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November 99, Week 1
|Khatami Urges Hardliners to Allow Free Iran Polls||November 6|
|Military Parts Co. Admits Fraud||November 6|
|Iran Leader Denounces US, Students March for Peace||November 4|
|Iran Students Assess 20 Years since Embassy Seizure||November 2|
|Efforts under Way for Sake of Iran Jews -US||November 1|
Khatami Urges Hardliners to Allow Free Iran Polls
TEHRAN, (Reuters) - Moderate President Mohammad Khatami on Saturday called on Iran's election watchdogs to ensure next February's parliamentary elections are free and fair.
Khatami used a gathering of election officials at the residence of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to plead with Iran's conservative establishment not to reject candidates on political grounds.
"Executive and supervisory authorities should have faith in the people...and create an opportunity for them to choose," the president said. "Public participation...must be greater than in past elections in order to immunise us from ill effects and further strengthen our system," said Khatami, who was elected in a 1997 landslide.
The hardline Council of Guardians, a body of 12 ultra-conservative clerics and lawyers mandated with screening candidates for political and religious orthodoxy, has in past cases rejected reformers who sought to run, without saying why.
The council, appointed by Khamenei and the parliament, is also charged with ensuring all legislation meets Islamic and constitutional requirements. The public has protested against the screening of candidates with low voter-turnouts -- sometimes less than 40 percent in a system that has made voting an Islamic duty and a civic obligation.
Reformers in government and the parliament had earlier said that candidate screening could deprive voters of a free choice and undermine turnout at the polls, set for February 18. They also say that the Council of Guardians has been using its powers to prevent them from building on Khatami's wide popularity to win control of parliament. Conservatives deny the charges and say the Council uses its powers to keep counter-revolutionaries and dissidents out of the legislature.
Khatami himself was elected in 1997 on promises of a more open social atmosphere and reforms, but he only just passed the candidacy censor at the Council of Guardians with a 6-5 vote.
Military Parts Co. Admits Fraud
By Jeffrey Gold|
Associated Press Writer
NEWARK, N.J.- A company barred from Defense Department work for selling military parts to Iran has admitted to falsifying papers to sell unapproved engine parts to the Indonesian air force.
The guilty plea was entered Wednesday on behalf of International Helicopter Inc.
It is the latest in a series of negotiated settlements that began in March, when the company's past president and owner, Daniel A. Malloy, admitted to shipping 100 Hawk missile batteries and other military aviation parts to Iran, using a colleague in Singapore as a middleman.
As part of his plea, Malloy is barred from a role in the Northvale-based company. His wife, Ellen Malloy, is now president and sole owner of International Helicopter, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, said the company's lawyer, Gerald Krovatin.
Because of the Iranian deal, International Helicopter is barred from any Defense Department work. U.S. companies are not permitted to sell military equipment to Iran.
Malloy, 42, remains under house arrest pending sentencing Dec. 13. He faces at least several years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
International Helicopter pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997 to deceive an aircraft parts broker, KoolHaas Alphen BV.
KoolHaas, based in the Netherlands representing Indonesia, sought turbine blades from an FAA-approved source for the T-56 engine made by Allison Engine Co. The engine is commonly used on the C-130 Hercules cargo planes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Noel Hillman said.
Unable to find Allison blades, Malloy found another manufacturer and doctored an Allison invoice to make it appear the parts were from Allison, the company admitted. Unlike Allison, the other maker did not have FAA certification.
International Helicopter presented the invoice to an FAA-designated inspector, who cleared the blades for export, according to court papers.
As part of its plea bargain, the company has agreed to forfeit more than $2 million in inventory and hire a court-appointed trustee for up to five years to ensure that its operations comply with arms control and other regulations.
Iran Leader Denounces US, Students March for Peace
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by denouncing those who sought reconciliation with the "Great Satan." |
In an address to a youth gathering at his official residence on the eve of the anniversary, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said only "traitors" or "simpletons" supported a restoration of ties between Iran and the preeminent foreign power in the decades before the revolution. A state-sponsored rally has been called Thursday outside the gates of the former embassy, now a training center for Revolutionary Guards.
Rallies are held each Nov. 4 to remember the day in 1979 when 52 hostages were taken after the U.S. embassy was stormed by student activists in coordination with radical clerics. But across town, at Tehran University, about 1,000 members of Iran's biggest student movement, whose forerunners engineered the 444-day hostage crisis, rallied against violence and in support of a dialogue of civilizations.
In remarks broadcast on state radio the day before the annual "Struggle Against World Arrogance Day," Khamenei declared: "Some abject and vile mercenary pen-holders, who think that relations between America and a country like Iran can be normalized ... and then suddenly their economic problems will be solved, are thinking in vain.
"Struggling against arrogance is part of the essence of our revolution and today the manifestation of arrogance is the American government. ... If our nation stops its struggle against arrogance, it means it will accept meddling by foreigners and it will accept being debased and a return to the demeaning situation before the revolution. "The Iranian people will continue to move down the path of anti-imperialism," said the leader, who has final word in all matters of state, including foreign policy. There was, however, no sense of anti-American struggle at the student rally. Instead, the students focused almost exclusively on pressing domestic issues.
