Khatami Ends Majlis Speech ‘with no Word on Candidacy’
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami ended his long-awaited speech to the lawmakers on Sunday without announcing whether he will run for a second term in office.
Khatami, who has yet to announce whether he will stand less than three months before the election, nevertheless hinted he would follow the will of the electorate, reported AFP.
"As long as the people want me to be, I will be at their service. And if they do not want that, I will be elsewhere, but still at the service of the people," he was quoted as saying.
Many analysts predicted that he would reveal his intention to seek re-election as his four-year term in office nears expiry, according to official news agency (IRNA).
Khatami criticized the officials trying to discharge their responsibility and stoke up tension under the pretext of the disturbances and hurdles they are faced with in performing their mandatory burden.
"No servant is allowed to cause tension in the country by revealing the worries he is faced with," Khatami told the reformist-majority parliament (Majlis) in an address focusing on his accomplishment in office.
“I admit that I have not revealed all my worries in the society not out of personal foresight, but because of national interests," Khatami said.
"I have always been privy to the problems and sufferings of the Iranian nation and have suffered from them," he added.
Khatami said that all officials should make efforts to shield the nation from tensions and traumas.
He deplored the closure by the judiciary last week of the conservative weekly `Harim' on charges of defaming him. Khatami noted that on the basis of no law, a journal could be closed for insulting the president. He, however, made it clear that he did not intend to interfere in the internal affairs of the judiciary.
The suspension took place following a complaint filed by the head of the Tehran Justice Administration as the representative of the prosecutor general. It said the publication in an article titled `The Slogans of Mr. Kh’ had implicitly derided President Khatami for his promises of establishing the rule of law and a civic society in his 1997 presidential campaign.
Courts have closed over 25 newspapers and jailed an approximately equal number of journalists, mostly pro-reform on charges of disparaging Islam and religious elements of the Islamic Revolution.
Khatami won the presidency by a landslide on May 23, 1997, obtaining over 20 million votes or 69 percent of the total votes.
Reformists have built up pressure on him to seek re-election, said IRNA.
Iran's biggest pro-reform caucus, the Islamic Iran Participation Front has announced Khatami as the "sole choice" for next term – Albawaba.com
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