Simple Limestone Tomb of Cyrus The Great Author of the 1st Human Rights Charter in South Iran near Shiraz

May 1998, Week 1

FarsiNet FarsiNews

Khatemi Wants to End Terrorism, Officials Say May 7
Nader Batmanghelidj, Iranian General, Dies May 4
Iran Takes Third In Tournament May 4
Iran Guards chief says his words distorted" -IRNA May 3

 

Khatemi Wants to End Terrorism, Officials Say
By: Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Only four days after the State Department issued a blanket denunciation of Iran's continued sponsorship of global terrori sm, several representatives of U.S. intelligence organizations yesterday provided a more nuanced and less foreboding asse ssment of that country's links to terrorist activities.

The State Department last Friday depicted Iran as a country with new leaders who have paid lip service to the notion that terrorism is wrong, implying that the leaders were trying to lull the world into thinking that the country had turned aw ay from political violence while continuing covert assassinations and bombings.

But the intelligence officials said they have concluded that Iran's new president, Mohammed Khatemi, is sincerely lobbyin g for an end to government support of terrorism, and that its activities are continuing only because he has not yet conso lidated his control over the relevant security and intelligence services.

"It is clear to us that Khatemi is the real thing, that he and his supporters within the Iranian government do wish to ch ange Iranian policy with regard to terrorism . . . in a direction that would relieve some of the impediments to improved relations between Iran and western countries," said one of the representatives, who spoke to a group of reporters on cond ition that he and his colleagues not be named.

There appears to be no dispute within the administration about the underlying facts -- Iran has continued to provide mone y, training and weapons to well-known Middle East terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestine Islamic Jih ad, according to intelligence information received well after Khatemi's inauguration last August.

But the difference in tone between officials in the State Department, a policymaking organization that has long backed a strident posture against Iran, and the intelligence analysts was striking. One explanation may be that CIA Director Georg e J. Tenet has embraced the view -- still controversial in Washington -- that Khatemi's election could eventually lead to a sea change in Iranian domestic and foreign policy.

Testifying in late January before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Tenet said Khatemi leads a group of modera tes engaged in "a genuine struggle . . . [with] hard-line conservatives." He said then that even though Khatemi had won 7 0 percent of the vote, the hard-liners remain a formidable obstacle and still control key defense and security organizati ons.

Tenet's views are said by several officials to have played a major role in the administration's decision to soft-pedal so me of its anti-Iran rhetoric and to respond with cautious optimism to Khatemi's plea on Cable News Network last January f or unofficial exchanges that might break down a "bulky wall of mistrust" with the United States.

Terrorism remains one of the thorniest obstacles to any rapprochement, however, and a senior State Department official la st Thursday declined repeatedly to draw any distinction between the pre-Khatemi and post-Khatemi policy toward terrorism. "It hasn't significantly changed," the official said, but refused to provide details.

In a sign of possible division within the Clinton administration, the intelligence official said it is "too soon to draw conclusions regarding changes." He added that "to the extent that we are continuing to see Iranian terrorist activity, sp ecifically support for the groups . . . some of what we're seeing reflects Khatemi simply not having won the [political] struggle, at least not yet."

Addressing the related topic of terrorism directed specifically against Israel, the officials had words of praise for cou nterterrorism efforts by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat within the West Bank territory under his control. Arafat's inte lligence service has been relying partly on CIA information.

Although the ruling Likud party in Israel has been highly critical of Arafat's efforts, one of the U.S. officials said th e intelligence community had judged him "pretty effective" in arresting extremists and rooting out their supporters.

Nader Batmanghelidj, Iranian General, Dies
WashingtonPost-Nader Batmanghelidj, 95, a retired Iranian Army lieutenant general who also had served as an Iranian ambassa dor and cabinet minister and who had lived in Herndon since settling in the Washington area in 1989, died of kidney failure April 24 at the Cameron Glen Care Center in Reston.

Gen. Batmanghelidj had been armed forces chief of staff before serving as ambassador to Pakistan from 1955 t o 1957 and ambassador to Iraq in 1957 and 1958. He served as interior minister in 1958 and 1959. In the earl y 1960s, he was chairman of the Military Group of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). He spent three ye ars as governor general of Iran's Khorasan Province before retiring in 1967.

He was arrested by Iranian authorities after the 1979 revolution brought a militant Shiite government to pow er. He served three years of a life sentence before he was released to come to this country for medical trea tment and to visit family members.

Gen. Batmanghelidj was commissioned in the Iranian Army in the 1920s, following his graduation from the Iran ian Military Academy. He took training courses in both Germany and Czechoslovakia before World War II. In 19 41, as a colonel, he was imprisoned by the British Army, which occupied part of Iran. He was released from p rison after the war and participated in the liberation of Azerbaijan from Soviet occupation forces.

In 1951, he was named Iran's athletic program chief by the left-wing government of Prime Minister Mohammad M ossadegh. In 1953, he was imprisoned, again for political reasons, and was released and returned to the Army following Mossadegh's overthrow.

Gen. Batmanghelidj, who had served on the Council of Political Deputies of the Baghdad Pact (CENTO) in the l ate 1950s, was the recipient of Iran's Order of Sepah and its Legion of Merit.

His first wife, Mahin Banu Mirfendereski Batmanghelidj, died in 1974.

Survivors include his wife, Nayer Moluk Sadoughi Batmanghelidj of Herndon; two children from first marriage, Sohrab Batmanghelidj of Iran, and Shohreh Batmanghelidj of Herndon; a stepdaughter, Chakameh Sadoughi, also of Herndon; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A son from his first marriage, Darab, died i n 1968.

Iran Takes Third In Tournament
ESPN(SportZone)-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.

Iran Guards chief says his words distorted" -IRNA
TEHRAN,(Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards, caught in controversy over remarks allegedly made by their commander to "cut the necks and tongues" of opponents, said on Sunday his words were distorted by newspapers.

"The report in some newspapers, used by certain individuals and political groups for a smear campaign... is the distorted account of discussions in an internal and confidential meeting," said a statement from the Revolutionary Guards carried by the official news agency IRNA.

The statement also accused some newspapers of "taking advantage of the free atmosphere prevailing in the country and the patience of the revolutionary forces."

The daily Jameah newspaper on Wednesday quoted Brigadier-General Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying some of the scores of new publications allowed by moderate Iranian President Mohammad Khatami "threaten national security."

"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 allegedly added, apparently suggesting he was not advocating that opponents be physically eliminated.

In an apparent jab at moderate President Mohammad Khatami's call in January for cultural exchanges with Americans, Safavi had been quoted as saying: "Can we counter the threat posed by America, which seeks to dominate the world, through a dialogue between cultures and civilisations?"

Safavi's reported comments sparked controversy, with a number of moderate groups and newspapers criticising him for stepping into the political arena, which is considered off-limits to the Iranian military.

One pro-Khatami cleric, Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, a well-known radical, told the daily Salam that the comments "smacked of a coup d'etat."

The pro-Khatami daily Salam, in an editorial on Safavi's remarks, wrote: "My dear brother, this is not Turkey. Military commanders do not make political policy here."

Khatami was elected in a landslide victory last May, trouncing conservative opponents. Conservatives, however, still control key levers of power in Iran's government. Pro-Khatami moderates have clashed with conservatives on a range of issues since the election.

 

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