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December 99, Week 3
|Iran Sets up Y2K Emergency Centre||December 15|
|Iran Students Challenge Khamenei||December 15|
|Anti-U.S. Slogans Prevented in Iran||December 14|
|Defiant Iran Paper Published||December 14|
Iran Sets up Y2K Emergency Centre
TEHRAN, (Reuters) - Iran is to set up an emergency centre in Tehran to help Iranians cope with hitches from the millennium computer bug, the state news agency IRNA reported. |
The centre is to provide free technical information to company managers and state officials in Tehran to deal with possible damage to computer systems, IRNA said late on Monday.
The centre is already running in two areas in Tehran, and would be fully operational by the end of 1999, it said.
Iranian officials have already warned of possible disruptions in certain public sectors including energy, communications and water, due to possible disruptions in computer systems at the turn of the millennium.
Iran's posts and telecommununications minister has said that the bug would not upset communications.
Iran Students Challenge Khamenei
The Associated Press|
TEHRAN, Iran -Thousands of student supporters of Iran's moderate president rallied in the Iranian capital on Monday, and some made an challenge to the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The rally, attended by about 7,000 backers of President Mohammad Khatami, was called to show support for Abdollah Nouri. Last month, a hard-line court sentenced Nouri, a journalist and close ally of Khatami, to five years in prison.
"Freedom fighter Nouri should be released," the students shouted.
The scene at Tehran University was tense, and some demonstrators clashed with about 20 hard-liners who tried to interrupt the rally. Police kept them apart, and there were no reports of injuries.
In Iran, the supreme leader is considered above the law and his authority is unquestioned. At Monday's rally, however, speakers suggested there may be limits.
"The leader's authority is within the framework of the constitution," said Ali Afshari, a speaker at the protest organized by the Office for Fostering Unity.
And Afshari said: "the existence of the Special Court of the Clergy is a violation of the constitution. It is illegal and it should be dissolved."
A few weeks ago, Khamenei said the court, which tried, convicted and sentenced Nouri, was legal.
Afshari also accused hard-liners of "hiding behind" Khamenei following their attacks on the press.
Powerful hard-liners have shut down four pro-reform newspapers in the past year, including Nouri's, as part of an effort to derail Khatami's reforms. Several writers and intellectuals have been harassed, jailed or even killed.
Anti-U.S. Slogans Prevented in Iran
By Afshin Valinejad|
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran -Thousands of pro-reform university students cheered Iran's reformist president Sunday, drowning out hard-line classmates who were chanting anti-American slogans during a presidential speech.
At a university basketball stadium, thousands of student supporters clapped, whistled and cheered as President Mohammed Khatami said his nation's problems are with the U.S. government, not its people.
"When we say that a tall wall of mistrust exists between Iran and the United States, this is not a mere slogan," Khatami said in the speech at the Science and Technology University in Tehran.
But "we have no hostility toward the American nation," Khatami said, sending the stadium packed with some 5,000 students and academics into cheers.
The cheers of "Khatami, Khatami" drowned out a small group of students who turned up to support Khatami's hard-line opponents and chanted "death to America."
Iran-U.S. ties have been strained since Washington severed ties over the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Islamic militants. Relations thawed after the May 1997 election of the moderate president.
Khatami's reformist faction is locked in a power struggle with powerful Islamic hard-liners who oppose his efforts to grant greater freedoms and end hostility with the United States.
At the speech, some students carried portraits of Abdollah Nouri, a close ally of Khatami who was sentenced to five years in prison last month by a hard-line court. Powerful hard-liners have shut down four pro-reform newspapers in the past year, including Nouri's, in an effort to derail Khatami's reforms. Several writers and intellectuals have been harassed and jailed.
"President Khatami is a good leader and his reforms will succeed," said Farzad Hamii, a 23-year-old university student who was among the crowd.
"But the reforms must be speeded up," he said. "Mr. Khatami is too polite and logical in his approach to the hard-liners. But we young people don't understand that, all we know is that we want social reforms and freedoms."
Defiant Iran Paper Published
The Associated Press|
TEHRAN, Iran -A defiant reformist newspaper that was closed last month by Iranian hard-liners began publishing under a different name Saturday.
The daily paper formerly called the Khordad re-emerged as Fatth, or victory. Fatth appears to be as defiant as its predecessor: It ran a large front-page photo of its director, Abdollah Nouri, who was handed a five-year jail term in November.
Khordad's closure was part of the sentence against Nouri, who was convicted on charges that included religious dissent. Nouri and his paper angered powerful Islamic hard-liners by demanding greater democracy and curbs on the absolute powers of the ruling clergy.
"Today, when only two weeks have passed since the closure of Khordad and imprisonment of Abdollah Nouri, Khordad's thought blossoms in Fatth," the daily proclaimed in its first issue. "As Nouri emphasized, Fatth believes that there are no taboos in opinions and political discussions except those laid down in the constitution, and that no official is immune to criticism."