Karbaschi's conviction affirms conflicts among mullahs cannot be reconciled

The state radio reported today that an Appeals Court has sentenced Gholam Hossein Karbaschi, former mayor of Tehran and one of the closest associates of Khatami and Rafsanjani's faction, to a two-year term in prison, a 10-year ban in government duty and fined him one billion rails (US $330,000). The state radio said the Appeals Court's verdict is definitive and binding.

Karbaschi's conviction represents a new attack by Khamenei's faction against its rival faction and indicates another round of escalation of irreconcilable internal conflicts within Iran's ruling theocracy, particularly after the Assembly of Experts' election.

In a meeting with Khamenei prior to the Assembly of Experts' elections, Rafsanjani had emphasized Karbaschi's acquittal by the Appeals Court was a condition for his active participation in the elections and support for the Council of Guardians' disqualification of the candidates of Khatami's faction.

Subsequently, Karbaschi, as Secretary General of the pro-Rafsanjani Kargozaran Party (Servants of Construction), actively participated in the Assembly of Experts' elections and presented a list of candidates which this faction endorsed. This caused the disintegration and split within the pro-Khatami coalition which had been formed in the May 1997 presidential elections.

Two months past the Assembly of Experts' elections, Karbaschi's conviction in the wake of the heinous murders of writers and arrest of a number of pro-Khatami clerics, and simultaneous with a tug-of-war between rival factions over the "Islamic Councils' elections", reaffirms the veracity of the Iranian Resistance's assessment that this election will aggravate the power struggle within the mullahs' regime.

On October 25, NCR President Massoud Rajavi declared that the Assembly of Experts elections is a turning point in escalating conflicts within the regime's ruling factions. The looming attacks and counterattacks carry with them crises and storms which will lead to the regime's overthrow.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 24, 1998

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