Friday, June 25, 2004

Mohammad Reza Bahonar was not concerned about a possible low turnout in elections

Brief on Iran, Vol. II, No. 9: "Mullahs' Official Attempts to Justify Expected Low Turnout in Friday Polls, Reuters, October 19
TEHRAN - A leading Iranian conservative said on Monday his faction was not concerned about a possible low turnout in elections for a powerful state body later this week.
'If the number of participants shows an increase proportionate to the population growth since the last elections, then elections will have been successful,' parliament deputy Mohammad Reza Bahonar told a news conference.
Bahonar said a lower turnout in Friday's elections to the Assembly of Experts, which names and can dismiss Iran's supreme leader, compared to presidential or parliamentary elections would be justified because the importance of the Assembly was not self-evident to the people.
'The Assembly holds sessions only once a year and for just one week,' Bahonar said. 'Its commissions do not have open activities, so people do not feel a daily need for it.'
Nevertheless, Iran's conservatives have launched a major political and media campaign to encourage people to vote as a sign of continued support for Iran's Islamic government.
Officials say about 39 million Iranians aged 15 and over are eligible to vote in the elections to the 86-seat Assembly. "

Mohammad Reza Bahonar open to talks with the US

IranExpert:Iran conservative open to US parliamentary talks: "Iran conservative open to US parliamentary talks

A prominent conservative tipped as a possible new head of the Iranian parliament says he is open to eventual talks with US legislators after the expected rout of reformists in elections here Friday.

Mohammad Reza Bahonar, one of the top three politicians in the country's religious right wing, also denied plans to impose puritanical Islamic rule on Iran after the polls, but signaled a tough line against truculent reformists. Bahonar made his remarks in an interview Wednesday with AFP as he campaigned in his native town of Kerman in southeastern Iran, whose two Majlis seats are presently held by reformers.

With the conservative camp expected to recapture the 290-seat legislature handily, Bahonar stressed an open, pragmatic approach to issues such as US relations or the obligation for women to wear a veil. 'The question of relations with the United States is not all black and white. There is an entire range of grey between the two,' he said. 'If there is a desire (from Washington) to build trust, we can move from dark grey to lighter grey. But for the moment, there is no trust.'

Iranian officials nixed a recent effort to organise a visit by a US congressional delegation to Iran while the reformers held parliament. But Bahonar did not rule out eventual talks between legislators of both sides. 'Dialogue is not bad "

Bahonar: Dismiss Tajzadeh

Bahonar: Dismiss Tajzadeh: "Bahonar: Dismiss Tajzadeh

Source: Hayate No
According to Hayate No, Mohamad Reza Bahonar, the general director of Islamic Society of Engineers said: 'The claim of lack of necessary freedom on the part of the President can, in some political circles, be interpreted as an excuse for escaping responsibilities or as projection.'
According to the public relations of this society, at the end of the meeting of the central council of Islamic Society of Engineers, Bahonar added: 'The inclination to acquire special freedom or increasing extension of the range of freedom tempts all the authorities, but it should not be forgotten that the people who voted for the president within the framework of the constitutional law, did so with complete knowledge of his limited freedom, therefore justification of the government's inefficiency in this way is not reasonable at all.
Bahonar also said: 'Presence of fair, free and equal atmosphere is the necessary condition for introducing candidates for the next election. For inviting competitors, the President should first dismiss the present authority responsible for the election to prove the government's good intention for holding a fair competition and secondly he should appoint an impartial person in his place.'
This ex-MP emphasized: 'For our future decision, we wait for Mr. President's move in this respect to assess the government's belief in democracy."

EurasiaNet Culture - Journalist Weaves Carnage and Carpets into Intricate Tale

EurasiaNet Culture - Journalist Weaves Carnage and Carpets into Intricate Tale: "With harrowing stories from carpet sellers and passages that intertwine the history of rug-making with the history of war, the author shows how humanitys capacity for art always contends with its knack for savagery.
This is an ambitious balance, though, and Kremmer sometimes misses it. The writing runs more crisply and the images register with greater force when Kremmer describes the devastation that pockmarks much of the region. For example, the revelation that '[a] seriously ill Dushanbe resident probably stood more chance of surviving by lying on the pavement outside the hospital than by going inside' casts a shadow that lingers long.
Kremmer�s acidic take on regional politics makes for brisk reporting. The book quotes Iraqi and Indian diplomatic officials, Afghan troublemakers, and Iranian students. It also presents such historic figures as Panjshiri military leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, Uzbekistani warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and the late Afghan President Mohammed Najibullah with economy and wit. ('At that stage in my career I had not met many mass murderers, so a degree of trepidation was understandable. But Dr. Najibullah turned out to be a perfect gentleman.') We see an array of worshipful Saddam Hussein posters, including 'Jazzy Saddam in a white suit and Saint Saddam kissing the open pages of the Koran,' end with 'a silhouette of Saddam in a Bogart trenchcoat and holding a smoldering cigarette.' We hear an indignant diplomat in Kashmir declare that 'India is not a soft state!' Comic details like these make the book�s more harrowing passages stand out by way of contrast, but, also, easier to endure."

