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Iran: President Khatami defends his government achievements

Mahshahr, Khuzestan prov, June 12, IRNA-President Mohammad Khatami said in Mahshahr on Saturday "as I am leaving my tenure of rendering service to the people as the president, the perceived dichotomy between liberty and religion has been removed." "Voicing criticisms and being free are no longer considered as acts against the security of the country."

Khatami, who was speaking at the commissioning ceremonies of five petrochemical projects, added that although criticisms may still bear costs, but the mentality is such that all are in awe of the prevailing freedoms." The nation is now free to discuss progress and youth, civil rights and civil society, he added.

He also took a swipe at the criticism leveled against the government on the eve of the 9th Presidential Elections saying that the statements uttered are not true, and contrary to the national interest.

"The people do not believe these (statements) either," he retorted.

Khatami expressed hope that freedoms in the society and tolerance of criticisms by the establishment will take root in the future, "such that at least some segment of the ruling system could even be fairly criticized without fear."

"If it were not for the sake of keeping tranquility and calm in order to urge people to the ballot boxes, then I would have no qualms o answer all these unfair and absurd claims as they are slanderous to the people."

Khatami then referred to 150-years of struggle by Iranians for restoring their legitimate rights and decried suggestions that the people need a hero or custodian.

"The history of the services rendered to the nation by those who express such statements is not clear."

He further lauded the defense in the eight year imposed war saying that the comprehensive progress made in economic, social, cultural, scientific and industrial underpinnings of the nation in the period prepared the grounds for a great-leap forward.

Khatami specifically highlighted the growing link between universities, other centers of higher education and industry and manufacturing sector as "quite advanced."

Elsewhere in his statements he added that the Five-Year Development Plan (March 2005-2010) has been well laid out.

"The pivotal role of a knowledge-base economy, contact with the world economy and preservation of our principals and values endeared to the people have all been accorded importance in the plan." Khatami referred to the important oil, gas and petrochemical projects carried out in the past eight years. The petrochemical project have at least created over 50,000 job opportunities.

He also praised the nation's capability of export of engineering and service sector which topped dlrs 11 billion last year (Started March 21).

He said that oil is not a consumption commodity but a good given resource to be used for progress and development of the nation.

The president said the value of petrochemical projects are currently about five billion dollars annually with over three billion of exports.

Khatami said the petrochemical production and exports will surpass dlrs eight billion and five billion respectively this year.

He then said that the monetary achievements are intertwined with attracting foreign investments and importing of modern management and technology into the country.

"We are now capable to designing automobiles and are among the major parts producer in the region," the president underlined.

On the 9th presidential election, the president said that the upcoming election can not only promote Iran's status on the international scene but will also pave the way for establishment of security and national progress.

Speaking at a gathering of people in Shahid Amiri Stadium in the provincial towns of Alashtar on saturday, he urged people to contribute towards reform and facilitate solving the current problems by taking part in the political scene.

"Nowadays, everyone voices positive slogans in support of freedom, development, women's right, confidence building on the international scene and the need for detente," he added.

"The chief executive called on the citizens of Alashtar to vote for the candidate who has actually proved their commitment to protect the people's right, their legitimate freedom, the national development and progress as well as safeguarding Iran's reputation in the international complexes.

"People's wide turnout in balloting boxes is still more important than voting to individual candidates," he added.

Khatami stressed that the movement launched by the Iranian nation some 150 years ago which reached its peak during the Islamic Revolution and flourished during the process of reform should continue.

... Payvand News - 6/12/05 ... --

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