The Iranian


email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Iranian moderates under increasing pressure from Islamic conservatives

TEHRAN, April 7 (AFP) - Iran's moderates warned Wednesday that the regime's conservatives are trying to roll back their stunning electoral successes with a new series of crackdowns on leading reformers.

"The conservatives want to block moderates supporting the president (Mohammad Khatami) ahead of next year's legislative elections," said Faezeh Hashemi, a leading moderate MP whose newspaper Zan was slapped with an indefinite ban on Tuesday.

"New Conservative Bid to Wipe Out Moderates," the Neshat paper cautioned in its headline, one day after the newspaper ban was announed and the supreme court upheld a two-year prison sentence for the former mayor of Tehran.

Meanwhile conservative MPs lashed out in parliament Wednesday against Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, seen as one of the greatest symbols of the new political openness under Khatami.

Mohajerani, whose wife Jamileh Kadivar was elected to the Tehran municipal council in the February elections, was attacked for approving a cultural festival last month in Persepolis, the historical centre of the old "imperial" Iran.

He was also castigated for expressing his support last month for several writers and intellectuals "hostile" to the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the imperial regime.

The culture minister has likewise been targeted for the greater liberties being taken by the Iranian press, which has been far more open in its criticisms of the Islamic leadership since Khatami's 1997 election.

On Tuesday Zan was banned indefinitely over its publication of a new-year message from ex-empress Farah, the wife of the shah ousted by the revolution.

It was the first time since the revolution that Farah's annual message for the Iranian new year, which began on March 21, has been published in the Iranian press.

Moderates suffered another setback when the supreme court upheld a two-year prison sentence on Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the reformist ousted from the Tehran mayor's office last year.

Karbaschi, who is politically close to Khatami, was sentenced to five years in prison and a 20-year ban on holding public office on corruption charges that he insisted were a political set-up.

In December the sentence was reduced to two years in jail and a 10-year ban and Karbaschi has remained free while the supreme court considered his latest appeal.

A judiciary spokesman said the court had rejected Karbaschi's calls for a new hearing while newspapers said he was due to be arrested soon.

The moves come amid ongoing conservative efforts to reverse the results of the February municipal elections, in which moderates captured all 15 seats on the Tehran municipal council and made wide gains in major cities nationwide.

The conservative-dominated commission which supervised the polling has threatened to overturn the election of the capital's top vote-getter, former vice president and interior minister Abdollah Nuri, widely seen as the most likely candidate to succeed Karbaschi.


Copyright ©Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.