Power struggle escalates as Assembly of Experts election draws closer
Khatami and Refsanjani retreat in the face of Khamenei's onslaught

The power struggle within the clerical regime has escalated following last Tuesday's harsh speech by mullahs' leader Ali Khamenei and as the Assembly of Experts election draws closer.

In its meeting today, presided over by Hashemi Rafsanjani and attended by mullahs' President Khatami, the Council for the Discernment of State Exigencies backed Khamenei's speech and underscored the need to "deal decisively with those responsible for the cultural onslaught which undermines the country's national security." This position is a clear retreat on the part of Khatami and Rafsanjani in the wake of Khamenei's offensive.

It was announced in Tehran today that several publications, including the weekly Rahe-no, Tavana and Aban periodicals as well as the monthly Iran Farda have ceased publication. Before, them, the "Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office" had banned the daily Toos for "acting against the national security."

In another development, the conflict over the competence of candidates for the Assembly of Experts election has aggravated further. Through the Guardians Council, Khamenei's faction has rejected the qualification of a number of candidates from the rival faction and made the approval of the competence of many of them conditional on passing the "ijihad" exams. A number of candidates from the rival faction refused to take that test. They include Abdollah Nouri, former Interior Minister and Khatami's deputy for Social Affairs and Development, Hadi Khamenei, Majid Ansari, leader of the pro-Khatami parliamentary faction, Ali Akbar Mohtashami, Mohammad-Javad Hojjati Kermani and Mohammad Hadavi.

According to guidelines set by the Guardians Council, these candidates, among key figures of the rival faction, are automatically eliminated from the list of candidates because of their refusal to take the exams.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 19, 1998

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