Mullahs' Majlis Speaker warns rival faction, admits political, economic crises

In the public session of the mullahs' Majlis yesterday, Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri lashed out at Khatami's faction for "creating political tension and crisis in the country." He was referring to a June 30 gathering at Tehran University, where slogans were chanted against Nateq-Nouri and for the dissolution of the Majlis.

At the same time, Nateq-Nouri acknowledged that "the government is under pressure due to the crisis in the price of oil, unemployment, high costs of living, political and economic conspiracies of the World Arrogance and its agents." He warned that the recent developments "were an alarm bell," and that "we must not allow some to exploit the situation and, God forbid, undermine the state, its values and sanctities."

Engulfed in an aggravating power struggle and unable to confront the growing wave of social protests and popular resistance, the clerical regime's leaders in recent months have repeatedly expressed their fear of a third force outside the system which threatens the ruling theocracy in its entirety.

Speaking about the Mojahedin, ex-President and the head of the Council for the Discernment of the State Exigencies, Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a late June interview with the state television: "Their (the Mojahedin's) ideas are still present in society. During this period they have not been idle, they have been doing a lot of cultural work. They have done a lot and, naturally, inside the country a number of people support them. With these roots from the past and their present assets, they have found a new momentum."

In a clear retreat, mullahs' President Mohammad Khatami stressed on Saturday evening the need to conform to the principle of velayat-e faqih (supremacy of religious leadership).

"Velayat-e faqih is the raison d'etre of our state. As such, opposing it... is to oppose the fundamentals and the pillar of the state," Khatami said. "No state would tolerate assaults on its principles and pillars."

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
July 6, 1998

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