People celebrate after the soccer match in Abu Dhabi between Iran
and UAE in a World Cup qualifier, in Mohseni square, north Tehran,
In a new movie, young Iranian lovers are harassed by morality police
for being alone together in a car. The outraged young man finally
attacks the officer -- often to the cheers of the audience. In a series
of remarkable outbursts on the streets -- following soccer matches
by Iran's national team -- crowds have defied Islamic "authorities",
flouted Islamic rules and introduced some serious political questions.
Islamic "president" Mohammad Khatami came to New York City
to attend a U.N. summit as U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies
explored new information tying his regime's intelligence services
to Sept. 11 and to previous anti-American terrorist attacks, Insight
Thousands of Iranian demonstrators have poured into the streets in
recent weeks shouting protests with fierce intensity. Even more astonishing
is that Iranian crowds gathering to cheer the national soccer team
in World Cup competition have erupted with denunciations of the conservative
clerics who have long kept Iran a strictly Islamic despotism. A figure
emerging as a leading voice for this popular discontent is Reza Pahlavi,
exiled son of the late shah of Iran. Pahlavi's call for secular democracy
and nonviolent civil disobedience has been beamed into Iran this year
from Los Angeles on satellite TV.
Thirty-one member of so-called "reformist" group went on
trial Sunday in closed-door proceedings that could set up another
show between rival Moslems: conservatives and "moderates".
Conviction by the Revolutionary Court could bring death sentences.
Turkey has promised to take delivery of Iranian natural gas in December.
The 25-year gas deal has been valued at more than $20 billion.
Iran has the world's second-largest reserves after Russia, it has
been slow to develop its gas resources and even slower to find markets
Iran's soccer fervor turns political and violent against ruling clerics.
Following a succession of recent soccer matches, hundreds of thousands
of Iranian boys and girls have poured into streets across Iran, chanting
"Zindibad azadi!" (Long live freedom), blaring banned pop
music from car radios, and shouting in support of the exiled son of
the shah, now emerging as the likely figurehead for the democratic
desires of Iranian youth.