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September 99, Week 1
|Iran Says Pullout of Scholars Is U.S. Affair||September 7|
|Jackson May Help Iranian Jews||September 6|
|30,000 in Holland Back Iran Reforms||September 5|
|U.S. Scholars Whisked out of Iran Washington||September 3|
|.S. Wheat Group Urges Clinton to Give Iran Farm Credit||September 3|
|Kidnaped Foreign Tourists, Iranian Freed||September 2|
|Results of Asian Weightlifting Championships||September 2|
|Senator, State Dept at Odds Over Subsidies for US Food to Iran Aug||September 1|
Iran Says Pullout of Scholars Is U.S. Affair
TEHRAN(Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister said on Monday the abrupt pullout of U.S. scholars from Tehran was an American affair that had nothing to do with official Iranian policy.
"I have no idea as to why they left, this is a question you should ask the Americans or the Swiss ambassador (who represents U.S. interests in Tehran)," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Reuters. |
"Their leaving had nothing to do with Iranian policy," Kharrazi said. A group of 13 American academics working in Iran from institutions such as Yale, Tufts and the University of Pennsylvania were instructed by the Swiss embassy to leave Tehran on August 25, 10 days before their scheduled departure date.
Iran and the United States do not have diplomatic ties and the Swiss embassy in Tehran is in charge of U.S. interests. Swiss embassy diplomats were not immediately available for comment. The Washington Post had reported that according to a member of the group, the Swiss ambassador told the students: "My orders are to get you out as soon as possible, and that's what I'm going to do."
U.S. officials confirmed that the scholars left Iran under "sensitive" circumstances, but declined to provide details. The group, which arrived in Tehran on July 11, included historians, experts on Iranian literature and poetry, and scholars of post- revolutionary economics. Their programmes in Iran were financed by the Iranian government and the American Institute for Iranian Studies which is supported by U.S. government funding.
Jackson May Help Iranian Jews
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has often negotiated freedom for foreign-held captives, says he's now trying to help 13 Iranian Jews awaiting trial for espionage in Iran. |
``We are working diligently to try to get 13 Jews freed from Iran. We hope that Iran will assume its rightful place in the family of nations,'' at the United Nations, Jackson said Sunday after delivering a guest sermon at a Manhattan church.
The Jews being held include at least one rabbi and several educators who were arrested in March as alleged spies for Israel and the United States. They could face the death penalty if convicted.
Both Israel and the United States have dismissed the spy charges as unfounded, and along with France, Germany and Amnesty International lodged protests.
Asked whether he was planning a trip to Iran, Jackson replied, ``Well, we're trying -- we're working on it.''
In June, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, reached out to Jackson for help after weeks of what Foxman called ``quiet diplomacy'' failed to win the group's freedom.
On Aug. 19, Iran rebuked a call by the U.S. State Department for the Jews' release.
``It is as though Iran asks the U.S. to release, before trial, all those who are arrested in the U.S. on espionage charges,'' the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.
Iran has tried and executed 17 Iranian Jews for espionage in the past two decades, including two in 1997.
Jackson has worked to free captives before. He negotiated with Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic for the release of three American servicemen in May.
In 1984, he went to Syria and won the release of a Navy lieutenant whose jet was shot down during a raid over Syrian anti-aircraft positions in Lebanon.
Several months later, Jackson talked Fidel Castro into releasing 48 American and Cuban political prisoners. In 1990, he helped win the release from Iraq of more than 700 foreign women and children detained as human shields against an American military attack.
30,000 in Holland Back Iran Reforms
By William J. Kole|
Associated Press Writer
:description--> AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Iranian pro-democracy activists handed the Dutch government a petition Friday signed by 30,000 people expressing solidarity with reformers inside Iran and accusing Tehran of sending spies to the Netherlands to discredit exiled dissidents.
The petition, delivered to the Foreign Ministry by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, expressed support for July's student uprising in Tehran and urged the international community to keep pressure on Iran's leaders.
