No. 1393
Monday, May 15, 2000
Representative Office of
The National  Council of Resistance of Iran
Washington, DC

Mojahedin Units Inside Iran Pound Headquarters of Special Anti-Riot Police, Associated Press, May 14

TEHRAN - Several explosions rocked a west Iranian town, wounding an undisclosed number of people, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday.

The Iranian rebel group Mujahedeen Khalq, claimed responsibility for the Saturday night explosions.

The blasts took place shortly before midnight in Kermanshah, a city 275 miles southwest of Tehran and 95 miles east of the Iraqi border, the news agency said. In a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo, the Mujahedeen said its military units fired mortars at the headquarters of the anti-riot forces of Kermanshah province's State Security Forces.

Scores of agents were killed or wounded in the attack, the statement said.

The news agency only reported that, according to Kermanshah residents, "some people have been injured in the explosions." The morning newscast on state radio was similarly vague about casualties, and the main afternoon news bulletin did not mention the blasts at all.

[The Mojahedin Command inside Iran reported that the attack took place in solidarity with the people of Kermanshah and students at the city's Razi University. The report explained: "The special anti-riot units in Kermanshah Province brutally suppressed popular uprisings that broke out across the province in December 1996. They also crushed popular protests by residents of Jaafarabad, a Kermanshah suburb, in September 1998. In February 1999, these units were sent to Sanandaj in Iranian Kurdistan to help the Revolutionary Guards and SSF to violently crush the uprising of thousands of people in the city. More than 20 demonstrators were killed or wounded. In the nationwide student uprisings in July 1999, these forces attacked the people of Kermanshah and the students of Razi University who had risen up against the mullahs' regime."]

Khamenei Supports Khatami, Rejects any Change in Clerical Rule, Reuters, May 12

TEHRAN - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday expressed support for President Mohammad Khatami but not for a serious challenge to the Islamic system of power.

Khamenei made it clear he would not accept any serious challenge to supreme clerical rule.

"As long as I am alive or have this responsibility, I will not allow anyone to play with the interests of the country," he said. "Enemies may be able to cause trouble, but they can not destabilize this strong fort."

Khamenei said he had no problem with factional differences as long as the two sides remained faithful to the system.

"It is natural to have two different tastes within the system.

"What I am asking is for our factions to draw new boundaries...get closer together but farther from strangers."

Khatami has made national unity and national security his main motto amid growing factional tension in Iran.

Losing Faith in Khatami, Agence France Presse, May 13

TEHRAN - Morteza has just about everything at his ladies' shoe shop in fashionable north Tehran. The only thing he doesn't have is customers.

Like many small shopkeepers, Morteza is becoming disillusioned with Khatami, who since taking office in 1997 has been able to do very little for an economy hobbling from bad to worse.

Khatami's supporters say the president has been hampered by conservatives.

But political analyst Parham Taheri says that's not the case when it comes to the economy.

"In fact the parliament passed almost every one of Khatami's economic initiatives," he says. "The real problem is that those initiatives don't add up to much of a plan. Khatami really hasn't accomplished much."

The grim statistics bear him out: the department of social welfare said this week that unemployment has risen in the last four years from 9.1 percent to 16 percent, while unofficial figures put it at almost double that.

It said nearly one-fifth of all Iranians are now living below the poverty line -- in other words, making less than an average of a dollar a day.

According to the social welfare department the gap between rich and poor is widening, leaving those at the bottom with little to spend and those at the top able to frequent stores offering the latest in Western goods.

Meanwhile small businessmen like Morteza are feeling the squeeze -- and gradually losing their sympathy for Khatami, who comes up for re-election next year.

"I'll never vote for him again," he says, waving his hands in frustration at the unsold shoes all around him. "He just hasn't got the power to do anything."

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