Iran’s largest reform Party threatens to quit
The Islamic republic of Iran's largest reform party, warning of a popular uprising, threatened on Wednesday to quit the government and parliament if hard-liners continue to stall social and political change.
Mohammad Reza Khatami's statement to members of his Islamic Iran Participation Front marked the first time Iranian reformists have threatened to quit their posts to protest a lack of freedom and worsening political climate in the country.
Khatami, the brother of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, did not set a deadline or demand specific changes. He said democratic reforms were the best and only way to run the country, according to The Associated Press.
"But if they (hard-liners) stall reforms, then only two...choices remain: dictatorship or uprising," he said in a speech to his party.
Reformists from his party, many of whom hold high-ranking positions in the government and parliament, would not take part in either course, he said. Rather, he said, "we will leave the establishment."
The reformist party occupies over 100 seats in the 290-seat parliament, where Khatami is the vice-speaker. Another prominent party member is Mohsen Mirdamadi, chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. The ministers of labor, education, energy, agriculture and communications are also members of the party.
Since first elected president in 1997, Iranian President Khatami's program of political freedoms and reforms has effectively been thwarted by hard-liners in the judiciary, who have closed over 50 liberal newspapers and arrested or imprisoned dozens of journalists and political activists. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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