News of Iran
26 May 2000
IRAN PROTESTED TO THE MASS ARREST
OF IRANIANS IN TURKEY
Iran ready to protect the Persian Gulf
IRAN PROTESTED TO THE MASS
ARREST OF IRANIANS IN TURKEY
As Turkish authorities admitted Monday the arrest of more than 300 Iranians in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, analysts said the aim of the tension created by Ankara with Iran is to strengthen the hands of President Mohammed Khatami in his struggle against the hard liners.
Following reports that Turkish Police and security forces had arrested hundreds of Iranians during night raids in their houses or hotels, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish Ambassador Mr. Turan Morali and presented him with "the strongest protest" over the "illegal and unacceptable" attitude of the Turkish authorities.
Speaking to reporters, the senior spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid Reza Asefi strongly condemned the arrests and accused the Turkish officials of having "ignored the most basic norms of international law".
"Such irresponsible moves by certain Turkish officials is unacceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran", Mr. Asefi warned, describing the mass arrest of Iranian living in Turkey as "out of context" in diplomatic norms and international practices as well as an "affront" to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Receiving the Turkish ambassador, Mr. Mohammed Sharif Mahdavi, a General Director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry presented him Iran's protest against what he termed as Turkish "inhuman, unacceptable, illegal" way of treating Iranian nationals.
According to the Iranian official news agency IRNA, the Turkish Police and security services, in large scale co-ordinated and concerted operations attacked "savagely" the houses of many Iranians in Istanbul, proceeding to the arrest or more than 300 of them.
In Ankara and Izmir, 60 Iranians were detained on charges of illegal residence permits or faked legal papers, IRNA added.
But latter, Mr. Asefi reported that after Iranian protest, the Turkish authorities had freed almost all the Iranian prisoners except for a handful of them.
Analysing the mounting crisis between Tehran and Ankara, Mr. Reza Shoja'i, an Iranian lawyer based in Istanbul said Turkey genuinely fears the Islamic contagion from Iran and is determined to reinforce the hands of President Khatami it considers as moderate in order to stop the export of Iranian Islamic revolution to Turkey.
He said Turkey follows very closely the situation in Iran, particularly the fight between the hard liners and the moderates in the leadership. "By crushing the (Turkish) Hezbollah and by accusing the Islamic Republic of being behind assassination of prominent Turkish intellectuals and journalists, Turkish strategists hope they can boost the position of Mr. Khatami who, in their view, is opposed to the export of the revolution", Mr. Shoja'i commented during a telephone interview with Iran Press Service.
According to the English language Turkish Daily News (TDN), in a letter sent to his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, the Turkish Foreign Minister Isma'il Cem had exposed in detail the security forces' recent operations against radical Islamist groups and confessions of an Iranian connection.
Cem's letter was delivered to the Iranians by Mr. Morali who, according to the Turkish version, had called on the Iranian Foreign Ministry to brief them about the latest developments in Turkey, including the crack down on Islamist organisations.
It is reported that in his letter Cem conveyed the Turkish concerns in a straightforward way, urging the Iranian authorities to take the necessary measures to stop anti-Turkish activities originating in Iranian territory. Cem's letter aims to call the Iranian authorities to shoulder their responsibilities and make them resolve the dispute themselves as the problem does not stem from the Turkish side, the paper said.
The speaker holds the No. 3 position in Iran after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the president. He is a member of the National Security Council and the Constitutional Review Council and can lobby support for bills. The parliament is expected to be the new arena for the ongoing power struggle between Khamenei and the hard-liners and those who back Khatami's program of social, political and cultural reforms. The hard-liners, who still wield considerable power, cite Islam to oppose the reforms. In an apparent backlash to their election defeat, the hard-liners closed down 18 pro-reform newspapers and jailed several reformists.
Khamenei accepted the resignation of Brig. Gen. Ali Shahbazi, thanking
him for his services as chief commander since 1987. It is not clear why
Shahbazi, who is about nine years younger than his successor, had resigned.
Iran's armed forces are divided between the regular army and the more powerful
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is larger and has its own ground
and air forces. Khamenei himself is commander-in-chief of the combined
Nouri, 52, a leading reformer and thorn in the flesh of religious conservatives, was sentenced last year by the hard-line special court for clergy for "insulting" the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in his paper, Khordad, which has since been banned. At the end of January the state prosecutor rejected an appeal to have the verdict quashed, in a move interpreted by Nouri's supporters as an attempt to prevent him standing in February's parliamentary elections.
Ganji, a thorn in the side of Iran's conservatives, was taken Tehran's
Evin prison on April 22 after a hearing before the press court over articles
he wrote about the 1998 killings of several intellectuals and opposition
leaders. He implicated then president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the murders
in articles he published just before February's parliamentary elections,
in which Rafsanjani was a candidate.
World Bank loan 'inappropriate', Albright
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Thursday that World Bank approval of two multi-million-dollar loans to Iran was "inappropriate" given the Islamic Republic's support for terrorism, and the controversial ongoing trial of 13 Jews on espionage charges. Iran "is a country that has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism and also we consider the vote today inappropriate given the current political situation in Iran and the government show trial," Albright told reporters.
Her description of the closed espionage trial in the southern city of Shiraz, about which Washington has several times voiced concern, was the strongest public language yet used by a US official in discussing the matter. Earlier on Thursday, the World Bank board of directors approved the two loans, worth a total 232 million dollars, despite vehement US opposition and the abstentions of Canada and France.
The loans are to help finance a health care and nutrition project as well as sewage treatment in Tehran, but Washington had mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign to convince bank members to postpone the loans as they had done twice before.
Iran ready to protect the Persian Gulf
The commander-in-chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards lashed out on Sunday at US goals in the Persian Gulf, and said that Iran's armed forces were in a position to ensure security not only at home but also in the wider area around. "Iranian armed forces can today assure the security not only of Iran, but also contribute to assuring the security of the Persian Gulf, the Caucasus and Central Asia," said Major General Rahim Safavi.
Safavi, a leading conservative voice, warned a rally called to mark the end of a session of military manoeuvres that Washington regarded the "Islamic revolution and vigilance of Muslims" as a threat to the world. He called on the Revolutionary Guards and the voluntary militias, or Bassijis, to get themselves "ready in new areas, namely in the cultural defence of Iran". "The United States wants, as part of a 30-year strategic plan, to contain Iran's Islamic Revolution so it can plunder the resources of the Persian Gulf," Safavi said.
Local judiciary chief Hossein Ali Amiri told reporters the court had probed funds provided to one of the three suspects by the alleged ring and asked about photographs of military installations in Isfahan taken by a second of the accused. In both cases, Amiri said, the suspects defended their actions and denied any role in espionage. He gave no further details. "The allegations against these three suspects are not as important as the others. Therefore, all we did was ask questions to clarify matters," Amiri said. "We are not trying to over blow the importance of their case," he said, adding the three, who are free on bail, may not even be required to return to court.
Because of a history of hostility dating back more than 20 years, U.S. immigration officials often fingerprint Iranians entering the United States. Ties between the two countries have thawed since the 1997 election of President Mohammed Khatami, a reformist seeking better relations with the United States. But Mahlouji said the U.S. refused to waive the formalities. If that decision is reversed, "then the club will go ahead with the trip," he said. The team was scheduled to leave on Saturday for the United States for a series of games beginning in San Jose, California, local newspapers reported.