The feature, resembling a commercial, spoke of Khatami's efforts for "radical reform in Iranian society," while 18 months after Khatami's election, 260 people have been executed, 28 dissidents assassinated in 42 terrorist assaults abroad and seven persons stoned to death. Not once has Khatami protested this savage punishment.
Khatami heaped praise on Assadollah Lajevardi, the ruling mullahs' Adolf Eichmann, who was directly responsible for the execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners. The Washington Post wrote on January 14, 1989: "Lajevardi executed thousands and tortured thousands more in ways that normal people could not conceive." Khatami described Lajevardi as "a servant of the people."
When reporting on Khatami's background, CNN failed to mention that as the mullahs' Propaganda Minister and chief censor for 10 years, Khatami advocated the use of children in human wave attacks across minefields [in the Iran-Iraq war]. Khatami also shares responsibility in the torture, execution and massacre of political prisoners. In the view of the Iranian people, he is Khomeini's Goebbels. Repeating his blatant rejection of representative government and democracy, Khatami has stressed that his idea of government hinges on the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute supremacy of the mullahs).
The program also spoke of Khatami's attention to the plight of women, whereas Khatami, in his position as President of the Supreme Council on Cultural Revolution, personally rejected Iran's signing of the UN Convention o n the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
CNN stated that Khatami wanted to resolve the Rushdie issue. But Khatami is on record as saying on March 7, 1989 that the only way to resolve the Rushdie problem was to "execute" him. Khatami has never refuted this position. Mullah Hassan Sane'i, the head of the 15 Khordad Foundation, which has set a $2.5 million bounty on Rushdie's head, is among Khatami's closest colleagues and advisers.
Amnesty International reported in its annual report in 1998: "Hundreds of political prisoners... were held. Torture and ill-treatment continued to be reported." In its resolution on Iran last April, the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemned: "L arge number of executions," and "discrimination" against religious minorities in Iran." The Commission's Special Representative on Iran wrote in his report: "The number of executions continues to grow sharply; the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatm ent or punishment continues unabated." "Two weeks ago, a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives declared: "We believe it to be a fair assumption to make that there has been little or no indication of change in the behavior of the Iranian regime [du ring Khatami's tenure]."
In its hour-long program, CNN did not find it necessary to refer to any of these facts. In the past 18 months, CNN has broadcast scores of one-sided reports and programs favoring the clerical regime and Khatami, so much so that its has lost its credibilit y among Iranians who have been outraged by its reporting on Iran.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 4, 1998