Thousands of Iranians Protest Against Reformists
Thousands of Iranians demonstrated Friday to denounce reformist politicians, including allies of President Mohammad Khatami, accused of making anti-Islamic statements at a recent conference in Germany.
AFP said demonstrators gathered after weekly prayers at Tehran University, following calls from the Revolutionary Guards, a pillar of the Islamic regime, to show support for the supreme leader, or Guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"Bad luck for the enemy if the Guide orders us into jihad," or holy war, protesters cried, while others chanted slogans calling for the resignation of "incompetent" ministers.
The Guards called Thursday for demonstrations to show "hatred and repugnance" at "the blows dealt to Islam and the people" at a conference in Berlin earlier this month attended by several Khatami aides and allies.
Khamenei also attacked the country's reformist newspapers Thursday, accusing them of undercutting the Islamic revolution and warning fellow hard-liners not to take the law into their own hands, AP said.
He said the reports, which accused the elite revolutionary forces of being involved in the March 12 shooting of the leading reformist Saeed Hajjarian had harmed Iran.
Hajjarian, a city councilman, was gravely injured and remains in a Tehran hospital.
AP quoted Khamenei as saying "this trend is detrimental to the state, revolution, the youth and the faith of the people."
The agency added Khamenei had told Khatami about this “trend.”
"He is also unhappy with this situation," Khamenei said.
Khamenei, however, condemned "any illegal action by any person due to emotion and support for this or that person. I'll not allow this."
Hard-liners, who oppose the reforms introduced by Khatami, have often been accused of using force against opponents.
They have employed vigilante groups and security force members to attack or intimidate critics.
Since his election in 1997, Khatami has loosened the strict Islamic social code and allowed greater press freedom. Hard-liners see such moves as a betrayal of the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the clergy to power -(Agencies)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)