Khamenei rejects appeal to pardon Karbaschi as power struggle escalates

Following an appeal by 146 members of the mullahs' Majlis who urged the regime's Supreme Leader to pardon ousted Tehran Mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Ali Khamenei today rejected their calls for clemency and reaffirmed the verdict passed on Karbaschi.

In a letter to the deputies, Khamenei wrote: "The authority for resolving such issues is the Judiciary. It is in the best interests of the country and the nation that judicial verdicts not be undermined for whatever motive. It is my hope that the motive to defend executive managers... would not lead to judicial immunity for them in the face of any infringement of the law. I pray to God for the success of all the honorable deputies in cutting the hands of the enemies of Islam and Iran."

All the efforts exerted in the past few weeks by Khatami, Khamenei, and their factions - including such acts as collecting signatures in the Majlis - have thus failed. This will only exacerbate the raging power struggle within the clerical regime. Both Khataimi and Rafsanjani had publicly expressed hope in recent days that Karbaschi would be freed soon.

In his letter to the deputies, Khamenei also warned Majlis members: "It is only fitting that the honorable deputies and other officials refrain from adding to the mayhem in social psyche that is the desire of our enemies."

Khamenei's position is a reminder of Khomeini's way of dealing with the Majlis on difficult issues. It demonstrates that the internal crisis has reached such a point that the clerical regime's leader has had to take a public position against a majority of Majlis members for the first time; something Khamenei has consistently avoided so far.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 11, 1999

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