Summary of Iran Stories of Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiThursday, December 26, 2002
<b>Fourth Day of the Pollsters' Trial: Abdi's "Confessions"</b>
* A high-ranking board member of pro-Khatami party the Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat), who was a leader of the US Embassy hostage takers in 1979, confessed in open court yesterday to charges of selling information to foreign powers and faking opinion polls. Prosecutor Asghar Tashokari said Abdi confessed to all charges. Leftist politician and commentator Abbas Abdi, on trial as a board member of the pad-locked Ayandeh polling agency, admitted that he made "mistakes," when he approved a deal with the Gallop Organization for carrying out opinion surveys on US-Iran relations. Abdi, also retracted his radical reformist political positions, including his idea for Khatami and the reformist MPs to "exit the regime" in protest against the rejection of the reform bills by conservative bodies. In the fourth day of the so-called pollsters' trial, Abdi said that the mass resignations of Khatmai and reformist officials and MPs would have weakened the regime. (Amir Armin, Washingtoin)
* Washington-based human rights activist Zohreh Khayyam tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Abdi's is a political trial in which the conservatives are setting scores with their political rivals. She adds that the trial is a logical extension of the factional crisis within the regime. She says it shows the regime's fear of the widespread public protest, including that of the students. (Ali Sajjadi, Washington)
* After spending 50 days in solitary confinement, Abdi, one of the most radical advocates of political reform, echoed radical conservatives in the first day of his trial. Deputy speaker of the Majles, Mohammad-Reza Khatami, secretary general of the pro-Khatami party the Participation Front (Jebheh-ye Mosharekat), of which Abdi is a high ranking board member, told Tehran newspapers that Abdi's is a political trial. He denied that Abdi had any top secret documents. Said Hajjarian's assassination and Abdi's trial has disarmed the reformist faction, strategically and ideologically. Abdi and other officials of the two pad-locked public opinion survey agencies were arrested and detained last October after the publication of a poll that showed 75 percent of respondents favor the resumption of the US-Iran relations. (Mehdi Khalaji, Prague)
<b>Filmmaker Protests against Judiciary's Ban on His Film</b>
* In a public letter to culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, filmmaker Bahman Farmanara protested against the judiciary's ban on his latest film "A House on Waster (Khaneh-ii bar Ab)," which was due to open nationwide last week. He said the judiciary overruled a screening permit issued by the culture ministry. Farmanara said in addition to trusting the culture ministry, his biggest crime was agreeing to cut seven scenes out of his movie at the suggestion of the ministry sensors. (Maryam Ahmadi, Washington)
<b>Soccer Team Manager Complains about Soccer Federation</b>
* Manager of Iran's national soccer team Mohammad Ranjbar complained in an interview published in Tehran today about the conditions of the nation's soccer federation. He said the national soccer team's Croat coach Branko Ivanovic, who resigned yesterday, liked working in Iran, but could not bear the disorder in the management of the soccer federation. (Bijan Farhoodi, Washington)
<b>Gold and Dollar Rise in Tehran's Market</b>
* Gold, dollar and euro prices continued their upward spiral, as tensions in Venezuela and the prospect of a possible US attack on Iraq pushed oil prices beyond $30 per barrel. Iran sold oil at $28.5 barrel today, according to oil ministry officials. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Jailed Student's Father Cannot Afford his Bail</b>
* Jailed student Behnam Amini's father tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that his poor Kurdish family cannot afford his 1 billion rial ($125,000) bail. Amini was arrested one month ago during student protests against Hashem Aghajari's death sentence. Amini's father says he has only been able to speak with his son three times since his arrest, twice in Kurdish and once in Persian. (Siavash Ardalan, Prague)
عباس عبدي، رهبر گروه گروگانگير دانشجويان خط امام و عضو ارشد شوراي مركزي حزب جبهه مشاركت ايران اسلامي، در چهارمين روز محاكمه متهمان پرونده نظرسنجي، اعتراف كرد اشتباهاتي خاصه در ارتباط با موسسه نظرسنجي آمريكائي گالوپ كه وي آن را بازوي سازمان «سيا»ي آمريكا خواند، مرتكب شده است. عبدي به جاسوسي براي آمريكا، گردآوري اطلاعات نادرست، دروغپردازي عليه نظام جمهوري اسلامي و نگهداري اسناد محرمانه متهم است. عبدي و ديگر متهمان پرونده نظرسنجي پس از آن دستگير شدند كه نتايج يك نظرسنجي آنها نشان داد 75 درصد از پاسخ دهندگان خواستار از سرگيري رابطه ايران و آمريكا هستند.
زهره خيام، فعال حقوق بشر، در مصاحبه با راديوفردا مي گويد دستگيري و محاكمه عباس عبدي يك محاكمه سياسي و نوعي تصفيه حساب جناحي است و ادامه منطقي بحران سياسي درون حاكميت جمهوري اسلامي است. وي مي افزايد محاكمه مديران موسسات نظرسنجي، از وحشت و هراس از ابراز اعتراض وسيع مردم و به خصوص دانشجويان در ايران سرچشمه مي گيرد.