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Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, January 16, 2003 <b>Khatami Regrets Newspaper Bans and Shutdown of Tehran Council</b> * President Khatami said yesterday that the dissolution of the Tehran City Council and the closing of the two reformists newspapers, <i>Bahar</i> and <i>Hayat-e Now</i>, could and should have been avoided. (Maryam Ahmadi) <b>100 MPs Demand an End to Ayatollah Montazeri's House Arrest</b> * In a letter to President Khatami, head of the supreme national security council, 100 MPs called for an end to the house arrest of dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Montazeri's son, Ahmad, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the medical team sent last week from Tehran said living for five years under house arrest has worsened his father's health. Ahmad Montazeri said his father's seizures have gone away, but he is too weak and sleepy. He says his father's house arrest is a shameful blemish on the regime. Ayatollah Montazeri's classroom in Qom was attacked and his library was ransacked my mobs in October 1997 after he criticized the Supreme Leader. He has been living under house arrest ever since. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian) <b>Court Releases Pollster on Bail</b> * Lawyer Ramezan Hajji-Mashhadi tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that court released his client, pollster Behruz Geranpayeh, on 1.3 billion rials bail, 700 million rials lower than originally ordered. He said the judge promised him to release his other client, pollster Hussein Ghazian soon. The two, and Abbas Abdi, a board member of the Jebheh-ye Mosharekat Iran-e Eslami, were jailed and put on trial on spying charges after the publication of a poll that showed 74 percent of the respondents favor the resumption of US-Iran relations. (Alireza Taheri) <b>Judiciary Chief Defends Islamic Capital Punishment</b> * Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Shahroudi defended the Islamic punishment system of Qesas (an-eye-for-an-eye) by calling it "a protector of human rights." He said what has replaced capital punishment in Europe has increased murders and Mafia activities. (Shireen Famili) <b>Majles Sends Ban on Torture Bill Back to Guardians Council</b> * After making the changes demanded by the Guardians Council, the Majles will send the bill to ban torture back to the Guardians Council for the third time. MP Nasser Qavami, head of the Majles legal and judicial committee, said the bill defines the forms of torture. He added that according to the Islamic Republic constitution, any confession obtained under torture is worthless. Tehran-based lawyer Nemat Haqiqi tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the Majles prefers to re-write the bill to satisfy the Guardians Council and avoid sending it to the Expediency Council. He adds that the multiple re-writes of the Majles bills removes the legislators' original intent, and this bill too would have no impact on the trails after final ratification. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian) <b>Foreign Minister Defends Meeting His Iraqi Counterpart</b> * Foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi told the Majles that his meeting in New York with his Iraqi counterpart Naji Sabri was a "natural" move since the General Assembly was reviewing the UN sanctions against Iraq. He adds that although Iran is not by Iraq's side in the present crisis, it will do its best to prevent a war. He said a possible US attack on Iraq would impact Iran's national security. Last week, Iran cancelled a scheduled visit to Tehran by the Iraqi foreign minister, who has been in Tehran twice before during the past two months. (Fereydoun Zarnegar) <b>Jailed Writer's 15-Year-Old Daughter Writes to Khatami</b> * Mehrahang Jabbari, 15, daughter of the jailed writer and Tolstoy translator Alireza Jabbari, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that in her letter to President Khatami she wrote that 19 days after her father's arrest by plainclothes agents, the family has not been informed of his whereabouts and the charges against him. (Shireen Famili) <b>90 Percent of Iranians Want Change, Says Scholar</b> * In his speech titled "From Political Gridlock to Crisis of Legitimacy," director of the contemporary studies department of the Tehran cultural research center Ramin Jahanbegloo said last night at Washington's Woodrow Wilson institute that the rift between the regime's realities and popular expectations is the most challenging political phenomenon faced by the Islamic Republic. He added that government surveys shows that 90 percent of Iranians want change, and only 6 percent express satisfaction with the current system. He added that 55 percent of Iranians live under the poverty line, and during the largest wave of brain drain in Iran's history, more than 400,000 college graduates left Iran in the past seven years. He added that the regime is faced with a crisis of legitimacy, which would either end by hardliners' military coup or by a civic rebellion against the regime, or by a centrist coalition at the top. (Mahtab Farid) . رمضان حاجي مشهدي، وكيل مدافع بهروز گرانپايه، در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد سرانجام قاضي سعيد مرتضوي به تقاضاي وي در قرار وثيقه 200 ميليون توماني، 70 ميليون تومان تخفيف داد و گرانپايه، رئيس موسسه تعطيل شده مركز پژوهش افكار عمومي، با سپردن 130 ميليون تومان وثيقه ساعت 11 ديشب آزادي خود را باز يافت. وي مي افزايد قاضي مرتضوي قول آزادي حسين قاضيان با قرار وثيقه را نيز به او داد. بهروز گرانپايه، متهم شماره يك پرونده قوه قضائيه عليه موسسات نظرسنجي است. وي، همراه با حسين قاضيان و عباس عبدي، مقامات موسسه نظرسنجي تعطيل شده آينده، پس از انتشار نتايج يك نظرسنجي كه نشان مي داد 74 درصد از پاسخ دهندگان خواستار برقراري رابطه ميان ايران و آمريكا هستند، به اتهام جاسوسي براي آمريكا تحت محاكمه قرار گرفت.