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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

DATE=1/14/99
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-42367
TITLE=DIVIDED IRAN
BYLINE= ED WARNER
DATELINE= WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 
INTRODUCTION:  AS THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION 
APPROACHES IN FEBRUARY, IRAN'S FATE IS UNDECIDED.  IT IS 
PRESENTLY TORN BETWEEN A CLERICAL FACTION LOYAL TO THAT 
REVOLUTION AND REFORMERS TRYING TO PURSUE MORE MODERATE POLICIES.
V-O-A'S ED WARNER REPORTS SOME OBSERVATIONS ON DIVIDED IRAN AND 
WHAT MAY LIE AHEAD. 
TEXT:  THE NEWS WAS STARTLING, EVEN THOUGH EVERY DAY BRINGS SOME 
SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT IN IRAN.  THE DIRECTOR OF IRANIAN 
INTELLIGENCE ADMITTED MEMBERS OF HIS MINISTRY WERE RESPONSIBLE 
FOR THE MURDER OF FIVE CRITICS OF THE REGIME. 
THIS UNPRECEDENTED CONFESSION IS THE RESULT OF GROWING PUBLIC 
PRESSURE FOR MORE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY, SAYS THOMAS STAUFFER, 
AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS WRITINGS ON IRAN: 
                      /// STAUFFER ACT ///
         THE PRESS IS SURPRISINGLY FREE.  THE COUNTRY BY THIRD 
         WORLD STANDARDS IS SURPRISINGLY DEMOCRATIC.  AND THE 
         FACT THAT [PRESIDENT MOHAMMAD] KHATAMI WAS ABLE EVEN TO 
         MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF CALLING THE INTELLIGENCE 
         SERVICE TO ACCOUNT IS ITSELF SYMPTOMATIC OF THE IMPROVED
         DEMOCRATIC BALANCE IN THE COUNTRY. 
                         /// END ACT /// 
MR. STAUFFER SAYS 20 YEARS AGO, SUCH AN ADMISSION WOULD HAVE BEEN
UNTHINKABLE.  THE FORCES BEHIND PRESIDENT KHATAMI, WHO WAS 
ELECTED IN 1997 WITH MORE THAN 70 PERCENT OF THE VOTE, ARE 
CREATING INTENSE PRESSURE FOR CHANGE.
ASSAD HOMAYOUN, AN IRANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER IN THE UNITED 
STATES, SAYS POPULAR SENTIMENT IS CLEAR:
                   /// FIRST HOMAYOUN ACT ///
         THE FEAR IS GONE. THE PEOPLE DEMAND MORE AND MORE.  A 
         CONFRONTATION IS INEVITABLE.  THEY WILL PUSH FOR MORE 
         REFORM, MORE CHANGE AND ALSO THE DISMANTLING OF CLERICAL
         POWER.
                         /// END ACT ///
BUT MR. HOMAYOUN SAYS CHANGE MAY  NOT  BE COMING FAST ENOUGH FOR 
AN IMPATIENT PEOPLE.  IT IS HELD UP BY THE NATION'S SPIRITUAL 
LEADER, AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, WHO HAS FAR MORE POWER UNDER THE 
IRANIAN CONSTITUTION THAN THE PRESIDENT: 
                   /// SECOND HOMAYOUN ACT ///
         MR. KHATAMI IS PRESIDENT, BUT MR. KHAMENEI HOLDS THE 
         POWER OF THE ECONOMY, POWER OF INTELLIGENCE, POWER OF 
         THE ARMED FORCES.  THIS IS THE PROBLEM.  MR. KHATAMI HAS
         THE POWER OF 20-MILLION VOTES, BUT HE HAS TO EXERCISE 
         HIS POWER.  HE IS HESITATING.
                         /// END ACT ///
MR. HOMAYOUN SAYS THE PRESIDENT SHOULD ASSERT HIS POWER BY 
DISMISSING THE DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE, BUT THAT WOULD PROVOKE 
THE KIND OF BITTER CLASH WITH THE CLERICAL FORCES MR. KHATAMI IS 
TRYING TO AVOID.
HE IS ENGAGED IN AN INTRICATE POLITICAL MANEUVER:  THE CLERICS 
SHUT DOWN A NEWSPAPER; HE ISSUES A LICENSE TO START ANOTHER. THEY
FORCE ONE OF HIS SUPPORTERS OUT OF OFFICE; HE FINDS THE MAN 
ANOTHER POST.
JEFFREY KEMP, DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL STRATEGIC PROGRAMS AT THE 
NIXON CENTER, WRITES THAT UNTIL PRESIDENT KHATAMI AND HIS 
SUPPORTERS "GAIN CONTROL OF THE KEY INSTRUMENTS OF POWER, HIS 
PROPOSED REFORMS AND EVEN HIS TENURE IN OFFICE COULD BE IN 
JEOPARDY."
THOMAS STAUFFER SAYS THE OPPOSITION FORCES SHOULD  NOT  BE 
UNDERESTIMATED: 
                      /// STAUFFER ACT ///
         THERE ARE THE IDEOLOGUES WHO ARE SO DEEPLY DISTRUSTFUL 
         OF THE UNITED STATES THAT THEY WILL  NOT  DEAL WITH US. 
         THERE ARE GROUPS WHO FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS FIND IT 
         VERY CONVENIENT TO OPPOSE REFORM.  AND THEN THERE ARE 
         SOME GROUPS WITHIN THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY WHO HAVE VERY
         REAL VESTED INTERESTS IN OPPOSING ANY KIND OF ECONOMIC 
         REFORM.  OR ANY POLITICAL REFORM THAT MIGHT LEAD TO 
         ECONOMIC REFORM.
                         /// END ACT ///
DO  NOT  TAKE ALL THE RELIGIOUS ZEAL AT FACE VALUE, SAYS MR. 
STAUFFER.  IT IS OFTEN SERVES AS A COVER FOR MATERIAL INTERESTS. 
VAST FOUNDATIONS CONTROL MUCH OF THE IRANIAN ECONOMY, AND THOSE 
WHO PROFIT FROM THEM DO  NOT  WANT THEIR PRIVILEGES THREATENED BY
A FREE ECONOMY.
MR. STAUFFER SAYS THE DECLINE IN OIL PRICES, WHILE HURTING MOST 
IRANIANS, HAS STRENGTHENED THE FOUNDATIONS, WHICH ARE INVOLVED IN
OTHER KINDS OF BUSINESS.  IT IS THEIR POWER, ABOVE ALL, THAT MUST
BE CONFRONTED IF IRAN IS TO ACHIEVE A CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE RULE 
OF LAW.   (SIGNED)
NEB/EW/WTW
14-Jan-99 5:44 PM EST (2244 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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