Iranian television shows embarrassing images for reformists
TEHRAN, April 19 (AFP) - Iran's conservative-run television dealt a
blow to the country's reformists late Tuesday by showing aides of President
Mohammad Khatami attacking the Islamic regime at a Berlin conference. Related cartoon here
A commentator apologised to viewers for showing "anti-Islamic"
scenes, including a woman dancing with bare arms, and shots of members
of the banned armed opposition group the People's Mujahadeen.
Conference organisers the Heinrich Boell Foundation had invited many
close allies and supporters of Khatami, including reformist cleric Yussefi
Eshkevari and investigative journalist Akbar Ganji.
Also present was Ezzatollah Sahabi of the banned but tolerated secular
party, the Iran Freedom Movement.
The television showed a disruption by members of the People's Mujahadeen
alleging the Khatami government was just as responsible as its predecessors
for the "crimes and human rights violations" in Iran since the
1979 Islamic revolution.
Participants expressed support for Khatami's reforms and condemned press
censorship and political repression in Iran.
Speakers expressed indignation when the woman got up and began to dance,
but most of the audience applauded, and the mere fact of being present
was enough to damn the reformists in the eyes of conservatives who have
been sounding off about the conference for several days.