(rm) صدا |
Summary of the Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiWednesday, February 19, 2003 <b>Iranian-backed Iraqi Opposition Badr Brigade Crosses Border into Iraq</b> * A 5,000-strong Iraqi opposition army, the Badr brigade, supplied and trained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, crossed the border and took positions inside Iraq's Kurdistan, according to the Financial Times. The Badr army, reportedly equipped with heavy guns, is nominally under Ayatollah Mohammad-Baqer Hakim, an Iraqi Shiite religious leader headquartered in Tehran. An unnamed Iranian official said the Badr brigade's recent move was to counter possible attacks on Iran by the Iraqi-backed People's Mojahedin Organization (MKO). (Baktash Khamsehpour) <b>Plainclothes Policemen Arrest Reformist Publisher Mohsen Sazegara</b> * Plainclothes policemen arrested Mohsen Sazegara, a founder of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and publisher of a series of banned reformist newspapers, who had turned into a vocal critic of the Supreme Leader. Before his arrest, Sazegara published an article on his website www.alliran.com calling for a constitutional reform to restablish a democracy by ending the absolute rule of the unelected Shiite clerics. (Ali Sajjadi) * Sazegara's friend and colleague, reformist journalist Mohammad-Sadeq Javadi-Hesar, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Sazegara's arrest was another blow to President Khatami's administration by his conservative opponents, just as Khatami has embarked on another effort to improve Iran's relations with the west. He said by Sazegara's arrest his captors are sending a message that they are not afraid of anything. (Siavash Ardalan) * Sazegara's wife, Dr. Soheila Hamidnia, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the family's efforts to locate her husband in any of the many jails operated by various judiciary and law enforcement organs have been unfruitful. She says her husband suffers from a heart condition and needs medication. She adds that after the publication of his latest book "Islamists against Islam," and after posting his latest article calling for constitutional reform on his website, Sazegara predicted that he would be arrested and said he would go on hunger strike. (Siavash Ardalan) * London-based human rights activist Hossein Baqerzadeh tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Sazegara's arrest once again shows that the Islamic regime does not respect the most elementary principles of human rights and due process of the law. He adds that the arrest, coming at the time that the UN human rights representatives are in Iran to visit the prisons, is another indication of the on-going suppression of freedom of speech. (Ali Sajjadi) * In an interview aired last month on <b>Radio Farda</b>, Mohsen Sazegara said the Islamic regime cannot be reformed. He added that the only way to establish democracy in Iran is to reform the constitution itself, especially the Article Four that places the Supreme Leader above all elected institutions. (Ali Sajjadi) <b>Former Political Prisoners Ask to Meet UN Human Rights Envoys</b> * In an open letter to the UN Human Rights Commission's observer team who are in Iran on a 12-day fact-finding mission, a group of nationalist political activists demanded a meeting in order to report on their experiences as political prisoners. Nationalist-religious political activist Mohammad Maleki, a former Tehran University president, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that if such a meeting takes place, he would like to tell the UN human rights representatives about his personal experience in the Islamic regime's jails. He was jailed for five years in the 1980's and for one year in 2002. He says he believes that the UN human rights commission should be informed about the treatment of prisoners in jail not only in recent times, but also in the 1980's. A large group of young prisoners were executed in 1987 reportedly on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. (Golnaz Esfandiari) * Paris-based human rights lawyer Abdolkarim Lahiji tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the Islamic regime has denied permission to the UN human rights envoys to visit the jails in Kurdistan. He says his organization, the society for defense of human rights in Iran, has given the UN envoys a list of 55 prisoners in Kurdistan jails who are either sentenced to