Profit and secrecy: the real Olympic tradition The reactions of various parties to the Winter Olympics bid scandal - as reported in "Olympic bribery scandal reverberates around world" (Jan. 14) - reflect a common shortcoming. Investigations and recriminations will only scrape the rust from the surface of the real Olympic tradition: profit and secrecy.

The International Olympic Committee promises that the guilty will be asked to resign, or be ousted. But the problem goes deeper than that, right to the heart of the so-called Olympic ideal.

The IOC has successfully converted the Olympics into an international money machine. And while there is nothing wrong with profit, they are still out there pitching the Games as the ultimate display of brotherhood and solidarity. As a result of recent disclosures, amateur athletes, their families and coaches, candidate cities, national governing bodies, and sponsors may finally realize that the Olympics do not, as the IOC continues to claim, "belong to the world," but are the property of an autonomous international cartel elected in secret, who serve for life and answer to no one.

If amateur athletes and all who support them are serious about their sports, they will take this opportunity to force reorganization of the IOC from the ground up. That is the only hope for renewal of the much ballyhooed "Olympic Spirit."

Ralph J. Erenzo New York

Barriers to reform in Iran The Tehran regime, under intense pressure both from the Iranian public and the international community, has taken the unprecedented step of acknowledging the guilt of its own agents in the wave of assassinations targeting critics in Iran.

But the arrests of 25 Intelligence Ministry agents from the lower ranks are certainly not going to put an end to such cold-blooded murders ("Iran's Inner Wrestling," editorial, Jan. 12).

The resistance has identified two senior Intelligence Ministry agents - Mohammad Sharifzadeh, director general for the ministry's internal security directorate, and Senobari, the director general for personnel control - who were directly involved in the campaign of terror.

Neither has been arrested, because President Mohammad Khatami has refused to authorize their arrests in order to keep the Intelligence Ministry from completely falling apart. If that happens, it could expose its countless other crimes.

It is also naive to interpret the regime's admission of guilt as indicative of a trend toward reform, as some in the West have mistakenly assumed.

If Mr. Khatami were a real reformer, before all else, he would have to side with the principal opposition to the mullahs, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. This rule applies to all countries in which a dictatorship has genuinely reformed: The people must be allowed in.

But for a man whose political credibility depends entirely on the theocracy's survival, a man who is himself part and parcel of that very regime, this would be like chopping off the branch on which he is sitting. Whatever he does, Khatami can't allow the people to take to the streets.

He and the rest of the mullahs have learned that lesson from the experience of the shah. At the same time, improved ties with the US can only become a reality if the situation in Iran changes, the very thing which Khatami is incapable of accomplishing.

Soona Samsami Washington US Representative National Council of Resistance of Iran

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