Massoud Rajavi: Khatami's choice of cabinet signals continued, stepped-up repression and terrorism

After a 10-day delay, this morning, Khatami submitted the names of his 22 cabinet ministers to the Majlis. Chosen from among the officials and ministers of the previous governments, they have all been directly involved in suppression, torture, executions and export of terrorism and fundamentalism in the past 18 years. No woman was appointed while compared to the previous cabinets, more clergymen were picked.

Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said: The cabinet introduced by the mullahs' president signals continued and stepped-up repression and export of terrorism. Khatami - who as Minister of Guidance was the regime's highest official in charge of censorship and repression for a decade - is neither inclined nor capable to initiate any serious change or reform in the Velayat-e Faqih system. His choice of Hassan Habibi as first Vice-President, demonstrated that his election promises were but hollow mottoes.

Referring to the extensive feuding within the regime as the selection process for the cabinet was underway, Mr. Rajavi added: Khatami's presidency has created a troika leadership. It dramatically aggravates the power struggle among the mullahs and profoundly weakens the regime.

Mr. Rajavi described Rafsanjani's removal from presidency as "a fatal error" by Khamenei, which has expedited the trend of developments against the regime and in favor of the Iranian Resistance.

One of the main issues of contention between Khamenei and Khatami was the choice of minister for the Intelligence Ministry, the primary organ of suppression and export of terrorism. With the appointment of Ghorban-Ali Dorri Najaf-Abadi, the Ministry contiues to remain under Khamenei's control. Khamenei and his faction in the parliament had warned that should Khamenei's favorite candidate not be appointed to this post, they would introduce a two-starred- priority bill which would change the Ministry of Intelligence to the Organization for Intelligence and Security, wresting this organ from Khatami's control and cabinet.

More than sixty percent of Khatami's cabinet members are affiliated with the Assembly of Combatant Clergy (Majma-e Rouhanion-e Mobarez, formerly known as the Line of the Imam [Khomeini]). This faction holds the most totalitarian views on domestic policy, export of terrorism, and state-controlled economy and has demonstrated hysteric enmity to western countries.

Mullah Abdollah Nouri, Khatami's choice for the Minister of Interior and member of the central council of the Assembly of Combatant Clergy, was Khomeini's representative in the Revolutionary Guards Corps in the 1980s. He served as Rafsanjani's Minister of Interior from 1989 to 1993 and played a significantly active role in repression and terror. In an interview with the New York Times, June 22, 1993, he openly endorsed the assassination of Iranian dissidents abroad.

Kamal Kharrazi, the choice for Foreign Minister, for years served as the coordinator of the regime's propaganda in and out of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, with the motto of "Liberating Qods [Jerusalem] via Karbala (in Iraq)." In the 1990s, he was the clerical regime's ambassador to the United Nations in New York and organized the regime's activities aimed at fomenting fundamentalism in the United States.

Mullah Mohammad Isma'il Shoushtari, the choice of the Minister of Justice, has held the same post for the last eight years. He is among officials responsible for the execution of 15,000 political prisoners in 1988. He has repeatedly said that human rights was a means with which great powers pressure the regime.

Hossein Mozzaffar, Khatami's proposed Minister of Education, was Tehran's Director General for Education for many years. He acknowledges to have sent tens of thousands of elementary and high school students to the war fronts during the Iran-Iraq war.

Besides Khatami and Nouri, Mohammad Moussavi Kho'ieniha, the mastermind of the U.S. Embassy take-over in Tehran in 1979; Ali Akbar Mohtashami, the principal figure behind the regime's bloodiest explosions and terrorist crimes in the region, particularly in Lebanon; Hassan Sane'i, president of the 15th Khordad Foundation which announced a $2.5 million reward for the murder of Salman Rushdie; and Mehdi Karroubi, the former parliament speaker, are also members of the central council of the Assembly of Combatant Clergy. Khatami is reportedly planning to choose most of his deputies and advisors from among them.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
August 12, 1997

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