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Cleric warns of iran topple { June 3 2002 }

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Ruling cleric warns Iran 'on the brink of explosion'

Monday, June 3, 2002
NICOSIA A key Iranian ruling cleric has warned that the Islamic republic is on the verge of a popular uprising that could topple the regime.

"The people are very dissatisfied, and they are right to be so, and I swear to God that the society is on the brink of explosion," said Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini, the deputy Speaker of the Assembly of Experts

The 72-member Assembly of Experts is regarded as the highest consultative body in the Islamic republic. It is the only group to which Khamenei is responsible, according to Middle East Newsline.

Amini urged the regime to listen to the people. The cleric said not even the Islamic republic can rule by force. "If this discontent increases, as is the case, society and the regime will be threatened. No regime can maintain itself in power by force."

In response, Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani acknowledged high-level political conflicts but said security must be accorded priority to ensure the continuation of reforms. Shamkhani said security includes such aspects as jobs, investment and personal safety.

"The government should do all within its power to provide people with security in all its aspects," Shamkhani told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The defense minister warned of disputes within the leadership, including between the parliament and government. "In the wake of today's developments, political immaturity among our political elite in managing current crises leads to the inner political conflict," he said.

Shamkhani was speaking as parliamentarians called for the resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi. Kharazi was said to have offered to resign, but this was rejected by President Mohammed Khatami.

Earlier, "Under the former regime, no one was preventing people from going to the mosque or praying," Amini said. "But we had promised the real Islamic justice and an administration like of the time of the prophet and imam Ali.

That was the reason the people listened, offered martyrs and made the revolution. The duty of the rulers is not fasting or praying all the time, but to listen to the people, to fulfil their demands, offer them better life, prosperity and work."

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