Iran's largest pro-reform party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), has re-elected President Mohammad Khatami's younger brother as its leader, press reports said Saturday, according to AFP.
Mohammad-Reza Khatami was elected by the party's central council during the three-day party general assembly meeting in the capital of Tehran, which ended Friday, the reformist Hambastegi newspaper reported.
He gained 90 percent of the votes and will serve as the IIPF's secretary general for two years, it added.
290 delegates attended the IIPF meeting which launched a "plan for action" for future elections in the remaining three years of President Khatami's second and last tenure.
Iran's Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref, Education Minister Morteza Haji, Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf and female Tehran MP Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo did not register as new candidates and are no longer members of the party's central council.
"It is noteworthy that while the presence of members of President Khatami's cabinet has diminished in the party's central council, the number of MPs has increased," the Tosseh paper said in a commentary Saturday.
Amongst other candidates re-elected to the council is Saeed Hajarian, a close advisor of the president who survived an assassination attempt over two years ago. The IIPF, which was formed in 1998, and the nation's reformers are under unprecedented pressure from conservatives, whose press has been targeting the party's number two senior official, Mohammad Naimipour, a Tehran deputy.
Naimipour, also re-elected to the board, is alleged to be behind a "subversive plan of action" by the IIPF to retain power in the municipal, legislative and presidential elections to be held in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Last week, at the beginning of the IIPF meeting, Mohammad-Reza Khatami launched a strong attack on the powerful conservatives, warning against the "return of despotism and dictatorship" if changes were not allowed to succeed.
The president's brother, who serves also as vice speaker of the reform-majority parliament, accused the conservatives of trying to kill the reform process, and forecast the collapse of the Islamic regime if nothing was done to calm public fears. (Albawaba.com)
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