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Iran President lashes out at political rivals misportraying situation

President Mohammad Khatami on Monday lashed out at political rivals who are misportraying the economic situation in the country, IRNA reported on Monday.

President Khatami said that his political rivals are "the opponents of freedom of expression, but at the same time are taking advantage of the freedom to voice bitter criticism against" his government.

"Some dignitaries are taking the tribune of sacred Friday prayers to voice bitter criticism against the government. They speak in the name of religion to accuse the government system in the worst possible manner. This is regrettable. These dignitaries are those who always oppose freedom of expression while they use the freedom to disappoint the youth by misportraying the situation," President Khatami said.

The president made the remarks in his address to a large number of students to award those students who had delivered the best answers to his questions already distributed among the students.

He dismissed the charge that the government's economic performance was weak and said that the figure concerning foreign investment in Iran indicated a growth in economic development.

Elaborating on success of his government, President Khatami said, "Was it possible to criticize the president in a way that the press are currently doing?" He was referring to the press freedom and the criticism he has been subject to by some segments of the press.

"Had there been this kind of freedom in the country before my government?" he questioned.

... Payvand News - 7/7/03 ... --

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