Khatami says culture minister's resignation is "under
TEHRAN, Dec 6 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammed Khatami affirmed Wednesday
that he had not yet accepted the resignation of one of the country's leading
reformers, Minister of Culture Ataollah Mohajerani.
"Mohajerani is a very dear colleague," Khatami told several
thousand students at Tarbiat-e-Modaress, a university facility, in northeast
"But as you know, he has resigned and his resignation is under
Mohajerani, a beacon of Iran's reformist movement, has offered his resignation
twice in the last year, out of his frustration with the crack down on press
freedom orchestrated by conservatives.
He first tried to resign in April, just before the conservative courts
closed more than 20 mostly pro-reform newspapers and journals, depriving
Khatami of one of his most effective political tools.
The president refused, but Mohajerani again submitted a letter of resignation
in October, which Khatami reportedly asked him to tone down.
Mohajerani, whose ministry issues press licences, survived an impeachment
scare last year when the parliament was still in the hands of conservatives
angry over his "laxity" in controlling the press.
In November, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, castigated
on state radio the record of Mohajerani's ministry, saying he was "not
at all satisfied with the deeds and the record of the government's cultural
Mohajerani has expressed his wish to stay in government alongside Khatami,
despite the conservatives' efforts to destroy the reform movement associated
with the president.
He has suggested the possibility of switching to the post of vice president.