Tehran, July 21, IRNA-In his last meeting with his cabinet ministers and government officials, outgoing President Seyed Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday, "During our eight years of service, we tired, within the range of our legal responsibilities to prove that only power is not not sanctified, but it also should be accountable and subject to criticism."
The president added, "During that period we were faced with many kinds of injustice and lack of frankness, and voiced our objection to that extent that it would not create social unrest."
He reiterated, "For the first time I filed an official constitutional objection regarding the basic rights of the president and we did not rest a minute free from our duty to defend the people's natural rights, their legitimate freedoms, and the basics of religious democracy."
The president recalled those who had suggested that the reforms path needed to be paved more rapidly, arguing, "Our red line was our beliefs, from where on we never stepped any further, but we also firmly believed that internal clashes and chaotic conditions were a fatal poison for the country's existence, and the Islamic Republic's sovereignty."
He added, "Many of those who criticize us for not insisting to the extent where tension might have resulted, or to voice our objection beyond country's borders, if we had God-forbid, done so, would not have been man enough for such scenes."
President Khatami referred to the fact that he had in most cases not compromised on basics of his beliefs, reiterating, "That insistence resulted in changing many of those beliefs to values, and some of the so-called crimes of yesterday, are thus praised values now."
He added, "As you notice, today every one speaks of the people, the people's votes, and serving the people, and is not that what the reforms movement was all about?"
Pointing out that acceptable political systems in the world are all accountable before their nations, and that there are certain powerful bodies that can question all sources of power within systems directly, he said, "If we have problems in that respect with certain bodies in the system, it is those bodies that have to be seated in deserved seats, not the laws that need to be revised."
The IRI president said, "What we need to do is to make those bodies accountable for their conduct, not to change their basis, that is the country's constitution."
The president said, "We cared about such issues as the press, freedom, and systematizing affairs, to the best of our capabilities, and turned such efforts to a routine process in our society. We also defended the freedom of expression and need to have a free press." Stressing that corruption destroys societies, he said, "The best way to fight against corruption is to promote democracy, since totalitarianism is the mother of all types of corruption."
Khatami added, "Factionalism, simplemindedness, and tribalism inflicted serious losses against reforms and went so far as misinterpreting the nation's reforms movement, but beyond those problems with which the reforms movement was entangled form within, the reforms proceeded gradually and firmly in the context of the society."
He warned the social analysts not to assume that negative attitude of a group, even though it might be small, toward a group of the country's managers, does not mean that extremism is becoming the rule in the country. Our nation is opposed to extremism and would not permit return to extremist policies."
The president said, "Our nation is in need of a peaceful social atmosphere while gaining its deserved respect, jobs together with advancement, and freedom coupled with security, while considering extremism in direct contrast with all of these ideals."
Arguing that our nation has always been pro-reforms and would always remain pro-reforms, he said, "I pray to God that our friends would not make a mistake and misinterpret the people's choice as their intention to return to extremism."
Khatami said, "We tried during this era to create proximity between the people's dialogue and that of the elites of the society and this is a sapling in need of proper care taking."
He said that the version of Islam promoted by Islamic Republic is Islam of kindness, freedom, dialogue, understanding, and advancement, and it is opposed to the Islam of aggression, terror, and pretentiousness, adding, "The first voice of objection against aggressive moves in the name of Islam, has always been heard from within the Iranian nation, and by an IRI statesman."
President Khatami added, "If we could be regarded as successful in that respect, even if we had not achieved any objectives in other fields, we could still feel satisfied and pleased."
The president went on to add, "I believe in these years I worked with the most devoted, most hard working, most patient, and most humble managers, who were stung both by friends and by foes, and were subject to not only difficulties, but also to accusations and being summoned."
He added, "That management achieved greatest economic, social and scientific objectives for the country and the nation."
Focussing on his own future scientific, social, and cultural activities, Khatami said, "A foundation would be established whose activities would be cussed on presenting cultural, scientific and research fields, and on creating jobs, training expertise managers, and attraction of experts active in modern technologies."
He invited the country's managers and scientists to join that foundation, if they feel ready and willing to do so."
The president at the end declared, "All positive achievements are the result of you managers' efforts, and I accept the responsibility for all deficiencies, although I might have had not role in creating them.
President finally Khatami asked his managers to keep meeting regularly in the future, as well quite routinely, since, "It is predictable that attacks against us would further intensify in the future, and therefore we would be better able to defend our achievements if we would act collectively."
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