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Law of Unintended Consequences: US Sanctions and Iran’s Hardliners
In the aftermath of the earthquake which devastated the Iranian city of Bam on December 26, 2003, and killed perhaps 41,000 people, many Americans were appalled to learn that they were technically barred from sending donations to Iranian-run relief efforts by unilateral US trade sanctions in place since 1996. -Mehrdad Valibeigi, MERIP - 1/31/04

Iran's Interior Minister terms Feb-20 elections illegal
Interior Minister Seyed Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari on Saturday announced that negotiations between the cabinet and Guardians Council (GC) on disqualification of the nominees have produced no positive results - 1/31/04

Iran rules out visit of US Congressmen, Senators to Tehran
Iran on Saturday brushed aside the prospect of visits by US congressmen and senators to Tehran a day after it was announced that a group of American congressional aides was to travel to the Islamic Republic in February - 1/31/04

Guardians Council OKs only three of disqualified Iranian MPs
The Guardians Council (GC) has approved qualifications of only 3 of the members of parliament whose qualifications had been rejected by the supervisory boards in the previous stage - 1/31/04

Iran: Zoroastrians hold Sadeh Celebration
Every year on the night of the 10th day of the Iranian month of Bahman (Jan 30th), the Zoroastrians around the globe, particularly those of them in their beloved ancient motherland, Iran, gather huge piles of dried bush and set them ablaze after the sunset, thus celebrating the discovery of fire by their ancestors on such a day. - 1/31/04

Iraq: U.S. Ponders Failure Of Intelligence On Banned Weapons
U.S. intelligence agencies were criticized for failing to anticipate the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. Now, the country's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq says these same spy services were unable to determine how well -- or how poorly -- Iraq was armed in the weeks preceding last spring's war. -RFE - 1/31/04

Iraqi minister arrives in Iran via Khosravi border
The Minister of Roads and Transportation of Iraq's transitional government, Behnam Zia Bolus, on Saturday arrived in Iran via Khosravi border in the city of Qasre Shirin, western Iran - 1/31/04

Iran: Interior Ministry Wants Elections Delayed To Resolve Crisis
Iran's Interior Ministry is calling on the powerful Guardians Council to postpone the country's 20 February parliamentary elections. -RFE - 1/31/04

"Police 10+" project to be applied in Tehran plus 10 provinces in Iran
"The newly launched Police 10+ project is aimed at offering faster, more careful services to the Iranian citizens, respecting their personality more than ever before, and assuring their security by the police force." - 1/31/04

Round 12 for Iran's Reformists
President Mohammad Khatami, members of his government and sitting parliamentary deputies professed to be "shocked" by the number of disqualifications for the February 20 contests, but in fact the Council members and their conservative allies had long been hinting at their aim to purge the legislature, the press and, eventually, the government, of political rivals belonging to the diverse currents lumped together under the rubric of "the reformists." -Kaveh Ehsani, MERIP - 1/31/04

Iran poll crisis reaches deadlock
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami says deadlock has been reached in attempts to overturn a ban by hardliners on reformists standing for parliament. -BBC - 1/31/04

Iran may allow official U.S. visit
Iran is considering admitting a U.S. congressional delegation in what would be the first official U.S. visit since Iran's 1979 revolution. -USA Today - 1/30/04

Tazieh or Passion Play (On Iran's Election)
It is a great Tazieh. Our almost ex-MPs suddenly in the last days of their term decide to defend people’s rights. As in the two previous presidential elections, the stage is set in such a way that we see an “innocent” group surrounded by Shemr (Imam Hussein’s enemy)-like army. How much we cried for Mr. Khatami’s siege of power? We were all overflowing with deep pity. -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 1/30/04

Rafsanjani calls for a heavy turnout in Iran's elections, blast US for its Iraq policies
Addressing the worshipers gathered for the weekly congregational prayers at the Tehran University campus, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said the United States and its European allies are after finding a pretext to interfere in Iran`s internal affairs and so officials should be quite vigilant not to allow them to pursue their evil aims. Rafsanjani`s remarks on elections came as governors of provinces said the public may boycott the elections a day earlier. - 1/30/04

Prejudice Amongst Iranians
Fortunate as I have been by the treatment, which I have received from other Americans, I have not been immune to prejudice. However, those who stared or ridiculed me were not some ignorant Americans who cannot locate Iran on the map, but educated Iranians. I wore a hejab until two years ago and this was reason enough for every eye in the room to turn to my direction the minute that I entered any Iranian setting. -Hoda Fahimi, Berkeley - 1/30/04

Iranian minister urges poll delay
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari has asked for a postponement of parliamentary elections due to be held next month. -BBC - 1/30/04

Iran and Azerbaijan sign border agreement
The agreement stipulates for the two countries to cooperation between Tehran and Baku on anti-smuggling campaign and illegal crossing of borders. - 1/30/04

Perle at charity said to have terror links
Richard Perle -- who as chairman of the Pentagon's civilian Defense Policy Board advocated the invasion of Iraq -- spoke at Saturday's fundraiser for the Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia. -UPI - 1/30/04

Iraq: Kurdish Politician Concerned By U.S. Stance On PKK
L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, yesterday announced that the U.S.-led coalition regards the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, as a terrorist organization. The PKK is accused of using northern Iraq as a base for staging attacks on neighboring Turkey, which has been engaged in a decades-long struggle with Kurdish rebels. -REF - 1/30/04

Iran keen to play role in regional stability, says Italian FM
Frattini, who met the top Iranian officials Tuesday said, "Iran is a big country and (President Mohammad) Khatami has announced the country respects its commitments and adopts transparency on its nuclear energy plans and even intends to stop uranium enrichment." - 1/30/04

Amin Nourani’s portraits of Sadegh Hedayat
It was a privilege to observe Amin Nourani’s portraits of Sadegh Hedayat at Elaheh Gallery. I was involved with several events last year for Sadegh Hedayat’s centenary celebration, both in Iran and abroad. I wanted to go and see this exhibition very eagerly. I am pleased to say that my enthusiasm was well founded! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/30/04

Perle Must Resign Or be fired….
When Richard Perle, high-visibility neocon and co-author of a recent book that faults the Bush administration for being soft on terrorism, spoke at a rally associated with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist group once allied with Saddam Hussein, the "mainstream" media was nowhere to be seen. -Antiwar.com - 1/30/04

Iranian Envoy a Guest of Congress
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Javad Zarif, visited Washington yesterday to meet with a bipartisan congressional group, the latest in a string of recent overtures by both nations. -Washington Post - 1/29/04

Iran's governor generals: Elections cannot be held on Feb 20
The country's governor generals, following an emergency meeting held on Wednesday evening at the Interior Ministry, announced that keeping in mind the current circumstances, the 7th Majlis (parliament) elections cannot be held on the previously announced February 20 - 1/29/04

Iran's Rowhani: We have received no signs for resuming ties with US
Addressing university students and officials in Semnan province, he said, "It is the Americans who should adopt a policy to enable us to resume ties with them. - 1/29/04

Iranian Political Crisis Reaching Critical Point, Analysts Say
Analysts say Iran's political crisis is reaching a critical point. The deadline for the Guardian Council to complete its review of candidates it banned from next month's parliamentary elections is just a few days away, and Iran's president has appealed for calm amid mass resignation threats in his government. -VOA - 1/29/04

Editors-in-chief of three dailies stand trial in Iran
Hearing of the charges brought against the editors-in chief of three dailies -- Nassim Saba, Sports Kayhan and Asia -- was held at Bench 1083 of Tehran Penal Court on Wednesday - 1/29/04

Special report on voter registration in Afghanistan
With just half a million Afghans registered since early December 2003, the process has a long way to go to enfranchise the estimated 10.5 million potential voters eligible to participate in elections this summer, in accordance with agreements reached at the Bonn international conference on Afghanistan in December 2001. -IRIN - 1/29/04

Middle East foes swap prisoners
"Many Arabs credit Hezbollah with forcing Israel out of southern Lebanon almost four years ago. The prisoner exchange will be seen as a Hezbollah victory at a time when the Arab world has little to feel pleased about," our correspondent says. -BBC - 1/29/04

Watching Iran's Coup
There is talk of a renewed political dialogue between Washington and Tehran, too...What's remarkable is that the latest effort is developing at a moment when Iran's conservative clergy is engaged in an aggressive campaign to destroy, once and for all, the country's democratic reform movement. -Washington Post - 1/29/04

Iran governors step into poll row
Provincial governors in Iran have said they do not believe it will be possible to hold parliamentary elections scheduled for next month. -BBC - 1/29/04

Iran's sugar output to reach 1.3 m tons by March
According to the Head of the Board of Directors of the Association of Sugar Industrialists Iran needs about 1.8 million tons of sugar a year. - 1/29/04

Iran delivers its first shipment of kerosene to Iraq
Iran's first shipment of kerosene headed from the southwestern port of Abadan for Umm Qasr in southern Iraq on Thursday - 1/29/04

Quake jolts central Iranian city of Shahreza for the second time in a day
An earthquake measuring 4 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale hit the city of Shahreza in the central province of Isfahan for the second time in a day on Wednesday - 1/29/04

A Dream Weekend (a beautiful and true story)
Last weekend, in order to recuperate and retrieve some physical and emotional strength and energy, we set off to the Caspian area and drove through Chalous road and stayed for a couple of days outside our hectic and meaninglessly meaningful lives in Tehran. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/28/04

Iran: Washington, Tehran Hold Rare Talks on Sidelines Of Davos
In a rare high-level meeting between Iran and the United States, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden held 90-minute talks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Analysts say the meeting marks an important first step toward improved ties between the two nations. -RFE - 1/28/04

Iran's President: Government making every effort to hold free, fair election
President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that the government is making every effort to hold free and fair election on February 20 and made it clear that he will not accept any single unjust disqualification. - 1/28/04

Iran's FM calls for balance between political and economic cooperation
Visiting Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi in a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday examined various dimensions of bilateral ties in political, economic and cultural fields and discussed pivotal regional and international issues - 1/28/04

Iran: Quakes shake cities of Bahabad and Minab in Yazd and Hormuzgan provinces
There consecutive earthquakes measuring 3.3, 2.8 and 2.6 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Bahabad in the southeastern province of Yazd on Wednesday. Another earthquake measuring 5 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Minab in the southern province of Hormuzgan. - 1/28/04

National Iranian Oil Compan in talks for development of oil, gas blocks in Caspian
National Iranian Oil Company and its subsidiaries in the Caspian Sea are almost in final stage of talks with bidders on the development of oil and gas blocks in the oil- and gas-rich sea - 1/28/04

Iran's Veterinary Organization bans import of birds
Iran's Veterinary Organization on Tuesday called on chicken farmers and related officials not to import any birds, poultry and related products from the countries hit by the bird flu - 1/28/04

Hitmen could be freed in deal
Germany last night offered to release three Iranian-backed assassins who are serving life in prison in return for information that could solve the mystery of the missing Israeli airman Ron Arad. -Guardian - 1/28/04

Israel's deepest mystery: Iran & the airman down
It is Israel's deepest mystery, and for many, the most painful of its myriad open wounds. Could airman Ron Arad still be alive, more than 17 years after he was seized by Lebanese militiamen, later to be spirited away to captivity in an ultra-secret safe house in Iran? -Haaretz - 1/28/04

Republicans urge Iran not to rename Bobby Sands St
Supporters of the republican movement have launched an internet campaign urging the Iranian Government not to re-name a street in Tehran that was named after the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. -Ireland online - 1/28/04

Sex Slave Jihad
The head of Iran’s Interpol bureau believes that the sex slave trade is one of the most profitable activities in Iran today. This criminal trade is not conducted outside the knowledge and participation of the ruling fundamentalists. Government officials themselves are involved in buying, selling, and sexually abusing women and girls. -FrontPageMagazine - 1/28/04

Hope and Fear Greet Sistani's Rise
With U.S. policy in Iraq rapidly evolving, the international online media is focusing on the emergence of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani as the preeminent domestic political force in the country. -Washington Post - 1/28/04

Zoya Sabet in Benefit Concert in Los Altos Hills, California
The Iranian Federated Women's Club and the Educational Scholarship Fund Committee are honored to present Zoya Sabet and - 1/28/04

Iran's Rezazadeh not allowed to attend Arnold Expo
Hossein Rezazadeh, the world's +105 kg weightlifting champion, will not compete in a California grand prix, Arnold Expo. The strongest man of the world was disallowed as Iran's Bulgarian manager Trendavi Stoichev opposed, saying the Hercules of Ardebil, northwest Iran, is not fully ready for the tourney. - 1/28/04

Iran: Human Rights activist deplores GC failure to ratify ban on torture
Secretary of the Islamic Human Rights Commission Mohammad Hassan Ziaeifar said on Tuesday that the Guardian Council's failure to ratify the Majlis legislation concerning ban on torture has had negative consequences for Iran in the international organizations - 1/28/04

