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Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 11:52 GMT
Khatami attacks opposition crackdown

The Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, has urged conservative clerics who control many of the levers of power in the country to respect the views of opposition reformists.

Mr Khatami was speaking to several thousand students at Tehran university at a time when the conservative-dominated judiciary has been stepping up its actions against reformists in parliament and the media.

He said that the country's stability depended on respect for democracy and warned that repressing the opposition would create a mood of disillusion. Mr Khatami was greeted with cries of "Khatami, we support you!" and "Down with despotism!"

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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