Khatami walks out on meeting, protesting watchdog budget hike
In an unprecedented step, Iran’s reformist President Mohammad Khatami walked out on an Expediency Council session Saturday, March 15, after the arbitrative body decided to more than double the annual budget of the Guardians’ Council, from 40.4 billion Iranian rials to IR100 billion ($12.6 million).
Khatami was joined by Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi and reformist member of parliament, Majid Ansari. The added funds, required by the Guardians’ Council to allow it to supervise the upcoming February 2004 parliamentary elections, will reportedly be diverted from Khatami's economic reform program.
The Expediency Council is a conservative-dominated body headed by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Its job is to arbitrate in disputes between the reformist-controlled parliament and the hardliner Guardians’ Council.
The Guardians’ Council is made up of six clerics, who vet parliamentary bills to confirm whether they comply with the Islamic Sharia law as well as the Iranian constitution. They have repeatedly blocked many of Khatami’s reforms. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)