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Author Topic:   Iranian president is demagogue, not hero or 'reformer´
posted June 04, 2001 11:05     Click Here to See the Profile for Ardalan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Washington Times
Letters to Editor

June 3, 2001

By Behzad Atigh - Arlington

The depiction of Iran´s president, Mohammed Khatami, as a"national hero" for Iranian women and youth is absurd ("Khatami: Reform is inevitable," May 30).

While in the past four years, Mr. Khatami´s PR campaign has been very much centered around hollow slogans of "rule of law" and "civil society," in practice, he has only paid lip-service to aspirations of Iranians, particularly youth and women, for a free and democratic Iran.

Under Mr. Khatami´s watch, many women have been sentenced to death by stoning, publicly hanged, flogged and imprisoned for "immorality." As for students, on many occasions he betrayed their just cause by calling them "extremists." In a major test of Mr. Khatami´s allegiance toward democratic aspirations of students, he, as the head of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, ordered the bloody suppression of the six-day student uprising in Tehran in July 1999.

This, of course, should not come as a surprise. After all, on numerous occasions, Mr. Khatami has declared that he is fully loyal to Iran´s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and that he wants to "reform" the regime only within the framework of its constitution. This is the very same constitution which, among other undemocratic measures, considers women second-class citizens, essentially sanctions use of torture for extracting information and gives unlimited power to a cleric the supreme leader who can override all three branches of government. This is the law to which Mr. Khatami refers when he talks about "rule of law."

Mr. Khatami is no reformer. Like his true mentor, the late Iranian supreme leader Ruholla Khomeini, he is just a demagogue.

And, notwithstanding those who are bused to stadiums for special PR occasions, Iranians in numerous anti-government demonstrations have shown their rejection of him when they shout "down with Khatami," as well as "down with Khamenei."

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