Pakistan Exports Terror To Russia and the World

Russiaseeks India`s increased cooperation in fighting terror: "New Delhi, June 25, IRNA -- Russia on Thursday accused Pakistan of
exporting terrorism to trouble-torn Chechnya and said many Chechen
rebels were found to have been trained 'beyond' Indian borders.
According to the Pioneer, a New Delhi-based English daily,
Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin, after a meeting
with Indian Home Minister Shivraj V. Patel here, accused Pakistan of
exporting terrorism to its soil.
'We are, unfortunately, in the same boat on the issue of
terrorism...Many caught in Chechnya had been trained beyond your
(Jammu and Kashmir) border. As these men move westward, they
penetrate into our territory also.'
During the meeting, the Russian ambassador discussed ways and
means to intensify the two countries` continued cooperation in
jointly combating terrorism.' "

Yahoo! News - Cheney to Leahy, "go f--- yourself"

Yahoo! News - Cheney Utters 'F-Word' in U.S. Senate?: "Cheney Utters 'F-Word' in U.S. Senate?

By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) blurted out the 'F word' at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a heated exchange on the Senate floor, congressional aides said on Thursday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday in a terse discussion between the two that touched on politics, religion and money, with Cheney finally telling Leahy to 'f--- off' or 'go f--- yourself,' the aides said.
'I think he was just having a bad day,' Leahy was quoted as saying on CNN, which first reported the incident. 'I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor.'"

Mar'ashi opens Iran to Italy

Mehr News Agency English: "Italian Envoy Calls For Furthering Cultural, Tourism Ties
TEHRAN June 25 (MNA) -? Roberto Toscano, the Italian ambassador to Tehran in a meeting with the head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Seyyed Hussein Mar'ashi expressed hope for the expansion of cultural and tourism relations.
In this meeting, a delegation of Italian Province of Campania accompanied the ambassador. Toscano said Iran and Italy enjoy the potential to promote their cooperation, given ancient civilizations and tourism magnets.

Mar'ashi expressed willingness to develop ties in diverse fields including, reconstruction of historical monuments, archaeology, training courses for the hoteliers, expansion of tourism between the two countries, construction of hotels and restaurants and other areas of cooperation."

Asia Times - Israel is actively involved in supporting the Iraqi Kurds

Asia Times - Asia's most trusted news source for the Middle East: "Israel is actively involved in supporting the Iraqi Kurds, who are fast sowing the seeds of their independence, albeit often under the convenient guise of a new Iraqi federalism. According to the article by veteran writer Seymour Hersh, who has aptly unearthed the secrets of Israel's nuclearization, not to mention the Abu Ghraib prison torture fiasco, Israel's secret service, Mossad, is engaged in covert operations among Iranian and Syrian Kurds, in addition to training Iraqi Kurd commandos and setting up the latter as a counterweight to Shi'ite militias.

Raising the ire of Turkey, whose government has criticized Israel's iron fist approach toward the Palestinians, the government of Israel has reportedly denied the allegations in Hersh's article. In Hersh's 'Plan B', Israel's rationale has been described as purely a response to the fear of militant Shi'ism emanating from Iran, and the US's inability to contain this threat. "

Brit Commandos - 3 Days and a Soccer Game

RADIO AUSTRALIA:

3 Days and a Soccer Game
This is hilarious! 8 Commandos are found in Iranian Territory and what do the "Hard Line" Revolutionary Guard do?
Torture maybe? Chop off hands? Flog the Brits? No they let them watch England's Euro 2004 soccer game. Why is every thing Iran does seen as evil by the western press? If 8 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commandos were found in small boats in the Mississippi Delta you can be sure they would get far worse than 3 days and a soccer game. JBOC

"Our correspondent says it's been revealed that soon after their capture the Revolutionary Guards allowed the eight to watch England's Euro 2004 soccer game against Croatia to boost morale."

200 feared killed in Iran truck explosion - World - www.smh.com.au

200 feared killed in Iran truck explosion - World - www.smh.com.au: "200 feared killed in Iran truck explosion
June 25, 2004 - 7:04PM

Up to 200 people were feared dead after a truck loaded with fuel exploded following a collision outside the far south-eastern city of Zahedan, Iranian state television said today, quoting a Red Crescent official.
The flames engulfed six buses and five other trucks, two of which were carrying tar, causing a massive inferno, the television said.
It said the explosion occurred at a police post late last night at around 10:15pm (0345 Friday AEST).
The Red Crescent put the death toll at between 50 and 200, the television said. It had earlier reported more than 70 dead and 84 injured.
According to the report, the tanker immediately caught fire after crashing, with the flames spreading over a perimeter of around 50 metres.
Zahedan's governor said it was impossible to immediately give an accurate detah toll, because a number of bodies had yet to be recovered from the burning wreckage."