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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 May, 2004, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Profile: Gholamali Haddad-Adel
Mr Haddad-Adel talks to an AP reporter after his election to parliament
Conservative MP Gholamali Haddad-Adel

The February 2004 parliamentary elections in Iran saw the emergence of a new political figure: Gholamali Haddad-Adel, who topped the polls in the capital Tehran.

He heads the hardline Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Abadgaran-e Iran-e Eslami) in the new conservative-dominated parliament.

As widely expected, on 29 May 2004 the parliament elected him as its first non-cleric speaker since the 1979 revolution.

Mr Haddad-Adel has family ties with the religious establishment - his daughter is married to a son of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - and his party insists that all policy should be firmly rooted within Islamic law.

According to the party website, he was born in 1945. He graduated in physics and has a Ph.D. in philosophy. Among many government posts he has been a deputy minister of education and training, and a deputy minister of Islamic guidance.

Since the election Mr Haddad-Adel, like other conservatives, has sought to promote a moderate image.

"I hope that the high wall between factions that made the sixth Majlis (parliament) a scene of conflict will crumble in the seventh," he said, according to ISNA news agency.

He sits on the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, which pronounces on such matters as use of the internet and satellite TV.

In this role, he dismissed concerns that the new Majlis would crack down on press freedom and civil rights.

Economic reform

But the Aftab-e Yazd daily quoted him as saying that while freedom constituted the "spirit and essence " of the Islamic Revolution, it must stay within the constitution.
We believe that social disorders are partially rooted in poverty, unemployment and financial problems
Gholamali Haddad-Adel

Declaring himself "unhappy" with the closure of two reformist dailies on the eve of polling day, he hastened to add that "every paper violating the law should be prosecuted".

He has been careful not to dismiss the reforms of President Khatami, hinting only at a need for "adjustments".

"We have seen some pros and cons in Khatami's record, but nevertheless we acknowledge his achievements and will support him till the end of his term."

Dr Haddad-Adel has suggested that the new parliament will focus on the economy.

"We believe that social disorders are partially rooted in poverty, unemployment and financial problems," he said, according to IRNA news agency.

His remarks on international relations appear to promise continuity rather than change.

"Iran's relations with the Arab states... are given top priority in our foreign policy," he told the London-based al-Hayat Arabic daily.

He said he welcomed closer parliamentary ties with all countries, including the USA. But Washington, he warned, must do more to understand Iran.

Touching on the nuclear issue, he said the new parliament would follow the government line and ratify the IAEA "additional protocol", which allows for snap nuclear inspections.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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