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April 1998, Week 4

FarsiNet FarsiNews

Britain Says Iran Still a Threat Apr 30
Iran Guards chief blasts liberalization, critics Apr 29
Grandchild of former Iranian premier killed -paper Apr 28
Iran cites 'atmosphere of mistrust' in relations with U.S. Apr 27
Iran takes third in tournament Apr 24
U.N. Commission Censures Iran Apr 23
US Surgeons to Attend Iran Meeting Apr 23
Iran, Hungary Win Soccer Games Apr 23
Iran hikes bread prices by up to 50 percent-papers Apr 22
Iran assembly approves law on single-sex hospitals Apr 22
Iran still sees 'wall of mistrust' to U.S. Apr 22


Britain Says Iran Still a Threat
LONDON (AP) -- Persian Gulf states and the European Union welcome overtures from Iran's new president, British For eign Secretary Robin Cook said Wednesday following a meeting of the groups.

But Cook alleged that even with Mohammad Khatami at the helm, Iran will likely still engage in sponsoring terroris m and attempting to obtain weapons technology.

``Both these programs are not under control of the president of Iran,'' said Cook, who hosted a one-day EU meeting with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

Cook was accompanied at the meeting by Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the Secretary-General of the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry, Roger Linster.

The Gulf council states, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, comprise the Wes t's most reliable allies in the region and they have long sought closer ties with the European Union.

In a communique, the EU and the Gulf states urged Iraq to comply with U.N. weapons inspections.

The Security Council this week decided to maintain economic sanctions against Iraq, imposed after its 1990 invasio n of Kuwait.

U.N. arms inspectors must certify that Iraq has destroyed all long-range missiles and chemical, biological and nuc lear weapons as the condition for lifting the sanctions.

Cook also noted that Iran has also not lifted a death threat against British author Salman Rushdie.

``It is important we do not lower our guard too soon,'' Cook said. ``There is more than one center of power in Ira n.''

The EU has already welcomed Tehran's more moderate tone, lifted a block on visits by government ministers and is t o resume what it calls ``dialogue'' with Iran.

Iran Guards chief blasts liberalization, critics
TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander has slammed political liberalization under moderate President Mohammad Khatami and said the country should "cut the necks and tongues" of opponents, a newspaper said Wednesday.

The daily Jameah quoted Brig. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying some of the scores of new publications allowed by Khatami's government "threaten national security."

"Some of these newspapers have the same content as papers belonging to Monafeqin (Iraq-based Mujahideen Khalq opposition group) and to America," the moderate Jameah quoted Safavi as telling senior military officials at a meeting Monday.

"Liberals have taken over our universities and our youth are chanting 'Death to dictatorship' slogans," he said.

"We seek to tear out the roots of counter-revolution wherever they may be. We should cut the neck of some of them. We will cut the tongues of others," Safavi was quoted as saying.

"Our sword is our tongue. We will expose...these cowards," Safavi added, apparently suggesting he was not advocating that opponents be physically eliminated.

Safavi criticized Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, who has been behind more liberal cultural policies, and Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, who has allowed critical student groups to hold demonstrations.

"Can we counter the threat posed by America, which seeks to dominate the world, through a dialogue between cultures and civilizations?" Safavi asked, referring to the dialogue with the American people proposed by Khatami in January.

The pro-Khatami newspaper Salam criticized the official news agency IRNA for not carrying details of Safavi's remarks, which were only published in the moderate Jameah.

"These remarks are in contradiction with the main mission of the Guards...and lead in practice to the Guards getting embroiled in internal politics and siding with a particular faction," Salam said.

Safavi in September replaced former Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Mohsen Rezaei, who had been criticized by moderates for clearly backing conservatives during the May presidential elections which Khatami won.

Moderates have repeatedly urged military officials to stay out of politics, as required by Iran's constitution.

The Revolutionary Guards, set up after the 1979 Islamic revolution, report like the rest of Iran's military to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is considered closer to Khatami's conservative and hard-line opponents.

Grandchild of former Iranian premier killed -paper
TEHRAN,(Reuters) - The granddaughter of former Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq has been killed as she prepared to leave the country and join her husband in the United States, a newspaper said on Monday.

The daily Jameah said Masoumeh Mossadeq was strangled at her home in a well-to-do north Tehran district.

