President Mohammad Khatami said here Sunday that only those who yield to public will are to survive while those confronting people are sure to be wiped away, IRNA reported from Tehran.
Making the remarks during the inauguration ceremony of Imam Khomeini International Airport, he stressed that the Iranian nation has always been after independence, freedom and progress.
He further reiterated that no one could bar the Iranian nation from attaining its historical ends because "the Iranian nation has always been a forerunner of freedom, stopping dictatorship, fighting colonialism and working hard for progress."
He went on to hope that the Iranian people, at the 25th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution, would enjoy more freedom and there would be more efforts towards independence and materialization of ideals and values for which the nation fought and made sacrifices.
Karroubi calls for leader's intervention in electoral dispute
Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Sunday called for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's intervention to put an end to the ongoing dispute over the mass disqualification of candidates from parliamentary elections on February 20.
"The problem of mass disqualifications must be resolved with the prudence of the Supreme Leader," he told parliament's open session. "I and President (Mohammad) Khatami have taken new steps since last night and asked the Leader to resolve this problem," Karroubi added.
"We call to witness some of the experts, who have had a role in writing the Constitution and are alive, some of whom are in the rank of being sources of emulation, since we will invoke them in the day of judgment.
"I want them to say whether this is what the electoral supervision was meant by," he said to a big round of applause by the MPs.
The request came as 108 MPs submitted their resignation to Karroubi after their demands for reinstating many of those disqualified from standing in the elections fell on deaf ears.
They extended their resignations in separate letters, enclosed in yellow folders, while a joint statement was read out by MPs Mohsen Mir-Damadi and Rajab-Ali Mazrouie to cite their reasons for the mass resignations.
Parliament has now to examine the resignations separately, which Karroubi said will begin next week, and vote on them. This, however, depends on the participation of the MPs in parliament sessions to meet the required two-thirds quorum.
Over 2,000 prospective candidates from among more than 8,000 of those who registered for the elections have been declared as disqualified by the Guardians Council.
Among those barred are more than 80 sitting MPs, who held a sit-in for more than two weeks in protest to the disqualifications.
On Saturday, an umbrella grouping, including caucuses of President Khatami's backers, called for an end to the sit-in 'given that their protest cries' have now been heard.
The Coordination Council of the Second Khordad Front, called after the date in the Persian calender, when Khatami rose to a landslide victory in 1997, also said that the grouping would not take part in the next month's parliamentary election.
The council comprises 18 political caucuses with the agenda to support President Khatami's promise of upholding the rule of law and establishing a civil society.
A subscriber to the grouping and an MP from Tehran, Mohsen Mir-Damadi, who has been barred from standing in the election, has said that 'going ahead with the election on February 20 under the existing circumstances will be a nail in the coffin of republicanism'.
"Those who think they can protect the establishment without republicanism are completely mistaken," he said Saturday.
A statement, issued by the protesting MPs on Saturday, called on the government to 'refrain from holding the election until favorable grounds for holding legitimate, free and fair polls are paved'.
Khatami has pledged that the elections will go ahead according to schedule in a 'healthy, free and competitive' environment. "To shut down the elections means to shut down democracy and God does not want such a thing for our people," he has said.
Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, however, said Saturday that the ground was not ready for a fair election. "An election in which more than half of the seats have been determined in advance is not legitimate," he told reporters after paying his homage to the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini.
"The government's lobbies with the Guardians Council have had no fruits and the number of the disqualified (incumbent) MPs has risen to 87 from 83," he added.
Lari said, "According to the regulations, we cannot hold the election unless a change is made."
The interior minister also said a group of governors and ministers, who have threatened to resign, were still persisting on their demand and have set a deadline until the end of the week, after which they would go ahead with their pledges.
"According to the regulations, Mr. Khatami must accept their (mass) resignation," Lari said, while refusing to say whether he would also follow suit.
On Friday, the Guardians Council, which vets the candidates as well as parliamentary bills to affirm their compliance with the Islamic Sharia law and the Constitution, turned down Lari's request to postpone the election.
A Guardians Council spokesman, Mohammad Jahromi, has said the supervisory boards had honored 'justice and the law' in the rejections.
Jahromi has also said that the qualifications of more than 5,200 candidates had been approved so far, which meant there were 19 contestants for each seat of the parliament, where 290 seats are up for grabs.
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