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.


Saudi to carry out nuclear power deal with or without US

Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Air strikes hit Ghouta despite rebel ceasefire effort

US approves $1 billion in Saudi defence contracts

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Israel ministers welcome US appointment of 'friend' Bolton

Turkey says EU statements on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed