Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiTuesday, April 06, 2004
<b>Iran Pledges Speedy Cooperation with IAEA</b>
• Iran pledged to speed up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prove it is not seeking nuclear weapons. Iran had agreed to a timetable for atomic checks and to submit full details of its nuclear program and ambitions to the IAEA in mid-May, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Tuesday. The IAEA is seeking clarification of how traces of weapons-grade uranium came to be found at the Natanz enrichment plant and a Kalaye Electric Company site near Tehran.
• In a show of goodwill, head of Iran's nuclear energy organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh said Iran would suspend the making and assembling of atomic parts from April 9. He told reporters that Tehran had asked for inspectors to conclude their work before the IAEA board of governors holds its next meeting in June.
• ElBaradei arrived in Tehran on Monday to hold talks with President Khatami and head of the supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani. On his arrival in Tehran, ElBaradei said he was looking forward to hear answers to questions about the traces of highly enriched uranium found on Iran's centrifuge equipment in Natanz and Iran's progress in building a more advanced centrifuge facility based on the so-called P2 technology.
<b>Tehran Judiciary Denies Targeting Reformist MPs For Prosecution</b>
• The Tehran judiciary denied reports in the reformist press that it was targeting reformist Majles MPs for prosecution. Several prominent MPs have been called to courts to answer complaints filed by the armed forces, security and intelligence organs and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, as well as the “prosecutor general.” Tehran MP Mohsen Safai-Farahani, one of the 130 MPs who turned in his resignation before the February 20 Majles elections, said by summoning MPs to the courts, the conservatives are retaliating against the MPs' protest against the Guardians Council's ban on their reelection. He said the MPs who spoke to press during the sit-in protest or read the daily communiqués of the protesting MPs have been marked for prosecution. He also said the cancellation of election results in the electoral districts where the conservative candidates did not win, shows that the conservatives were not satisfied with winning the majority of the Majles seats and were aiming to boot out all reformists from the Majles. (Mahmonir Rahimi and Keyvan Hosseini)
<b>WTO Ranks Iran 29th in World Trade</b>
• Production increased by 2.5 percent, and exports expanded by 4.5 percent in the world, according to a report on international trade in 2003 issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO). China, with annual export increase of 35 percent and import increase of 40 percent, topped WTO's list of 30 countries. Iran, with $28 billion in foreign trade ranked 29th. If it wasn't for the higher oil prices, Iran would not have made the list of top 30, <b>Radio Farda</b>'s Paris-based economic commentator <b>Fereydoun Khavand</b> says.
<b>Iran Blames the US for Unrest in Iraq</b>
• “The responsibility for the continued lack of security in Iraq lies with the occupation forces,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Monday about clashes on Sunday in Iraq between armed followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and the US-led coalition forces, during which 46 Iraqis and eight coalition soldiers were killed. Asefi called for “rapid departure of occupation forces and return of full power to Iraqis.”
• In an interview with state-owned Mehr news agency, an unnamed “political” source denied London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat's report that Iran was aiding the radical Iraqi Shiite insurgency led by cleric Moqtada Sadr.
• Iran and Syria are aiding Moqtada Sadr through the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Islamic radical Palestinian organization Hamas, Kuwaiti daily al-Siasat reported. A charge echoed by the Saudi-Lebanese London daily al-Hayat. Moqtada Sadr receives instructions from Qum-based Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, according to al-Hayat. The Shiite insurgency under Sadr began after the coalition forces moved to deport the Charge d'affairs of Iran's embassy in Baghdad Hassan Kazemi-Qumi, who is said to be an officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC). “For now, there is no clear proof of Iran's involvement in the Shiite insurgency,” London-based Iraqi journalist <b>Akram al-Hakim</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. However, he adds, clearly certain countries in the region benefit from turmoil in Iraq, since a democratic Iraq is not in their interest. (Jamshid Chalangi)
<b>Foreign Minister Attends Caspian Talks in Moscow</b>
• Foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi, in Moscow to attend talks with foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea bilateral states, met separately with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Iranian authorities are “satisfied with the current status of relations with Russia,” Kharrazi told Itar-Tass upon arrival in Moscow. “We hope the summit of Caspian Sea littoral states to be held in Tehran in the near future would pave the ground for the states to adopt closer stances and thereby settling the issues affecting the sea,” Kharrazi said after attending the Moscow conference. “The working group of the Caspian Sea could finalize several parts of a convention that is currently being worked out to forge a legal regime for the sea that will meet the approval of the majority after 13 successful meetings,” he noted, according to the official news agency IRNA. Violations of the protocol adopted in November 1996 on the common use of the sea can adversely affect the Caspian ecosystem, Iran's ambassador to Russia Gholam-Reza Shafei said in an interview with Itar-Tass. Meanwhile, Tehran MP Elaheh Kulai, member of the Majles national security and foreign relations committee, criticized the foreign ministry for not inviting a representative from the Majles to attend the Moscow talks. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
• Positions of Iran and Turkmenistan are close, but Turkmenistan and Iran have differences with Azerbaijan over certain Caspian oil fields, Moscow daily <i>Nezavisimaya Gazeta</i> reported. Azerbaijan tried to resolve its differences with Moscow in order to put pressure on Iran and Turkmenistan, Moscow daily <i>Vremia Novesti</i> reported. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
• Foreign minister's optimism about resolving the littoral states' differences on the Caspian legal regime is unfounded, UN advisor on Central Asian issues <b>Houman Peymani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The positions of the five countries are so far apart that resolving the differences in the span of one year or longer appears unattainable, he adds. Iran insists on a cooperative regime, whereas the other countries favor absolute division of the Caspian Sea bed, based on coastal lines. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia supported Iran's position, but after finding oil in its own waters, Russia changed its position and sided with other littoral states against Iran, he says. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>US Lifts Ban on Editing Foreign Scientific Articles</b>
• The federal government has eased a ban on editing manuscripts from nations that are under United States trade embargoes, a move that appears to leave publishers free once again to edit scholarly works from Iran and other such countries, the <b>New York Times reports </b>. The Treasury Department sent a letter to the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), saying the organization's peer review, editing and publishing was “not constrained” by regulations from the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Six thousand scientists, university professors and science magazine editors signed the petition against the ban, Pace University professor <b>David Rahni</b>, former head of the American Chemistry Association, who campaigned against the ban, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
<b>Automaker Backs Out of Price Cuts</b>
• Head of Iran's largest carmaker Iran-Khodro Manuchehr Manteqi backed out of his earlier promise to cut prices by 30 percent. In a speech to a New Year gathering of the state-owned company's executives, Manteqi said he will try to prevent a price hike during the fiscal year that began on March 20. His comments last month about plans for possible 30 percent cut in car prices created an unprecedented slump in car sales. Head of the automakers association predicted that higher prices would continue, due to strong demand, low production and lack of imports. (Keyvan Hosseini)
<b>Earthquake Victims Are Frustrated with Slow Reconstruction, Says Relief Activist</b>
• The survivors of the devastating Bam earthquake have become frustrated with the slow pace of reconstruction and see little change in their living conditions three months after the quake that killed 26,000 and wiped out 90 percent of the city's structures, Vienna-based <b>Dr. Hamid Hematpour</b>, who returned home after spending one month in Bam, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The people are still living in tents, as temperatures rise to 40 degrees and seasonal desert sandstorms have started to pound the camp sites, he adds. Rise of infectious diseases, deadly snake and scorpion bites and unsanitary water threaten the inhabitants' health, he says. (Kianusch Faried, Vienna)
<b>Army Rejects Majles Bill On National Military Service</b>
• The Majles bill to reform the national military service law, which had been rejected by the Guardians Council, also met with strong opposition from the armed forces. Head of the army's recruitment of draftees Sardar Kamali said the Majles bill was unenforceable. In its bill, the Majles had reduced the duration of service for conscripts and provided a one-year exemption for high school graduates who register for university entrance exam. Another provision in the Majles bill allowed certain draftees to pay a fee in order to reduce the duration of their service.
