Former French President D'estaing calls for better Iran-EU ties
Feb 2, 2004, 22:44
Former French President Valery Giscard D'estaing here on Saturday called for expansion of relations between Iran and European countries.
In a meeting with Iran's ambassador to Paris Sadeq Kharrazi, Giscard D'estaing, who is currently chairman of the Convention on the Future of Europe, praised the ancient Iranian culture and civilization.
During the meeting, held on the threshold of the 25th anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian envoy appreciated hospitality of the French government and nation during stay of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khom eini, in France.
As to chairmanship of Giscard D'estaing over the European Convention, Kharrazi underlined the need for promotion of relations between European bodies and the Islamic Republic of Iran. http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_1584.shtml
This guy was the one who sheltered Ayatollah Khomeini in 1978-79 and also gave him and his followers Entry Visa and stood against the Shah.
Banned from Reelection, MPs Resign, & Call for Revision of All Election Bans
The reformist Majles MPs, who resigned yesterday after the Guardians Council refused to overturn bans on their election, called for reinstatement of all election candidacy applicants in their 16th communiqué, issued after their joint resignation letters was read at the open session of the Majles. Of the 290 Majles MPs, 124 resigned, and announced that they would accept no deal until all 2,800 reformist candidacy applicants who have been disqualified by the Guardians Council from standing in the February 20 elections are allowed to run. Even if all disqualifications were overturned, still the elections have to be postponed, the communiqué said. (Bahman Bahman)
The MPs' resignations have bolstered the Islamic student activists. The Islamic student council of Tehran's Amir-Kabir University announced that it will hold a meeting on Tuesday in support of the reformist MPs. Members of the Islamic student council of the Tehran University's medical school applied for permit to hold a rally on Wednesday in front of the university's gate. In Shahrekord, a town in Kurdistan, nearly 1,000 demonstrated against bans on reformist candidacy applicants, and the Islamic student council of the city's medical school announced that it will hold a street demonstration to protest what it called illegal and undemocratic move by the totalitarian faction. (Bahman Bastani)
The gathering scheduled for tomorrow takes place inside the university campus and does not require permission from the government, secretary of the Amir-Kabir University's student Islamic council Mehdi Habibi tells Radio Farda. The meeting is called in defense of the republic, and will be held to protest the violation of citizens' right to free and fair elections, he adds. (Farin Asemi)
In a second letter to the Guardians Council, interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari asked once more for postponement of the elections date, arguing that the candidates need more time for campaigning. (Bahman Bastani)
President Khatami and Males speaker Mehdi Karrubi began a new set of negotiations last night to resolve the elections crisis, Karrubi announced at the open session of the Majles. (Bahman Bastani)
The Guardians Council cannot agree to the interior ministry's request to postpone the elections, Guardians Council member Hadi Zavarei said, arguing that such a move would delay the start of the next Majles. (Alireza Taheri)
Tehran's elections executive board announced that it will not be able to hold free and fair elections on February 20. (Bahman Bastani)
The state radio-TV monopoly did not air the news of the MPs resignations. In statements of support, Islamic student councils and other political groups tried to broaden the protest to demand other suppressed social and individual freedoms. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
The vetting process, in which the Guardians Council determines the qualifications of applicants for standing in the Majles elections, is against the constitution, member of the initial constitutional assembly Mohammad Hojati Kermani said in an interview with state-run reformist labor news agency ILNA. Head of the initial constitutional assembly Ayatollah Montazeri said the Guardians Council has added another stage to the elections process by vetting the candidacy applicants, which is contrary to the constitution and a violation of people's right to chose. (Amir Armin)
In a meeting chaired by vice president Mohammad-Reza Aref, the cabinet announced that holding elections on the scheduled date would only be possible if elections could be free, fair and competitive. (Nima Tamadon)
The pro-reform party Participation Front (Jebhe-ye Mosharekat), which has the largest block of MPs in the Majles, announced that it will not take part in the upcoming elections. The party does not tell the voters not to turnout for the elections, but believes that with major parties staying out, voter turnout would be low, party chief Mohammad-Reza Khatami said. (Farin Asemi)
If 124 of British MPs resign, the government would fall, and new elections would have to be held immediately, British MP David Chidgey, member of the Parliament's foreign relations committee and an expert on Iran politics, tells Radio Farda. Behind the elections crisis is a hard battle brewing between the Guardians Council and its opponents, he says. It is ultimately up to the Iranian people to decide the form of their government, he adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)
The cabinet's agreement with the MPs to postpone the elections is an important step, European parliament member from Germany's social democrat party Ozan Ceyuon tells Radio Farda. He denounces the mass disqualification of Majles MPs and other candidacy applicants, and condemns the lack of firmness in the EU policies on Iran. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)
The current elections crisis could mean the end of the reform movement in the Islamic Republic, Vienna's daily Presse writes. The reformists are worried that the conservative faction may hold the elections with the help of the armed forces, German daily Die Welt writes. (Parviz Farhang) http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/02/20040202_2030_0230_0444_EN.asp