Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiMonday, December 23, 2002
<b><font size=+1>Iran Calls President Bush's Message on Radio Farda "Interfering"</font></b>
* Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi called the US President's message to Iranians on Radio Farda interference in Iran's domestic affairs. In his message welcoming them to Radio Farda broadcasts, President Bush expressed support for Iranians' "quest for freedom." Asefi said "Iranians have not given Bush the authority to express his opinions as their spokesman." (Baktash Khamsehpour)
<b><font size=+1>Zalmay Khalilizad: US Concerns about Iran's Nuclear Programs</font></b>
* Iran postponed a February visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency's experts to inspect the two nuclear installations in Natanz and Arak that US experts said can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
* US national security council advisor on the Near East Zalmay Khalilzad tells Radio Farda that the development of nuclear weapons, particularly by the regimes that have a history of supporting terrorist groups, is worrisome for the world, particularly for the US. He calls for greater cooperation between Iran and UN's International Atomic Energy Agency to facilitate higher level inspections of Iran's nuclear installations. (Mahtab Farid, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>Kuwaiti Army's Chief of Staff Visits Iran
</font></b>* Chief of staff of the Kuwaiti Army Lt. Gen. Ali Muhammad Mu'min said his visit to Tehran is to further defense cooperation between the two countries. (Bijan Farhoodi, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>Iran Assures Its Jewish Citizens</font></b>
* Former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council, told a gathering of Iranian jews that despite developments in the Middle East, there is no threat to their lives and property in Iran. Iran has nearly 35,000 Jews, who are represented in the Majles by an MP. (Mahtab Farid, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>President's Khatami's Trip to Pakistan</font></b>
* President Mohammad Khatami is to meet General Parvez Musharraf and prime minister Zafarollah Khan Jamali today in Islamabad. In the past, Pakistan's support for Taliban and Iran's support for the anti-Taliban Islamic militia in the north of Afghanistan separated the two countries. Now, both countries officially support the transitional government of Hamid Karzai. The Iran-India gas pipeline project will be high on the agenda of talks. Sarajeddin Mussavi, Iran's ambassador to Pakistan said Khatami's trip will turn a new leaf in the bilateral relations. (Bijan Farhoodi, Washington)
* Khatami said his goal is closer cooperation with Pakistan. (Mahmonir Rahimi, Prague)
* Paris-based economist Jamshid Asadi tells Radio Farda that Pakistan-India relation is the main obstacle in the development of the $4 billion Iran-India gas pipeline through Pakistan. India does not want to place an important energy source under the control of Pakistan, and has proposed that instead of overland through Pakistan, the pipelines be laid under Pakistan's Indian Ocean waters, which would make the project more expensive. (Mahmonir Rahimi, Prague)
* More than 200,000 barrels of smuggled gasoline enters Pakistan's Baluchestan province from Iran by a fleet of hundreds of tanker trucks, driving legal Pakistani gas stations out of business. Pakistan imports $1 billion worth of gasoline per year at prices higher than the smuggled gasoline from Iran. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b><font size=+1>Pollster Abbas Abdi's Arrest and Detention</font></b>
* Abbas Abdi's daughter Maryam said she has seen her father only once and for only 10 minutes since his arrest 49 days ago. She added that her father's lawyer has not yet been allowed to read the charges against him. Abdi and two other polling agency officials were accused of spying for the US after the publication of a poll that showed 75 percent of the respondents favor resumption of Iran-US relations.
* The arrest and detention of the leftist political activist and pollster Abbas Abdi, a former US embassy hostage-taker and a board member of the pro-Khatami party the Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat), is a violation of human rights and Iranian laws, according to Washington-based human rights activist Ramin Ahmadi. He tells Radio Farda that Abdi and his cohorts in the student group that took US diplomats hostage for 444 days in 1979, did the same thing to the hostages and to the Iranian politicians, such as Abbas Amir-Entezam, but that should not prevent human rights activists around the world from calling for Abdi's immediate release from jail and a fair trial. (Ramin Ahmadi, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>Judiciary Summons Defendant in the Pollsters Case
* The Tehran judiciary in a statement in today's newspapers ordered Alireza Namvar-Haqiqi to return home and stand trial along three pollsters accused of spying of the US. Haqiqi, a culture ministry official found his name in the conservative newspapers as a defendant in the case a day after he left Iran. In a letter to the judiciary chief, he protested against the judiciary's naming him in the press as a fugitive. The judiciary said that it was within its rights to summon defendants outside the country through the mass media. It said before leaving Iran to probably apply for political asylum in a foreign country, Haqiqi had destroyed some of his papers and had taken some files to the house of his mother-in-law. Haqiqi's relatives told Radio Farda that his mother-in-law and his sister-in-law were arrested in Tehran yesterday and have been taken to an unknown location, after a brief stay at the Evin prison. The judiciary closed the two state-owned polling agencies and charged Abbas Abdi, Hossein Qazian and Behruz Geranpayeh with spying for the US after the publication of a poll that showed strong public support for improving US-Iran relations. (Mahmonir Rahimi, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>GCC Summit Supports UAE's Claim on the Three Persian Gulf Islands</font></b>
* The head of six Arab Persian Gulf nations declared the three Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa and the Tonbs an integral part of the UAE. In the statement issued at the end of the Gulf Cooperation Council's 23rd summit in Doha, Qatar, the GCC accused Iran of illegally occupying the islands.
