Reformers attained a sweeping victory in last February’s parliamentary elections. Politicians that back the liberal policies of President Mohammad Khatami now control approximately two-thirds of Majlis seats, while only a small minority support hard-line conservative candidates.
Following the reform faction's enormous triumph, many were awaiting the country's embrace of sweeping change. Instead, violence and turbulence have characterized unfolding events. A handful of mortar rounds exploded in Tehran in late March, a day after the assassination attempt of a key political strategist and advisor to President Khatami. These two apparently unrelated incidents have magnified political rifts and further polarized the Islamic Republic's warring factions. Reformers blame conservative elements for the shooting of Saeed Hajjarian, the Khatami confidante, and accuse them of striving to destabilize the country. The President now faces mounting pressure to crack down on suspected Islamic vigilantes. Many of his followers believe that the attackers were hard-line law enforcers who attempted to exact revenge for the conservatives' election defeat.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)