STRONGER TIES BETWEEN IRAN AND THE USA LEADS TO A HARDLINER BACKLASH
IF IRAN STRENGTHENS ITS TIES WITH THE US AND THE WEST THE HARDLINERS AND EXTREMISTS WILL BACKLASH
Mideast Mirror, August 19, 1999, HEADLINE: Why the Iraq-Iran "normalization" process is "back to square one" //LXNX HXM
According to Karawan, Iranian participants portrayed their country as a "model" to be emulated by their Gulf Arab neighbors and applauded by the United States, especially with regard to democracy and freedom of expression. Not only is such talk exaggerated, Karawan said, it also suggests that the Iranians do not believe in an equal partnership with their Gulf Arab neighbors. If this is how Iranian moderates and reformists think, it's not hard to imagine what goes on in the mind of hardliners and extremists, he added.
HARDLINER THREAT PREVENTS ENGAGEMENT WITH THE US
Mideast Mirror, April 22, 1999
Nouri-Zadeh said Khatami had most certainly taken Clinton' s overture very seriously, but it so happens that it came at a time when his confrontation with the hardliners had reached a decisive stage. The Iranian president must therefore get done with his opponents before he can turn to ties with the United States and build on Clinton's conciliatory remarks. There is much to suggest that Khatami's confrontation with conservatives is at its height, Nouri-Zadeh said.
Over the weekend, Khatami appeared to be throwing down the gauntlet to his detractors by criticizing them in unprecedentedly harsh terms. He threatened to expose them before public opinion, slammed "the weaklings who deem any different opinion to be (a possible threat) to the revolution, " and vowed to proceed with his plans to promote "political development" and grant wider freedoms "within the framework of the constitution and the law. "
CONSERVATIVES WILL BACKLASH AGAINST OPENING TIES WITH THE WEST
HARRY STERLING, The Gazette (Montreal), February 14, 2000, HEADLINE: Iranian election could be watershed//Ixnx hxm
Conservatives are also unmoved by economic arguments, including calls for improving relations with the outside world. Khomeini made it clear his revolution was primarily a cultural and nationalistic revolution, intended to return Iran to its traditional Islamic roots, subverted by the shah's attempts to Westernize the country.
REFORMERS CAN'T MOVE TO QUICKLY OTHERWISE IT RISKS ALIENATING THE CONSERVATIVES WHO CAN BLOCK CHANGE
Stanley Reed, Business Week, March 6, 2000, HEADLINE: IRAN'S REFORMERS WON. NOW CAN THEY HANG TOGETHER?//lxnx hxm
But Iran is unlikely to transform itself overnight. Khatami has to be careful not to completely lose touch with the conservatives, who still retain control over the security apparatus and the judiciary. In addition, Khatami's supporters are far from united. They comprise a broad coalition of some 18 factions with considerable differences between them, The exact composition of the Parliament won't be clear until after runoff elections are held in several weeks.