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Iran President lashes out at Guardian Council for rejecting reform bills

President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday lashed out at the supervisory Guardian Council (GC) for rejecting his proposed twin bills on presidential powers and elections, stressing that he was against the decision, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"I am against rejecting the bills. They were the least required means for running the country's affairs," Khatami told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The Guardian Council recently rejected a bill that President Khatami had submitted to the Parliament last year to extend his authorities.

The GC's decision immediately provoked the ire of parliamentarians several of whom threatened to resign in protest.

"In their proposed amendments to the bill, the GC has limited the presidential powers to an extent that in certain respects the authority of the president is much less than that of an ordinary citizen," Khatami said.

"This is not at all acceptable to me. However, I would like to thank the council for presenting good, logical and brave ideas [with regards to the bill], but the decisions are adopted by the majority in the GC."

He said the GC had overlooked the concerns of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei that the president must be given extended powers, stressing though that this could not be regarded an offense by the Council.

"The `respected' Guardian Council in many instances has rejected bills arguing that they are against the viewpoint of Ayatollah Khamenei," he said.

"Yet, the viewpoints of Ayatollah Khamenei regarding the authority of the president and the need to implement it were explicitly known."

Khatami further said that the issue of presidential powers bill must be resolved between the GC and the Parliament, stressing that he believed referring the bill to the arbitrative Expediency Council (EC) was "useless".

"I, for certain reasons that will elaborate at an appropriate time, believe that sending the bill to the EC is useless," he said.

"I will talk about my argument on this later, but I believe that without the bill, the president is not that much effective in office."

... Payvand News - 5/21/03 ... --

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