NEO_CON said:

The burgeoning crisis is, in fact, the latest episode in a bitter struggle that started more than four years ago when a new elite of younger, mostly non-clerical, revolutionaries made its bid for power against the older elite of ruling mullahs and their business associates
I like to keep current as to what is happening in Iran
I also like to keep current as to what is happening in Iran and, as the 'burgeoning crisis' presents opportunities to manipulate sales, to cross-promote and to boost advertising revenue, I don't trust a word printed in any Murdoch rag
NY Post is the Stateside equivalent of the Scum.

Iran had a moderate President by the name of Khatami for 8 years but the US didnt want to know.

He doesnt hold any real power they said at the time....
NY Post is the Stateside equivalent of the Scum.

Iran had a moderate President by the name of Khatami for 8 years but the US didnt want to know.

He doesnt hold any real power they said at the time

If you don't remember here is a summary of Clinton's second term policy towards Iran.

President Khatami's Election
The hostility between the U.S. and Iran, so evident during Clinton's first term, began to diminish during the early part of his second term. The precipitating factor was the unexpected and overwhelming (70 percent of the vote) election of Mohammed Khatami as Iran's president in May 1997. The moderate Iranian leader sought to increase cultural and personal freedom in Iran, while also improving relations with Iran's Gulf neighbors, Europe, and, to a lesser degree, the United States. However, he was challenged by hardliners in the Iranian regime including Iran's religious leader Ayatollah Khameini, who controlled important levers of power such as the army and police.

Khatami's efforts to improve Iran's regional position began with the dispatch of the new Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharazzi, on a tour of Arab capitals with a message that Iran wanted peaceful and cooperative relations with the Arab world. Next came the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) summit held in Teheran in December 1997, where Khatami was unanimously elected as chairman of the OIC for the next three years. At the summit, Khatami moderated Iran's position on the Arab-Israeli peace process, stating that Iran would accept any solution which the Palestinians accepted, and Iran got the support of the other Islamic countries in opposing U.S. sanctions.

The rapprochement between Iran and its neighbors continued in March 1998 with the visit of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, himself a moderate, to Saudi Arabia, where the two sides discussed, inter alia, the drop in oil prices to below $13 a barrel, a development that hurt both countries. Saudi Arabia and Iran were subsequently to agree to an oil production cutback. Iran also sent out feelers to Iraq, and the hard-pressed regime of Saddam Hussein, looking to escape its own isolated position, responded positively although the two countries remained at odds over unsettled issues from their 1980-1988 war.

Moves Toward Limited Rapprochement
By mid-1998, the only issue of consequence remaining in Iranian-Gulf Arab relations was the dispute over three islands in the Persian Gulf (Big Tunb, Little Tunb, and Abu Musa) which are claimed both by Iran and the United Arab Emirates but are currently occupied by Iran, an occupation that dates back to the time of the Shah. In the new mood of GCC-Iran cooperation, however, the islands issue now appears to be far less an area of contention than in the past.

Iran also stepped up its relations with Russia and France, two of its leading trade partners. Russia, which was Iran's leading supplier of military equipment as well as nuclear reactors, saw Iran as a useful ally in a number of Caucasian and Central Asian trouble spots from Chechnya to the Tajik civil war to Afghanistan, as well as a major market for Russian military and civilian exports. For its part, France also rejected U.S. efforts to isolate Iran economically and in 1997 the French company Total joined with Russian and Malaysian energy companies in an agreement to develop Iran's South Pars natural gas field, a direct challenge to U.S. efforts to limit Iranian energy development.

By 1998, Iran had also begun to focus on its ties with the United States. What could be called a limited rapprochement had begun in December 1997 when in a news conference President Khatami stated "I first of all pay my respects to the great people and nation of America." Three weeks later, in a CNN interview, he proposed to the U.S. the idea of an exchange of "professionals, writers, scholars, artists, journalists, and tourists." President Clinton responded in kind in January 1998 when he called Iran "an important country with a rich and ancient cultural heritage of which Iranians are justifiably proud," and asserted that the current differences between Iran and the U.S. were not insurmountable.

The first tangible results of the new atmosphere came in February 1998 when a group of American wrestlers were triumphantly received by Iranian wrestling fans during the Takhiti Cup tournament in Teheran. In May, Clinton waived sanctions against the French, Russian, and Malaysian companies planning to develop Iran's South Pars gas field, and in June, Secretary of State Albright, in a speech to the Asia Society in New York, after noting that the U.S. had implemented a more streamlined procedure for issuing visas to Iranians, offered to "develop, with the Islamic Republic, when it is ready, a road map leading to normal relations."

During the summer and fall of 1998, however, the road to normal relations developed a few potholes. Under pressure from Republicans in Congress, the U.S. extended the mandate of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to broadcast into Iran to "promote democracy." In addition, Iran's testing of a medium-range Shahab 3 missile in July raised concerns in the U.S. that Iran was making unexpectedly rapid progress on its way to developing weapons of mass destruction, a concern shared by Israel and its lobby in the U.S.

