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Thursday, July 15, 1999 Published at 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK


Iranian media reflects on turbulent week

Mass demonstration in support of the leadership after six days of pro-reform rallies

The liberal Iranian newspaper, the Iran Daily, on Thursday hailed what it said was a "new chapter" in the country following the mass rallies on Wednesday in support of the Islamic system.

"This development in and of itself marks a new chapter in the history of political activism in the country," the paper said in an editorial. The violence of the previous few days would not, it said, be manipulated "in the interest of the enemies of Islam and our people .

"It will, and rather should, strengthen the Islamic establishment from within and also lead to a new era of revolutionary political activism," the paper said.


[ image: Mass rally after student hostel stormed by police]
Mass rally after student hostel stormed by police
"The election of Mr Khatami to the presidency was the direct consequence of a strong national and religious will of 60 million people for reform and sustaining a vibrant Islamic establishment. This is the general consensus of the nation. Hence, no act of lawlessness or sedition will be tolerated by the people.

"Today every right-minded Iranian knows that national security is the key to a brighter tomorrow. Having accepted this undisputed fact Iranians at large must pursue their political activities free from violence and never allow foreign puppets and ill-wishers to penetrate their ranks," the editorial went on.

Devoted

"The nationwide rallies on Wednesday in support of the leadership revolution and government, once again brought into the open the plain truth that our people remain devoted to the declared goals of the Islamic establishment and, to the best of their ability, will safeguard their religious and national values," it concluded.

Other papers took a similar line that "infiltrators" had taken over the student protests.

"It was clear that the street riots in the last two days were not created by the people or the students," managing director of the Arya newspaper Mohammad Reza Zohdi said in an interview with the Tehran Times.

"We should be cautious about the enemy who is always after creating tension in the society," he said.

The political editor of Neshat, Ali Reza Raja'i, agreed.

"The infiltrators who came among the students shouted hard-line slogans and conducted sabotage. The students held a gathering on Enqelab Street, but the sabotage was conducted on other streets," he told the Tehran Times.

Radical elements

The Ettela'at newspaper continued the theme of radical elements taking over the protests, and took it one stage further.

The initial attack on the student dormitory at Tehran University, which led to the disturbances, was "part of a premeditated plot against the country's national security," the paper said on Wednesday.

Agents provocateur were trying to undermine the image of the Islamic system before the international community, it said.

Meanwhile, splits within the media over the coverage of the riots deepened.

The Iran Daily launched an attack on the way the issue had been handled by state TV and radio - IRIB.

"IRIB's dissemination of information is consistently less effective than Pink Panther stories," the paper said in an opinion piece. "The approach seems to be this: it is far more appropriate to totally undermine an incident than help find a solution to it."

"IRIB, which is undoubtedly a very significant mass medium, totally undermined the entire affair, as if nothing had happened."

But this was not the right way to deal with the story, the paper said. "It was simply wrong to ignore the matter."

"If IRIB had performed more responsibly and covered the development, then perhaps one could dare say the affair would have been under control by now," it said.

Source: IRNA news agency, Tehran, in English 15 Jul 99

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.



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