The paper said the 49-year-old Mossadeq, a U.S. resident, had been in the process of selling her house before rejoining her husband.

Her assailants fled the scene and police had been unable to identify them, it said.

Nationalist premier Mossadeq was deposed by a coup in 1953. Many of the late leader's supporters form part of an illegal, but tolerated, opposition in Iran today.

Iran cites 'atmosphere of mistrust' in relations with U.S.
TEHRAN, Iran(CNN) -- An "atmosphere of mistrust" is impeding any improvement in relations between Iran and the United States, an Iranian official said Monday.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, quoted by state-run Tehran radio, said "billions of dollars" in Iranian assets remain frozen by the United States.

The assets were blocked after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran wants the United States to release the assets and end trade sanctions against the country to prove its willingness to work toward better relations.

"However, we do not see an honest approach and a change in U.S. behavior, and one cannot expect any improvement in ties in such an atmosphere of mistrust," Kharrazi said.

Kharrazi said a January address by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami calling for a dialogue with the United States had led to some changes in U.S. officials' tone toward Iran.

Many Iranians noted that U.S. President Bill Clinton's message on the Muslim holiday of Eid specifically congratulated Iran. During Iran's Army Day last week, soldiers refrained from the customary stomping of the U.S. flag. Earlier this year, Iranian wrestling fans warmly welcomed a team of U.S. wrestlers.

But Iran has criticized a decision by the United States to broadcast Persian-language radio programming to Iran. Other sticking points include a decision by the United States to again include Iran on a list of countries that support terrorism, and a dispute over military equipment.

Iran claims it bought military equipment from the United States before the 1979 revolution but has never received the material.

As a part of the 1981 accord that freed 52 American hostages held by Iran, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal was set up to handle financial disputes between the two countries. But Kharrazi said Monday that little progress has been made on the military equipment issue at the tribunal.

Earlier this month, Iran's representative to the tribunal said Iran wanted $2.8 billion plus interest for the equipment.

Iran takes third in tournament
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran earned a much-needed 1-0 victory over Jamaica in their World Cup warmup friendly international on Wednesday while non-qualifier Hungary won the four-team tournament on a penalty shootout with Macedonia.

Mohammed Khakpour scored the only goal of the day, a 54th minute penalty to give Iran victory in the playoff for third place.

Hungary took the championship with a 4-2 shootout success over Macedonia after the final had ended scoreless.

Iran had come in for heavy criticism after Monday's 2-0 defeat by Hungary and looked a much tighter, disciplined unit against World Cup debutant Jamaica.

The Iranians were always in control despite being without their three Bundesliga players Karim Bagheri, Ali Daei and Khodadad Azizi.

After a quiet opening, Jamaica keeper Warren Barret made a fine save from Dinmohammadis' powerful 25-meter shot in the 15th minute.

Barret was called on again on the half hour, acrobatically tipping over a header from Mehrdad Minavand. He made another good stop on the stroke of halftime to keep out a 30-meter rocket from the impressive Khakpour.

Iran deservedly took the lead nine minutes after the break when Linval Brown brought down Dinmohammadi and Khakpour coolly converted the spot kick.

Jamaica fielded four of its England-based players -- Marcus Gayle, Danny Maddix, Paul Hall and Fitzroy Simpson -- but despite Simpson's constant prompting they failed to create any clear chances.

Poor passing and sloppy play shows they have much to do before June's World Cup in France.

The final was a disappointing affair, with non-qualifier Macedonia, playing its third game in five days, looking tired.

U.N. Commission Censures Iran
GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. Human Rights Commission has urged Iran to ``take all necessary steps'' to end the use of amputation and ston ing as punishments.

The motion, which passed 23-14 on Wednesday, also censured Iran for ``inhuman and degrading'' treatment, including public executions .

It kept Iran under special scrutiny by the 53-nation body and extended by a year the mandate of the U.N. human rights expert on Iran , Maurice Danby Copithorne. Copithorne earlier reported a sharp rise in the number of executions in Iran in 1997.

Iran said the resolution, proposed by Britain, focused on isolated incidents and served the political and economic interests of its sponsors.

British delegation leader Audrey Glover acknowledged progress made by the Iranian government under President Mohammad Khatami, but s aid ``major problems continue in Iran.''

