Iranian Hard-Liners Face Fall of Regime (AP) By Ali Akbar Dareini TEHRAN, Iran 12/10/02 7:59 PM)
AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS
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TEHRAN, Iran –– Iran´s Islamic establishment may face the same fate
as the country´s deposed shah if student calls for reform keep being
ignored, the leader of Iran´s largest reformist group said in
comments reported Tuesday.
Mohammad Reza Khatami, who heads the Islamic Iran Participation
Front, said Iranian students will "break from the establishment" if
they feel their calls for reform are being ignored.
"The main reason for the fall of the former (monarchial) regime was
its resistance against student calls for freedom and justice," the
official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khatami, who is also the
younger brother of Iran´s pro-reformist president, as saying.
Students were among the first segments of Iranian society to oppose
the policies of the pro-western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Clerics
later joined the protests, which snowballed into the 1979 revolution
led by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Under Khomeini´s rule, and that of his successor Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, conservative clergymen have taken control of vital
institutions – like the police and judiciary – and thwarted the
political and social reforms pursued by President Mohammad Khatami.
Thousands of students have been taking to Tehran´s streets since
November to protest a death sentence against university professor
Hashem Aghajari, who was found guilty of questioning the rule of hard-
On many occasions, student demonstrations have turned into strong
criticisms of Iran´s hard-liners.
IRNA quoted reformist lawmaker Ahmad Shirzad as saying that four
students arrested during protests in Tehran and the central Iranian
city of Isfahan in recent weeks remained in jail without trial.
The agency also said Iran´s reformist-dominated parliament had
decided to launch a probe into circumstances of Aghajari´s death
Lawmaker Hossein Ansari-Rad said a parliamentary committee was
studying a complaint from Aghajari, saying the judge who issued the
verdict was not independent, IRNA reported.
In a fresh blow to hard-liners, the judiciary spokesman Hossein Mir-
Mohammad Sadeqi has resigned to protest the death sentence, it was
"I don´t favor the verdict at all. I´m sorry for the negative impacts
of the sentence on the country," the agency quoted Sadeqi as saying.
Sadeqi said he lodged his resignation 10 days ago, but judiciary
chief Ayatollah Mohmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has not accepted it.
(© 2002 The Associated Press 12/10/02)
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