They shouted their support for reformist cleric Abdollah Nouri, a former vice-president now on trial for political and religious dissent. "Freedom of expression forever," they cried in defiance of the orthodox interpretation of religion that they say the conservative establishment is trying to impose. "The students are ready to die before they accept repression," they chanted. Banners calling for dialogue with the democratic West and directed at the stalemate in Iran-U.S. ties were set up on campus. "The future of Iran-U.S. relations is contingent on national interests," one banner read.
Notably absent were the ritual burning of the U.S. flag and chants of "Death to America," both mainstays of official rallies.
Hashem Aghajari, a founder of the Office to Consolidate Unity, which led the takeover and went on to become Iran's largest reformist student group, sought to justify the embassy seizure in a speech to the crowd. "Taking the hostages was ... to say that our people do not want to be under the domination of the United States," said Aghajari, now a leftist politician. "But today, after 20 years, we must take a new look.
"Relations with the United States is not a nightmare or an unreligious act, but at the same time re-establishing ties will not solve our problems overnight," he said. "Having or not having relations with the United States must be based on our national interests." Such rhetoric marks a large step by the Office to Consolidate Unity, which rose to national prominence during the hostage drama. Many of its leaders are now active in the reform movement and one, Masoumeh Ebtekar, is a vice president.
Iran Students Assess 20 Years since Embassy Seizure
TEHRAN, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Members of Iran's biggest student movement gathered on Tuesday, 20 years after their forerunners seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, to review two decades of activism that has seen the movement shed its militant image.
"We hope the third decade of the revolution will be the decade of dialogue and society will move towards dialogue from its present state of imposed views," said Ali Afshari, one of the new breed of leaders of the Office to Consolidate Unity, in remarks to open a two-day conference. |
Conciliation and tolerance were the watchwords of the meeting, dominated by a call for dialogue and mutual understanding from moderate President Mohammad Khatami, displayed on a banner behind the main podium. "Today's students should strive to understand and decide for themselves. They should accept differences in opinion and differences in taste," the banner said. "They must abide by the rules of the game and they must welcome expanding....their dialogue with others."
IN THE SHADOW OF U.S. EMBASSY TAKEOVER
In a message read to the conference, Minister of Higher Education Mostafa Moin congratulated the students for scheduling their public exercise in self-criticism to coincide with the anniversary. Student leaders announced the movement would shift its annual commemoration of the occasion from the gates of the former embassy to the main Tehran campus, with the ritual burning of the U.S. flag and anti-American slogans banned.
Organisers said the theme of the rally would instead be a protest against violence and coercion. In contrast, the annual state-sponsored rally, outside the embassy walls on Wednesday, was expected to display the full menu of anti-American speeches, chants and political theatre. But featured speaker and veteran leader of the U.S. embassy takeover, Abbas Abdi, warned the gathering the student movement had in many ways failed Iran.
The power and influence of Iran's student movement had prevented the rise of independent civil institutions in society, said Abdi, now a prominent newspaper editor and commentator. "When a student movement gains strength through the absence of civic institutions, it itself becomes a barrier to the creation of those institutions because it wants to act in such a way as to keep the power that it has attained," Abdi said.
"Coming out of this cocoon is difficult. In Iran we have faced this dilemma." The inability or unwillingness to share power, he said, had left Iran saddled with a strong state untempered by the kind of civil society envisioned by President Khatami. It lacked political maturity and long-term planning, he said.
"I am always asked how I have changed. Well, I am older now. Young people don't care so much about the costs of their political actions," Abdi said, adding older people tended to weigh risks as well as benefits.
Efforts under Way for Sake of Iran Jews -US
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official said behind-the-scenes efforts were taking place on behalf of a group of Iranian Jews detained in Iran on charges of spying for Israel.
"Suffice to say that there is a great deal going on behind the scenes, including if I may say with the French, and the Germans, and the British and others who have much closer ties to Iran than we do," U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat said late Sunday. |
Eizenstat was speaking after giving a talk in Jerusalem on the Israeli economy. He gave no details when asked what was being done about the 13 Iranian Jews, who are expected to stand trial in Iran. "This is at an extremely delicate and sensitive stage, and anything that any senior official from the U.S. government says publicly would not be in the interests of the lives of those people," he said.
Israel has denied Iranian accusations that the 13 Jews detained since early this year were spying for the Jewish state. Responding to Western expressions of concern for the 13, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said in Paris Friday he would ensure them a fair trial, adding that a number of Muslim Iranians were also detained.
Iran rejects protests by human rights groups that the 13 may have been singled out because of their religion. With moderate Khatami at the helm in Iran, bilateral relations between Washington and Tehran have thawed slightly for the first time since the United States severed ties with Iran in 1979. But contacts have so far been restricted to cultural and sports exchanges.
Eizenstat said the United States wanted to see Khatami's reforms extended to Iran's security and defense apparatus. "I will say on the broader issue with respect to Iran that there is no question that Khatami is trying to provide internal change to Iran," he said. He reiterated the U.S. claim that Iran was developing long-range missiles.
"All of our evidence indicates that Iran continues to develop weapons of mass destruction ... that they now have missiles that can or soon will be able to go as far as Israel," he said. Israel launched an Arrow missile Monday in the first comprehensive test of the ballistic missile-killer system.
Development of the Arrow, jointly funded by Washington, was spurred by Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.