It also alleged that the government of President Mohammad Khatami has been working to persuade Dutch officials that many of the 15,000-17,000 Iranians living in exile in the Netherlands are economic refugees, not credible candidates for political asylum, and shouldn't be allowed to stay.
In a report last year, the Dutch Internal Security Service said Iranian intelligence agents were operating in the Netherlands, tracking down dissidents and resistance leaders ``with the goal of trying to destabilize the opposition.''
Hedayat Mostowfi of the Resistance Council's Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington called it a deliberate campaign to ``discredit the status of refugees here'' and get activists expelled from Holland.
``If they do go back, many will face harsh reactions from the Iranian authorities, and some will face arrest or persecution,'' he said.
The petition was delivered ahead of a protest next Tuesday in The Hague, where several thousand Iranian activists plan to demonstrate in support of students in Iran who are calling for democracy.
U.S. Scholars Whisked out of Iran Washington
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials confirmed on Friday that a group of American academics had left Iran suddenly under "sensitive" circumstances but said the Clinton administration still supported people-to-people exchanges with the Islamic republic.
"They left" was all that one administration official would say.|
He declined to provide details. "It's that sensitive," he said of the reasons for the scholars' departure. The Washington Post reported Friday that a group of American scholars working in Iran from institutions such as Yale, Tufts and the University of Pennsylvania were mysteriously pulled out of Tehran on Aug. 25, 10 days ahead of the scheduled departure date. According to a member of the group, who was not identified, the Swiss ambassador -- who represents U.S. interests in the Iranian capital -- alerted the students by telling them, "My orders are to get you out as soon as possible, and that's what I'm going to do."
The Post also reported that two professors supervising the program told the students to "leave on the next plane available (on instructions) from the highest authorities in Washington." The scholars, who were supposed to stay for two months of intensive language training and individual research projects, were directed not to discuss their travel plans with Iranian friends, contact anyone to cancel appointments, send e-mail home or call home from Iran.
One administration official told Reuters the incident would have no impact on U.S. efforts to achieve a gradual improvement in relations with Iran. "It's not going to affect the general direction (of relations) one way or another. ... We're still supporting people-to-people exchanges," he said.
The two countries cut off diplomatic ties after radical Islamic students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 442 days, beginning in 1979 during the Iranian revolution. After moderate President Mohammed Khatemi took office in 1998, the countries embarked on hesitant steps toward improved ties, including encouraging people-to-people exchanges of scholars and foreign-policy professionals.
But that trend has slowed during an intensifying political struggle between hard-liners and moderates in Iran.
.S. Wheat Group Urges Clinton to Give Iran Farm Credit
WASHINGTON - XINHUA - Groups representing U.S. wheat farmers Thursday urged the Clinton administration to extend export credits to Iran to boost agricultural sales.
In a letter to President Bill Clinton, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the Wheat Export Trade Education Committee said the administration's decision in April to lift sanctions on food sales to Iran was not enough.|
"Export financing, especially in this case, shows our competitors that the United States is a serious contender in the world market," the two groups said in the letter. "Lifting sanctions without access to all of the tools that make U.S. products competitive against monopolistic and subsidized traders does nothing for U.S. producers," the letter said.
In April, the United States announced it would exempt food, medicine and medical equipment from economic sanctions on Iran, Sudan and Libya. But lawmakers and farm groups have criticized the Clinton administration for failing to offer Iran, a potential big buyer, credit to buy U.S. farm goods. Last month, Iran bypassed the U.S. market and bought more than 1 million metric tons of wheat from Canada. U.S. exporters have sold a mere 50,000 metric tons of corn to Iran since the new regulations were issued, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.
Kidnaped Foreign Tourists, Iranian Freed
TEHRAN - XINHUA - Four foreign hostages and their Iranian guide kidnaped in Iran's southeastern province of Kerman two weeks ago were freed at 20:30 hours local time (1600 GMT). |
According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a provincial official said the released hostages would be united with their family shortly. But no detail is given about the release, or the condition of the hostages. Earlier reports said the authorities set free two drug traffickers from jail in exchange for the safe return of the five hostages, as demanded by the Shah-Bakhsh tribe, to which the abductors and drug smugglers belong.
