Tuesday, November 26, 2002

ASIA TIMES: "Young Iranians envisioned the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 as a sign of hope. They viewed him as an enlightened mullah who would use his elected position to get their country ready to face the awesome and intricate challenges of the 21st century. From the perspective of youth, a good starting point for that great leap was the effectiveness of Khatami in persuading the hardliners to reform the political system.
But that did not happen. Khatami has proven himself to be a reluctant reformer. He does not seem willing to rock the apple cart of the Islamic Republic, and often appears weak in the ongoing tug-and-pull with the conservatives. The youth are clearly frustrated with him and are even calling for his resignation as a voluble symbol of their disappointment."

Sunday, November 24, 2002

United press: The gathering of some 15,000 Basiji forces, among them about 2000 women clad in head-to-toe black coverings, or chadors, came as part of a series of events marking the national Basij Week in the country.
The commander of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, Brig. General Yahya Rahim Safavi, whose forces do the task of training the Basij militia, delivered a speech at the ceremony and accused the United States of seeking to undermine Iran's security.
"America is intending to endanger Iran's security by occupying Iraq and creating crisis and tensions in Tehran's relations with other countries of the world," Safavi told the armed and uniformed crowd to the chants of "Death to America."
Safavi urged militia forces to increase their strength and maintain defense preparedness so that they could resist what he called "threats of America and the Zionist Israeli regime."

Saturday, November 23, 2002

TEHRAN -- Dozens of people were arrested and several hurt in clashes in three Iranian cities Friday when the anniversary of a dissident's slaying added impetus to the largest pro-reform protests in three years.
In Tehran, at least a dozen people, some of them local journalists, were arrested and several were punched and kicked by hard-line Islamic militiamen after about 5,000 people started chanting, "Political prisoners must be freed!" witnesses said. Los Angeles Times...