IRAN: Focus on Bam survivors four weeks after quake
One month after the devastating earthquake that hit the Iranian city of Bam on 26 December, claiming the life of at least 42,000, most survivors are still living in tents close to their former houses, reluctant to move to emergency camps rapidly established with foreign assistance. -IRIN - 1/28/04

Iran students urge poll boycott
Iran's main pro-democracy student group has called for a national boycott of next month's parliamentary elections. -BBC - 1/28/04

Iran's oil revenues to reach $16.1 billion next year
A ranking Iranian official said that Iran's oil revenues will be $16.1 billion in the next Iranian calendar year of 1383 (to start March 20) - 1/27/04

Khatami: Peaceful atomic program dominated Iran-Austria talks
Speaking to reporters in the ceremony to see off President Klestil, he stressed Iran's continued cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) and referred to Tehran Declaration as a proper framework for collaboration, adding that there is no need to worry about the issue. - 1/27/04

Peak performance
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami proved to be the real star of the show at the world economic forum in Davos. This was a not inconsiderable achievement, given the list of international notables, including the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, who turned up at the Swiss resort. -Guardian - 1/27/04

UN to rule on elections in Iraq
The United Nations has said it is willing to send a team of experts to Iraq to decide whether it will be possible to hold early elections. -BBC - 1/27/04

Germany to join prisoner exchange
Germany has offered to free three prisoners in return for information on the missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, a source has told BBC News Online. -BBC - 1/27/04

Italy FM arrives in Iran to discuss bilateral ties
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini arrived in Tehran Monday night to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues - 1/27/04

Iran's President Khatami urges 'Axis of Dialogue': German daily
"Disputes among cultures should not prevent anyone from taking up the good sides. The West can also learn from eastern cultures - the Islamic, Chinese, Indian. Therefore the axis of dialogue will be shouldered by scholars as proxies of civilizations," Khatami said Tuesday in an interview with the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. - 1/27/04

Powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Al-Sistani's Iranian citizenship slowly becoming an issue
The newfound influence of Iraq's most prominent Shiite Muslim cleric is raising a sensitive and potentially divisive question: How did someone gain such power even though he's an Iranian? -AP - 1/27/04

Nuclear inquiry targets father of Pakistani bomb
The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb and another member of his secretive team have emerged as the prime suspects in a government investigation into alleged sales of nuclear technology to Iran and Libya, intelligence officials said yesterday. -Guardian - 1/27/04

EU Foreign Ministers To Focus On Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia, China
On Iran, the ministers will hear a report from the EU's foreign and security policy chief, Javier Solana, on his recent visit to the country. No developments are expected at this stage. Officials say relations with Iran will remain on hold until at least next month, when the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Muhammed el-Baradei, will deliver an update on the country's nuclear program. -RFE - 1/27/04

Guardians Council Rejects Iran's Electoral Reform Bill As Crisis Escalates
Iran's Guardians Council has rejected an electoral reform bill aimed at limiting the grounds for disallowing candidates in parliamentary elections. Protesting deputies say they are considering their next moves in discussions with the government of President Mohammad Khatami. -RFE - 1/27/04

Quake jolts southern Iranian city of Jahrom
An earthquake measuring 3.9 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the city of Jahrom in the southern province of Fars Monday night - 1/27/04

Iran's Parliament suspends reforming electoral law
Iranian Parliament deputies suspended the three-star bill on amending the electoral law on Tuesday. During the open session of Majlis this morning, the MPs suspended the bill for an indefinite period of time. - 1/27/04

Iran's President Khatami vows 'healthy' elections will go ahead
Khatami's statements put an end to the speculation that the government may choose to ditch the elections following the wholesale disqualification of prospective candidates and the supervisory Guardians Council's refusal to reinstate them. - 1/27/04

Iran: Parliament Speaker promises imminent breakthrough in electoral crisis
Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said Tuesday that a committee, which has the blessing of the Supreme Leader, will be formed to resolve the disqualifications crisis in the next couple of days. Karroubi said the decision was made during a meeting of executive, legislative and judiciary heads with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Monday night. - 1/27/04

Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo nominated for Oscar
Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo has been nominated for Oscar in Best Supporting Actress category for her role in House of Sand and Fog. The nominations we announced on Tuesday January 27, 2004. - 1/27/04

Guardians Council rejects amendment to Iran's electoral law
The Guardians Council has rejected outright an emergency amendment to the electoral law, after parliament approved it Sunday to make the supervisory boards' vetting of the prospective candidates less stringent - 1/26/04

Parliament Speaker: Entire world looking at Iran's election process
Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said on Monday that the entire world are looking at the process of the seventh parliamentary election and the extent of public participation in the polls - 1/26/04

Iran, IAEA Negotiate on Uranium Enrichment
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it is negotiating with Iran on a definition of suspension of its uranium-enrichment activities agreed to by Tehran last year after international pressure. The IAEA wants Tehran to suspend more activities related to enriching uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons. -VOA - 1/26/04

EU supports Iran, Iraq membership in WTO
European Commission spokesperson for trade, Arancha Gonzalez, told a press briefing in Brussels this afternoon that Iraq has applied for observer-status at the WTO and the issue will be taken up at the WTO General Council meeting on 11 February. - 1/26/04

U.S. trying to deal with Sistani's growing influence
Born in Mashad, Iran, 75 years ago, Sistani is one of the world's top two Shiite clerics and legal experts. The other: Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a critic of the Iranian regime who until recently was under house arrest in Iran's theological center of Qom. -USA Today - 1/26/04

MP: Iran's next year Budget is based on oil price of $19 per barrel
A member of Majlis Energy Commission said on Sunday that the price for each barrel of oil is based on $19 in the 1383 budget (starts March 20) - 1/26/04

The Life and Times of an Empress
It was at age 40, after two unsuccessful marriages, that the late Shah of Iran, reached out to Farah and picked her as his wife. Twenty years thereafter as the crowned empress and another over 20 years in exile, Farah Pahlavi has experienced the best and worst of life's offerings. - 1/26/04

Official: Air-Bus joins Iran-Air fleet
An official of Iran's flag carrier (Iran Air) said here Sunday that an Air-Bus model (A310-304) has been added to its fleet - 1/26/04

CIA under fire for Iraq failure
The former chief US weapons inspector has questioned the abilities of the intelligence services after failing to find illicit arms in Iraq. Dr Kay resigned on Friday saying he did not believe Iraq possessed large chemical or biological stockpiles. -BBC - 1/26/04

Afghan athletes train in Iran
Olympic Solidarity is working closely with the Afghan National Olympic Committee to identify ten athletes who have the technical level to qualify for, and participate in, the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens. The athletes are training in the coming weeks in Iran alongside the Iranian National Team. -Olympic.org - 1/26/04

Iran election tensions increase
A row over Iran's elections next months is escalating, with reformists condemning a conservative veto of a bill to resolve the political crisis. Students are also planning to organise mass protests to denounce hardliners. -BBC - 1/26/04

Four killed in deadly riot in Iran's Kerman province; President orders probe
President Mohammad Khatami has delegated a team to probe into recent unrest at a town in the southeast Kerman province in which four people were killed and dozens others injured, Kerman governor said on Monday - 1/26/04

Iranian-Americans Reported Among Most Highly Educated in U.S.
Iranian-Americans are far more numerous in the United States than census data indicate and are among the most highly educated people in the country, according to research by the Iranian Studies Group, an independent academic organization, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). - 1/26/04

"Women and Culture" calendar published in Iran
A day-timer calendar (for Iranian year 1383) titled "Women and Culture" has been published in Iran. This calendar, which is dedicated to the Iranian women, includes 27 pictures of many well-known Iranian women. The pictures are taken by the talented Iranian photographer Maryam Zandi. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/26/04

Iran's Forex Reserve Fund's assets will rise to $7.3B, says official
Iran's Forex Reserve Fund's assets are expected to amount to 7.3 billion dollars by end of the current year on March 20, said Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Mohammad-Jafar Mojarrad in Tehran on Sunday - 1/25/04

Iranian Lawmaker predicts higher quota for Iran in OPEC
Iran would be able to raise its OPEC quota in the coming years upon successful implementation of certain output-boosting projects in the coming years, said a lawmaker in Tehran on Sunday - 1/25/04

Stress epidemic strikes American forces in Iraq
The war's over, but the suicide rate is high and the army is riddled with acute psychiatric problems. -Guardian - 1/25/04

Sounds of reform fill the air in Tehran
Starting a revolution is hard, sustaining it even harder. But it is bringing a revolution to a close that is the hardest. This is the challenge Iran's divided leadership faces today. The debate is reflected in the current phase of the power struggle in Tehran that started with a sit-in by some 80 members of the Islamic Majlis (parliament) earlier this month. -Amir Taheri, Gulf News - 1/25/04

German trial hears how Iranian agent warned US of impending al-Qaida attack
The United States was warned of impending September 11 terrorist attacks by an Iranian spy, but ignored him, German secret service agents testified yesterday in the trial of an alleged al-Qaida terrorist. -Guardian - 1/25/04

Austrian President Thomas Klestil starts Iran visit
Austrian President Thomas Klestil, on the first day of his visit to the Islamic Republic, hailed 'historical, friendly and deep-rooted' ties between the countries, saying his trip was aimed at accelerating their expansion - 1/25/04

Iran to hold first overseas tenders for 16 oil blocks
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will tender exploration and development of 16 oil blocks at a forum in the Netherlands, making them the first offers up for grabs outside Iran - 1/25/04

Analysis / Iran's key role in Kuntar formula
The prisoner swap with Israel was described yesterday by a Lebanese commentator as Hezbollah's "golden deal." The agreement could not have been concluded without Iranian assistance. Behind German mediator Ernst Uhrlau's short expression of appreciation was an Iranian-German-Lebanese connection that paved the way for the deal. -Haaretz, Israel - 1/25/04

Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport to be operational by Feb 1
An official in charge of the project, Nasser Qanbari told reporters on Sunday that the airport, which will be operational after a period of 30 years, will carry six to 6.5 million passengers a year in the initial phase. The figure will rise to 40 million a year in the third phase of the project, said Qanbari. - 1/25/04

Abandoning the march on Jerusalem
Iranians are today increasingly voicing frustration at the Islamic Republic’s contempt for Israel and seeming obsession with being “more Palestinian than the Palestinians.” It is a policy, they argue, that is being carried out at the expense of Iran’s own citizens. -Karim Sadjadpour, Daily Star - 1/25/04

Philosopher President
Mohammed Khatami left much unsaid when he spoke to delegates in Davos. But that didn’t mean that they failed to get the message -Newsweek - 1/25/04

Dining with the Iranians at Davos
For a moment, just, it seemed like it could happen. We were having dinner in the elegant restaurant of a Davos hotel: some reporters, some academics, and Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister of Iran, accompanied by his entourage. -Jerusalem Post - 1/25/04

Iranian MPs call on Guardian Council to hold live TV debate
Members of parliament protesting the wholesale disqualification said on Sunday that they are ready to hold a live debate with members of the Guardian Council on the national television to disclose the identity of those behind the scenario - 1/25/04

Phillips vs. Goli Ameri: Anatomy of a smear
Here's how it started: Ameri sends out an e-mail praising the Bush administration's new plan to fingerprint and photograph foreign visitors. Phillips fires back. He highlights a 1998 letter Ameri wrote criticizing a Clinton policy that required the same thing for Iranians. How, Phillips asked, can she square her support for the new policy with her opposition to the old one? -The Oregonian - 1/25/04

Iranian MPs say they defend republican aspect of Islamic Republic
Members of Parliament protesting the Guardian Council's methodology in disqualifying the incumbent MPs said on Sunday that certain elements behind the scenario have attempted to strip the Islamic Republic of its republican aspect - 1/25/04

Iran MPs challenge reformist ban
The Iranian parliament has approved a bill seeking to change election law and overturn a ban on reformist candidates. -BBC - 1/25/04

Worsening hygiene threatens thousands of women survivors of Iran quake - UN
Worsening hygienic conditions and a critical lack of reproductive health services after last month’s deadly earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam continue to threaten the well-being of thousands of women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) warned today. - 1/24/04

US Opposes Iran's Plans to put Suspected Al Qaida Members on Trial
The United States said Friday it opposes Iranian plans to put suspected al-Qaida members on trial. Bush administration officials say they should he handed over to the United States or their countries of origin to be interrogated about knowledge they have about terrorist attacks. -VOA - 1/24/04

Azerbaijan: Human Rights Watch Accuses Baku Of Electoral Fraud, Police Torture
In a new report, Human Rights Watch says the government carried out what it called well-organized electoral fraud to ensure Ilham Aliyev succeeded his father, Heidar, as president. It says the government then used violence that broke out after the election as a pretext for what it calls a massive crackdown on the opposition. -RFE - 1/24/04

