In a speech in Mashhad (northeast Iran), Ali Khamenei, the mullahs' leader, said: The objective of "the propaganda by Americans and some internal circles, advocating ties with the US," is to "humiliate the dignity and grace of our nation." Our dignity "lies in our spirit of resistance against the Arrogance and in the strength of our religious and nationalist stands" which reject establishing ties with America.
Khamenei found the irremediable economic problems as a good excuse to lash out at Khatami. Some people in the country "speak about issues which the CIA disseminates in the world press and media," he said, calling on the nation to "be frugal and content." His remarks mean that more economic pressures loom in the weeks and months ahead.
At the height of internal feuding which has led to physical encounters in the Majlis, and on the verge of complete economic bankruptcy, Khamenei has once again found the only solution in propping up an external enemy and continuing his anti-imperialist demagoguery. This in turn discredits any illusions about the medieval regime's ability to reform.
Referring to "some elements at home" who "take advantage of the free atmosphere in the country to express their opinion," the mullahs' leader said: "These people believe that having ties with the United States is key to resolve all of our problems." Khamenei is thus preparing the grounds to step up repression under the guise of "combating the United States." This is particularly notable because the fall in oil prices and in the value of rial and an official 20% rise in the prices of basic commodities and staples since the beginning of the new Iranian year (March 21, 1998) set the stage for more popular protests and uprisings throughout the country.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 23, 1998