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DATE=5/8/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=POST-ELECTION IRAN NUMBER=5-56275 BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Reformers have won two-thirds of sixty-six parliamentary seats in Iran's runoff elections. That gives them more than two hundred seats out of two hundred ninety, the first time conservative clerics have not dominated the parliament since the 1979 revolution. At a recent Washington conference, participants discussed evolving Iran and the U-S response to it. V-O-A's Ed Warner reports. TEXT: Iran has been changing, says Graham Fuller of the research organization RAND, but U-S policy has not been changing along with it. At a conference held by the Middle East Policy Council on Capitol Hill, Mr. Fuller said the United States has considered Iran a rogue state for too long. That is an arbitrary and arrogant label, he added, that simply stifles policy. It is essential, he said, to start dealing with Iran: /// FULLER ACT /// Through our actions, we have suspended the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, and that makes life very complicated for us and for everyone else. Our boycott of Iran affects huge issues of long term importance: pipelines which are not here for four or five years but for 40 or 50 years and affect the region. Iran could assist in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, if we had worked with Iran in this area. But for a long time, we were the threat to Iran much more than Saddam Hussein was. /// END ACT /// Mr. Fuller noted that Iran has moved closer to Russia and China because it has been shunned by the United States. He believes Iran could offer some help in bringing stability to Afghanistan and the Caucasus. Above all, it has had years of experience as an Islamic republic under clerical rule. It can draw lessons useful for the rest of the Muslim world. Ted Carpenter, director of defense and foreign policy studies at the private Cato Institute, cited one possible lesson: /// CARPENTER ACT /// We may see the passing of a fairly pervasive myth, and that is that the values of Islam and democracy are antithetical. What is going on in Iran today and at the other end of the Islamic world in Indonesia thus becomes very, very interesting. Are we going to see the emergence of home-grown versions of democracy compatible with the basic principles of Islam? /// END ACT /// But is democracy assured in Iran? Assad Homayoun, an Iranian opposition leader in the United States, has his doubts. He notes the reaction of the hard-liners to the reformers' success in the first round of elections: /// HOMAYOUN ACT /// They shut down all pro-democracy papers - daily, weekly and monthly. And they incarcerated a number of students, journalists and even two prominent pro-democracy women. Presently, Iran is entering a crisis of confrontation between the clerics and the people of Iran, maybe resorting to violence. The situation in Iran is very tense. /// END ACT /// Entrenched in the judiciary and the security forces, the conservative clerics limit the power of reformist President Mohammed Khatami. Mr. Homayoun says their intransigence could lead to a popular uprising. He believes there is even a faction of the Revolutionary Guards ready to break ranks with the hardliners. In his opinion, the Iranian people have had their fill of clerical rule. Jerome Segal, President of the Jewish Peace Lobby, says a revitalized and more democratic Iran could play a major role as a Middle East peacemaker. Mr. Segal believes Jerusalem must be the shared capital of Israelis and Palestinians. To overcome Israeli resistance, Iran could make a dramatic offer to end all opposition to the Jewish state: /// SEGAL ACT /// To me, that actually means some kind of reconciliation between Judaism and Islam with respect to Jerusalem. The question is whether or not Iran, which would be the uniquely positioned country, could constructively be brought into play in terms of bringing that long-term reconciliation for a true deal on Jerusalem. /// END ACT /// But Mr. Segal notes that any such lofty action depends on continuing reform in Iran. (Signed) NEB/ew/gm 08-May-2000 18:05 PM EDT (08-May-2000 2205 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .