Khatami Expected to Declare Candidacy Wednesday
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is expected at the interior ministry Wednesday morning to declare his candidacy for the June presidential election, official sources said.
"Khatami will come this morning to file his candidacy," a ministry official who asked not to be named told AFP.
Sources close to the reformist president, cited in the conservative Jomhuri Eslami newspaper Wednesday, said Khatami had definitively decided to run after a meeting Sunday with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khatami has kept Iran on tenterhooks with his silence over whether he intends to seek a second four-year term in office when voters go to the polls on June 8.
Khatami's silence has fuelled widespread speculation about his political plans, and he has gone public in recent months with his frustrations over his limited powers in office.
Stiff opposition from conservatives who control key state institutions such as the courts and police has stymied Khatami's agenda of social and political reforms.
More than 30 mostly pro-reform newspapers have been closed down since last year, while opposition leaders, reformists, journalists and political allies of the president have been jailed.
The reformist cleric swept to office in 1997 with nearly 70 percent of the popular vote, largely on the back of overwhelming support from women and young people.
Earlier Wednesday, Farah Khosravi filed her papers at the ministry, becoming the first woman to stand for president in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Meanwhile, Mohammad-Reza Khatami, Secretary-General of Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), said Tuesday he hoped his brother would soon respond to the candidacy question by his action, said the official Iranian news agency (IRNA).
The MP said that his brother had formerly seriously doubted his entry in the elections.
He said President Khatami had doubts about whether opponents of reforms would be ready to give the least chance for meeting public demands.
He added that as a whole, he thought President Khatami would abide by his commitment to the public and would be ready to put up with all hardships on the way – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)