Speaker: Iran\'s Khatami ‘Hesitant’ to Seek Re-election
Reformist Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is unsure about running for a second term in June, one of his closest political allies said Sunday.
Parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karubi said the president is "hesitant to stand again, although I am sure we will be able to convince him," the state IRNA news agency reported.
Karubi also suggested that reformists could back former prime minister Mirhossein Mussavi if Khatami opts against seeking a second four-year term, the maximum allowed under the Iranian constitution.
He pointed out that a grouping of reformist and radical clerics had gotten Mussavi, prime minister from 1981-1989, to agree to run for president before Khatami announced his candidacy ahead of the 1997 election.
Khatami has gone public in recent weeks with frustration at his limited constitutional powers, after encountering fierce opposition to his reform program from his conservative rivals.
The conservative-dominated courts last year closed down more than 25 mostly pro-reform newspapers and journals and arrested several leading journalists, editors, publishers and Khatami allies -- TEHRAN (AFP)