Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Full text of Khatami's speech
The following is the full text of statement by the Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, broadcast on national television on 13 July.
[TV correspondent] Mr President, following the events in the university students' quarters, the Supreme National Security Council has convened several meetings today and in the past few days. Please tell us, what decisions have been taken about the students' actions?
For these reasons a special committee was formed under the auspices of the office of the Supreme National Security Council. The committee took certain decisions which were endorsed by the great leader. The committee followed its task with vigour and will do so in the future. The committee will study both the reasons and the cause of the bitter and sinister events and the way it was handled and also the pursuance of all related issues.
I hope to be able to talk about this matter in detail in the near future to give an analysis.
The committee meets regularly. Today we have had two meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The committee takes decisions and implements them, and through its communique it informs the people.
What I want to say here in a few words is this: A day or two after the events on Thursday [8 July] night, a deviation took place. And in my opinion this deviation was not for the good of Iran. The aim was to inflict damage to the foundation of the system and engender violence, tension and disturbance in society.
Fortunately, with regard to this event, the students movement has declared it was not guilty. The behaviour [of the rioters] was not based on any principles. The students declared that the event had no connection with the university. They said that some people were taking advantage of the situation. Some of the arrested people were not students.
Undoubtedly, some will take political advantage of the situation. Basically, the violence and disturbance were against the interests of the system. They were against the interest of the nation, and against the policies of the government.
The government policies are based on lawfulness, legitimate freedom within the bounds of the law, and confrontation of any violence and disturbance. Naturally this event is just the opposite of the political development as advocated by the government. It is against the interest of the nation. No goodwill comes out these events.
Rioters 'had ill intentions'
They [the rioters] aim to inflict damage on public property and cause discomfort for the dear citizens. What they have done indicates that they had ill intentions and wanted to spread violence in society. They must be stopped and we will withstand them because of the government's policy and owing to the national interest, we even tried and we will try not to confront the violence with violence but with special and legal means.
These events are neither deeply rooted nor widespread. It is easy to engender violence or disturbance in society. We want, as far as possible, to show society that we should confront violence without violence and it is for this reason that our dear forces responsible for law and order have sustained injuries.
The issues raised, slogans chanted - inflammatory slogans against the values of the system and our nation's beliefs, and also deceitful slogans which for instance support a section of the system or the government - are all meant to create divisions and engender violence in society. Our noble nation will not be deceived by these slogans.
'The riot will not continue'
As far as the committee is concerned the security of the country and the citizens are very serious. I would like to apologize to the people for the disruption of their daily life, tranquillity and security in some parts of Tehran. I assure you that this [the riot] will not continue. We will confront these issues with legal and prudent methods.
Of course, I ask the noble nation not to extend their support to these deviant movements that are not after any good for the nation, the system and the government. In this way we can confront them easier.
They will be arrested and dispersed, and the nation can be assured that the problem, God willing, will be finished soon and I hope we can live with peace of mind and pursue together the great goals for the honour and progress of our country. I hope we can be a source of deserving service to the country and the people.
Thanks to the press
I would like to thank the media and the press - a number of them justifiably condemned the violence and tried to guide society towards order and I ask them to take this measure very seriously. All of us should strive to confront riotous behaviour, destruction of property, provocative slogans and behaviour aimed at creating confrontation in society.
All of us should strongly condemn this ugly course of events - although it has no depth and is not widespread - and should strive to make it easy for the government, the system and the responsible security agencies to deal with this in a legal manner.
The committee is continuing its work with earnestness and seriousness. Its achievements and the outcome of its work will naturally be put at the disposal of the public through various statements as has been the case so far.
[Reporter] Mr president, you have pointed out to disruptions which we witnessed particularly yesterday and today. The committee has taken a number of decisions in this regard. It has stressed the need to preserve law and order in the society in its statements. Could you please tell us, as chairman of the Supreme National Security Council, that if, God forbid, these disruptions continue how could they be dealt with.
[Khatami] As I have said there are particular ways of dealing with city riots. Here I have to say that these riots are not very widespread and profound.
We have always tried not to resort to violent actions and we are determined not to do so on this occasion either. We are confident that with the level of awareness among the public and the upper hand enjoyed by the security, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies this problems will soon be resolved with the grace of God.
BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), 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.