Sunday, September 06, 2009

Khatami on Iran's Lost Chance

"We believe they destroyed in this election the biggest opportunity that had come about for the Islamic establishment and the country," Khatami said in a meeting with university professors in Tehran, the ILNA news agency reported.

He said: "We are opposed to the interpretation of religion by those who in the name of confronting Western liberalism want to drive people by force on to the path they regard as prosperous using a fascist or totalitarian approach."

By Reza Derakhshi and Fredrik Dahl

TEHRAN, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A leading Iranian reformer accused hardliners of a "fascist or totalitarian" approach, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new cabinet prepared to hold its first meeting on Sunday after his disputed re-election in June.

The hard-hitting comment by former President Mohammad Khatami was a further sign of the moderate opposition's intention to keep up protests over an election it says was rigged.

It came three days after parliament approved most of Ahmadinejad's government ministers in a move that bolstered his position after nearly three months of political turmoil in the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

The reshuffled government was due to meet for the first time on Sunday evening in the northeastern city of Mashhad, site of Shi'ite Iran's holiest shrine.

The presidential poll, which was followed by huge opposition demonstrations, plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution and exposed deepening rifts within its ruling clerical and political elites.... (more)

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