Friday, March 17, 2000

The U.S. announces a "major gesture" to Iran, acknowledging (but not apologizing for) past meddling in Iran, including the 1953 CIA-backed coup that restored the monarchy; promising steps toward the return of assets frozen since the 1979 revolution; lifting a ban on imports of Iranian luxury goods; easing restrictions on Iranian academics and athletes visiting the U.S. Secy. of State Albright adds that the U.S. will also consider the upcoming trial 13 Iranian Jews as a "barometer of U.S.-Iran relations." (NYT, WP, WT 3/17; NYT, WP 3/18; IRNA 3/18, 3/19 in WNC 3/21; NYT 3/19; MM 3/20; AYM 3/21 in WNC 3/23; CSM, MM 3/24; NY 4/27) (see 2/2)

Lebanon grants asylum to 1 of 5 Japanese Red Army mbrs. who just completed prison terms for passport forgery. The other 4 mbrs. are deported to Jordan, which hands them over to Japanese officials for extradition to Tokyo, where they will stand trial for bombings they carried out there in the 1970s. When they hear the news, angry demonstrators rally outside Lebanese PM Salim al-Huss's home. Huss claims Lebanon did not have an agmt. with Jordan, Japan to send the 4 back to Tokyo. (NYT, WP 3/18; al-Safir 3/18 in WNC 3/21; NYT 3/19; MM 3/21; WP, WT 3/22; MEI 5/5) (see 7/31/97)