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.


US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison

Saudi king says Palestinians have 'right' to Jerusalem

Erdogan urges world to recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Saudi King says determined to confront corruption

South Sudan needs $1.7 billion humanitarian aid in 2018

UAE oil giant floats 10 percent of retail arm to strong interest

US skeptical about Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

Growing concern about rise of far-right in Austria

Saudi, UAE seeks to help West Africa fight terrorism

Somali journalist dies after Mogadishu bombing