Nateq-Nuri echoes Khamenei's call for end to faction
TEHRAN, Oct 3 (AFP) - Iran's conservative leader, parliament speaker
Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri, Sunday echoed calls by supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei for an end to the increasingly bitter faction fighting with
"Just as the leader said, the country needs unity in what it says
and what it does," Nateq-Nuri told Iran's conservative dominated
"The main forces (factions) must rotate around the basic principles
of the regime, the guiding line of the Islamic republic drawn by (its
founder Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini, and obey its successor (Khamenei),"
he told MPs.
The speaker, who lost 1997 elections to reformist President Mohammad
Khatami, called for "unity and reconciliation" between Iran's
conservative and reformist factions.
He echoed Khamenei's call on Friday for no one -- even clerics -- to
seek to take the law into their own hands in response to perceived attacks
on the Islamic religion.
"No person should act arbitrarily and the members of the clergy,
as well as all other persons in society, must obey the supreme leader,"
In a keynote sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers here on Friday,
Khamenei warned against "any arbitrary, individual or overly emotional
reaction" to a play published in a student magazine here which had
provoked outrage Iran's conservatives.
"Nobody has the right to react on the basis of feelings and assume
the right to defend the values of Islam," Khamenei said in his sermon
marking the 100th anniversary of Khomeni's birth.
"I legally and religiously forbid any act against the authors of
the offence against the 12th imam," he said in reference to the play
in the campus magazine Moj (Wave) which is accused of mocking the belief
of Iran's Shiite Muslims in a hidden 12th imam or Mahdi who will return
to usher in an age of justice.
Publication of the "anti-Islamic" play has led to a string
of demonstrations by conservatives and hardliners in which they have called
for the play's authors to be hanged and for an intensified clampdown on
Iran's fledgling reformist press.
Reformers have countered that the play was a deliberate ploy which played
into the hands of the conservatives by tarnishing Khatami's policy of
opening up the media -- the centrepiece of his reforms.
"It seems as though a certain group wants to create a haze across
the country with a particular ambition," the reformist president
charged last week without elaborating on the identity of the group he
suspected was behind it.