Iran News ...


2/2/03

Iran's Parliament call to investigate journalists arrests, positive: daily

Tehran, Feb 2, IRNA -- `Iran News' on Sunday welcomed the Iranian Majlis's (Parliament) call to investigate the reasons behind the recent spate of arrests of journalists, members of the press, writers and intellectuals, as a positive step toward "transparency" and "accountablity" in the government.

Meysam Saidi, a reformist Majlis Deputy from Tehran and a member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front confirmed on Saturday that more than 120 reform-minded lawmakers in a letter to Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi called for a closed-door session to investigate the reasons behind the recent arrests and harsh treatment of journalists and writers.

It is necessary that the ministers of information, justice and interior as well as the commander of the police and the judiciary's first deputy attend the Majlis closed session to answer the questions of lawmakers over the unfortunate incidents, urged the English-language daily in its editorial.

It is to be noted, "several members of the editorial board of the recently banned daily Hayat-e No as well as a number of prominent writers such as Reza Jabari, Siamak Taheri and Javad Tawaf" have been detained during the last few weeks, wrote the daily.

"Such acts have been quite successful in tarnishing the image of the Islamic Republic within the global community as a country that violates human rights and restricts the freedom of speech and the press," highlighted the daily.

Facts on the ground suggest that the outside world has a distorted view of the situation in Iran, but the reality is that the foreign media has presented a very negative picture of Iran to the world public opinion, it noted.

It is noteworthy, "Iran has been relatively successful in its recent negotiations with the EU on the question of human rights," it wrote.

Nevertheless, the Europeans insist that Iran clears its position over the human rights issue before they sign a comprehensive trade and cooperation deal with the country, noted the daily.

Unfortunately, some elements within the system behave in a manner that "squanders every positive (achievement) gained through our diplomatic efforts and to further damage our international reputation and threaten our national interests," it regretted.

Security and judicial officials should know that "appearances can be quite damaging", it underlined.

Even if the detainees are ultimately proved guilty of crimes according to Iranian law, the officials in charge must heed the elementary judicial practice of holding the detainees "innocent until proven guilty," advised the paper.

"A thorough economic pact with the EU is not trivial. It is indeed essential for securing the future economic vitality and national security," highlighted the daily.

It is really hard to accept that one hand works so tirelessly to make a deal a reality and another hand acts in a manner that jeopardizes such a monumental national interest issue, it added.

The decision of the Majlis to call into account the security and judicial officials "will not be successful" in halting such practices.

Nevertheless, it is a positive step toward transparency and accountability in the government which may help to identify those individuals who sacrifice national interests for personal or factional considerations, said the daily in conclusion.

... Payvand News - 2/2/03 ... --



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