<b>Jailed Tabrizi Journalist in Court</b>
• The first session of the trial of jailed Tabriz-based independent journalist Ensaf-Ali Hedayat was held today at the Tabriz Islamic revolutionary court. The trial was adjourned till next week in order to give Hedayat's other lawyer Nemat Ahmadi to read the entire file, lawyer <b>Abbas Jamali</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Tabriz security agents arrested Hedayat three months ago, a day after he arrived home from Berlin, where he attended the first convention of secular republicans' coalition. Hedayat has been charged with anti-regime propaganda, insulting the Supreme Leader, inciting the people to revolt and participating in an anti-regime gathering in Berlin, Jamali says. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>Professor Sees No Change in US-Iran Relations in Near Future</b>
• Despite expectations, there will be no change in US-Iran relations in the near future, Tehran University political science professor <b>Sadeq Zibakalam</b> who is in London to attend an Oxford University conference on the outcome of the recent Majles elections, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The February 20 elections, in which nearly 50 percent of the electorate voted, gave the Majles majority to the conservatives. It will be followed by election of a conservative to presidency, Zibakalam says. The Majles elections showed that a majority of people believe in the regime and approve of the conservatives, Zibakalam adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
امير مصدق کاتوزيان (راديوفردا): ايران امروز وعده داد که به قول همکاري خود با آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي شتاب بخشد، اما ابراز اميدواري نيز کرد که بازرسي بازرسان از تاسيسات هسته اي ايران تا سه ماه ديگر به پايان برسد. موضع ايران در ديدار محمد البرادعي، رئيس آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي، با غلامرضا آقازاده، رئيس سازمان انرژي اتمي ايران بيان شد.
سياوش اردلان (راديوفردا): پيش از سفر به ايران، محمد البرادعي گفته بود که کاسه صبر جهاني نسبت به فعاليت هاي هسته اي ايران لبريز شده است. طولي نکشيد که پيام تند آقاي البرادعي براي مقامات ايران کارگر افتاد.
در کنفرانس خبري مشترکي که آقاي البرادعي امروز با حضور غلامرضا آقازاده، رئيس سازمان انرژي اتمي ايران برگزار کرد، گفت که آقاي آقازاده وعده داده است که ايران هر کار ممکن را براي شتاب دادن به حل اختلافات فيمابين انجام دهد. غلامرضا آقازاده نيز اظهارات آقاي البرادعي را تاييد کرد و گفت: اين طور جمع بندي شد که هر چه سريع تر کار فشرده اي بين ما و آژانس صورت گيرد، و به مسائل باقيمانده پاسخ داده شود.
آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي در صدد روشن شدن اين موضوع است که رگه هاي يافته شده اورانيم، چگونه از تاسيسات غني سازي نطنز سر در آورده است؟ ايران سال گذشته قول داده بود که فعاليت هاي غني سازي اورانيم را متوقف کند. غلامرضا آقازاده در کنفرانس خبري خود اعلام کرد که به ابلاغ شد که فعاليت هاي غني سازي تاسيسات هسته اي در نطنز را از سه روز ديگر، نهم آوريل، متوقف کنيم. آقاي آقازاده اما بعدا، به اصرار خبرنگاران داخلي ايران، عبارت توقف فعاليت ها را تصحيح کرد و گفت: منظورم همان تعليق فعاليت ها بود.
نرمش دوباره ايران در کشاکش هاي پر کش و قوس دار خود با آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي، همخواني با لحن ستيزه جويانه سياستمداران و مفسران تندروي جمهوري اسلامي نداشت که پيشاپيش سفر آقاي البرادعي، براي او و آژانس خط و نشان مي کشيدند، و جمهوري اسلامي را فرا مي خواندند که از پيمان منع گسترش سلاح هاي هسته اي خارج شود.
اما بر خلاف اظهارات تند تندرويان در ايران، در هر حال قرار است تيمي جديد از بازرسان سازمان ملل، هفته آينده بار ديگر وارد ايران شوند. اين بازرسان زير فشار آمريکا قرار دارند، که مي خواهد پرونده ايران به دليل آنچه که پنهانکاري جمهوري اسلامي مي نامد، به شوراي امنيت سازمان ملل ارجاع شود، جايي که ممکن است ايران هدف تحريم هاي بين المللي قرار گيرد. جمهوري اسلامي امروز وعده داد که به همکاري خود با آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي شتاب بخشد، اما ابراز اميدواري نيز کرد که بازرسي بازرسان از تاسيسات هسته اي ايران تا سه ماه ديگر به پايان برسد. محمد البرادعي، رئيس آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي، پيش از سفر به ايران، گفته بود که کاسه صبر جهاني نسبت به فعاليت هاي هسته اي حکومت ايران لبريز شده است. طولي نکشيد که پيام تند آقاي البرادعي براي مقامات جمهوري اسلامي کارگر افتاد. در کنفرانس خبري مشترکي که آقاي البرادعي امروز با حضور غلامرضا آقازاده، رئيس سازمان انرژي اتمي جمهوري اسلامي، برگزار کرد، آقاي آقازاده گفت که جمع بندي شد که هر چه سريع تر کار فشرده اي با آژانس صورت گيرد، و به مسائل باقيمانده پاسخ داده شود.