Iranian Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karubi on Monday defended the economic record of President Mohammad Khatami, who has come under attack for neglecting the country's economic woes.
"Considering that Khatami's propaganda slogan has been reforms and political development, some people think he hasn't paid much attention to the economy," Karubi said, as cited by the state news agency IRNA.
"This is far from being fair," he said, adding that a report on the government's efforts to help save the ailing economy would "be presented to the people at an appropriate time."
Karubi's comments come two weeks after Iran's powerful conservative bazaar association signed an unprecedented open letter calling on Khatami to deal with the "crisis" which it said "represents a threat more than ever."
The 2,500-member association demanded that Khatami show a balance sheet of his administration's work since he took office 1997 on state television.
The request came several days after Khatami announced he will seek a second term in office in next year's election and "plans to firmly defend his reforms." "I will stand with even more developed reform plans," he said.
The majority of the bazaar association voted against Khatami in 1997, favoring conservative former parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )