Attacks on Guidance Minister and Khatami's deputy reflect new round in mullahs' power struggle

At the end of Tehran's Friday prayers congregation yesterday, pro-Khamenei gangs attacked and beat up mullah Abdollah Nouri, ex-Minister of Interior and Khatami's deputy for development and social affairs; Ata'ollah Mohajerani, government spokesman and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and their bodyguards.

Subsequently, mullahs' President Khatami issued a statement instructing Intelligence and Interior ministries to identify and deal with the assailants.

The assaults came after mullahs' leader Ali Khamenei's speech on Thursday at a gathering of "graduates of Lecturers Training College" in Tehran. Khamenei had implicitly described Khatami and his associates as those "whose record is filthy and tainted... and who promote political and moral corruption in society and sow despair among the people."

The attacks on two senior members the cabinet and Khatami's reaction reflect a new round in the escalating power struggle among the mullahs and unveil the depth of political crisis gripping the clerics' triumvirate regime on the eve of elections for the Assembly of Experts which decides on the competence of the mullahs' supreme leader.

Regardless of the outcome, the elections for the Assembly of Experts, scheduled for October 23, will further disintegrate the regime, aggravate the internal power struggle and undermine the ruling theocracy in its totality.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 5, 1998

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