Iranian Clerics Back Khatami's Reforms

Published May 11th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

More than 200 Iranian clergymen have come out in support of reforms by President Mohammad Khatami, which are under increasing attack by hard-line clerics, Iran News Agency (IRNA) reported Wednesday.  

"Denying the necessity of reforms will have no result other than the end of the (1979 Islamic) revolution and the Islamic system," said IRNA quoting a statement by the clerics and seminary students in the city of Qom. 

Khatami's election injected fresh blood into the veins of the Islamic revolution and attempts to reject or oppose it are either motivated by ignorance or the danger of losing personal or group interests," one of the clerics was quoted by the agency as saying. 

The statement appeared to be a show of force by Khatami's backers within the clergy following recent setbacks for the reformist camp, which included the banning of 16 pro-reform publications by the conservative-dominated judiciary in April, reported Reuters Thursday.  

Many clerics in Qom supported Khatami's reforms, implicitly rejecting frequent statements by hardliners that senior clergymen in the holy city saw changes under the president as a threat to Islamic principles, added Reuters.  

Qom, south of Tehran, has been a hotbed of hard-line activity against Khatami's reforms, which aim to grant greater social and political liberties within Iran's Islamic system and open up the Islamic republic to the West - (Agencies)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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