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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK
'Compromise reached' in Iran
Former President Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and  President Mohammad Khatami
Rasanjani (left) , Khamenei and Khatami (right)
Reports say that a compromise has been reached in Iran's constitutional stand-off between the reformist parliament and the conservative-led judiciary.

However, it is not clear what was decided at Monday's three and a half hour emergency meeting of the Expediency Council, the body charged with resolving constitutional issues.


Instead of lawmakers, hard-liners are trying to make decisions for the country through unelected institutions

Ali Reza Nouri, parliamentarian
The deadlock has led to the postponement of the inauguration of reformist President Mohammad Khatami and until he is sworn in, he cannot form a new government, raising the spectre of a constitutional crisis.

The simmering dispute boiled over again when parliament rejected judges' nominations for new member of the powerful Council of Guardians, which vets all legislation.

President Khatami's second term of office began on 2 August after the June election in which he won 77% of the vote.

Reformists are wary of the involvement of the Expediency Council, called in by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fearing it is a way of undermining Mr Khatami.

Veto

Reformist legislator Ali Reza Nouri told the Associated Press news agency that parliament and not the unelected Expediency Council should find a way to break the impasse.

"Instead of lawmakers, hard-liners are trying to make decisions for the country through unelected institutions."

And he added: "Parliament will not back down."

The conservative newspaper Kayhan has urged legislators to "choose the candidates introduced by the head of the judiciary (Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi)".

Iran's parliament
Parliament's reformist measures have been blocked by the Council of Guardians

Correspondents say that hard-liners are fighting to retain control of the Council of Guardians which in recent months has vetoed several pro-reform measures adopted by parliament.

On Sunday Ayatollah Shahroudi rejected a compromise suggested by the speaker of parliament, Mahdi Karrubi.

Mr Karrubi had proposed a joint committee comprising both factions to find a solution.

The Expediency Council is chaired by former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and is said to be dominated by the hard-line faction.

Mr Rafsanjani has been an ally of the conservatives in trying to control the reform movement and to divert it away from uncomfortable political demands on issues such as unemployment and corruption.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Cviic
"The intervention... may work against the reformists"
Iranian Political Analyst, Dr. Ali Ansari
"Most legislation has been bloked by the Guardian Coucil"
See also:

06 Aug 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Struggle for Iran's future
05 Aug 01 | Middle East
Compromise sought in Iran crisis
05 Aug 01 | Middle East
Khamenei blocks the reformists
10 Jun 01 | Middle East
Khatami hails landslide victory
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Iran goes to the polls
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