Iran News ...


7/24/03

Iran President comments on Iran's defense doctrine, journalist's death, twin bills

President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that nuclear arms has no place in Iranian defense doctrine and "the nation will not forgive us if we drop nuclear energy from our economic development program just for hostile attitude of certain countries," IRNA reported from Tehran.

Speaking to Iranian and foreign reporters after a cabinet meeting, President Khatami said Iran does not intend to develop nuclear weapons and it plans to use nuclear energy just for civilian application.

"It is our right to do so and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has undertaken to provide us with advanced technology by signing Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," he said.

"The fact is that we think the IAEA has not fulfilled its obligations toward Iran. We did never rule out negotiations with the IAEA over the additional protocol (93+2). But it depends on the parliament whether to ratify such a protocol or not," he said.

"We will consider national interest for any decision we make. We don't accept any precondition on matters concerning the NPT. We are keen on developing more cooperation with the IAEA and expect the agency to deliver a positive report to the upcoming Board of Governors meeting," President Khatami said.

In response to a question raised by a reporter over the fate of journalist Zahra Kazemi, the president expressed regrets over the journalist's death and said the judicial investigations are continuing to shed light on the realities in this connection.

He said he had talked in person with the Judiciary Head Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi asking him to adopt measures for the judicial apparatus to assign an independent prosecutor to re-examine the case impartially.

The court has to handle the case in public so that the people be informed of the facts, he stressed adding that the offenders would face punishments.

He said Kazemi's mother has asked that her body be buried in Iran.

Kazemi, 54, was arrested on June 23 for taking photographs of protestors outside Evin prison in northern Tehran who were demanding the release of relatives locked up during last month's wave of campus protests.

She was transferred three days later to Baghiatollah Azam hospital where she died. Later on, Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi made the dramatic allegation that Kazemi's brain hemorrhage was caused by beating. Finally, President Khatami ordered the formation of a committee to probe into the real causes of the journalist 's death .

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president commented on the twin bills and said he would insist on his previously demands as for the bills.

He said he would try his utmost to defend the rights of all Iranians as for the elections saying that the vote of the people has to be respected in the best possible manner.

President Khatami said he would pursue efforts to remove the drawbacks on the way of the bills to win the approval of them.

Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Tuesday flayed Guardians Council for screening of electoral hopefuls in what marks a new collision course between the legislature and the supervisory body which has been blocking two key presidential bills.

The bill on bolstering presidential powers seeks to enable the president to warn the three constitutional powers against any violation and mete out punishment if his warnings are not heeded.

The second bill seeks to do away with the Guardians Council's power to disqualify candidates from running in state elections.

The Guardians Council has rejected the twin bills on the ground that they contradict the Constitution and referred them back to the parliament for review.

The Council, comprising six clerics and another six lawyers, vet parliamentary bills to confirm their compliance with the Islamic Sharia law and the Constitution.

It also screens credentials of electoral candidates to confirm their commitment to the Islamic Revolution and the leadership, among other things.

In May, the supervisory body raised the ante after it rejected the bill on presidential power and sent it back to the parliament for review. The council had earlier vetoed the electoral bill.

Parliament, which mostly includes MPs allied to President Khatami's ambitions of establishing a civil society and upholding the law, has instead adopted a tough line, showing little leniency.

The president, who came into power in 1997 on a mandate to establish a civil society, has repeatedly complained that he lacked necessary prerogatives to uphold the law.

He first announced last August his intention to present the two to parliament 'in order to respond better to the aspirations of the people'.

Opponents say if written into law, the bills will leave the door open for the infiltration of anti-revolutionary elements into the Islamic establishment and lead to dictatorship.

Asefi says Iran determined to decipher cause of Kazemi's death

Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran on Wednesday Iran is well determined to push for efforts to discover the real cause(s) of the photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi, IRNA reported.

Talking to IRNA reporter, Asefi reacted to the statements by the Canadian Foreign Minister as for Kazemi's death and said the remarks by Canadian FM on the death of an Iranian journalist were "unacceptable".

He commented on a move by Canada to recall its ambassador to Tehran and said recalling envoys by states for consultations on issues is a usual act in the diplomatic relations.

He hoped Canada would refrain from launching "hasty and irrational" remarks that could compound the issue.

A Canadian daily wrote earlier Canada has recalled its envoy to Iran in protest to the Kazemi's burial in Shiraz, capital of Iran's Fars province.

Mother of Iranian photographer Kazemi said earlier she wanted the body of her daughter buried in her hometown, Shiraz.

In a facsimile sent to IRNA, she said, "In order to prevent any misuse of the tragic incident, I want my beloved daughter's body buried in Shiraz."

Mrs Kazemi was arrested while taking photo from Evin prison compound where families of the inmates were staging demonstration on June 23.

President Khatami assigned four cabinet ministers to see whether there is a matter of culpability in her sudden death.

The report released by the investigating committee on Sunday said that Mrs Zahra Kazemi died of brain hemorrhage caused by a split in her skull.

On Monday, Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi ordered Tehran Province's Prosecution to hold judicial investigation into the case.

Judicial Investigation are underway to find out the causes of the journalist's death.

Masjed Jamei calls for open court proceeding on Kazemi's case

Minister of Culture and the Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjed Jamei said on Wednesday that open trial will be held against anyone who may have had a role in the sudden death of photojournalist Mrs Zahra Kazemi in custody, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Masjed Jamei, a member of the presidential committee in charge of an inquiry, expressed grief over the tragic incident and said that transparent legal proceedings will be instituted against defendant or defendants in the case.

Kazemi was arrested while taking photo from Evin prison compound where families of the inmates had staged demonstration seeking release of their relatives on June 23.

She died of brain hemorrhage caused by a blow into her head on July 10.

Mrs Kazemi was admitted to hospital 36 hours after her skull sustained a fracture.

... Payvand News - 7/24/03 ... --



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