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Iranians fed up with conservative attitudes: Rafsanjani daughter

TEHRAN, June 7 (AFP) - Faezeh Hashemi, a prominent moderate Iranian MP and the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, has lashed out at the Islamic regime's conservative-dominated leadership.

Hashemi, in remarks published on Monday by the English-language Iran Daily, said that Iranians are "fed up with hardline attitudes."

Reformist president Mohammad Khatami "holds only a small portion of the power, (while) the remaining part of the ruling establishment confronts him in every way it can," she said.

"A review of their performance in recent months reveals that they have started a series of moves to weaken their rivals," the moderate MP said, referring to the parliamentary elections next year.

"They have resorted to spreading baseless accusations and abusing the means available to them," Hashemi said, adding that "they will even play with people's religious and ideological beliefs."

Referring to increasing pressure by conservatives against Iran's reformist media, Hashemi, managing director of the banned Zan (Woman) paper, said the interference of revolutionary courts into press issues was "illegal."

"I have to say that we (the moderate press) have been truly mistreated," she said.

Zan was suspended in early April for publishing a new year's message from ex-empress Farah Diba to the Iranian people.

"Since they (the conservatives) have a major section of the rulership in their hands, they do everything they can to ensure their own brand of interests ... (but) when they cannot pursue their monopolistic policies through manipulation, they resort to illegal methods," Hashemi said.

Iran's moderate press has enjoyed considerable freedom since the election of Khatami as president two years ago.

But attacks against pro-Khatami media and ministries have increased in recent months while hardliners prepare the grounds to ensure as many seats as possible in next year's parliamentary elections.

"Meanwhile, I have to admit that unfortunately the government has acted poorly in terms of economic considerations," Hashemi added. Despite Khatami's widespread popularity, notably among the young for his efforts in establishing greater freedom and rule of law, Iran's 60 million population is still suffering from high unemployment and inflation rates.

On Friday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Khatami's government to "pay greater attention to the economic problems of the country and the well-being of the population."


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