The four foreigners are two Spanish priests, 70-year-old Joaquin Fernandez and 57-year-old Cosme Puerto, another Spaniard, 40-year-old Pedro Garcia, and Italian civil engineer Massimo Cattabriga, 37. They were kidnaped from their hotel on August 14 by three men and two women armed with automatic weapons.
Negotiations between the authorities and tribesmen have been going on for days to secure the safe release of the hostages. Local security forces have found the whereabouts of the kidnapers and their captives, and surrounded the area, but stopped short of taking any action for fear of endangering the hostages.
The kidnapers were also demanding the return of the bodies of those killed in battle with the police, as well as a guarantee of immunity from prosecution by the government. It is not immediately known if their demands were met. Governor General of Kerman province Massoud Mahmoudi said the law and order authority of the province would get tougher with all drug-traffickers as a matter of routine, IRNA reported.
Results of Asian Weightlifting Championships
Men's 69kg category Snatch|
1. Wang Jianhui, China, 157.5 kilograms (New Asian record)
2. Zhang Guozheng, China, 155.0
3. Javad Khoshdel, Iran, 142.5
4. Moldodosovulan, Kyrghyzstan, 135.0
5. No Young-In, South Korea, 132.5
6. Sandeep Kumar, India, 127.5
7. Hsteh Hsiao-Kai, Chinese Taipei, 120.0
Clean and Jerk
1. Zhang Guozheng, China, 185.0
2. Wan Jianhui, China, 185.0
3. Javad Khoshdel, Iran, 180.0
4. Sandeep Kumar, India, 160.0
5. No Young-In, South Korea, 160.0
6. Hsteh Hsiao-Kai, Chinese Taipei, 155.0
7. Moldodosovulan, Kyrghyzstan, 155.0
1. Wan Jianhui, China, 342.5
2. Zhang Guozheng, China, 340.0
3. Javad Khoshdel, Iran, 322.5
4. No Young-In, South Korea, 292.5
5. Moldodosovulan, Kyrghyzstan, 290.0
6. Sandeep Kumar, India, 287.5
7.. Hsteh Hsiao-Kai, Chinese Taipei, 272.5
|Senator, State Dept at Odds Over Subsidies for US Food to Iran|
CNN-Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has called on
President Bill Clinton and USDA Secretary Dan Glickman to help boost US agricultural
commodity sales to Iran with GSM-102 export credit guarantees. However, a State
Department official told Bridge News today there will likely be no moves to alter existing
policy that forbids "US government funding or financing in support of these sales." |
* * * In a letter to Clinton dated Aug 25, Roberts wrote, "The United States is simply not competitive against Canada and the (European Union) because the US has refused to provide GSM-102 credits for Iranian grain deals. It is unfortunate that during a period of economic hardships for many farmers and ranchers, the administration does not seem to understand the importance of additional export markets." On Apr 28 , the Clinton administration changed its trade sanctions policy to allow US food and medical exports to Iran, Libya and Sudan, and possibly others, on a case-by-case basis. Iran is seen as the most promising of the 3 in terms of potential markets for US grains and oilseeds.
The State Department aide, speaking on terms of anonymity, said the department sees it as "one thing to open sales to a country on the state sponsors of terrorism list. It's another thing to ask tax payers to underwrite it." When asked if the fact that USDA does not consider GSM-102 guarantees to be subsidies might sway State Department's opposition to their usage, the official said "absolutely not." In Senate and House agriculture committee hearings earlier this year, Glickman argued that GSM-102 only offers guarantees for trade deals.
No taxpayer money is spent, he said. Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, when he was still a State Department undersecretary, testified beside Glickman. However, he argued that the US guarantees are a direct form of trade subsidy and cannot be used for countries that support terrorism.
Meanwhile, the State official said GSM-102 guarantees may not seem like subsidies on face value, but if there were a default on payments for the goods, the US taxpayer would pick up the bill. End Bridge News, Tel: (202) 662-7369 Send comments to Internet address: firstname.lastname@example.org The Bridge ID for this story is ZDBPYY .