On second anniversary of his election, Khatami expresses fear of clerical regime's overthrow
-He retreats in the face of Khamenei's counterattack last week

Speaking this morning before members of "Islamic" councils on the anniversary of his election, mullahs' president Khatami again underscored the need to defend the ruling religious dictatorship.

He said: "What we have achieved... has been with the blessing of Imam [Khomeini's] leadership. If God forbid, the foundations of this monument [velayat-e faqih system] are loosened or slip, the whole monument would collapse. We must carefully and vigilantly take care of it to preserve our achievements."

Khatami added: "The state, the Islamic Republic must not be brought under question... If principles are undermined, nothing would remain about which we could have a debate."

In his speech, mullahs' president repeatedly underlined the need to impose restrictions on freedoms. He said: "We must try to preserve the foundations and principles. There might be those who really want to take advantage of freedom to promote chaos and anarchy."

At the same time, Khatami retreated desperately in the face of Khamenei's poignant remarks on May 18 against his faction. Heaping praise on Khamenei, he said: "We must not do anything so as to God forbid, arouse the concern of the believers and those who have stronger ideological attachments."

Khatami's remarks reveal his fear of the clerical regime being overthrown. They also demonstrate that he is not a man of reform but some one who is desperately trying to gain a greater share of power within the framework of this religious dictatorship to prevent the "collapse" and the overthrow of the regime.

Acknowledging the clerical regime's inability to meet the Iranian people's most basic needs, he told members of the mullahs' councils: "One must not promote expectations that cannot be realized at this juncture."

In a related development today, in the course of a gathering at Laleh Park in Tehran, supporters of rival factions clashed with one another as a result of which a number of them were injured.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 23, 1999

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