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To: DoctorZIn
Joint inquiry starts into Iran plane crash in UAE

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Representatives from the United Arab Emiratesand Iranian civil aviation authorities began Wednesday investigating the causes of an Iranian Kish Airlines plane crash in the UAE that killed 43 people.

"The Iranian delegation, which arrived in Dubai on Tuesday evening, began this morning meeting with the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority," the head of Sharjah's civil aviation authority, Abdul Wahab Mohammed al-Roomi, told AFP.

The plane crashed as it was coming in to land in Sharjah on Tuesday, killing 43 people on board and leaving three survivors as it narrowly missed a residential area before plunging to the ground.

"A representative of Sharjah's civil aviation authority took part in the meeting," said Roomi, adding that "the number of crash victims has not changed," while one of the three survivors is still in critical condition.

The Kish Airlines Fokker 50 twin-turboprop aircraft had an Iranian crew of six while the passengers included 12 Iranians, 12 Indians, four Egyptians, two Algerians, two Filipinos, one Bangladeshi, one Cameroonian, one Nepalese, one Nigerian, one Syrian, one Sudanese and one UAE national, according to a passenger manifest Roomi said was sent by Iranian airport authorities.

The flight had come from Iran's Persian Gulf island of Kish when it went down in an open area sandwiched between the villas of a crowded residential zone about two miles (nearly four kilometres) from the airport, on the border between Sharjah and Ajman, another emirate in the seven-member UAE federation.

10 posted on 02/11/2004 3:57:04 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Iran's President Criticizes Conservatives
February 11, 2004

In a sharp attack against the vast powers of ruling conservatives, Iran's president on Wednesday called the restriction of political freedoms a "threat to the nation" that could be hard to contain.

The warnings by President Mohammad Khatami - made during events marking the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution - could increase the intense political friction ahead of Feb. 20 parliamentary elections that many reformers plan to boycott.

Khatami bowed to pressure from the powerful theocracy and agreed to hold the elections. But he has described the voting for the 290-seat parliament as unfair because thousands of reformist candidates have been blocked from running.

"Elections are a symbol of democracy if they are performed correctly," Khatami told crowds gathered in a huge square to celebrate the collapse of the Western-backed monarchy in 1979. "If this is restricted, it's a threat to the nation and the system. This threat is difficult to reverse."

The elections have touched off one of Iran's deepest political crises since the revolution.

More than 3,000 pro-reform candidates were originally disqualified by the 12-member Guardian Council, which has the authority to block people seeking high public office. Liberal lawmakers countered with sit-ins and protests. The council later reinstated about 1,100, but reformists said that was insufficient.

A major boycott - urged by a wide-ranging coalition from activists to academics - would likely return control of parliament to conservatives. The backlash, however, could lead to huge political rifts and greater street demonstrations calling for ruling clerics to relinquish some of their virtually unlimited controls.

Iran's largest reformist party, Islamic Iran Participation Front, has joined the boycott camp. The party is led by the president's younger brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, who is deputy speaker of parliament and one of those barred from the election.

Reformists won control of the parliament in 2000 for the first time since the Islamic Revolution. But hard-liners have used their control of unelected bodies such as the Guardian Council to thwart attempts to liberalize Iran's political system and relax its strict Islamic social code.

In his speech, Khatami called for a "third way" avoiding Western-style models and a Taliban-like system led by "those who don't consider the rights of the people ... and oppose freedom and democracy using religion."

"Blocking the demands of the people and their right to vote ... causes frustration, especially among the young," he said.

The official election campaign period opens Thursday. Khatami has not made it clear whether he will support the boycott movement.

"For the prosperity of the nation, I don't know any path other than reforms," he said. "Whether I succeed or not and whether obstacles keep preventing me from fulfilling my promises or not, I know no other path and won't choose a path other than reforms."
11 posted on 02/11/2004 4:08:50 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
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