President Khatami says diversity of ideas more important than diversity of candidatesTEHRAN, Jan. 9 (MNA) -- Talking to reporters after submitting the budget bill Khatami stressed the necessity for the participation of a variety of candidates in the upcoming presidential election, expressing hope that voters would pay more attention to the candidates plans instead of focusing on their personalities.
After presenting the national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year (starts March 21, 2005) to parliament and introducing his nominee for transportation minister, Ahmad Sadegh Bonab, Khatami told reporters, I am quite sure that candidates from all political groups and parties will take part in the election.
Asked if he would support former president and current Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the election, Khatami noted that his duty as president is to hold a fair and free presidential election.
As president, I do not have the right to support anyone. Mr. Rafsanjani, despite all his kindness, never supported me as a presidential hopeful (during the 1997 presidential election). However, I would like to thank him for holding a good and fair election during his presidency.
Khatami stated that he still believes in reformist principles although people have become partially discouraged about the reform process.
He went on to say that a free and fair election would make people realize their votes are effectual.
Rather than the diversity of candidates in elections its the diversity of ideas and thoughts that is important, he noted.
In addition, each candidate should guarantee that his ideas could be implemented if he were to be elected, the president added.
Elaborating on his earlier remarks, in which he observed that some reformists have made statements that are also heard from the enemy camp, Khatami said that some people have lost hope in the Islamic Republic and therefore make remarks that are similar to what the enemies want.
The attempt to overthrow the Islamic Republic with the aim of establishing another system in Iran is one of the biggest plots against the countrys Islamic system, he stated.
Efforts should be made to improve the systems democratic image within the Islamic Republic itself, by way of the current Constitution, Khatami added.
When we speak about reforms, we mean the nation wants the current system but seeks to create reforms within the Islamic Republic that would be closer to democratic principles, he explained.
The reforms have their roots in society and therefore will certainly continue, Khatami said.
If the government is in harmony with reforms, then everything becomes easier, otherwise reforms will just continue on their own way, he added.
Saying he had selected his nominee for the next transportation minister from among the staff of the ministry, Khatami noted that increasing coordination and consensus in the Roads and Transportation Ministry was his main aim in introducing Sadegh Bonab for the post.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatami said he would continue on his current path, particularly in the international arena, after leaving the presidency.
Asked about a U.S.-sponsored conference recently held in an Arab country in which Irans upcoming presidential election was discussed, he stated that the United States is not in a position to hold such a conference and that it is obviously interference in Irans internal affairs.
On Irans nuclear dossier, the president noted that Iran will not renounce its right to peacefully make use of nuclear energy or to access the nuclear fuel cycle.
Irans nuclear negotiations with the EU have not reached a deadlock. Iran only wants nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes while Europe seeks objective guarantees from the country. We will continue the current process and believe that the Europeans would also like to resolve the issue in an appropriate manner.