AYATOLLAH KHAMENEH'I UNDER HEAVY PRESSURE TO RESIGN

PARIS 14 JAN. (IPS)
The leader of the Islamic Republic, the ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i is under heavy pressure by both the public and the right, hard line wing of his own conservative group to resign, according to very well informed sources in Tehran.

"Afraid of a popular uprising, the ultras among the conservatives are pressing Mr. Khameneh'i to step down in order to calm a situation that has become volatile after the admission, by the Information Ministry, that some of its agents carried out the killing of dissidents from his own people than the public opinion", the source told the IPS.

The political climate in Iran is reported to have become "explosive" after a relatively unknown cleric accused publicly by indirectly the popular president Mohammad Khatami to be behind the latest wave of assassination of Iranian political and intellectual dissidents.

Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Hosseinian stunned the nation three days ago after he "disclosed" that the Information Ministry agents who savagely killed Mr. Dariush Foruhar and his wife as well as 3 other intellectual dissidents were president Khatami's people.

The accusation provoked outrage among Iranians, discredited further more the ruling conservatives, badly divided the revolutionary guards and increased the pressures over the lame ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, who is seen more and more as the number one killer, as photocopies of a letter supposed to be in his own hand writing ordering the commander of the revolutionary guards to eliminate some "apostate" journalists and intellectuals is being widely distributed in Iran.

Officially, the obscure and almost unknown cleric is the Head of the Islamic Revolution's Documentation Centre, but his surprising declarations to the hard line evening newspaper "Keyhan", the unofficial organ of the Information Ministry and to the state-run television takes another significance once one knows that Mr. Hosseinian is a former Deputy Information Minister who worked and continue to collaborate closely with hojatoleslam Ali Fallahian, the former Information Minister who know is serving as the adviser of the ayatollah Khameneh'i for security and intelligence affairs.

One has to add that both the senior executive Editor of Keyhan, Mr. Hossein Shariatmadari and the General Director of the "Voice and Visage" of the Islamic Republic (Radio and TV), Mr. Ali Larijani are appointed by the leader and are senior members of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence services.

According to Mr. Hosseinian, the agents accused to have carried out the assassination belongs to the left wing of the president Mohammad Khatami's governing coalition who wanted to infiltrate the Information Ministry in order to "eliminate all true sons of Islam, the revolution and the Hezbollah"

"Both the opportunistic leftists and the resurrectionist left forces are digging the bed in which some allow themselves to invite freely foreign embassies to interfere in the political affairs of the nation and to meet with an American spy" he did not identified.

In an exclusive interview with "Keyhan", Mr. Hosseinian directed the Information Ministry and the Islamic Revolution's Guards to seriously investigate this "important matter" and arrest "all the intermediaries and the hosts"(of the unidentified American spies), warning that "otherwise the CIA will infiltrate the Information Ministry, create dangerous divergence aimed at weakening this administration and with the help international propaganda circles, start a wave of terror and violence in the country".

He also warned Mr. Khatami to do not invite any foreign delegations or allowing any American to enter the country. "The Information Ministry, the Revolutionary Guards and the Islamic Revolution's Court must be vigilant, be ready to neutralise the plots".

But his surprising declarations have backfired to the extend that now Iranians are convinced that all the murders orders were issued by Mr. Khameneh'i.

Mr. Hosseinian's "dreadful show" triggered the 3 men Presidential Investigation Committee to immediately issue a communiqué reiterating that it will carry on with its investigations until "everything is known and all culprits arrested and brought to justice.

According to the statement, so far 10 people who were not identified are arrested while "many others" are being "identified and investigated".

"What has appalled the people and opened the hand of the conservatives is the fact that while until recently, they were blaming the Mehdi Hashemi band ( a son-in-law of the dissident grand ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri executed 10 years ago for plotting to overthrow the regime) for the killings, now they blame the very person of the president and his associates", observed one analyst in Tehran.

ENDS 14 DARIUSH&PARVANEH 1419914