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The BBC's Jim Muir reports from Tehran
"Many things will change because of this election"
 real 28k

Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 17:30 GMT
Khatami's caution to West
women
Iranian women welcome the vote for reformists
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has told the West that the reformist victory in Iran's general election does not mean the country will abandon its revolutionary principles.

President Khatami, himself a reformist, said the result was a sign of Iranian's political maturity, but the nation would not lose sight of its goals on the basis of "the wishes and delusions" of others.

"Reform is in the spirit of the revolution and in no way signals a retreat from its principles," he said in his first comments since the 18 February elections.


We believe in existing alongside, and forging relations with, all countries, including the industrial developed world

President Khatami
Reformists won 170 seats in the 290-seat parliament, hard-liners and conservatives took 45 and independents 10; 65 seats will be decided in run-offs in April.

It is the first time the hard-liners have lost control of the parliament since the 1979 Islamic revolution ousted the shah and brought the clergy to power.

The last results to be declared were from Tehran, where all but one of the 30 seats were taken by reformists.

In the outgoing parliament, at least two-thirds of the capital's seats had been held by conservatives.

'Mutual respect'

President Khatami, who earlier addressed the Foreign Ministry, added that Iran's foreign policy would "continue to pursue detente as a fundamental principle".

khatami
President Khatami: Aims to increase numbers of allies
He said: "We believe that destiny, security and peace are interests common to humanity.

"And for this reason we believe in existing alongside, and forging relations with, all countries, including the industrial developed world, on the basis of mutual respect and interests.

"Our policy is to eventually reduce the number of our enemies and the scale of hostilities against our country, and to increase the number of our friends and allies - whilst abiding by our principles, especially our sense of Islamic and Iranian honour."

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright renewed an offer to talk directly to Iran about US concerns with Iranian policies.

The US froze Iranian assets valued at $12bn in 1979 after the overthrow of the US-backed shah and the capture of US hostages.

President Khatami, who came to power in 1997, has encouraged increased people-to-people contact with the US but has stopped short of calling for talks.

Although beaten in the elections, the hard-liners still wield power through key institutions such as the Council of Guardians, which must approve all legislation.

But reformists say they are confident that hard-liners will not want to use those powers to block legislation and risk angering a majority of Iranians.

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See also:

26 Feb 00 |  Media reports
Iranian media reviews election results
23 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Iran's unique election
26 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Rafsanjani scrapes in
21 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Analysis: Obstacles to change
22 Feb 00 |  Middle East
Iran vote welcomed
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