Minister: Iran\'s Khatami Sure to Run for Re-Election
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is certain to run for re-election in June because he is determined to keep fighting for his reform program, his interior minister and close ally said on Tuesday.
"There's no doubt that he will stand in the elections, so I can tell you: Khatami will certainly be a candidate," Abdol-Vahed Mussavi-Lari told a Tehran press conference.
"He's determined to follow his path," Mussavi-Lari said.
The reformist president has yet to announce formally that he will seek a second four-year term, the maximum allowed under the Iranian constitution.
Rumors about his intentions have been swirling in press and political circles, particularly since he went public twice in recent weeks about his frustration over his limited constitutional powers.
Mussavi-Lari said Khatami's plan to announce four new cabinet ministers next week -- for the culture, post and telegraph, industry and agriculture portfolios -- was another sign he would make a re-election bid.
Since Khatami's 1997 election, his pro-reform supporters have scored major electoral wins in municipal and especially parliamentary elections, winning a majority in the legislature in February.
But conservative opposition to his liberalizing reforms has led to the shuttering of more than 25 newspapers and journals and the jailing of top journalists, editors and close Khatami allies.
Conservative pressure also forced the resignation of culture minister Ayatollah Mohajerani -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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