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The BBC's Jim Muir
"It is the first time an Iranian president has done better the second time around"
 real 56k

Jahangir Behrouz, Echo of Iran newspaper
"I do not expect very big changes in the near future"
 real 56k

The BBC's Roger Hardy
"They in the end had to vote for the man who symbolises reform"
 real 28k

Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Khatami hails landslide victory
Voters celebrating Mr Khatami's re-election
Iranians have reinforced Mr Khatami's mandate
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran has hailed his crushing victory in Friday's elections as a victory for a just model of society, based on religion and morality alongside democracy and freedom.

As supporters took to the streets to celebrate his second term, the reformist president pledged to "deepen democracy".

The nation has strived to present a right and just model of a civil society based on a religion and morality alongside democracy and freedom

President Khatami
With just under 77% of the vote - even more than in his victory four years ago - Mr Khatami returns to office with a clear and strong mandate to promote reforms.

But analysts say the hardline establishment will use every means to obstruct change, as they have done for the past four years.

And the conservative hardliners have considerable power to do so in a country where all major decisions rest with the religious authorities.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls the armed forces, appoints the judiciary chief, the head of the state broadcasting monopoly and other unelected offices.

Threat to reform

Friday's turnout was about 10% lower than four years ago, as about one million voters stayed away, perhaps out of disappointment at the slow pace of change in Mr Khatami's first term.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
President Khatami called for freedom of speech and opposition
Mr Khatami's nearest rival - among nine mostly independent conservatives - was Ahmad Tavakoli with about 16% of the vote.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Teheran says that such an endorsement of Mr Khatami's reformist plans may provoke a hardline backlash in the short term.

He says hard-core right-wingers have apparently accepted their unpopularity at the polls; they did not even field a serious candidate.

But that has not inhibited them from wielding their power, because, ultimately, they believe their authority comes from God, not from the people.

Analysts do not rule out that some sectors may resort to violence to resist reform.

'Deeper democracy'

But, say observers, some moderate conservatives may decide to opt for constructive opposition within a democratic system.

Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei
Conservatives are unlikely to soften their resistance to Mr Khatami's reforms
Mr Khatami himself prefers to use persuasion rather than confrontation to implement social and political reform.

In his message, he spoke of "a legal, healthy and open atmosphere, freedom of speech and even opposition within the framework of the law" as being "the condition for greater and quicker victory."

"What is necessary for our today and tomorrow is to strengthen and deepen a system of democracy and to realise the rights of the people in the light of religion," he said.

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See also:

10 Jun 01 | Middle East
Khatami victory soured by vigilantes
09 Jun 01 | Middle East
Khatami triumphs over conservatives
09 Jun 01 | Media reports
Iranian press assesses presidential poll
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Iran goes to the polls
01 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iran election: People and policies
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Iran's political prisoners
09 Jun 01 | Middle East
Re-election could spark more crises
04 May 01 | Middle East
Guide: How Iran votes
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