Iran: GC's practice contrary to Constitution, Ayatollah Mousavi-Tabrizi
The process the Guardian Council is conducting to determine the qualification of the applicants is contradictory to the Constitution, Head of the Political Parties House Ayatollah Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi said on Saturday - 1/24/04

Michel in fresh bid to bring home Tehran embassy girls
Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel has spoken again with his Iranian counterpart about the case of two young girls currently taking refuge inside the Belgian embassy in Tehran. -Expatica - 1/24/04

Antiquities dealer is arrested for smuggling Iranian griffin
Hicham Aboutaam, a principal in Phoenix Ancient Art, S.A., was arrested on 13 December, following an investigation by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement -Art Newspaper - 1/24/04

Kurdistan diary
Halabja is the Kurdish town where Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons in an effort to crush opponents. In the final part of his journey through Kurdistan, Alastair Leithead visits the region's most notorious town. -BBC - 1/24/04

VfB Stuttgart beat Esteghlal Tehran 3-0 in Bam quake charity game
German Bundesliga title contender VfB Stuttgart on Saturday defeated Esteghlal Tehran 3-0 in a match to benefit the victims of the devastating Bam earthquake, - 1/24/04

My big fat Iranian life: Firoozeh Dumas chronicles her childhood
Firoozeh Dumas has learned a lot in the last year or so. She's learned about how books are made, how the money lags six months behind sales, how she'll never be famous but how she loves to write. But ask her if she has advice for aspiring writers, and she's quick to say, simply, "if you find any money, turn it in." -Orange County Register - 1/24/04

Reform vs. Reality
Over time, I suspect that Khatami's reformist ideas will prove more powerful than they seem today. That's the other paradox of intellectuals in politics: They may seem to lose in the short run, but in the long run, their ideas can transform nations and cultures. Khatami, the Islamic Hegelian who believes that ideas drive history, may eventually win. But he might not be around to savor the victory. -Washington Post - 1/24/04

Senior US senator Joseph Biden meets Iranian FM Kamal Kharrazi in Davos
Kharrazi had a 90-minute meeting with Biden in a rare high-level contact between Tehran and Washington, which have held no official relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in full view of reporters in a lounge at the World Economic Forum. - 1/24/04

Iran: Guardian Council says will not persist on "possible mistakes" in poll bans
Secretary of the Guardian Council (GC) Ahmad Jannati said in Tehran on Friday that the GC will not persist on its "possible mistakes" in disqualifying hopefuls from the February Majlis elections.Jannati, delivering a sermon at Tehran Friday prayers, stressed that the council, however, will never violate the law either - 1/23/04

Quake jolts southern city of Kazeroun in Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.5 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale jolted areas around Iran's southern city of Kazeroun, Fars province, early Friday - 1/23/04

UK's Straw says Europe committed to its pledges toward Iran
Straw, in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), said the success of Iran and Europe in the last November meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must never be frustrated. - 1/23/04

Iranian official: Mineral exports estimated to top $850 million
Although Iran possesses rich mineral resources of over 50 billion tons, only 130 million tons were mined last year while export of minerals amounted to dlrs 770 million during the same period. - 1/23/04

Inter-Faith Clergy of Greater Atlantic City Organize Radiothon for Sunday, January 25 to Benefit Victims of Iranian Earthquake
Local clergy from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths are joining together to come to the aid of victims of the catastrophic earthquake that struck southeastern Iran this past December 26. - 1/23/04

World Jewish Aid sends aid to Iran to help victims of the Bam earthquake
World Jewish Aid (WJAID) has answered the call of the Central Jewish Committee in Tehran to help fund a new hospital in Bam - 1/23/04

Iranian leader talks to Israeli
Iran's president has told an Israeli reporter he favours a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mohammad Khatami was responding to a question in what is believed to be the first time the Iranian leader has publicly spoken to an Israeli. -BBC - 1/23/04

CIA Officers Warn of Iraq Civil War, Contradicting Bush's Optimism
CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war, current and former U.S. officials said Wednesday, starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address. -Common Dreams - 1/23/04

Will a Standoff in Iran Mean the End of Reformists?
Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, a tiny proportion of lawmakers- usually 15 to 25- have shaped debates and set the agenda. By eliminating the best-organized and best-known reformists from the next parliament, conservatives would leave the reformists weakened and quiet. This would probably lead the reformists’ base, already alienated by the slow pace of reform, to grow more apathetic. -Ardeshir Moaveni, Eurasianet - 1/23/04

A Night with a Milani in Berkeley, California (Jan 24)
Maryam Milani who worked on the film with her sister Tahmineh Milani will be presenting their new movie: "The Fifth Reaction." Maryam Milani will give a brief talk after the movie regarding the purpose of the film and the women's movement in Iran. - 1/23/04

IRAN: Respiratory infections a growing problem for Bam survivors
Although communicable diseases have not been widespread in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam, many survivors of the quake that struck nearly four weeks ago and killed at least 40,000, are suffering from respiratory infections. - 1/23/04

Censor this: Iran’s web of lies
Iran’s censors have a new enemy: the internet. But users of new media in the country are inventing ways to speak truth to power. -Hossein Derakhshan, Open Democracy - 1/23/04

UN issues Iran nuclear reminder
The head of the UN's nuclear agency has warned Iran to continue to co-operate over inspections of its nuclear industry or face serious consequences. -BBC - 1/23/04

If lack of unity persists the democratic opposition will be accountable to the Iranian Nation
The democratic opposition should unite and put away their political and historical differences in order to propose another alternative to the Iranian Nation. Not just words but concrete actions. One could be to see Republican Democrats, be them Mossadegis or any other faction, to join the constitutional monarchists and vice versa. -Darius Kadivar - 1/23/04

Iran: Science and Arts Foundation to build IT center in Bam
Using a concept that is known to SAF, i.e. through the establishment of an IT Center in Bam, SAF Iran intends to mobilize local and international funds and resources to respond to the needs of schools, teachers and students. - 1/23/04

Iran, France stress economy and trade cooperation
Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, heading a trade delegation to France, met on Thursday with French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Francis Mer - 1/23/04

Iran reinstates more candidates
Iran's conservative Guardian Council has revised its ban on a further 100 people wanting to stand for election. -BBC - 1/23/04

Khatami says Iran set to expand ties with Switzerland, EU
President Mohammad Khatami, who was heading a high-ranking delegation in a four-day visit to Switzerland, arrived in Tehran on Thursday night. The president termed his visit as positive and voiced Iran's interest in bolstering ties with Switzerland and EU. - 1/23/04

Khatami proves to be a master of repartee
The prize for the most cutting public put-down so far at this week's World Economic Forum goes, rather unexpectedly, to Mohammed Khatami, Iran's president. He dropped in to regale a somewhat bemused business audience with a long and rambling appeal for greater international dialogue, strewn with references to the Koran. -Financial Times - 1/23/04

Calendar by Kasraian dedicated to Bam; proceeds to help schools in quake-stricken areas
Mr. Nassrollah Kasraian, the famous Iranian photographer, has produced a Persian calendar for the next Iranian year (1383). The calendar is being sold in major bookstores in Tehran, and all proceeds will go through an NGO that I’m involved in towards rehabilitation of schools in quake-stricken areas in Bam and Jiroft. - 1/22/04

NIAC Seeks SBA 8(A) Statua for Iranian-American Businesses
The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) launched its 8(a) Support Project today, which aims to level the playing field for Iranian-American businesses. -NIAC - 1/22/04

Khatami blasts Bush's claims over Iran giving in to US pressure
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday rejected comments by US President George W. Bush that its cooperation with the IAEA was a sign of giving in to US pressure - 1/22/04

Iran: Guardians Council Seen As Having Free Hand To Quash Reforms
The large-scale disqualification of pro-reform candidates for parliament by Iran's hard-line Guardians Council earlier this month has led to a major political crisis. This is not the first time that the pro-reform parliament has clashed with the influential Guardians Council. The constitutional watchdog has rejected most of the pro-reform bills passed by parliament. -RFE - 1/22/04

Can Bush Claim Credit For Libyan, Iranian Arms Inspections?
In his speech last night, Bush expressed pride that his hard-line policy on Iraq has influenced other nations to come clean on their weapons programs. -RFE - 1/22/04

Iran's President: Democracy cannot be established by economic sanctions
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, in his opening address to the 34th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, said that establishing true democracy is a long evolutionary process and cannot be "exported" or imposed by "economic sanctions," - 1/22/04

British art show debuts in Iran
The British Council has helped set up the first exhibition of British art to be seen in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. -BBC - 1/22/04

Iran's Shirin Ebadi: Globalization must support democracy and Human Rights
On the controversial issue of head scarves for Muslim women, which has seen differing responses among women in Islamic and Western societies, Ebadi said, "I look at the issue in terms of freedom. Women must be free to choose their own clothes in Islamic or European countries." - 1/22/04

Iran's Oil Minister: US sanctions on Iran not lifted yet
Talking to IRNA at the end of a weekly cabinet session, Zanganeh dismissed as "unfounded" the claim that a 90-day suspension of the US sanctions against Iran had left positive impact on the country's economy. He said what the US has really lifted are the barriers to transfer of the cash donated to the quake-stricken survivors of Bam, a city in southeast Iran. - 1/22/04

President vows to stay in post despite election ban on reformists
The conflicting signals being sent out by the reformists will only reinforce cynicism among Iranians who have become disillusioned with the slow pace of reform and have yet to take to the streets in support of the protesting MPs. The MPs, numbering about 80, who are gathering in the parliament's lobby every afternoon, said they would protest until the council lifted its ban. -Guardian - 1/22/04

Iran's Qane crowned at Bulgaria chess challenge
Iranian chess player Shojaat Qane Wednesday lifted the title of an international grand master tournament in Bulgaria - 1/22/04

Britart goes to Iran (minus body parts)
Bare bones will be the only exposed human body parts on show when the first exhibition of contemporary British art opens in Iran next month. -Guardian - 1/22/04

George W Bush and the Real State of the Union
10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest. 16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war. 501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far. -Common Dreams - 1/22/04

There is cynicism in Iran, but civil society will recover
Almost a century after the 1906 constitutional revolution, a new crisis is brewing in Iran, a fact highlighted by the recent decision of the Council og Guardians to bar candidates to next month’s parliamentary elections. -Sanam Vakil, Daily Star - 1/22/04

Aftermath of the Bam Earthquake: U.S.-Iranian relations at a crossroads
Once again, the Islamic Republic of Iran is saddled with a serious political crisis; some 80 members of the parliament have staged a sit-in to protest the increasingly intolerant policies of the conservative mullahs; and once again the United States is faced with the sobering reality that it has still failed to formulate a serious strategic policy toward Iran. -Abbas Milani, SF Chronicle - 1/21/04

Iran: Reporters Without Borders voices concern to Canada and EU about stalled justice in Zahra Kazemi case
Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern to Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham and his 15 EU counterparts on 20 January over the stalled Zahra Kazemi case in which, it said, Iranian authorities appeared to be in no hurry to see justice done. - 1/21/04

Experts Suspect Nuclear Trail From Islamabad To Iran, Libya, North Korea
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that up to six individuals from its nuclear weapons program have been detained in recent days as part of an investigation into whether they illegally transferred nuclear technology to Iran or other countries. -RFE - 1/21/04

Bid to find lost Persian armada
Archaeologists have embarked on an epic search for an ancient fleet of Persian ships that was destroyed in a violent storm off Greece in 492 BC. -BBC - 1/21/04

My Artist of the Month
I was shocked with pleasure and admiration when I went to see the works by Ahmad Morshedloo at Arya gallery last week. The paintings were awesomely wonderful. Most modern, drastically real and yes, I can use the word fantastic. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/21/04

Swiss open human rights dialogue with Iran
A Swiss foreign ministry delegation has travelled to Iran to open dialogue on human rights. The visit also comes 12 years after Bern started similar talks with China, which have been criticised by some human rights groups. -Swiss Info - 1/21/04

Terrorists plan D.C. fundraiser
House Administration Chairman Robert Ney (R-Ohio) will ask Attorney General John Ashcroft today to investigate a charity event for ties to an Iranian terrorist group backed by Saddam Hussein. -The Hill - 1/21/04

Houston Iranians hold tragedy close to hearts
Less than a month after an earthquake leveled the ancient Iranian city of Bam and killed at least 41,000, a grass-roots relief effort led by Houstonians of Iranian descent has raised $450,000 to rebuild schools, hospitals and housing. -Houston Chronicle - 1/21/04

Iran’s fading traditions
Social changes have caught up with conservative Iran. The younger generation is moving away from colourful wedding traditions – and public proof of the bride’s virginity -AP - 1/21/04

EU sources: Door fully open for Iranian gas supply to Europe
The recent agreement between Greece and Turkey on the construction of an interconnection between their countries' gas networks to carry natural gas supplies opens the possibilities of export of Iranian natural gas to Europe, say EU sources - 1/21/04

