First Published: 2003-01-02

Iranian reformists renew threat to walk out

IIPF party says ultra-conservative actions has caused Islamic republic's reform camp to lose its legitimacy.


Middle East Online

War of words between reformists & hardliners may spell political crisis

TEHRAN - Iran's main reformist party loyal to embattled President Mohammad Khatami Thursday renewed its threat to stage a mass walk-out from government, citing overwhelming pressure from powerful hardliners.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) said in a statement that ultra-conservative actions, including what it said were politically-motivated trials, had caused the Islamic republic's reform camp to lose its legitimacy.

"The loss of legitimacy of reformists is a direct consequence of the actions of extremists," said the IIPF, which is led by the president's brother and deputy parliament speaker, Mohammad Reza Khatami.

Threatening to quit power, the party said that "even if such an option is a bad one, it appears inevitable when compared to other options that are even worse."

In particular, the party hit out at the trial of three opinion pollsters involved in a survey that showed most Iranians favour resuming dialogue with the United States.

One of the pollsters on trial is Abbas Abdi, a top member of the IIPF and a former hostage-taker at the US embassy after the 1979 revolution.

Complaining that the accused were being held in solitary confinement and denied access to legal help, the party poured scorn on the fact that the three had admitted in court to "mistakes" and, in Abdi's case, even retracted radical reformist demands.

"Like in all of the political trials of recent years, when the accused find themselves in a normal situation the truth is revealed," the IIPF statement said.

The pollsters are facing a range of charges including seeking to pass on secret information to foreign governments, but reformists have accused the judiciary, a bastion of the religious right, of deliberately targetting supporters of President Khatami.

The IIPF also hit out at "extremists hostile to reforms who call for the dissolution of the Participation Front and for a purge of the government and parliament, and who insult the president and dare to compare him and his supporters to Bani Sadr."

Abolhassan Bani Sadr was the first president after the Islamic revolution, but was forced out of office and to exile in France after religious hardliners deemed his short-lived government to be too liberal.

Just a week ago, hardline cleric Hojatoleslam Mohammad Reza Faker compared President Khatami - who has promised to bring "Islamic democracy" to Iran - to Bani Sadr. The cleric later withdrew his remarks, and said he was referring the president's brother and IIPF leader.

Certain hardliners, the IIPF said, are seeking to pull Iran back to the situation before President Khatami's first landslide election win of 1997.

"A rejection of popular will" by conservatives, the IIPF argued, "has divided the regime into elected and non-elected institutions which spend their time seeking to neutralise each other."

Much of Khatami's promised reforms have been blocked by powerful legislative oversight bodies, which are controlled by conservatives who fear his agenda is undermining the foundations of the Islamic republic.


Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe