Bowing to Khamenei, Khatami formally retreated from his hollow rhetoric about "civil society" and "the rule of law." He said: "The axis and the pillar of the state... was the Imam of the Ummat [Khomeini] yesterday. Today, it is another honorable son of the seminaries, His Eminence, Ayatollah Khamenei... Civil society is impossible if not based on religion and relying on the clergy."
Underscoring that "the state is facing enormous pressures," Khatami added: "Parting ways with religion and the clergy is the beginning of our fall." He said: "Abiding by the foundations of Islam determines the limits on freedom," and the yardstick for "the law to be enacted" is "the view of the esteemed members of the Guardian Council."
As such, Khatami displayed his fear of the regime's "fall" in case of any weakness and schism in religious rule, declaring that his most important mandate was to prolong this medieval dictatorship.
In another development, simultaneous with Khatami's disgraceful retreat, during the past week, disenchanted public turned scores of meetings and gatherings, organized on the second anniversary of Khatami's election by organs affiliated to him, into antigovernment demonstrations, chanting "death to dictatorship" and "free all political prisoners," and calling for the overthrow of the regime in its entirety.
Shocked over these popular acts of protests, groupings and the media affiliated with Khatami's faction condemned these actions and blamed them on the Mojahedin. Under Khatami's command, the State Security Force and the Intelligence Ministry arrested a large number of protesting youths in these acts of protests. Those arrested continue to remain in prison.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
May 28, 1999