Bay Area Nonprofits Organize Earthquake Relief Fundraiser
The Bay Area Iranian-American Voter Association (BAIVOTER), an Iranian-American voter education organization in the San Francisco Bay Area, today announced that it has joined a number of Bay Area Iranian-American nonprofit organizations to conduct a fundraiser in support of the victims of the recent massive earthquake that devastated the ancient Iranian city of Bam. - 1/21/04

Trying Times
Why Bush and his cohorts have a vested interest in preventing Saddam Hussein from getting a fair trial. -American Prospect - 1/21/04

Aghajari to have case re-examined after voting
Iranian official says examination of Aghajari's case of will be made after voting and in Iranian New Year. -Middle East Online - 1/21/04

Destitute Afghan refugees streaming out of Iran's quake stricken Bam
Another convoy of desperate Afghan refugees who survived the Bam earthquake was scheduled to leave the stricken city on Tuesday, an official from the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told IRIN. - 1/21/04

Heed Dubai’s economic success
the Arab world should heed some of Dubai’s lessons of economic success. If it doesn’t do so, the next decade could be tumultuous and, more importantly, another generation of Arabs will tragically fail to meet its potential. -Afshin Molavi, Daily Star - 1/21/04

Quakes hit southern Iranian towns
An earthquakes measuring 3.6 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the town of Sardasht in the southern province of Khuzestan Tuesday night. Meanwhile, another earthquakes measuring 3.4 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale hit southern parts of Fars province Tuesday night. - 1/21/04

War 'making world safer'
President George Bush last night declared the US to be on a mission to "lead the cause of freedom" and claimed his doctrine of pre-emptive military action had advanced the cause of democracy and non-proliferation around the world. -Guardian - 1/21/04

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of independent journalist Ensafali Hedayat
Ensafali Hedayat, employed by a number of reformist dailies, was arrested at his home by order of the Tabriz revolutionary court in north-western Iran on 16 January. Hedayat had just returned from Germany where he attended the first conference of the union of Iranian Republicans in Berlin from 8-10 January. - 1/20/04

Iranian MP: We will end sit-in if law is respected
Deputy Parliament Speaker and the Spokesman of the sit-in striker MPs Mohammad-Reza Khatami said on Monday, "Our main goal is having a free and fair parliamentary election and if the respective laws are fully observed we will end our sit-in," - 1/20/04

An Iranian Declares His Independence
"They have interrogated me twice so far," said Mr. Panahi, referring to the Iranian intelligence service, which routinely questions dissident artists. "The first thing they always say is that we are spies for the West. This is what all the government newspapers call us: spies. It's like they can't believe you can be independent." -NY Times - 1/20/04

Car accidents exact heavy toll in Iran
One Iranian dies every 24 minutes from car accidents. Up to 22,000 deaths, related to car accidents, were registered in the last Iranian year. Experts relate the high toll to dilapidated vehicles, reckless driving, insufficient emergency assistance, lack of communication facilities and inadequate emergency centers on the roads. - 1/20/04

Iran body permits 200 candidates
Iran's Guardian Council is allowing 200 reformist candidates of more than 3,500 blacklisted a week ago to stand in next month's elections. -BBC - 1/20/04

Analysis / Organization sends message to Damascus and Tehran
But it's worth noticing another statement that was made Sunday. The chairman of the Iranian National Security Council, Hassan Ruhani, said that if Israel withdraws from the Shaba farms area on the Lebanese border, Hezbollah would have no reason to operate against Israel. -Haaretz - 1/20/04

EYEWITNESS: Life goes on among the rubble
Alice Bernard-Sessa, logistics coordinator for Télécoms Sans Frontières, spent two weeks in the southern Iranian city of Bam in the immediate aftermath of the December 26, 2003 earthquake. She recalls her impressions of a disaster that killed more than 40,000 and left tens of thousands homeless. -Reuters - 1/20/04

UN considers Iraq election role
The United Nations is considering sending a team to Iraq to explore whether direct elections could be held before power is transferred in June. -BBC - 1/20/04

When the veil means freedom
Respect women's choices that are not our own, even if they include wearing the hijab -Guardian - 1/20/04

EU says Greek-Turkish gas agreement could open European market to supply from Iran
The EU welcomed Tuesday an agreement between Greece and Turkey on the construction of an interconnection between their countries' gas networks to carry natural gas supplies from the Caspian Basin to Turkey, Greece (and, at a later stage, the Balkans) as soon as 2006. - 1/20/04

IRAN: Death toll from Bam quake nears 45,000
The death toll from last month's devastating earthquake in the ancient Iranian city of Bam may ultimately reach 45,000, officials told IRIN on Monday, making it the country's worst recorded disaster ever. -IRIN - 1/20/04

Iran: Group of writers set up cultural camps in Bam
A group of writers comprising of members of the Golshiri Foundation, Popular Organs Coordination Council and Iran's Writers Syndicate have set up cultural camps in the two quake-hit areas of Bam and Baravat. - 1/20/04

Iran Quake: World Vision to Build Health Clinics in Bam
World Vision will rebuild health clinics destroyed during the Bam earthquake under an agreement signed with the Iranian Government yesterday. World Vision relief manager Paul Sitnam says the agreement with the Ministry of Health was a breakthrough in dealings with the Iranian government which is traditionally wary of foreign non-government organisations (NGOs). - 1/20/04

Swiss president officially welcomes Iran's President Khatami
President Mohammad Khatami, who arrived in Bern on Monday night to attend the World Economic Forum, was officially welcomed by his Swiss counterpart Joseph Deiss on Tuesday - 1/20/04

A US couple learn the Koran in Iran's holy city
People back home simply cannot understand why Wally and Evelyn Shellenberger have chosen to spend nearly three years in the Iranian holy city of Qom. -Christian Science Monitor - 1/20/04

First group of Iranian children in quake-devastated Bam return to school
The first 50 of the estimated 20,000 school-age children whose schools were damaged or demolished in quake-devastated Bam, Iran, return to school today, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said. - 1/20/04

IRAN: Focus on Bam survivors still living amidst rubble
More than three weeks after last month's devastating earthquake struck the southeastern Iranian city of Bam, many affected people remain reluctant to move to camps, concerned at losing their property. Others who want to move into the tented cities complain of lack of access. -IRIN - 1/20/04

Quakes jolt Iran's provinces of Bushehr and "Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari"
An earthquakes measuring 4.8 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale hit the region of Dashti in the southern province of Bushehr on Monday. Another earthquake measuring 4.2 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Boroujen in the southwestern province of Shahr-e Kord, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari on Monday morning. - 1/19/04

Cautious leader fails to live up to great expectations
He once attracted the kind of adoration celebrities enjoy in the west, but those days are long gone. The electoral crisis gripping Iran shows why President Mohammad Khatami no longer enjoys such reverence, and why so many former supporters are disillusioned with his cautious approach -Guardian - 1/19/04

Iranian parties seek Khatami's help over poll ban review
The Second of Khordad Front in a letter to President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday urged him to see to it that the review of the disqualification of Majlis elections hopefuls is completed by Friday - 1/19/04

"Clean Air Day" celebrated in Tehran
The little children who were carrying flags saying "clean air is our right," "why shouldn't the air be clean," "mom, dad, don't smoke, the air gets polluted," "fewer cars, cleaner air," demanded to have clean and safe air. - 1/19/04

Iran, Italy to cooperate in renovation of 'Iran-Bastan' Museum
Iran and Italy here Sunday signed an agreement to cooperate in drawing up a plan aimed at reinforcing the 'Iran-Bastan' Museum's structure and to implement a renovation scheme - 1/19/04

The Cleric Spoiling U.S. Plans
The most important political figure in Iraq today is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, an elderly Shiite Muslim cleric. He has not set foot outside his home in six years, yet the white-bearded ayatollah has effectively commandeered the Bush administration's planning for postwar democracy. -NY Times - 1/19/04

Iraqis march ahead of U.N. meeting
Sunni and Shia Muslims joined Monday for a massive, peaceful demonstration in Baghdad, marching in favor of a prominent cleric's demand for direct elections. -CNN - 1/19/04

Iran's Majlis (parliament) centennial history to be filmed
Iranian film director Manijeh Hekmat is set on making a long documentary on Majlis centennial history with a historical look at its formation trend up to the 7th term - 1/19/04

Red Cross, Red Crescent to Provide Counseling for Iran Earthquake Victims
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says extensive psychological counseling programs for thousands of traumatized victims of the devastating earthquake in southeastern Iran are getting under way this week. -VOA - 1/19/04

Khatami should resign, says Nobel peace laureate
In an interview with the Guardian Ms Ebadi, an Iranian human rights lawyer, said the president had pledged to "reform the electoral system". "President Khatami said himself that if he couldn't pass measures because of the Guardian Council he would resign. But still he has not. I think he should fulfil his promise." - 1/19/04

Winter Days in Tehran
There are days in Tehran, rare I must admit, that everything looks so fine that one simply forgets and forgives all its many shortcomings. Here i share with you such a beautiful day in tehran last week. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/19/04

Lost beauty that was Bam
Felicity Blake recalls the grand old days in the ancient mud city devastated by a recent earthquake... An old description of the Arg now applies to all of Bam: "This, the Arg, is history itself. Let us just watch, and pass very gently by these ruins, because beneath every place you tread, there may lie a king, a swordsman, an old sage, a lover, a mother... Be careful, beware." -Sydney Morning Herald - 1/18/04

Iran's Housing minister says majority of high-rises immune against quake
An earthquake expert said last month that based on seismological studies carried out in Tehran, an earthquake comparable to the recent one that hit Japan will cause material losses higher than the gross domestic product (GDP). Farid Mehdian added that such tremor will cause close to 500,000 deaths, and two million injuries and render six million people homeless. - 1/18/04

Iran: Guardian Council starts reviewing complaints of elections hopefuls
GC spokesman Ebrahim Azizi told reporters at a news conference that the council would not be swayed by personal taste nor political bias in reviewing the complaints, stressing that this could take 20 days. - 1/18/04

US after stopping Iran-EU cooperation: Asefi
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said in Tehran on Sunday that some countries, including the United States, make certain remarks to stop cooperation between Iran and Europe - 1/18/04

Baghdad car bomb 'leaves 20 dead'
At least 20 people have been killed and more than 60 injured in a suicide car bombing outside the US headquarters in the Iraqi capital. -BBC - 1/18/04

Sharon praises 'art vandal' envoy
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has praised his ambassador to Sweden after he vandalised an art exhibit featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber. But the expatriate Israeli artist, Dror Feiler, rejected the criticism of his work, saying it had a message of openness and conciliation. -BBC - 1/18/04

US sugar barons 'block global war on obesity'
Leading scientists accused the Bush administration last night of putting the interests of powerful American sugar barons ahead of the global fight against obesity. Since 1990, successive US governments have blocked WHO calls for action, claims Norum, professor of medicine at Oslo University. -Guardian - 1/18/04

Revealed: how Pakistan fuels nuclear arms race
Antony Barnett investigates the illegal global market in nuclear equipment and expertise and how the weapons programmes of Iran, Libya and North Korea all lead back to Pakistan -Guardian - 1/18/04

Iran: University Professors Association criticizes GC for mass disqualification of hopefuls
The Islamic Association of the University Professors directed criticism against the Guardian Council (GC) for he mass disqualification of the reformist hopefuls of the 20 February parliamentary elections in Iran - 1/18/04

Iran's President Khatami to head for Switzerland on Monday
President Mohammad Khatami will head for Switzerland on Monday to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) due to be held in the Swiss city of Davos - 1/18/04

Quakes jolt Birjand and Bandar Abbas in Northeastern and Southern Iran
An earthquake measuring 3.8 degrees on the Richter scale jolted the city of Birjand in the northeastern province of Khorassan on Sunday morning Another earthquakes measuring 4.4 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the city of Bandar Abbas in the southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan early on Sunday. - 1/18/04

Iran: Iranian-Born Architect Trying To Build Support For His Earthquake-Resistant Technique
Nader Khalili says cities and towns in Iran need not wait years to rebuild after enduring the earthquakes to which they are so prone. He says his technique -- using what he calls "super adobe" -- can be used to quickly rebuild a shattered city such as Bam, in his native land, and at the same time make it resistant to future earthquakes. -RFE - 1/17/04

Iran: Remembering The Shah, 25 Years Later
Today is the 25th anniversary of the departure of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi from Iran. Iranians throughout the country joyously celebrated his departure at the time. But RFE/RL reports that many Iranians of all classes tend 25 years later to remember the shah's reign with nostalgia. - 1/17/04

Iranian reformists dig heels in
Reformist MPs in Iran are continuing a parliament sit-in as they wait to see if conservatives will act to diffuse a looming government crisis. -BBC - 1/17/04

