Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed Wednesday his full support for beleaguered reformist President Mohammad Khatami, state radio reported.
"The president is a defender of Islam and the revolution," the radio quoted Khamenei as saying in a speech to leading politicians.
"Certain persons are interpreting the sincere remarks of some of the country's leaders as being directed against the president. This interpretation is false, and I, relying on fundamental principles, give my strong support to the president," he said.
The statement came three days after the suspension by the conservative press court of more than a dozen daily newspapers and other publications close to Khatami, in the wake of a strong attack by Khamenei on the reformist press.
Conservatives and the institutions they dominate, notably the courts, have stepped up the attacks on the reformists between the first round of parliamentary elections on February 18 which saw a landslide for Khatami allies and the second round due on May 5.
Khamenei, whose powers dwarf Khatami's, is officially above politics but conservatives perceive him as being closer to them -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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