death or have been in jail for more than 10 years. (Golnaz Esfandiari) <b>Iran's UN Envoy Criticizes US Policy on Iraq</b> * Iranian envoys to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif told the Security Council yesterday that a possible US attack on Iraq, especially if it places a US military commander at the head of the Iraqi government, would radicalize the region and destabilize Iraq and the region. He called for the disarmament of Iraq, and said Iran has directly experienced the impact of the Iraqi chemical weapons during the 1980-88 war, but added that there is no reason to stop the work of the UN arms inspectors and start a war. He criticized what he called the US government's dual policy on non-proliferation. He said while the US is threatening to go war against Iraq over that country's nuclear weapons program, it ignores similar programs in friendly countries, such as Israel. He said the declassified US intelligence documents show that the US supplied Iraq with chemical and biological weapons in the 1980's. (Maryam Ahmadi) <b>US Position on Iran's Nuclear Programs</b> * International Atomic Energy Agency's Director General Muhammad ElBaradei is scheduled to visit Iran's nuclear facilities later this month in order to investigate US charge that Iran is engaged in developing nuclear weapons. Richard W. Bulliet, director of the Columbia University's Middle East Institute, tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the position of the US government for a long time has been that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, despite Iran's repeated denials. He adds that he is not aware of any evidence that the US government may have on Iran's nuclear weapons development program, but he notes that the US has trouble convincing other governments about its assertion that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. He says as we saw in the case of Pakistan during the war against the Taliban regime, the US is capable of ignoring a country's nuclear weapons program when it needs the cooperation of that country, and may do the same if it decides that it needs Iran's cooperation in the possible war against Iraq. (Amir Armin) <b>Khatami Says the Iraqi Foreign Minister's Visit Served Iran's Interest</b> * President Mohammad Khatami said the visit last week to Tehran of Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri served Iran's national interest. He refused to reveal the content of Saddam Hussein's message to Iran. Also, defense minister Ali Shamkhani said today that Iran would not allow the US to use its air space for air attacks on Iraq, even if the UN Security Council sanctions military action against the Iraqi regime. (Mina Baharmast) <b>Inflation Jumps to 17 Percent from 11.4 Percent</b> * The latest statistics released by the Central Bank indicate that inflation rate increased to 17 percent, nearly 7 percent higher than last year's figure, which was reported at 11.4 percent. However, independent economists put the true inflation rate at above 21 percent. <b>Radio Farda</b>'s Paris-based economic analyst Fereydoun Khavand says the 90 percent jump in the money supply during the past three years and last fiscal year's budget deficit were factors that contributed to the rising inflation rate. He adds that the Central Bank's program to cut the money supply by issuing bonds has failed to make a dent in the rate of inflation. . يك مقام آمريكائي به روزنامه فايننشال تايمز گفت از عبور برخي از افراد لشگر موسوم به بدر حكيم از مرز ايران به داخل خاك عراق اطلاع دارد. بنابراين گزارش، لشگر بدر را سپاه پاسداران انقلاب اسلامي آموزش داده و آن را تجهيز كرده است و مي تواند به عنوان نيروئي به نمايندگي از حكومت ايران نگريسته شود. يك مقام ارشد جمهوري اسلامي كه نخواست نام وي افشا شود، به خبرنگار فايننشال تايمز گفت حضور نيروهاي وابسته به آيت الله حكيم در عراق اقدامي دفاعي است و به منظور مقابله با حمله احتمالي سازمان مجاهدين خلق، نيروي مسلح مخالف حكومت ايران مستقردر عراق، صورت گرفته است. فايننشال تايمز نوشت حضور يك نيروي 5 هزارنفري در عراق به اين نگراني آمريكا و دنياي عرب دامن خواهد زد كه مداخله هاي نظامي، به تجزيه عراق خواهد انجاميد. اين روزنامه افزود: حكومت ايران از طريق وارد كردن اين نيرو به صحنه مي خواهد نشان دهد كه در مذاكرات در باره سرنوشت عراق نبايد نايديده گرفته شود. نيروهاي آيت الله حكيم پيشتر در جنوب ايران در نزديكي مرز عراق مستقر بودند. دو ماه پيش اين نيروها نقل و انتقال خود را به داخل مناطقي از شمال عراق كه تحت نظر اتحاديه ميهني كردستان عراق قرار دارد، آغاز كردند.