Khatami appeals for political freedom in Iran
TEHRAN, April 15 (AFP) - Iran's moderate President Mohammad Khatami
appealed Thursday for the development of political freedoms amid an offensive
launched against his supporters by powerful conservative rivals.
"Freedom within the framework of law is a must for society and
youth," Khatami said during a tour of the western province of
He said the Islamic's republic late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
and the revered first imam in Shiite Islam, Ali, had both "underlined
people's rights of freedom, self-determination, freedom of thought and
"Freedom does not mean moral laxness or opportunism," Khatami
said, while rejecting any abuses of freedom that "undermine"
Iran's press, which has been flourishing since Khatami's election
in May 1997, has come under mounting attack from conservative forces in
recent months along with several supporters of the reformist president.
Earlier this month, Tehran's revolutionary court banned indefinitely
the moderate newspaper Zan for publishing a new year message from Farah,
the widow of the ousted shah, and accused it of committing "counter-revolutionary"
And popular liberal cleric Mohsen Kadivar appeared before a special
court for clergy on Wednesday charged with spreading propaganda hostile
to the Islamic regime.