Iranian speaker warns against unchecked "freedoms"
TEHRAN, May 24 (AFP) - Iran's conservative speaker of parliament, Ali
Akbar Nateq-Nuri, warned Monday that unchecked "freedoms" were
threatening the ideological foundations of the Islamic Revolution.
Nateq-Nuri, who was addressing a group of army officials at the southern
Tehran shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomenei, also denounced "cultural plots" by "so-called
The speaker, a leader of the conservative faction in parliament, also
hit out at a "campaign orchestrated by the foreign media and carried
out by suspicious interior elements."
His statements echoed those of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, who last week warned against a cultural and political opening
which he said would weaken the pillars of the Islamic regime.
Reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who beat Nateq-Nuri in the May
1997 presidential elections, on Sunday called for the establishment of
an "Islamic democracy" in Iran and denounced those who "hide
behind the principles of the 1979 revolution, or use them as a cover for
ousting political rivals."
Nateq-Nuri was speaking at a ceremony on Monday marking the anniversary
of the liberation in 1982 of the strategic southern city of Khorramshahr
during the war against Iraq.
The parliament speaker lashed out against "those who encourage
corruption and prostitution in cultural circles under the pretext of liberty."
"The enemy seeks to make our youth indifferent and sow discord
between the public and the leaders," he said, warning against "uncontrolled
development of freedoms which threaten the ideological foundations of the
The warnings were clearly aimed at moderate Culture Minister Ataollah
Mohajerani, a staunch supporter of Khatami's reformist agenda who escaped
an impeachment attempt in the conservative-dominated parliament last month.
Mohajerani has been behind much of the liberalization of the arts and
the media over the past two years. Nateq-Nuri also attacked the small
liberal opposition still tolerated by the regime and which surfaced on
the political scene after the election of Khatami after years of semi-clandestinity.
He denounced the "so-called nationalists and liberals of the provisional
government" led by Mehdi Bazargan during the first months after the
overthrow of the imperial regime in 1979.
The speaker accused them of "wanting to infiltrate" parliament
during next year's parliamentary elections in order to "undermine
the pillars of the regime."
Nateq-Nuri said there were "no differences" between the leadership
on foreign policy matters and added that the country's serious economic
difficulties will be resolved "through solidarity and cooperation."
Nateq-Nuri concluded his speech by calling on all factions of the regime
to "silence their political quarrels and join the supreme leader,"
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.