Iran's Election Chief Threatens to Quit
The head of elections in Iran is threatening to quit unless candidates barred from next month's parliamentary elections are reinstated. The deputy interior minister in charge of elections in Iran, Morteza Mobalegh, said Saturday he will resign unless he is assured that next month's parliamentary elections are free and legal. -VOA - 1/17/04

Iran: Khatami, Karroubi review upcoming parliamentary polls with Guardian Council
President Mohammad Khatami and Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi took part in a joint session with the 12-member Guardian Council on Saturday to review the upcoming seventh parliamentary elections as well as disqualifications of a number of candidates - 1/17/04

Iran earns $3.4B annually from livestock export
Export of livestock products earns Iran a revenue of dlrs 3.4 billion a year, declared the Head of the Institute of Research on Livestock Sciences Mohammad-Ali Kamali in Karaj, Tehran province, on Saturday - 1/17/04

When organisers almost shooed her off the stage
Clad in a light blue suit and bereft of her traditional headscarf, petite Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi — this year’s Nobel Peace prize-winner—is so unassuming that a senior organiser at the World Social Forum mistakenly tries to shoo her off stage -Times of India - 1/17/04

Shah's son wants role in Iran future
Twenty five years after the fall of the Shah of Iran, his exiled son says he still wants to be a catalyst for change in the country. -Al-Jazeera - 1/17/04

Iran: Over 350 political activists back MPs democratic demand
Over 350 political activists, celebrated cultural figures and academics on Saturday backed the MPs democratic demands from the Guardian Council to declare null and void the extensive ban on applicants to run in the parliamentary elections - 1/17/04

The Appearance of Change in Iran: Personal Freedoms Expand As Political Reform Stalls
Many Iranians, while embracing the new leeway, say they recognize that the gains are meant to relieve pressure for more fundamental political freedoms, which remain closely circumscribed. While taking morals police off the streets, for example, hard-liners have also closed more than 200 newspapers. -Washington Post - 1/16/04

Countdown to counter-revolution
An attempt by Iran's hardline Council of Guardians to ban many pro-democracy candidates from next month's parliamentary elections has caused a storm of protest. Will it all end in victory for the reformists, or repression? -Economist - 1/16/04

Earthquake Relief Fund for Orphans Appeal
According to our representative in Bam, the official number of children who have lost their parents in the recent earthquake has surpassed 1500. The Earthquake Relief Fund for Orphans (ERFO) is asking for your support of these children. With your tax deductible charitable donations, you will be assisting in providing long term care for the needy children of this unfathomable tragedy. - 1/16/04

Their last chance?
While reformists protest, the conservatives are relentlessly gaining ground -Economist - 1/16/04

Agreement in sight for Azadegan
Japan and Iran are close to a deal on the development of the Azadegan oil field in Iran, government sources said. Azadegan, which is located near the Iraqi border, is one of the Middle East's largest untapped reserves and is estimated to hold 26 billion barrels of oil. -Asahi Shimbun - 1/16/04

Election plan for Iraq attacked
A top Iraqi Shia cleric has written to the US president and UK prime minister questioning their sincerity over the transfer of power to the Iraqis. -BBC - 1/16/04

Reformists scent victory in Iranian parliament row
As a conciliatory gesture, the reformist MPs called off a rally planned for this afternoon, but a group of hardline clergy in the holy city of Qom have maintained their threat to go to Tehran and break up the sit-ins. -Guardian - 1/16/04

French Culture Minister to visit Iran's quake-hit Bam
French Culture and Communications Minister Jean Jacques Igon is to visit Iran's quake-hit city of Bam on Saturday - 1/16/04

Iran's President to attend Davos Summit
President Mohammad Khatami is expected to visit Switzerland to take part in the World Economic Forum of business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland on January 20 - 1/16/04

Political Barbs Welcome an Iranian Visiting France
With Iran embroiled in an internal political struggle, Hassan Rowhani, the head of that country's National Security Council, and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin of France clashed Thursday over the coming Iranian parliamentary elections and human rights. -New York Times - 1/16/04

Opening shots in Iran's power struggle
Any national election in today's Iran provides a crucial test of the balance of power between the country's two broad political camps, the reformists and the conservatives. -BBC - 1/16/04

Random Thoughts on the Bam Earthquake and Satan
But the neocons don't want to settle for normalized relations. Even if Iran submitted to all their demands (nuclear inspections, al-Qaeda handover, end to support for Hamas and Hezbollah) they wouldn't be satisfied. They want victory over Evil, dammit, and settling for anything less constitutes a "loss of will." -CounterPunch - 1/16/04

Interesting events in Tehran: Gangs of New York
You would not believe this! A couple of nights ago we decided to go to cinema. The nearest theatre to us is Cinema Farhang; and they were showing Gangs of New York! I had my camera with me, so I took a couple of pictures that you can see here. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/16/04

Analysts: Stakes High in Iran Parliament Dispute
Iran's reformist president, Mohammed Khatami, is facing a serious test in his ongoing struggle with hardliners. He is trying to negotiate a settlement that will satisfy Iran's religious establishment and also convince moderates that the country is continuing its progress toward reforms. -VOA - 1/16/04

Can Iranians change their political system?
Iran's popularly elected yet relatively powerless president, Mohammad Khatami, introduced legislation in 2002 that would limit the Guardian Council's role in elections, but the council also vets all legislation for its compatibility with Islam and the constitution; not surprisingly, it rejected Khatami's legislation several times. -IHT - 1/16/04

Earthquakes in Iran: A Geological Perspective
The Bam earthquake of December 26, 2003 with a magnitude of 6.6 Richter is one of several deadly tremors that have repeatedly struck Iran's towns and villages throughout its modern and ancient history. Understanding the geologic forces behind this tremendous natural hazard is of fundamental importance to any risk assessment or loss prevention efforts in the region. -Jahandar Ramezani - 1/15/04

Iran's industrial growth could top 14 percent in fourth development plan
Minister of Economy and Finance said in Tehran on Wednesday that the government is hopeful that the growth rate in industrial sector will top 14 percent in the fourth five-year socio-economic development plan (March 2005-2010) - 1/15/04

German-Iranian consortium awarded 250 million euro Tehran sewage deal
An Iranian-German consortium was awarded the contract for the construction of the 250 million euro Tehran sewage system, German Research Minister Edelgard Buhlmann and visiting Iranian Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf announced in Berlin late Wednesday evening - 1/15/04

Doctor recalls mission to stricken Iranian city
In Philadelphia, orthopedic surgeon Christopher Born was also asleep at home when the phone rang at 2 a.m. the day after Christmas: Would he join the first-ever U.S. emergency medical response team invited into Iran, an implacable political foe of the United States? -Philadelphia Inquirer - 1/15/04

Iranian FM stresses 'just distribution' of Caspian resources
Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi reiterated in Ashkhabad on Wednesday Iran's demand for the 'just distribution' of the Caspian Sea's resources, including its oil reserves, which lie at the heart of dispute among littoral states - 1/15/04

Rowhani: Iran's nuclear activities based on NPT principles
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani Wednesday evening in Paris said Iran's nuclear activities are within the framework of the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - 1/15/04

Eight villages damaged by quake in Fars province of Iran
Eight villages in the vicinity of Firouzabad, in Iran's southern province of Fars, have been damaged by an earthquake measuring five degrees on the Richter scale which hit the city and its nearby areas at 2028 hours local time (1658 GMT) Wednesday - 1/15/04

Iran's Khamenei Orders Reconsideration of Decision to Ban Election Candidates
But Mr. Khatami's younger brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, said the protest would continue because there was no guarantee that the candidates would be reinstated. The younger brother is the deputy speaker of parliament and one of the candidates who was disqualified. -VOA - 1/15/04

Iranian leader urges poll rethink
Iran's supreme leader has called for a review of the ban on thousands of candidates standing for elections. -BBC - 1/15/04

Iran: Better shelter needed for Bam quake survivors before weather warms up
one of the concerns is the upcoming hot season, given Bam's desert location. "The heat is coming very soon and in one month the temperature will be about 40 degrees and it will be very hot here," the UN official said. - 1/15/04

Iran MPs defy calls to end sit-in
Iranian MPs protesting at a decision to ban thousands of reformist from next month's election have rejected a call to end their parliamentary sit-in. -BBC - 1/14/04

Iran: Notes on Past and Present: Education and Religion
Many of those who are involved in education, trade, and in particular industry, agree that one of the worst things since the 1979 revolution in Iran is the fact that many of her educated elites, before and since, have left the country. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/14/04

Iran: Judiciary Orders Pro-Reform Website To Be Filtered
Iran's conservative judiciary has ordered one of the main pro-reform websites to be filtered. Ahead of the parliamentary election scheduled for 20 February, analysts say conservatives are trying to restrict the Internet, which has become one of the main platforms for reformists to challenge their conservative rivals. -RFE - 1/14/04

Iran: Majlis Vice-Speaker says new ways to be examined if sit-in fails
Khatami who is also acting as the spokesman for those members of the incumbent Majlis who have been announced as disqualified for the 7th parliament and are now in a sit-in strike in the parliament's corridors, said the new methods and ways of protest will be declared next week. - 1/14/04

Iranians See Rare TV Footage of Abuses Inside Iran
Iranians saw riot police attack student demonstrators and heard student leaders talk of imprisonment and torture when U.S. international broadcasting's Persian-language show, News and Views, reported on a PBS exclusive program. - 1/14/04

Major test for Iran's reformists
Sweeping moves by Iranian hard- liners to disqualify reform opponents before next month's key elections are sparking a political crisis that could lead to the resignation of President Mohamad Khatami's government. -Christian Science Monitor - 1/14/04

FILM: The Invisible Man
A Tehran pizza delivery boy gives an indelible performance in a humanist anti-blockbuster -Village Voice - 1/14/04

US official warns EU over dealings with Iran
The European Union must tread carefully in its dealings with Iran, a US official warned Tuesday, highlighting the wholesale barring of reformist candidates from forthcoming elections. -EU Business - 1/14/04

Iran: Qom clerics protest against MPs sit-in
A group of clerics and students of religious schools in the holy city of Qom took part in a gathering Tuesday evening to protest against the sit-in strike by a number of members of the Iranian parliament who have been announced disqualified for the 7th Majlis - 1/14/04

Italian foreign minister to visit Iran this week: official
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini will head for Tehran this week to bolster the two countries' ties and discuss regional and international issues, a senior Foreign Ministry official said in Rome Wednesday - 1/14/04

Democracy and National Strength
Most advocates of democratization base their support on contribution of democracy to social justice and fairness. Democracy is a political system that offers equal political rights to all citizens and because of its fair procedures for selection of political leadership; it also gives legitimacy to the government. -Nader Habibi - 1/14/04

Solana Visit to Iran Highlights EU Policy Dilemma
The EU's foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana has wrapped up a two-day visit to Iran. The bloc's relations with Iran are delicately poised at the moment, and member states are split on whether to resume the "twin-track" dialogue with the country on trade and human rights. -RFE - 1/14/04

Guardians Council Decision Leads To Growing Political Crisis in Iran
Iran's political crisis deepened today as a sit-in protest in the Iranian Parliament continued for a second day and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, refused to intervene immediately. -RFE - 1/13/04

Solana says Iran has right to peaceful nuclear technology
Solana said EU recognized Iran's legitimate right to use peaceful nuclear technology and "is ready for closer cooperation to assist in this framework." - 1/13/04

Let My Father Go
Ever since November 2001 when the Iran's hard-line goon squad, the Motalefeh, abducted my father, Siamak Pourzand, a 74-year-old Iranian journalist and film historian, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights has treated my family with nothing but contempt and willful disregard. -Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, NRO - 1/13/04

Iran: Governors to discuss disqualifications of MPs with President Khatami
Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari said in Tehran on Tuesday that the country's governors general will discuss the recent disqualifications of hopefuls for the Majlis elections with President Mohammad Khatami later in the day - 1/13/04

Wells Fargo Donates $25,000 to Relief International For Victims Of Bam Earthquake in Iran
“With many Iranian team members and customers, Wells Fargo wanted to help the survivors of this devastating earthquake as they put their lives back together and rebuild their cities and villages,” said Shelley Freeman, regional president for Wells Fargo in Los Angeles. - 1/13/04

Iranian filmmakers are living with censorship
Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the government is the sole authority to grant filmmakers permission to have a film education, licenses to make or even exhibit their work and, of course, financing. Even when they approve of films, they show an even-heavier hand (with horrendous editing) when those films are shown on television. -Washington Post - 1/13/04

War College Study Calls Iraq a 'Detour'
A report published by the Army War College criticizes the Bush administration's global war on terrorism as "unfocused" and contends that the war in Iraq is "unnecessary" and a "detour" that has diverted attention and resources from the threat posed by Al Qaeda. -Common Dreams - 1/13/04

