IPS

TABARZADI TO KHATAMI: DON'T WALK THE SAME ROAD AS HASHEMI

By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor

PARIS 9TH June (IPS)
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, the leader of the largest Iranian students organisations warned Thursday President Mohammad Khatami against "walking the same road taken by Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani before him", saying he must remember that this path leads to "where the former president is now".

As Mr. Tabarzadi, the Secretary of the Office of the Solidarity of the Union (OSU) was talking to Iran Press Service, it was learned from Tehran that two more students have been summoned by Islamic revolution tribunals, sending to six the number of student activists arrested in the past ten days by the Information (Intelligence) Ministry on orders from the Islamic Judiciary.

"We are also surprised at the hostile attitude of the authorities against the students specially after we cancelled many of our meetings to please the government. Maybe this policy is the result of the latest compromise reached between (the reformists and the conservatives) against what they have coined as the third current, meaning that of the students, or maybe Mr. Khatami faces new pressures (from the hard liners) to silence the students", Mr. Tabarzadi speculated.

In an article published Thursday, the daily "Resalat", organ of the hard line Association of Islamic League and the Bazaar strongly attacked the Islamic Iran Participation Party (IIPP) and it's General Secretary, Dr Mohammad Reza Khatami because of the recent demonstrations organised instantaneously by students in Mash-had, the capital city of the north-eastern Province of Khorasan in favour of the President (who is visiting the region)) and hostile to the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i.

Asked if the students who took part in the demonstrations were genuine or "faked", meaning infiltrators belonging to the Information Ministry, Mr. Tabarzadi said, laughing, "they have not 20.000, 30.000 students. Theirs do not exceed 20 or 30 at best".

Conservative newspapers were the first ones to report about the incident, describing the pro-Khatami students as "hooligans" who brought shame.

Eyewitnesses reported that Mash-had students demonstrated during the visit of Mr. Khatami to the shrine of Reza, the eight imam of the Muslim Shi'ites who is buried in this town, chanting slogans hostile to Mr. Khameneh'i, including this one: "Freedom of Thought, Not possible with beard", meaning with the cleric's rule.

According to Mr. Tabarzadi, the demonstrators had been criticised by Mr. Khatami who, in remarks, has described the students as "a current that aims at creating troubles and tensions".

That brings him to think that Mr. Khatami himself could be behind the latest anti-students drive.

"It seems that now that Mr. Khatami does also control the Majles (parliament), he is taking the same road as his predecessor", Mr. Tabarzadi said, observing that when elected president for the first time, Mr. Rafsanjani was also in the zenith of his popularity. But look where he is now", he pointed out.

"There are a lot of secretly negotiated give and take against the third current, or the students considered as outsiders. Now strengthened by the victory of the reformists in the Sixth Majles, Mr. Khatami is repeating the mistakes made by Mr. Rafsanjani. But look where he is now, the former popular president. Same think could well happen to Khatami", Mr. Tabarzadi warned.

Among these "give and take" between the leader and the President, Mr. Tabarzadi cited the elections of Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi as the interim Speaker of the new parliament, an election that angered many reformist forces in the Second Khordad Coalition Front.

With the first anniversary of the 9 July student movement approaching fast, the authorities, afraid of the idea that same kind of events that last year shook the "Mullahrchy" could take place, have started to round up all known students leaders and activists.

A peaceful demonstration by students in their dormitories protesting the closure of the popular daily "Salam" was suddenly and savagely attacked by a combination of Law and Order Forces, thugs of the Ansar Hezbollah pressure group and Ministry of Information's plain cloth agents, killing some students, some of them thrown out of the windows and wounding more than one hundred.

The night raid led to four days of wide spread demonstrations by students in Tehran and other major cities against both the Islamic regime and its leader, Ali Khameneh'i, chanting "Ali Pinochet, Iran would never become Chile".

The demonstrations, amplified by the participation of ordinary people, was eventually put off violently on 13th of July after Mr. Khatami condemned publicly the pro-democracy movement and Mr. Khameneh'i ordered the revolutionary guards and the Basiji (voluntary) forces to crush the manifestations "at any cost".

Mr. Tabarzadi warned that with the student's demands unanswered by the authorities and as their aspirations are ignored, chances are that new unrest explodes.

He cited student's main demands as the release of all political prisoners, including Mr. Abbas Amir Entezam, a former deputy Prime Minister, arrested 18 years ago on charges of espionage for the Americans but never tried, now the longest political prisoner as well as all students and journalists and intellectuals and politicians, the freedom of the press, the abolition of the Council of Guardians Special Rights, all exceptional tribunals such as the Islamic revolution and Clergymen's Special courts and reform of the Judiciary etc.

"The situation is getting out of control, becoming intolerable in every respect, political, economic, cultural or social. In case these basic requests are not met, the students not appeased and the powers not transferred smoothly to the people's representatives, there are risks of an explosion", Mr. Tabarzadi warned. ENDS TABARZADI INTERVIEW 9600

 


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