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May 99, Week 4
|Iran Starts Building of High-Tech City in Desert||May 26|
|Khatami Says Clinton Words Will Not Change Policy||May 25|
|No One Stands above the Law, Iran's President||May 23|
|Pro-Khatami Rally in Tehran Marred by Scuffles||May 22|
Iran Starts Building of High-Tech City in Desert
TEHRAN -XINHUA - The ground-breaking ceremony for Khodashahr
(God's city), the first high-tech city to be built in Iran's central
desert, was held in Ardestan region of Isfahan province, the Islamic
Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Tuesday.
With investments from oversea Iranians, the city is to be built on the edge of the country's central acid desert Dasht-e Kavir with an area of 3,600 square kilometers.
The city will be used for texture, leather, foods, electric, chemical, metal and non-mental industries.
Iraj Yazdanbakhsh, one of the investors said at the ceremony that the project was aimed at cultivating desert, reducing unemployment, making use of the country's land, and establishing a center for research, education, arts and technology.
Yazdanbakhsh said earlier that according to the plan, every house in the city would cover an area of 1,000 square meters, including 200 square meters for building and 800 square meters for the green.
The houses will be kept within two floors, he said, and the city will be built with bricks and tiles, without using irons or cements.
Yazdanbakhsh also said that some factories would be constructed along with technical schools in the city.
Khatami Says Clinton Words Will Not Change Policy
DUBAI,(Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told a Gulf Arab television
audience on Sunday that U.S. President Bill Clinton had shown courage in his comments on
Iran but America's domineering stance in the region would be difficult to change.
Khatami made his comments in an interview with Qatari al-Jazeera television. His comments in Farsi were translated into Arabic by the television station.
Clinton said in April that Iran had been subjected to abuse from Western countries in the past and had a right to be angry.
His remarks sparked a heated debare in Iran with Khatami and his moderate supporters hailing them as a positive step while hardliners rejected them as a ruse.
"What Clinton said... in my opinion is a new position, and if he was serious then it is possible to work around it (the new position), and there could be in the future new relations on the international scene," Khatami said.
"Clinton's point of view in my opinion is courageous, regardless of what its aims are or whether it is tactical (move)... I say this is a personal opinion that cannot easily change America's traditional policies towards Iran, the Middle East and the Islamic world.
"The origin of the problem is America's traditional policy of imposing its views on others... I don't think voicing an opinion can change those traditional policies," Khatami said.
"If this behaviour changes in a practical way, then we can build on it... But the change must be proven in a practical way and we regretably see that what is happening is contrary to that.
"...I think the traditional policies of America are too deep rooted to be changed by such statements," Khatami added.
Relations between the United States and Iran, hostile since the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed shah, have thawed somewhat since Khatami took office in 1997.
Tehran officials have repeatedly called on Washington to show its good will by lifting U.S. sanctions against Iran and releasing Iranian assets frozen in the United States.
Washington had called for direct talks with Tehran over three concerns: Iran's alleged support for international terrorism and search for weapons of mass destruction as well as its opposition to the Middle East peace process.
Iran refuses to talk to the Americans saying they must first cease hostilities.
"For America's definition of terrorism to be a condition for establishing relations, this is a selfish demand and we don't accept it. We oppose terrorism and are victims to terrorism," Khatami said.
Khatami said Iran only gave political support to Arabs and Palestinians opposed to the U.S.-brokered peace process in the Middle East.
"We have said we don't have any practical interference concerning Palestine...It is natural to support any humanitarian work to confront the occupation of land and fight oppression and this does not mean we give support in the form of weapons. We only give political support," he added.
No One Stands above the Law, Iran's President
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Tehran's
Azadi Stadium on Sunday to mark the anniversary of President Mohammad Khatami's unexpected election victory
two years ago.
While the crowd chanted "Khatami, Khatami," the moderate cleric who has brought greater freedom and openness to Iran since he became president in August 1997 spoke of the need for greater tolerance.
Khatami's speech was an apparent warning to powerful hard-liners who have bent laws to thwart his reforms and condoned the use of violence against his supporters.
"No group stands above the law, and no faction has the right to monopolize any of the great institutions of the state," Khatami said in a speech broadcast live on Tehran radio, monitored in Dubai.
"If they want to survive, all factions must conform with the rule of law," Khatami told the audience, most of them members of Islamic councils who were elected in February in the nation's first municipal elections. Tehran radio estimated the crowd at more than 100,000.
Since winning the election by a landslide against a hard-line rival, Khatami has granted more media freedoms, relaxed Islamic rules that govern daily life and allowed greater political discourse.
His reforms have been welcomed by the majority of Iranians, but opposed by the hard-line clerical establishment that had grown used to ruling without opposition since it came to power in the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Pro-Khatami Rally in Tehran Marred by Scuffles
TEHRAN,(Reuters) - Islamic hardliners on Sunday attacked a student rally in
Tehran marking the second anniversary of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's landslide election victory, witnesses said.
Several hardliners lunged at the podium in Tehran's Laleh Park, where a leader of the Office to Consolidate Unity, the biggest pro-Khatami student movement, was addressing a crowd of around 5,000 people, the witnesses said.
The incident sparked scuffles between the two sides, forcing police to intervene.
Plainclothes police pulled away the attackers, as the demonstrators shouted "Death to despotism," and "Khatami, Khatami, we support you."
The students also denounced some conservative leaders, including judiciary chief Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi and the head of the private Azad Universities, Abdollah Jasbi, both of whom have spoken out against Khatami's reformist allies.
Earlier, about 100,000 local councillors attended a similar celebratory rally at Azadi sports stadium where Khatami vowed to press on with his democratic reforms.