Top cleric rebuffed on Iraq polls
America's top man in Iraq has urged the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to stick to the handover deal, despite renewed calls for early elections. -BBC - 1/13/04

A Fox Called Lion: Syria's Peace Proposal
The wicked states, Iran, Syria and Libya, have forsaken their bad old ways and are basking in the Pax Americana. All the Weapons of Mass Destruction in the region have been abolished, except for Israel's. -Uri Avnery, CounterPunch - 1/13/04

Iranian election dispute widens
A political crisis in Iran sparked by the disqualification of candidates for next month's polls is intensifying. -BBC - 1/13/04

Crowds gather at scene of fatality
Crowds gather each night on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park (California) where Atefeh ``Amy'' Bijan, a Stanford birthing instructor and former member of the Iranian Parliament, was struck and killed by a Mercedes-Benz roadster Friday. -San Jose Mercury - 1/13/04

Bay Area experts will seek out data about earthquake in Iran
A national earthquake research organization with administrative offices in downtown Oakland has sent a team to investigate the devastation caused by the earthquake that hit Bam, Iran, on Dec. 26. -Alameda Times-Star - 1/13/04

Iran, Relief Agencies Praise Response to Bam Quake
If there was a silver lining to the horrible earthquake cloud over Bam last month, it was the outpouring of humanitarian assistance from all over the globe. Within days of the disaster, 1,700 volunteers from 40 countries arrived on the scene. -VOA - 1/13/04

Double usual number of donors helping with Iran quake relief, UN official says
Iran has gathered an unprecedented number of donors responding to a Flash Appeal for funds to cover 90 days of humanitarian aid after last month's devastating earthquake, the United Nations relief coordinator said today. - 1/13/04

American Quake survivor: Fiance's death 'doesn't seem right'
FREEDMAN: I'm hoping to raise money to build a school in Bam just to help with, you know, rebuilding a city that's 90 percent destroyed, and thanking the Iranian people for all of the help that they provided to both Tobb and to me and for the kindness that they showed us, both before and after the earthquake. -CNN - 1/13/04

US Criticizes Restrictions on Iran Parliament Candidates
The United States has added its criticism to the decision by Iran's conservative religious authority, the Guardian Council, to disqualify many reformist politicians from parliamentary elections next month. The State Department said the United State supports elections that are free, fair and open to all. -VOA - 1/13/04

My "Current Local Politics" Class
Iran’s parliamentary election on 20 February has been the most talked about issue in the past few months. Tragically only the Bam earthquake overtook it. Now things are back to normal and everybody talks about it again; -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/13/04

2003: The year of the Iranian Women
The secret is finally out. In 2003, the world finally discovered the Iranian women, something that the Iranian men had discovered thousands of years ago! The purpose of this article is to discuss the progress of Iranian women in 2003 and its local and global consequences in the hope of saving the beautiful planet earth from a catastrophe that’s in the making! -Ali Moayedian - 1/13/04

Iranian MPs continue with sit-in protest against Guardian Council decision
Members of Parliament (MPs) barred from running for February 20 parliamentary election continued their sit-in protest against what they say violation of their constitutional rights - 1/12/04

Kharrazi: Iran excepts Europe to fulfill its commitments
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana conferred on Monday with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on expansion of cooperation between Iran and the EU - 1/12/04

President Khatami: Improvement of Iran-Egypt ties needs time
President Mohammad Khatami said that given the current favorable Iran-Egypt relations, further measures towards its improvement should be taken step by step and hoped that the issues of bilateral concern will be settled while the interests of both sides are protected - 1/12/04

US pistachio's face disease
Producing more than a quarter of the world’s production of pistachio’s, scientists warn the relatively young industry in California that a devasting disease could put paid to future growth. -Food Navigator - 1/12/04

Iraqi Detainee Gets To Go Home at Last -- With Tale of Ordeal
As Najim Abdulhussein huddled with his 17-year-old son during their first night of detention by U.S. forces last August, he was confident the Americans would soon realize they had made a mistake and free them. -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 1/12/04

Refereeing in Hell
GIs are dying. Rival factions are turning on each other. After freeing Iraq, can we keep it from coming apart? -Babak Dehghanpisheh, Newsweek - 1/12/04

The World Just Got Safer. Give Diplomacy the Credit
In the past few weeks we have witnessed remarkable changes in some of the most difficult and dangerous global nuclear proliferation threats. Rather than heading toward military conflicts, the United States seems to be moving toward negotiated solutions that could end the nascent nuclear weapons programs in Iran, Libya and possibly also North Korea. -Washington Post - 1/12/04

Press polarised as Iran poll looms
Tension in Iran over the decision to disqualify hundreds of reformists from standing in next month's elections to parliament - the Majlis - is reflected clearly in Monday's press. -BBC - 1/12/04

Showdown as Iran MPs protest at election ban
Iran was on course last night for what could be the final showdown between its conservative Islamic leaders and the forces of reform. Around 70 members of the pro-reform groups, who have a majority in parliament, were holding an all-night sit-in in the building after a committee controlled by Iran's self-appointed religious elite banned them from standing again in next month's elections. -Guardian - 1/12/04

Iranian leader shuns intervention
Iran's supreme leader has said the controversy over next month's parliamentary elections must be resolved through legal channels. -BBC - 1/12/04

Iranian Governors Threaten to Resign over Election Ban
Iran's provincial governors have threatened to resign unless a decision to disqualify at least 80 reformist lawmakers from next month's parliamentary elections is reversed within a week. -VOA - 1/12/04

Iran: Supreme Leader calls for legal channels to resolve qualification dispute
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Monday recommended the Interior Ministry officials and the governors general to explore legal channels to resolve their dispute with the Supervisory Board - 1/12/04

US response to Iran quake sparks new debate on rapprochement
Gary Sick, author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran, and a veteran observer and participant in Iran-US relations, argues that “proximity has bred a certain realism on both sides.” The presence of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says, makes the two countries neighbors with the mutual need for stability. -Afshin Molavi, Daily Star - 1/12/04

Analysis: Iraq's religious targets
The death toll mounts around Iraq's Shia and Sunni mosques -BBC - 1/11/04

Iran demands Saddam be tried as war criminal
Iran on Sunday demanded that the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who imposed a destructive war on the Islamic Republic between 1980 and 1988, is tried as a war criminal - 1/11/04

Analysis: Iran power struggles intensify
Reformist leaders have described the move to bar them from next month's parliamentary elections as a coup d'etat. -BBC - 1/11/04

Cities in southwest Iran are hit by tremors as floods kill three in Fars province
The cities of Masjed Soleyman, Izeh, Baghmalek in southwest Iran have been shaken by 27 tremors - 1/11/04

Persian Music Concert in London to Benefit Bam Quake Survivors (Jan 18)
Following the appalling and tragic earthquake in Bam that has left over 50 thousand dead and injured, the Centre for Promotion of Persian Language and Literature in London has planned to hold a fund-raising event for the survivors of Bam earthquake in Iran at the Royal Festival Hall in London. - 1/11/04

Iran: UNICEF to launch psychological rehabilitation of Bam children
Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Carol Bellamy declared in Tehran on Sunday that the international body is determined to participate in the psychological rehabiliation of the quake-hit children in Bam - 1/11/04

Iranian spokesman: Guardian Council should keep away from political ends
Belief in and commitment to Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran, allegiance to the Constitution and Velayat-e Faqih (Islamic Jurisprudence), having good physical health, holding at least an Associate of Arts/Science degree or its equivalent, lack of criminal records and being between ages of 30 and 75 are among pre-requisites for the nominees. - 1/11/04

Iran reformists barred from polls
Hundreds of reformist candidates in Iran have been barred from standing in general elections next month by an unelected conservative body. They include the brother of President Khatami, who is head of the country's largest reform party, the IIPF. -BBC - 1/11/04

Iran's President vows legal action against poll bans
President Mohammad Khatami pledged Sunday to tap legal channels as it emerged that a large number of hopefuls, including many incumbent MPs, had been barred from standing in February's parliamentary election - 1/11/04

Iran: Turkish Foreign Minister Gul arrives in Tehran
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul arrived in Tehran on Saturday to discuss ways of expanding relations between the two neighboring heavyweights - 1/10/04

Mass grave of Iranian soldiers uncovered in Iraqi territory
A mass grave of Iranian soldiers was uncovered at Tanumeh area, Iraq near the location where the Iranian army launched `Karbala five` offensive to repulse Iraqi troops from Iranian territory in 1986. - 1/10/04

Mid-East awash with diplomatic moves
The Middle East is awash with diplomatic initiatives. Libya is talking to Israel. Egypt is talking to Iran. Turkey is passing messages from Israel to Syria. -BBC - 1/10/04

Now wait for the political tremors
New and old, public and private, the buildings of Bam had one thing in common: their disregard for anti-earthquake regulations. Even the swankiest homes collapsed: the governor was the only senior official to survive. Two hospitals were destroyed. Prisoners fled a wrecked jail on the edge of the town. -Economist - 1/10/04

Iraqi Kurdish Autonomy Remains Difficult Issue to Settle
The Iraqi Governing Council and the U.S.-led coalition are trying to reach a compromise on Kurdish autonomy before the country goes under Iraqi control scheduled for late June. -VOA - 1/10/04

Ansari "cautiously optimistic" about February elections
Scholar and professor at Exeter University in England Dr. Ali Massoud Ansari was “cautiously optimistic” that reformist politicians in Iran would prove triumphant in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, at a lecture given at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Friday. -NIAC - 1/10/04

Iran: Spanish foreign minister tours quake-hit Bam
Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio on Saturday toured the southeastern Iranian city of Bam which was flattened in an earthquake on December 26 - 1/10/04

More tremors jolt Izeh and Masjed Soleiman in Iran
Tehran University`s Geophysics Institute announced here on Saturday that four quakes have been registered in the two cities since Friday morning. - 1/10/04

Iran: Q & A -- Relief Worker Says Situation In Bam Is 'Appalling'
Two weeks after an earthquake destroyed Iran's southeastern city of Bam, killing at least 30,000 people, relief workers face the massive task of housing survivors in tent encampments until the city can be rebuilt. -RFE - 1/10/04

Eleven jailed Iranian journalists start the New Year in harsh prison conditions
Reporters Without Borders has expressed its indignation at the prison conditions of 11 Iranian journalists, most of them ill and in a very physically and psychologically weakened state.The international press freedom organisation renews its objections to their often-arbitrary detention and calls for their release. - 1/10/04

Iran/U.S.: Hopes Of Bilateral 'Earthquake Diplomacy' Appear To Be Crumbling
"There are voices of protest from each corner, protest over why there should be animosity between Iran and the U.S., since this animosity has brought tremendous harm to Iran's national interests in the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan [and] in the future of Iraq," said Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of political science in Tehran. -RFE - 1/10/04

Urgent Appeal for support in helping Iranian earthquake victims
As an Indian National Sikh born in Tehran, Iran,Tehran my heart out goes to the people of Bam and in this process I have joined the Millions who are trying to help the people in need.I am duty bound to appeal your kind consideration that the need of hour is Rehabilitation of the people who are homeless and the innocent Children who have become orphans. -Pervinder Singh Chandhok, India-Iran Chamber of Commerce, Tehran - 1/9/04

Helping the people of Bam
As renewed calls are made for donations to help the relief effort in Bam, BBC News Online asks aid workers there about efforts to help those who survived the earthquake. -BBC - 1/9/04

Rebuilding Bam 'could cost $1bn'
The UN has told international donors that the long-term rebuilding of the Iranian quake-hit city of Bam could cost up to $1 billion (£543 million). -BBC - 1/9/04

UN allocates dlrs 29,389,000 to quake-hit city of Bam
Governor General of Kerman province Mohammad-Ali Karimi said in Bam on Thursday that the UN had allocated a fund of dlrs 29,389,000 in aid to Iran`s quake-stricken city of Bam - 1/9/04

EU's Solana to visit Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia next week
Solana will fly on to Tehran for talks with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and other senior government officials and lawmakers. -EU Business - 1/9/04

Iranian opposition figures call for EU support
Opponents of the Iranian government meeting in Germany called Friday on the European Union to offer support to democratic opposition parties ahead of parliamentary elections in Iran on February 20. -AFP - 1/9/04

For Saudis, a hard fight over faith
Reformers work to redefine religion in a kingdom built upon conservative Islam -CSM - 1/9/04

Quake-resistant buildings possible with clay bricks: German experts
"It is even possible to build safe houses with clay bricks," Stern cited Gernot Minke, a professor of architecture, as saying. - 1/9/04

Iran earthquake survivor out of hospital; mourns fiance
"I'm only here because of the kindness of the Iranian people," Freedman said at the hospital news conference. -San Jose Mercury - 1/9/04

High speed internet for Iran
Authorities in Iran have for the first time allowed a private firm, Parsonline, to provide high-speed internet access in the Islamic republic. -AFP - 1/9/04

New aid appeal for quake-hit Bam
The Red Cross and United Nations are appealing for $73m to help the people of the Iranian quake-hit city of Bam over the next three months. -BBC - 1/9/04

14TH Annual Celebration of Iranian Cinema at UCLA (Jan 16 to Feb 8)
Like the nation it reflects so vividly and thoughtfully, Iranian cinema is at a crossroads. Iran has an overwhelmingly young population, and almost all of the selections in this survey of recent Iranian filmmaking concern a generation of young people dissatisfied with their present situation and uncertain about the future. - 1/9/04

The Impacts of U.S. Sanctions on the Iranian Civil Society: Consequences for Democratization
According to the Institute for International Economics (IIE) sanctions rarely work in the way they are intended. Many argue that sanctions, particularly unilateral sanctions such as those targeted at Iran, are less and less effective in a global economy, where governments have the opportunity to procure their strategic needs from other countries. -Ali Mostashari, MIT - 1/9/04

U.S. Talks Possible, Iranian Aide Says: Remarks Extend Mostly Positive Signals
Iran's foreign minister held out the possibility Thursday of a new dialogue with the United States in guarded remarks that analysts said kept alive the prospect of a warmer relationship between the longtime enemies. -Washington Post - 1/9/04

Earthquake That Destroyed Bam Also Rattled U.S.-Iranian Relations
The earthquake that hit Bam on December 26 killed over 30,000 people and left the ancient Iranian city in ruins. Rescuers and aid flowed in from around the world, including the United States. Many people now question whether the quake will shake up relations between the two long-time sworn enemies. -VOA - 1/9/04

Supreme Leader: There is no sign of change in US attitude towards Iran
"There has been no sign of reduction in enmity of the US officials against Iran's Islamic establishment and nation because they (Americans) impudently threaten people and the Islamic establishment, while sending (relief) aid to the quake-stricken regions," said Ayatollah Khamenei in an address to a group of people and officials. - 1/8/04

Iran Earthquake Tragedy Highlights Government Mismanagement, Business Corruption
As the relief effort continues following in the devastating Bam earthquake, the Iranian press and public are asking tough questions about the government’s lack of a comprehensive disaster response plan. Straddling several major seismic fault lines and with a history of deadly quakes, Iranians are justifiably asking: why weren’t we better prepared? -Afshin Molavi, Eurasianet - 1/8/04

Iran restricts reformist website
Iran's judiciary has ordered one of two main pro-reformist websites to be "filtered", making it unavailable to internet subscribers in Iran. -BBC - 1/8/04

Humanitarian mission to Iran shows America’s spirit
I’ll never forget the look on one woman’s face as I walked through the airport. She sat quietly as I walked past. Then she saw the nametape on my desert camouflage uniform and read it aloud in amazement. “U.S. Air Force in Iran! I can’t believe it,” she shouted quite happily, getting up to talk with me. It is that woman I feel best represents the attitude of Iranians I encountered during my time there. -Capt. Nicholas J. Sabula, US Air Force - 1/8/04

Iran: World Vision partners with local NGO to speed distribution of relief
On Janury 6, New Zealand's World Vision completed the hand over of tents, soap, plastic sheeting and water containers to Iranian NGO Jari (Help) to disburse to earthquake-hit families in Bam. - 1/8/04

Iranian party asks government to take lead in detente strategy with US
An Iranian political party on Wednesday asked President Khatami's government to take lead of the foreign policy, and initiate a wise policy aimed at constant lifting of the US sanctions and full detente in Tehran-Washington ties as a strategic objective - 1/8/04

Iran, Egypt to mull over resumption of ties
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran on Wednesday that he has been assigned the responsibility, along with his Egyptian counterpart, to prepare the grounds for resumption of Tehran-Cairo ties - 1/8/04

Iran: Reformers Warn They May Boycott February Polls
An Iranian politician says pro-reform parties may boycott next month's parliamentary elections if many of their candidates are barred from running by hard-liners. - 1/8/04

Tragedy in Bam
“Only if they are new clean clothes, we’ll take them.” The custodian of the mosque said. “You don’t worry about that,” I replied mischievously for freely entering the house of god without having a chador for the first time in my life and regretting for not having a red lipstick on as well. The fact that they didn’t bother about it showed that not only the people of Bam, but everybody was in a state of shock! - 1/8/04

2003, a black year: 42 journalists killed and a steep increase in other press freedom violations
2003 was a black year for press freedom. Forty-two journalists were killed, mostly in Asia and in the Middle East, because of the war in Iraq. Every other indicator was also up : arrests of journalists, physical attacks, threats and censorship all increased alarmingly. -Reporters Without Borders - 1/8/04

The Politics of the Iranian Earthquake: Aftershocks in Pakistan and Afghanistan
The international community was quick in providing emergency assistance, including the United States. This, naturally, led to speculation whether such a catastrophe would result in a thawing of relations between the two nations, which have not had formal ties since 1980. Unfortunately, United States administration officials, including President Bush himself, were quick to pour salt on the Iranian wound. -Rannie Amiri, CounterPunch - 1/8/04

Iran's energy use estimated at dlrs 20 billion annually
The Iran Optimal Energy Consumption Organization said here Wednesday that of the figure, 39 percent is used in household, 34 percent in transportation and 26 percent in industrial sectors. - 1/8/04

Man pulled alive from Iran rubble
A man has been pulled alive from rubble in Iran, 13 days after the country's devastating earthquake, medical officials have confirmed. -BBC - 1/8/04

Berkeley Iran Quake Relief Benefit Raises $70,000
More than 130 people opened their hearts and their wallets during an emotional fundraiser for the earthquake-devastated city of Bam at a jam-packed Santa Fe Bistro Sunday night. The event, sponsored by Berkeley’s Persian Center, raised an astounding $70,000, which will go to create critically needed housing for as many as 70 Bam families. -Berkeley Daily Planet - 1/8/04

More tremors jolt Izeh and Masjed Soleiman in southwestern Iran
Two tremors shook the cities of Izeh and Masjed Soleiman in the southwestern province of Khuzestan Thursday morning - 1/8/04

Jordan's Queen Rania visits quake-hit Bam, southeast Iran
Jordanian Queen Rania arrived Wednesday at the airport of the quake-hit city of Bam, southeast Iran. - 1/7/04

Rafsanjani: US feels the urge to establish ties with Iran
Head of Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Wednesday that the US proposal to send a high-ranking delegation to Iran marks the urge felt by the US administration for establishment of mutual ties - 1/7/04

Egypt-Iran Relations Reach New High With Mubarak's Planned Visit to Tehran
Egyptian officials say President Hosni Mubarak will travel to Tehran next month to underline the restoration of diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran, after a break of more than 20 years. The decision to make the trip was made after a key Egyptian demand was met by Tehran's city council. -VOA - 1/7/04

The Iranian Seesaw
For years U.S. policy toward Iran has oscillated between extremes of hostility and ham-handed, overly solicitous diplomacy. Only the poor results have stayed constant. The Bush administration has maintained this tradition. -Washington Post - 1/7/04

Forbidden Iran (PBS Frontline airing on January 8)
In July 2003, Canadian journalist Zara Kazemi was beaten to death in an Iranian prison for attempting to report a story that Iran's hard-line, theocratic government didn't want told. - 1/7/04

IIPF's Mohammad Reza Khatami: Iran's February 20 election to reinforce Islamic Republic
Vice-Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Khatami said on Wednesday that the seventh parliamentary election slated for February 20 will serve to reinforce the Islamic Republic and national solidarity - 1/7/04

14th quake hits Izeh, Masjed Soleiman in southern Iran; schools closed
Schools in Izeh and Masjed Soleiman, in Iran's southern province of Khuzestan, were closed Wednesday until further notice, following more than 14 tremors which rocked the two cities since early Tuesday - 1/7/04

Benefit Concert in Palo Alto, California for Iranian Earthquake Survivors
Please join us in a memorable classical Iranian music performance by local musicians. All proceeds of the concert will fund the relief operation of the Relief International; Saturday Jan 10th 2004 at 7:30pm - 1/7/04

British survivor of Iran's quake setting up Bam charity
A British woman who dug her way out of a collapsed hotel after the devastating earthquake in the ancient Iranian city of Bam is planning to set up a charity to help the survivors - 1/7/04

Iran: Special program on Bam's quake on Berkeley's KPFA on Wednesday January 7
Tune in to KPFA 94.1 FM from 7 to 8 PM on Wednesday, January 7 for a program on the tragic earthquake in the historic city of BAM. There will be interviews with: Mohsen Aboutorabi, a Professor of Architecture, Ali Ashraf Darvishian, a renowned Iranian novelist, and Dr. Fariborz Raisdana, a prominent economist and political activist. - 1/7/04

Iranian VP: No precondition set by Iran, Egypt for resumption of ties
Iranian Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Ali Abtahi said in Tehran on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Egypt have not set any preconditions for resumption of diplomatic relations - 1/7/04

Statoil ready to start drilling at Iran's South Pars next month
The Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil announced Wednesday the first of three jackets for wellhead platforms required in phases six-eight of the South Pars development had been installed and that drilling was scheduled to start in February - 1/7/04

Before the Quake: Remembering Iran's Bam
It was over two years ago, in the summer of 2001, when I first and last visited Bam. To get there I crossed southern Iran on a 12-hour bus ride through twisting mountains from Shiraz to Kerman (see map of Iran), the capital city of the region where Bam is located. -Karim Sadjadpour, National Geographic - 1/7/04

Afghanistan's Loya Jirga Approves Constitution, But Hard Part May Have Only Just Begun
After three weeks of often contentious debate, Afghanistan's new constitution -- the country's sixth written constitution -- was approved by consensus rather than through a vote. -RFE - 1/7/04

Red Crescent Earthquake Rescue in Iran Inspires Threads of Hope
She has become a nine-day wonder. That’s about how long the world’s oldest and most famous earthquake survivor spent hidden from view in the ruins of her home until she was pulled out alive on Saturday afternoon. -Red Cross - 1/7/04

Iran: Houshang Golshiri Annual Literary Award for 2003
Houshang Golshiri Annual Literary Award, which is given by Golshiri Foundation, took place on December 19, 2003 at the wonderful Niavaran Cultural Center. This prize, that have followed up since its launch about four years ago, is becoming the most distinguished in comparison to other such awards. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/6/04

Iran may be primed for reconciliation
Despite the refusal of the Iranian government to receive a relief delegation led by Senator Elizabeth Dole, there are signals that Iran is far more ready than in the past for U.S. moves toward rapprochement. -IHT - 1/6/04

Italian archaeologists due in Iran for studies on Bam rebuilding
A group of Italian archaeologists will head for Iran next week to study ways of rebuilding Bam and its ancient Citadel, Arg-e Bam almost destroyed by a recent strong earthquake, a senior Italian official announced Tuesday - 1/6/04

Iran will launch its own satellite within 18 months
Iran will launch its locally-built satellite within one and half years, Defense Minister Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani said on Monday, adding the launch will make the country the first in the Islamic world to capture outer space - 1/6/04

Iran and Japan resurrect 'very good' ties after passing spat
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, talking to reporters after meeting with his Japanese counterpart Yoriko Kawaguchi here, said that "good political ties between Japan and America have no effect on relations between Tehran and Tokyo. - 1/6/04

What has kept us and keeps us Iranian?
It’s an interesting question if you think about it and the answer isn’t as obvious as you think. What has kept us and makes us Iranian? Is it because of our language? Well, not exactly, dialects of Farsi are spoken in Tajikstan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. -Pouya Alimagham, Berkeley - 1/6/04

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
A seismologist discusses the world's recent spate of high-profile earthquakes -Newsweek - 1/6/04

Mother's mercy mission to Iran
AN IPSWICH mother-of-two is due to arrive in the earthquake-stricken city of Bam today to offer emotional support to survivors amid the ruins. Iranian-born Henny Azmoodeh set out from her family's home, in Jewell View, Kesgrave, on January 1 as part of an international humanitarian group. -Evening Star, UK - 1/6/04

Giving Aid To The Enemy
After a calamitous earthquake in Iran, U.S. relief workers receive a (mostly) warm reception -Time - 1/6/04

Alamo family experiences devastation in Bam, Iran
Mehdi Zakerin's visit to Bam, Iran was supposed to be a joyous reunion with relatives and friends. -Contra Costa Times, California - 1/6/04

Iran: 5th quake hits Izeh in Khuzestan province
An earthquake measuring 3.7 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale shook the city of Izeh in the southwestern province of Khuzestan for the fifth time Tuesday - 1/6/04

Iran's parliament ready to review proposals on moving capital: MP
The Rapportour of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Jafar Golbaz characterized the bill as a serious and vital issue. "Given the multitude of problems gripping Tehran, the proposal could be a suitable solution." - 1/6/04