* British government announced that it will soon release classified documents on the transfer of the three islands to Iran after the 1972 withdrawal of the British forces from the Persian Gulf. (Ali Sajjadi, Washington)
<b><font size=+1>Russia's Atomic Energy Minister's Iran Visit
* On his first visit to Iran, Russia's new atomic energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev met with the head of Iran's atomic energy organization Reza Aghazadeh to finalize the agreement on the transfer of spent atomic fuel to Russia. The western governments and the US fear that Iran's Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant can be used for making dirty bombs for terrorists. Experts also warn that the plant is vulnerable to earthquake. (Alireza Taheri, Prague)
* Russia's atomic energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev told the Russian TV that the progress at the Bushehr nuclear power plant has been satisfactory, and the plant would become operational by the end of 2003. He added that Bushehr's fuel is ready to be shipped to Iran. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)
<font size=+1><b>President Khatami's Budget Bill
* </font>The head of the management and planning organization said the budget growth is lower than that of last year, indicating an actual contraction in spending. A member of the Majles finance committee said President Khatami's budget for the upcoming year relies too much on the oil income. Tehran-based economist Ali Rashidi tells Radio Farda that two-thirds of the budget expenditure is set aside for development plans. He adds that to pay for that Khatami plans to spend $4 billion from Iran's foreign exchange reserves and borrow another 4500 billion rials from other sources. (Fereydoun Zarnegar, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Judiciary Confirms the Jail Sentence for the Nationalists' Lawyer </font></b>
* An appeals court in Tehran confirmed the four-month jail sentence for Abdolfatah Soltani, a lawyer for the members of the nationalist-religious coalition in their trials on subversion charges. Abdolfatah Soltani tells Radio Farda that the appeals court found the five-year suspension of his practice license, which was a part of his sentence, a violation of the bar association's legal monopoly on law licenses. He said he was charged with misconduct after he protested against the torture of his clients to the supreme court and in the press. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Judiciary Officials Dispute on FMI's Subversion Charge</font></b>
* Ali Mobasheri, head of the Tehran Islamic revolutionary courts, said the members of the nationalist-religious party Freedom Movement of Iran, whose sentences were confirmed last week, were not "subversive combatants," since they did not take up arms against the regime. But the public relations office of the Tehran revolutionary courts issued a statement to clarify that the FMI was nevertheless trying to subvert the regime through non-violent means. Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah, the lawyer for many FMI defendants in their recent trial on subversion charges, tells Radio Farda that the dispute among the judiciary on the meaning of the charges against his clients would not help them and would not change the fact that they were illegally tried in a court without jurisdiction. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Dismissed Students Stage a Sit-In in Elm-va-San'at University</font></b>
* Three-hundred students of the Tehran Elm-va San'at (Science and Industry) University staged a sit-in to protest their dismissa on poor performance, a claim the students reject. Amir Bozorgian, editor of the banned youth newspaper "Golestan-e Emruz (Today's Rose Garden)," tells Radio Farda that hundreds of activist students would soon be dismissed from universities around the country in a program to end student unrests, which is assigned by the high council on national security to the intelligence ministry. (Mahmonir Rahimi, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Isfahan's Masked Enforcers to Join the Moral Police
* Abolkarim Rezvani, head of the Basiji moral police in Esfahan said the masked women vigilantes who have been enforcing a strict Islamic code of dress on the city's women were absorbed in his force. He said the black-cad, masked leader of the women is daughter of a prominent cleric. (Alireza Taheri)
<b><font size=+1>Insecurity, Legal Obstacles and the Flight of Capital</font></b>
* More than 3000 Iranian-owned companies have been registered in Dubai. Officials estimate that many more operate in other neighboring countries. A Majles MP said the capital flight is a sign of a lack of capitalist culture in Iran. Boston University economic professor Kamran Dadkhah tells Radio Farda that capital seeks a secure and safe place, and the reason Iranian investors take their money out of Iran is the lack of security and confidence. He says in Iran the government is active in most economic sectors and it is hard for any private investor to compete with the state. (Fereydoun Zarnegar, Prague)
<b><font size=+1>Gold Prices Go Up in Iran</font></b>
* Sudden surge in gold prices damped the market for gold coins. In Iran today euro traded at 8200 rials, and the dollar traded at 8040 rials. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
.زلماي خليل زاد، مشاور امنيتي رئيس جمهوري آمريكا در امور خاورميانه، در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد گسترش سلاح هاي اتمي، به ويژه به دست رژيم هائي كه توسط مردم خود انتخاب نشده باشند و سابقه سياست مسئولي نداشته باشند، نگران كننده است. در مورد كشوري كه دمكراسي باشد و مسئوليت در مقابل مردم خود داشته باشد، نگراني كمتر است.
