Iran President Defends his Reform Programs
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday said reforms were the only solution for the Islamic republic, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"I am loyal to the slogans I have used, and (still) insist on them. I believe that there is no other way to reach the goals except for gradual reforms and calm in society," Khatami said cited by IRNA.
"One should not betray the hopes of the people," the moderate head of state warned during a meeting with the pro-reform student organization, the Office of Consolidation and Unity.
He called for the creation of a "free atmosphere for the people to express their opinions," however stressing that "a clear boundary for those who believe in the destruction of the regime, must be set."
Khatami assured that his government's reforms were "within the framework of the constitution and aim at reaching the Islamic revolution's goals."
The reformist student association said "certain people were aiming to divert the reformist movement," underlining that reforms did not mean an overturning of the regime, but rather a solution to the nation's problems.
Since the election of Khatami in 1997, Iran's conservatives -- who control the country's key institutions -- have accused reformers of wanting to introduce western-style reforms into the country.
In early July, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected any western-inspired reforms in Iran, notably by Washington and London, deeming them "incongruous with the Islamic republic."
He underlined the need to "reach an agreement on well-defined definitions of reforms and reformations," and affirmed that the US-designed "collapse of communism in the Soviet Union with plausible slogans for reforms and reformations, would "never work for Iran." - TEHRAN (AFP)
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