At least 25 arrested as State Security Force and Guards Corps quell students' protest after Khatami's speech
- Khatami expresses concern over prospect of "social explosion"

Following Khatami's speech at Tehran's Sharif Industrial University, yesterday, some 15,000 students, a majority of whom did not attend the meeting, staged a protest march. Chanting "death to despotism" and "free all political prisoners," the protesters demanded the overthrow of the clerical regime in its entirety. They also called for the resignations of Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the Judiciary, and Ghorban Ali Dorri Najafabadi, the Minister of Intelligence, and demanded the dissolution of the mullahs' Majlis.

On the orders of the Ministry of the Interior, the State Security Force and units of the Guards Corps, equipped with shields and truncheons, had taken position in the surrounding streets and clashed with the students, beating up a large number of them. At least 25 students were arrested and transferred to an unknown location.

Before Khatami's speech and during the march, the students sang "O' Iran", the official anthem of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and displayed their opposition to the theocratic regime ruling Iran.

Khatami's remarks, his defense of "a theocratic state" and his appeal to students to exercise patience vis-a-vis the atrocities of the mullahs' regime outraged the students. Although those who asked questions were completely hand picked, Khatami avoided giving convincing and direct replies to many of the questions. After the meeting ended, even many of the students who are affiliated with the regime itself, accused Khatami of hypocrisy and breach of his promises.

Yesterday's event at Tehran's Sharif Industrial University points to an unprecedented deepening of conflicts among the rival factions within the regime. Last week, in a large gathering of National Liberation Army commanders and combatants, NCR President Massoud Rajavi declared that internal conflicts between the regime's rival factions after the Assembly of Experts elections will escalate even more, expediting the overthrow of the clerical regime. Every thing will be settled before Khatami's second term, Mr. Rajavi added.

Several times during his speech, Khatami expressed concern over rising dissent and social discontent and emphasized that if no safety valves were opened, a "social explosion" would be inevitable.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 8, 1998

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