The IranianFly to Iran


email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & Views

Iran reformer opens defence in clerical court

By Ali Raiss-Tousi

TEHRAN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Outspoken Iranian reformist Abdollah Nouri on Monday opened his defence against charges of political and religious dissent that are expected to derail his campaign to become speaker of parliament. (Related photos: here)

Nouri sat silently in the Tehran Special Court for Clergy as his lawyer, fellow cleric Mohsen Rahami, challenged libel charges presented by the chief of Iran's security police and the publisher of an obscure weekly as ``baseless.''

Nouri had earlier admonished the hardline judge and prosecutor for using uncouth language against him when he questioned the court's legality and the powers of Iran's supreme leader to create extra-legal tribunals.

``I ask the judge and prosecutor to refrain from using insulting language in order to save their own respectability,'' Nouri said.

``I fear no court hearing except God's own decision on Judgment Day.''


The Special Court for Clergy, which is trying Nouri for religious and political dissent, stands outside Iran's constitution and is independent of the country's judicial apparatus.

Its judges and prosecutor, all hardliners appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are accountable only to him.

Reformers close to moderate President Mohammad Khatami have likened the clerical court to the inquisition tribunals in Europe several centuries ago.

However, a defence motion challenging the court as ``illegal'' was rejected for a second time on Monday. A third hearing has been set for November 3.

Charges levied against Nouri, a former vice-president, include using his daily Khordad newspaper to defame late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and promoting restoration of ties with Iran's arch-foe the United States.


He is also charges with providing political support for the country's leading dissident theologian, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, under house arrest since 1997 for challenging the system of absolute religious rule.

The reformist camp has decried the charges as an attempt to bar Nouri, a close ally of the president, from leading their faction in parliamentary polls set for February 18, 2000. A conviction would effectively bar him from the ballot.

Nouri was widely tipped to lead a serious bid by reform forces to capture parliament. Such a victory would have given him the post of speaker of the legislature.

However, a series of legal and legislative setbacks have clouded the reformists' prospects of unseating the conservative majority in parliament.


 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.