Despite these events, there was a great deal of expectation of a further thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations when Khatami and Foreign Minister Kharazzi journeyed to New York for the opening of the fall session of the United Nations. In his UN speech, Khatami continued his theme of dialogue, calling on the UN to declare the year 2001 the "year of dialogue among civilizations." However, he took a sharply anti-Israel tone, stating that peace and security would come to the Middle East only when all Palestinians had the right to "exercise sovereignty over their ancestral homeland," and that "Palestine is the homeland of Moslems, Christians and Jews, not the laboratory for the violent whims of Zionists." The Iranian leader, nine of whose diplomats had recently been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan and whose army now maneuvered menacingly on the border of that country, also called for a broad-based government in Afghanistan representing all ethnic groups and communities.

The next day, Khatami also took a critical stance toward the U.S. in a news conference in which he rejected the idea of government-to-government talks between the U.S. and Iran, although he did welcome what he termed a "change in speech" by the U.S. He complained, however, about a number of American actions including the U.S. economic embargo against Iran and U.S. opposition to pipelines carrying Caspian Sea oil through Iran. He also protested the failure of the U.S. to return the Iranian assets it had frozen and for allocating money to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty for Persian-language broadcasts that would "hurt the government of Iran." In an effort to diffuse criticism of Iran's human rights position, however, Khatami seemed to lift the Iranian death threat against author Salman Rushdie by stating, "We should consider the Salman Rushdie issue as completely finished....The Iranian government has officially announced that in practice it has made no decision to act on this matter," an assertion which, while welcome in the West (Britain immediately upgraded diplomatic relations with Iran), provoked a firestorm of criticism among Khatami's hard-line opponents in Iran.

In March 1999, Khatami undertook the first state visit to the West by an Iranian president since 1979, including a visit to Pope John Paul II in Rome, as part of an effort to normalize relations with the West. In addition, local elections in Iran the same month were said to have been a victory for supporters of Khatami. Nevertheless, opposition to Khatami remains strong among the conservative religious clerics who still retain overall control in Iran.

Iran's Conservatives Counterattack
In analyzing Khatami's position, a central factor affecting his behavior is the power of the conservative opposition in Iran. Teheran Mayor Gholanhossen Karabaschi, an ally of Khatami, was sentenced in July 1998 to five years in prison on alleged corruption charges. Former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri lost his post in June and in early September, along with Ayatollah Mahajerani, another Khatami ally who was the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was physically attacked by thugs apparently sent by hard-line conservative forces. Furthermore, Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khameini, launched an attack against the Iranian media, which had been acting with considerably more freedom following Khatami's election. Khameini charged that sections of the media had abused their freedom and that action would be taken against their "creeping excesses." Soon afterwards, the popular Iranian newspaper Tous was closed and its managing director and two of its staff members jailed. Then the weekly magazine New Way was also closed, two senior editors at the state-owned Islamic Republic news agency were jailed, and two-thirds of the Iranian parliament (180 of 270) called for journalists who wrote against "Islamic principles" to be tried for threatening national security. The situation got so bad that an Iranian judge was quoted as saying that the jailed journalists could face the death penalty for "fighting God."

In the U.S., Republicans in Congress remain suspicious of Iran, arguing that Khatami could not really control the radicals in Iran, even if he wanted to, and openly wondering whether Khatami's "charm offensive" was nothing more than a tactic to put Iran's enemies off guard, while Iran was acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Khameini's strong criticism of the Wye Agreement served to reinforce their opposition.

On the Iranian side, Khatami's conservative opponents, still smarting over his election victory, have opposed not only his domestic reforms but also his moderate foreign policy approach to the U.S. With Khatami now under onslaught from Iranian conservatives, it is not at all clear whether the rapprochement can continue unless the U.S. is forthcoming with a major concession such as the release of frozen Iranian assets, permission for U.S. companies to invest in Iran's oil and gas infrastructure, or removal of U.S. opposition to foreign investment in Iranian oil pipelines.

Summing Up
During the first two years of Clinton's second term, U.S. policy toward Iraq has been marked more by failure. Although the sanctions on Iraq are still in effect, U.S. efforts to prevent the Iraqi regime from acquiring weapons of mass destruction appeared to be in shambles following Saddam's repeated defiance of the UN inspection team and the failure of the U.S. to respond with enough force to make a difference. The one policy innovation on Iraq following Clinton's reelection, the "food for oil" agreement, did not serve to win over Arab support for U.S. punitive strikes against Iraq.

In the case of Iran, U.S. policy has had more of a mixed result. The old policy of dual containment seems to have been jettisoned, with the U.S. now seeking to improve relations with Iran while keeping Iraq isolated, in the hope that Iran will cooperate with U.S. efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Yet despite a policy of limited rapprochement, replete with positive oratory and symbolic actions by both sides, it remains to be seen if the U.S. and Iranian leaders, each of whom is beset by domestic opposition to the limited rapprochement, can push the process much further.
One reason he did hold enough real power is he was opposed so forcefully by the Mullahs. The current president of Iran has at the present time not been opposed as forcefully by the Mullahs. The article is talking about the attempt by the current president to expand his power in the institutions of the government of Iran
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