Action Memorandum045

April 24,2000

Press closures and arrests show limitsof Khatami reforms

List of closedpublications


How much more evidence do President Khatami'sfriends in the United States need before they conclude, as we do,that his "reforms" consist of half-measures and compromises aimed atshoring up a dead system, rather than at profound change of the waythings are done in Iran?

On Sunday, April 23, a press court cracked downonce again on the "reformist" press, this time closing 8 dailies, 3weeklies, and 1 monthly publication, all of which were seen assympathetic to President Khatami's reforms.

The court also indicted crusading reporterAkbar Ganji, whose investigations into government involvement in theanti-dissident assassination campaigns of recent years has won himrespect both at home and abroad. Mr. Ganji has kept alive allegationsthat a hard-core elite of regime supporters within the IntelligenceMinistry (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards Corps were instrumentalin the killing of dissidents Parvaneh and Darioush Forouhar in 1998.Mr. Ganji has also accused regime thugs of having orchestrated theattempted assassination on a Tehran street in March of SaeedHajjarian, an ally of President Mohammad Khatami and a key figure inthe reformists' victory in February's parliamentaryelections.

These most recent assaults on the press,coupled to efforts by hard-liners within the Judiciary and theCouncil of Guardians to invalidate the election of pro-reformers toParliament recently, show that much remains to be done beforedemocracy and respect for human rights come to Iran.

The Clinton administration has embarked on amisguided policy that offers rewards to the Tehran regime, withoutany evidence of fundamental change in Iran's policies or its humanrights record.

It is time for all those who love freedom inthe West to reassess their policies toward the Islamic Republic andto help pro-democracy forces inside Iran, instead ofshoring up a failed regime with offers of trade and aid, as some inEurope and America have done.

FDIDirector Kenneth Timmerman's article on Secretary of State MadeleineAlbright's recent opening to Iran that appeared in TheForward on April 14, 2000.

The 13 Persian dailies andperiodicals that were closed on April 23, 2000:


  • Gozaresh-e rouz (Today's Report)
  • Bamdad-now (New Morning)
  • Aftab-e emrouz (Today's Sun)
  • Payam-e azadi (Voice of Freedom)
  • Fa'ath (Victory)
  • Arya
  • Asr-e azadegan (Era of Free-Thinkers)
  • Azad (Free)


  • Payam-e hajar (Voice of Hajar)
  • Aban
  • Arzesh (Value)


  • Iran-farda (Iran Tomorrow)

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran isa private, non-profit corporation registered in the State ofMaryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director( materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at