال كند. تعيين فرصت كافي براي تبليغات انتخاباتي علت ديگر اين خواسته استاندران اعلام شده است.
اين درحالي است كه بعد از محمد خاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، مهدي كروبي، رئيس مجلس شوراي اسلامي و ديگر همفكر نمايندگان متحصن نيز عليرغم تهديدهاي مكرر نمايندگان متحصن، چندتن از وزراي كابينه و چهل تن از معاونان وزرا، تمامي معاونان رئيس جمهوري اسلامي و استانداران و مديران اجرائي دولت به استعفاي دسته جمعي، تاكيد كرد كه هيچكس استعفا نخواهد داد و همانند رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، وعده داد كه همه مشكلات حل شوند.
رئيس مجلس كه صبح امروز در جمع خبرنگاران سخن مي گفت با اشاره به رايزني هاي پنج تن از وزرا با مسئولين شوراي نگهبان، همچنين وعده داد كه نتايج روشن اين رايزني ها امروز يا فردا مشخص شود.
همچنين، آنگونه كه رئيس مجلس گفته است، جمعي نيز از سوي محمدخاتمي، رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، با نمايندگان متحصن ديدار كردند كه نتايج آن فردا مشخص خواهدشد.
وي حتي نامه اخير استانداران را نيز بي ثمر خواند و گفت حرف هيچكس تاثير ندارد و انتخابات در موعد مقرر برگذار خواهد شد كه آقاي خاتمي نيز بارها بر اين امر تاكيد كرده اند.
اما سخنراني عصر ديروز ميثم سعيدي، نماينده متحصن مجلس در كنار گفته هاي اخير رئيس جمهوري و رئيس مجلس در نگاه ناظران نمايانگر شكافي است كه در اردوي اصلاح طلبان پديد آمده است.
اين نماينده جوان مجلس، در واكنشي تند به اظهارات رئيس جمهوري اسلامي، با صراحت گفت اصلاح طلبان با هيچكس عهد اخوت نبسته اند، حتي خاتمي. سعيدي تاكيد كرد اگر محمد خاتمي، عليرغم مسئوليت خود، با رد صلاحيت ها برخورد نكند، با محافظه كاران هيچ فرقي ندارد و بايدبه تاريخ پاسخگو باشد. اين نخستين باري است كه بعد از گفته هاي مكرر خاتمي مبني بر مخالفت با تحصن نمايندگان، اين نمايندگان به وي پاسخ مي دهند.
در اين ميان، آيت الله موسوي خوئيني ها، يكي ديگر از روحانيون سرشناس و بانفوذ اردوي اصلاح طلبان، در ديدار با برخي از دانشجويان، نه تنها از تحصن حمايت كرد بلكه به خاطر برپائي اين تحصن و ايستادگي نمايندگان از آنها تشكركرد.
مديرمسئول روزنامه توقيف شده سلام در باره رد صلاحيت ها گفت از رد صلاحيت ها نگران نباشيد. ملت مخالفان اصلاحات را در سال 1376 و در انتخابات مجلس ششم رد صلاحيت كردند. اگر آنها روش هاي خود را اصلاح نكنند، بازهم ملت آنها را رد صلاحيت خواهند كرد.
همزمان با اوجگيري حمايت از تحصن نمايندگان بيشتر از 25 تن از روساي دانشگاه هاي علوم پزشكي سراسر ايران در نامه اي به محمد خاتمي نه تنها از او خواسته اند كه قاطعانه در برابر شوراي نگهبان ايستادگي كند، بلكه تهديد كردند در صورت ادامه يافتن اين روند، از مسئوليت خود استعفا خواهند كرد.
پيش از اين استعفاي گروهي اصلاح طلبان آخرين حربه آنان براي اعلام حربه مخالفتشان با روش هائي كه خود آن را غيردمكراتيك مي خواندند، توصيف شده و در روزهاي اخير بسياري از مديران جمهوري اسلامي چنين تهديدهائي رامنتشر كردند. رئيس مجلس شوراي اسلامي اطمينان داد كه انتخابات مجلس هفتم به موقع برگزار مي شود. مهدي كروبي اطمينان داد كه بحران رفع صلاحيت ها حل خواهد شد و به گفته او هيچ يك از مسئولان استعفا نخواهند داد. آقاي كروبي از ادامه رايزني هاي وزراي دولت با شوراي نگهبان خبر داد و گفت اخباري كه مي رسد اطمينان بخش است. ميثم سعيدي، نماينده اصلاح طلب گفت نمايندگان با هيچكس حتي رئيس جمهوري پيمان اخوت امضا نكرده اند. آيت الله موسوي خوئيني ها از تحصن نمايندگان مجلس حمايت كرد. روساي دانشكده هاي علوم پزشكي درنامه اي سرگشاده تهديد كردند كه در صورت عدم حل و فصل بحران رد صلاحيت ها از مقام هاي خود استعفا خواهند داد.