مشاور امنيتي رئيس جمهوري آمريكا در امور خاورميانه مي افزايد: در كشوري مانند ايران كه در آن گروه ها و دسته هائي در دولت باشند كه از تروريست ها طرفداري كرده باشند، اگر اين دولت صاحب بمب اتم هم بشود، شانس يكجا شدن دو مشكل بزرگ پيش مي آيد، يعني هم ترور و هم بمب اتم، و اين از طرف دنيا و خصوصا از طرف آمريكا يك مشكل بزرگ تلقي مي شود. از اين نگاه هر فعاليتي از طرف دولت ايران در پيشرفت و بدست آوردن بمب اتم مورد نگراني قرار مي گيرد.
زلماي خليل زاد تاكيد كرد كه اقدامات ايران را ناقض معاهدات بين المللي و تعهدات ايران به آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي سازمان ملل نمي داند. وي مي گويد پيشرفت ايران در نزديك شدن به دستيابي به بمب اتم، با درنظرگرفتن سياست هاي ايران، مورد نگراني ما است. وي مي افزايد: بين سازمان انرژي اتمي بين الملي نيز با ايران مشكلي وجود دارد، زيرا ايران از پيوستن به موافقتنامه تازه اي براي ايجاد يك سيستم بازرسي در سطح بالا تر هنوز موافقت نكرده است. وي مي گويد اگر ايران چيزي ندارد كه پنهان كند، بايد با سازمان انرژي بين المللي اتمي همكاري كند و موافقتنامه را امضا كند.
وي مي افزايد: راه مقابله با گسترش سلاح هاي اتمي مقابله با دسترسي به سلاح اتمي مملكت هائي است كه به خصوص مشكلات ديگري نظير حمايت از گروه هاي تروريستي در سابقه آنها هست. آمريكا هفته پيش اعلام كرد كه تاسيسات اتمي ايران در نطنز و اراك مي تواند براي تهيه سوخت سلاح هاي اتمي مورد استفاده قرار گيرد. زلماي خليل زاد، مشاور امنيتي رئيس جمهوري آمريكا در امور خاورنزديك، در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد: گسترش سلاح هاي اتمي، به ويژه به دست رژيم هائي كه توسط مردم خود انتخاب نشده باشند و سابقه سياست مسئولانه نداشته باشند، نگران كننده است. وي مي افزايد: اگر كشوري مانند ايران كه در آن گروه ها و دسته هائي در دولت باشند كه از تروريست ها طرفداري كرده باشند، صاحب بمب اتم بشود، شانس يكجا شدن دو مشكل بزرگ پيش مي آيد، يعني هم ترور و هم بمب اتم، و اين از طرف دنيا و خصوصا از طرف آمريكا يك مشكل بزرگ تلقي مي شود.
زلماي خليل زاد تاكيد مي كند كه اقدامات ايران ناقض معاهدات بين المللي و تعهدات ايران به آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي تلقي نمي كند. وي مي افزايد: اگر ايران چيزي ندارد كه پنهان كند، بايد با آژانس بين المللي انرژي اتمي سازمان ملل همكاري كند و موافقتنامه بازرسي در سطح بالاتر را امضا كند.