Sunday, December 08, 2002

Newsweek: Though Khatami has addressed students every year on Student Day since his election in 1997, he did not attend Saturday’s student rally at Tehran University, nor did he offer a reason. The only official statement addressing his absence came from Mohammed Ali Abtahi, vice president of cultural affairs, who said: “The president did not come in order to show his support for the student protests and his opposition to the current situation.”
The students, many of whom are frustrated with the slow pace of reform, weren’t buying it. Hundreds of students spilled out of the rally chanting “Khatami resign” as they marched toward the university’s main entrance. “The student movement evaluates Khatami’s presidency in terms of what he has accomplished- 80 reformist newspapers were closed, many intellectuals were imprisoned and people are more hopeless than ever. That’s why the students are asking for his resignation,” says Mohammed Safiri, 42, executive editor of the reformist Hambastegi newspaper. “The current situation is beyond frustration. We’re sitting on a time bomb.”
Khatami is much more concern about Palestine than Iran. Last week he attended in a stupid rally in Tehran, called Ghods (Jerusalem) day’s rally and chanted death to America and Israel in the company of conservative groups but he refused to involve himself in student day’s rally. The funny thing is that he has claimed that his absence in rally was kind of support for the student protest and his opposition to the current situation.


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