IRAN: Bam quake camp established - but few takers
Many of the survivors are farmers, dependent on cultivating date and orange trees in small gardens behind their properties. Where these gardens still exist, survivors have returned to tending their land, and are worried they will lose their livelihoods if they move to a camp. -IRIN - 1/6/04

Iran: Tehran City Council approves renaming controversial street
The Tehran City Council on Tuesday agreed to rename the Khaled Islambouli street, called after the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, to Intifada (uprising) of the Palestinians in the occupied lands - 1/6/04

Iran 'ready to play positive role' in Iraq, says UK's Greenstock
Britain's special envoy to Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock says that he feels "reassured" that Iran wants to play a positive role in restoring Iraq after holding talks in Tehran - 1/6/04

In Bam, a call to renew glory
As concerned architects ponder the ways of restoring the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran, some will despair at the extent of the havoc caused by the Dec. 26 earthquake. And yet, on closer inspection, they may derive comfort from the very nature of the structures that crumbled. It could be argued that a unique opportunity has arisen to test our ability at sensitively rehabilitating a site of recognized world importance. -IHT - 1/6/04

Iran: Poor Construction Probably Increased Quake Death Toll
The Iranian city of Bam was virtually flattened by an earthquake on 26 December, killing tens of thousands of people. But a quake of similar strength in California four days earlier killed only two people. RFE/RL investigates the reasons behind this staggering disparity in the loss of life from two similar disasters. - 1/6/04

What Really Matters
I am not objecting to the creation of a Task Force or many such organizations for the propagation of knowledge of our history and culture among our fellow Iranians, especially the young, and particularly those today in diaspora. Promoting a sense of pride in being Iranians, even when being identified as such may not appear as politically correct, will prove ultimately productive and conducive to improved political, economic and social conditions for our nation. -Kam Zarrabi - 1/6/04

Maher says Camp David an issue of the past between Egypt and Iran
Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher said in Cairo on Sunday that Cairo considers the issue of Camp David as belonging to the past, stressing that Egypt is now eager to promote ties with the Islamic Republic - 1/5/04

Iran: Government asks Tehran City Council to rename controversial street
Tehran City Council Tuesday will examine a senior foreign ministry official's request to rename a street in the Iranian capital, which is a bone of contention in ties with Egypt - 1/5/04

Iran: Bam quake killed 9,000 students, 2,000 instructors: governor
The devastating earthquake in southeastern Bam killed up to 9,000 young students in addition to 2,000 teachers and other personnel of the city's education office, its governor Ali Shafi'ie said on Sunday - 1/5/04

Iran considers moving capital
Iran is seriously considering moving the capital away from Tehran amid fears of a major earthquake, the country's top security official has said. -BBC - 1/5/04

Iran: Involvement in Bam relief operations reason for rejecting US offer to send delegation
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Monday that Iran turned down US offer to send a delegation led by Senator Elizabeth Dole to Iran owing to involvement in Bam relief operations and it should not be related to other matters - 1/5/04

UK's top man in Iraq arrives in Iran for talks
United Kingdom's special representative for Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, arrived in Tehran Monday for a one-day visit to hold bilateral talks on Iraq with Iranian officials - 1/5/04

As 'Fog' Lifts, an Iranian Actress to Watch Emerges
"I hope Americans hear what the movie is crying out," she says. "Try to get to know us. Understand us. 'Love' is a strong word -- not holding out for love. I'll settle for just understanding." -Washington Post - 1/5/04

EC chairman: Iran to turn into car manufacturing center in world
Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Monday that the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys enough potential to turn into a car manufacturing center in the world - 1/5/04

Improved US-Tehran Relations Would Help Reforms in Iran, says Late Shah's Son
The exiled son of the late Shah of Iran says the United States should continue to try to engage the nation of his birth, but do so in such a way that does not prop up the government in Tehran. -VOA - 1/5/04

Small US hospital makes big impact on Iran
There was nothing grand about the opening of an American field hospital in devastated Bam yesterday, except the symbolism. The hospital was small, arrived late and according to many observers was surplus to requirements. But if little pebbles make big ripples, US-Iranian relations are headed for a thaw. -Guardian - 1/5/04

Japanese FM due in Tehran to discuss ties, Iraq, nuke: embassy
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi will arrive in Tehran Tuesday for a two-day visit to discuss a host of issues, including bilateral ties, the Iraqi situation and Iran's nuclear plans, Japan's embassy said in a press release on Monday - 1/5/04

Bam tragedy: Aid worker's story
Aid worker Mehdi Eshraqi went to Bam in the immediate aftermath of last week's earthquake that destroyed the ancient Iranian city. Here he recounts the terrible impressions it made on him. -BBC - 1/5/04

Iran's Latest Nuclear Efforts Weighing Heavy On Minds Of Proliferation Experts
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says Tehran has almost completed construction of a plant to produce heavy water. Iran also says it plans to build a 40-megawatt heavy water nuclear reactor next to it. Arms experts are expressing concern over the project, since heavy water reactors can produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. -RFE - 1/5/04

Iran: Reconstruction of historic Bam Citadel takes five years
Head of Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) Seyed Mohammad Beheshti on Monday said that in case the budget required for restoration of the quake-flattened Bam Citadel is provided, its reconstruction will be completed in five years - 1/5/04

U.S., Iranian Leaders Dampen Expectations Of 'Earthquake Diplomacy'
Can a dialogue between Washington and Tehran emerge from the rubble of the earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people last week in southeastern Iran? Some U.S. and Iranian officials have hinted it might. But both Tehran and Washington are lowering expectations with tough conditions that are unlikely to be met. -RFE - 1/5/04

Transcript: Reza Pahlavi on 'FOX News Sunday'
For answers, we turn to Reza Pahlavi, son of the late shah of Iran, who's been working for years to promote democracy and a constitutional monarchy for his homeland - FOX - 1/4/04

Injured American Weeps Over Fiance Killed in Bam
An American woman hurt in the Bam earthquake said Sunday her fiance had kept her alive with words of encouragement while they were pinned for hours under hotel rubble. Now she cannot fathom his death - Reuters - 1/4/04

Local (California) charities accepting funds for Iran victims
The Iranian-American Chamber of Commerce based in Sacramento is accepting donations but encourages people to donate to the Red Cross. The chamber is also sending engineers and professionals to Iran to help rebuild the city, chamber member Hasan Sheykhani said - Daily Republic - 1/4/04

Donations buy tents for quake survivors
The danger is that with media attention on the earthquake diminishing, people will soon forget about the huge, long-term needs that face the survivors of this tragedy - 1/4/04

Oakland (California ) Islamic center receives quake support
In the past week, the Islamic center in Oakland has raised $86,000. Volunteers are collecting new medical supplies, blankets and tents to send to Bam - Associated Press - 1/4/04

Iran 'miracle woman' recovering
The elderly woman found alive in the rubble of Bam eight days after the earthquake says she is doing fine but still has a headache and stiff limbs. BBC - 1/4/04

Survivors bend but won't break
"I don't want food and water thrown at me from the back of a truck. I'm not an animal, I'm a human being." - Toronto Star - 1/4/04

Iranian-Americans join relief organizations aiding quake victims
Iranian-American groups have raised more than $1 million to help victims of last week's deadly earthquake in Iran, money that some hope will improve relations between the countries - AP - 1/3/04

'Our children are dead. Our grief is endless'
Devastated survivors turn anger on government as Red Crescent is praised for relief effort in Iran - The Guardian - 1/3/04

'Miracle rescue' from Iran quake
Rescuers in Iran have pulled an elderly woman alive and unscathed from the rubble of Bam - eight days after an earthquake destroyed the city. BBC - 1/3/04

A historic city counts its losses
An hour before dawn last Friday morning, the oasis town of Bam in south-east Iran was jolted by a massive earthquake. - 1/3/04

Rebranding Bush as man of peace
The White House has retreated from its doctrine of regime change and pre-emptive military action and is returning to traditional diplomacy in an effort to repackage George Bush as a president for peace - The Guardian - 1/3/04

Papers probe US 'earthquake diplomacy'
Hardline papers are dismissive about President Bush's motives. By contrast, the reformist press looks forward to a warming of ties between the US and Iran - BBC - 1/3/04

Iranians Divided on U.S. Offer of Quake Relief
Hard-liners who have always viewed adverse relations with Washington as a pillar of the Islamic revolution are dismissing the American statements as just more "trickery from the Great Satan," while reformists fret aloud that Iran is about to miss yet another opportunity to end its international isolation -NYTimes - 1/3/04

U.S. Makes Overture To Iran
The United States has approached Iran about dispatching a high-level humanitarian mission to Tehran, headed by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and including a member of the Bush family, U.S. and Iranian officials said yesterday. -Washington Post - 1/2/04

Family of Californian killed in Iran earthquake lauds rescue effort
"The Iranian people took care of them before their own people," Dell'Oro's sister, Tam Dell'Oro, said Thursday. "If he was supposed to die for a reason, I hope it's for Americans to have a better understanding of the compassion" of Iran's citizens. -San Jose Mercury - 1/2/04

Germany hails US easing of Iran sanctions as "positive"
The German government on Friday welcomed Washington's decision to ease sanctions against Iran, calling it "positive," - 1/2/04

Rafsanjani says US suspension of Iran sanctions political gesture
Rafsanjani, talking to reporters after an emergency meeting on Bam earthquake, said the issue still needs to be studied, stressing that no meeting has yet been held to that effect. - 1/2/04

Iran: Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation allocates $170,000 for Bam relief project
The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF) has announced that it is contributing $170,000 toward a relief project, most likely a medical facility, for the survivors of the deadly quake in Bam, Iran. - 1/2/04

US Treasury Eases Restrictions To Assist Humanitarian Relief Activities For Earthquake Victims In Iran
President Bush directed Treasury Secretary Snow and State Department Secretary Powell to ease restrictions to assist humanitarian relief activities for earthquake victims in Iran. Today the Treasury Department announced that the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") is taking extraordinary steps the Department of State and USAID to expedite disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran. - 1/1/04

Aid reaches Iran quake survivors
Most of the 100,000 people left homeless by the Bam earthquake have now been housed in tents, according to the UN aid team in the Iranian city. -BBC - 1/1/04

An Odd Sight in Iran as Aid Team Tents Go Up: The U.S. Flag
The erection of the tents for the 81-member United States team at the Revolutionary Guard base here, where dozens of other nations are already housed, drew a crowd of curious onlookers. Some locals expressed delight that the Americans were here in any capacity. -New York Times - 1/1/04

Razi Health Foundation Announces Iran Earthquake Medical Fund
Because of the devastating earthquake in Bam, which has resulted in the destruction of the historic city of Bam and caused more than 40,000 deaths and injuries, Razi Health Foundation of New York has an urgent need for your generous support. - 1/1/04

Iran's quake: Nothing 'natural' about this disaster
What is the lesson of the terrible earthquake that struck southern Iran last week, which leveled much of the city of Bam and left tens of thousands dead? For many, it is that man should more closely observe the "rule of nature." -Christian Science Monitor - 1/1/04

Bam's fragmented families
The doctors in the Bagh-iyat-allah e Azam hospital have photographed Bam earthquake survivors in the hope that they can create a database to help divided families reunite. The plan is to put the pictures on the internet and also to ask the state-run television channel to come and film the survivors. -BBC - 1/1/04

Over 30,000 Iran's quake victims buried in Bam cemetery
Since the devastating quake that shook the city of Bam last Friday, more than 30,000 bodies have been buried in the city's cemetery - 1/1/04

Memorial for Iran quake victims
A memorial service for victims of the Iranian earthquake is being held in Bam where tens of thousands of people died. -BBC - 1/1/04

Iran: Rafsanjani urges clerics to maintain key role in policy makings
Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Qom on Thursday that clerics should maintain their influential role in policy making processes both in Iran and in the entire world of Islam - 1/1/04

Peninsula man dies in quake; injured fiancee in Iran hospital
Two days before they left for a trip that would take them to the ancient Silk Road city of Bam, Iran, Tobb sat with his sister late one night in the office of their Silicon Valley firm and told her he would ask Adele to marry him. -San Jose Mercury - 1/1/04

Plea for Bam rescuers not to fly home
Rescue teams now leaving Bam were implored to stay by the Red Crescent's senior official in the city yesterday, because he believes up to 1,000 people could still be buried alive. -Guardian - 1/1/04

December Art Scene in Tehran
Shohreh Mehran is one of my favorite Iranian artists ever. Her new show at Golestan gallery is something that I had been looking forward to for a long time. She is a kind of artist that I find has passion and dares to be out in the open, and yet be graceful; and at times even she plays a trick or two on the viewer to show how ‘shaytoun’ (naughty) she can be. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/1/04

Rafsanjani says US sending positive signals for ties with Iran
Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Thursday that Americans have been sending positive signals over ties with Iran for several months - 1/1/04
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