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Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
Iranian press assesses presidential poll
President Mohammad Khatami voting
Iran's media views Mr Khatami's reelection as a guarantee
Newspapers from both sides of Iran's political spectrum praised the high voter turnout, believing it demonstrated the public's support for the Islamic system, but they differ in their interpretations of just what that system is.

Describing the turnout as "extensive and enthusiastic", the pro-reform Sadaye Edalat daily said Iran's citizens had "clearly demonstrated" that they would continue on the path of reform "even though it is rough and laborious as well as costly".

But it said Iranians realised that reform was the "only available strategy for meeting the challenges" facing the country.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei
Will conservatives still try to check Khatami's reforms?
In a dig at the hard-liners, the paper said that despite their efforts to hinder the reform process, the people had clearly demonstrated they were "far removed" from those whose demands were limited to "unwelcome slogans and tactics".

It said the message of this election was that the path chosen when Mr Khatami was first elected by a huge majority in May 1997 had "surpassed all other ideas, is more dominant and is now the framework for a new Iranian social order".

The pro-reform Norooz took up the theme that the vote was a show of support for the political system.

But it said the higher turnouts in the 1997 and 2001 elections meant it was the "reformist interpretation" of the system as represented by Mr Khatami that was being backed.

Enemies' intentions

Predictably, the conservative newspapers believed the vote signalled ongoing support for the Islamic system as represented by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

They also used the familiar language of "plots" and "enemies".

The hard-line Siyasat-e Ruz daily said the vote had confirmed the "lofty objectives and principles of the Islamic Republic" and that it was now up to the president to respond to the nation's "display of vigilance and anticipation of the enemies' intentions".

It then concentrated on how the president should tackle the country's economic problems.

But nowhere did it refer to Mr Khatami by name or the fact that it was he the voters had come out to support.

The similarly hard-line Resalat also failed to mention Mr Khatami by name, and talked up the role of Mr Khamenei in the whole event.

It said the people's participation had proved their "loyalty and trust in the sacred system of the Islamic Republic" and that it was Mr Khamenei's "inspiring" speeches that had "played a determining role in creating this heroic presence at the polls".

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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See also:

09 Jun 01 | Middle East
Khatami triumphs over conservatives
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Iran goes to the polls
01 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iran election: People and policies
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Iran's political prisoners
09 Jun 01 | Middle East
Re-election could spark more crises
04 May 01 | Middle East
Guide: How Iran votes
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