The Iranian


email us

Flower delivery in Iran

Fly to Iran

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Iran reformers fear coup

By Guy Dinmore in Tehran
Financial Times
April 20, 2000

Iran's political crisis deepened on Wednesday when a reformist party allied to President Mohammad Khatami accused hardliners of plotting a military coup or other ways of preventing the newly elected and reformist-dominated parliament from convening next month. Related fearure here

The reformist Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organisation was responding to a statement by the powerful Revolutionary Guards which said that "when the time comes, small and big enemies will feel the revolutionary hammer on their skulls".

The unusual warning, broadcast by state media on Sunday, was widely seen as a threat to prominent reformists. Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in elections held two months ago, winning only some 50 of the 290 Majlis seats, as reformists repeated Mr Khatami's own landslide victory in presidential polls in 1997.

But the hardliner-dominated Council of Guardians, which has supervisory powers, has not yet ratified the results of 32 seats, nor confirmed a date for a second round of voting for 65 seats where no candidate passed the required threshold.

In the last two weeks the Council, alleging malpractice, has also annulled or changed the results of 10 seats won by reformists, triggering unrest in two towns.

The outgoing assembly is still in session and this week passed amendments to the press law that could muzzle Iran's largely pro-reform newspapers, by preventing them from reopening under a new title if closed down, as has repeatedly happened, and barring certain journalists from working.

Last week, the Expediency Council, a powerful body also dominated by conservatives, ruled that parliament had no right to investigate institutions under the control of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, such as the Revolutionary Guards, the broadcast media and the Bonyads, charitable foundations that have grown into business empires.

The violent rhetoric of some hardline Shia Muslim clerics has created a feeling of insecurity. The attempted murder last month of Saeed Hajjarian, an editor and adviser to the president, still haunts Tehran.

A rally organised by the Basij Islamic militia on Tuesday chanted: "Death to the mercenary writers." Their target was Akbar Ganji, a journalist who alleges that prominent figures within the system were behind a series of unresolved political killings.

Some analysts believe the hardliners are hoping to intimidate the new parliament before it meets. Others fear the aim is to create such a crisis that Ayatollah Khamenei would come under pressure to deploy the Revolutionary Guards.

In its open letter, the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organisation warned unnamed hardliners, whom they described as the "Mafia of power", that a coup was a "childish dream", as the bulk of the armed forces supported Mr Khatami and the reformists.

Foreign oil and gas companies bidding for contracts in Iran are watching the situation closely. One representative, expressing a view also held by some western diplomats, said he believed the reformist trend was so strong that Mr Khatami would ride out the crisis but might have to make compromises along the way.


 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.