Iran still sees 'wall of mistrust' to U.S.
TEHRAN,(Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Wednesday condemned a U.S. plan to beam new radio broadcasts to the Islamic republic, saying the move showed there was still a "wall of mistrust" between the two countries.

"A wall of mistrust still stands between Tehran and Washington," Iranian television quoted Kharrazi as saying.

Kharrazi said the planned Persian-language radio aimed to wage a "psychological war" against Iran and constituted United States interference in the internal affairs of the country.

Kharrazi's wording was a reference to remarks by moderate President Mohammad Khatami, who called in January for dialogue between the Iranian and American peoples to crack a "wall of mistrust" between the two mutually hostile countries.

"America's policies prove that, as in the past, one cannot trust what American officials say," Kharrazi said.

The U.S. State Department said last week the new U.S.-financed radio broadcasts to Iran were designed to "enrich" domestic political debate, not undermine the Iranian government.

Under pressure from the Republican-led Congress, the State Department has been discussing how to boost Persian-language broadcasts without derailing tentative steps toward U.S.-Iranian reconciliation sparked by Khatami.

The New York Times said that the administration, pressured by Congress, would give Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty $900,000 to create a new Persian, or Farsi, service "to beam anti-government propaganda into Iran."

US Surgeons to Attend Iran Meeting
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A team of American surgeons will visit Tehran next month following a call by Iran's president for cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Stanford University surgeons will attend a five-day conference, said the daily newspaper, Iran.

Cultural ties between the United States and Iran were severed in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-s upported shah.

Revolutionary students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The U.S. cut all diplomatic ti es during the hostage crisis.

But during a recent rapprochement that began in January, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami called for a people-to-people dialogue wi th Americans.

The first U.S. athletes to visit Iran since the revolution took part in a wrestling tournament in February, followed days later by a group of American academics in Tehran for a conference on the Persian Gulf.

The surgeons' conference is scheduled for May 16.

Iran, Hungary Win Soccer Games
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Hamid Estily scored on a penalty kick nine minutes into the second half Wednesday, giving Iran a 1-0 victory ov er Jamaica in an exhibition game.

In the other part of the doubleheader, Hungary beat Macedonia 4-2 on penalty kicks following a scoreless tie to win the title of the four-team tournament.

Iran hikes bread prices by up to 50 percent-papers
TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iran has raised bread prices by up to 50 percent in the midst of a government campaign to curb a flurry of price increases, newspapers said Wednesday.

State-controlled prices of most types of bread rose by 20 percent in Tehran, with one popular kind increasing by 50 percent, according to a price list approved by the Commerce Ministry, newspapers said.

The newspapers reported similar increases in other parts of Iran, where bread prices are set locally in each province.

Officials say low subsidized bread and wheat prices lead to large amounts being wasted, used as poultry feed and smuggled to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran assembly approves law on single-sex hospitals
TEHRAN(Reuters) - Iran's parliament on Wednesday gave initial approval to a law requiring hospitals to fully segregate all health services offered to men and women in accordance with strict Islamic regulations, a newspaper said.

The daily Kayhan said the law, which still needs to go through a second parliamentary vote and be approved by a senior state council, applied to state and private hospitals and clinics.

The move came a week after the parliament's conservative majority passed a measure, opposed by the government of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, to seriously restrict the publication of photographs of women.

The measure passed on Wednesday, which supporters said aimed "to conform medical institutions with principles of the holy sharia (Islamic law)," was approved despite efforts by some deputies to delay voting by six months, the evening daily said.

The law must be endorsed by the Guardian Council, a body of clerics and lawyers which vets parliamentary measures, before it can take effect.

Institutions violating the law would face fines of up to five million rials ($1,667) and risk having their licence revoked, Kayhan said.

Iran enforces strict rules limiting contacts between unmarried or unrelated men and women. But women work and study along men at many institutions.

The idea of segregating medical services had been discussed after the 1979 Islamic revolution but was abandoned because there were not enough women doctors.

Women doctors are common in Iran, but analysts said it was not clear if there were sufficient women specialists across the country to implement the law.


Shahnameh, Epic of the Persian Kings by Ferdowsi the Grreat Persian (Iranian) Poet of 9th Centuary from Toos Khorasan near present Mashhad in Northeast Iran
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