Iran Defense Chief Says no Political Role for Army
Iran's defense minister said the military should keep out of politics in order to make the population feel more confident about the state of the nation, the official IRNA news agency said.
Admiral Ali Shamkhani, speaking Saturday to senior army personnel in Tehran, denounced what he called enemies of the Islamic revolution who had tried to "engage the military in their own political games," IRNA reported.
"The role of the country's military in reforms is to keep away from politics and the army must inject the feeling of confidence into society," he said.
Iran's reformist President Mohammed Khatami, whose supporters won a majority in February's parliamentary elections but have seen nearly every pro-reform newspaper since closed by the conservative courts, has no control over the nation's armed forces.
The military's commander-in-chief is supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who also controls the volunteer Islamic Basiji militia.
A report by a conservative government body on Thursday cleared the Basiji as well as the elite Revolutionary Guards of any wrongdoing in several days of unrest last month in the western city of Khoramabad.
But the National Security Council, which is chaired by Khatami, rejected the report, as did students, who said they were brutally beaten by members of both groups during the days of rioting.
One policeman was killed and dozens of people, both police officers and students, were wounded in the troubles – TEHRAN (AFP)
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