Iran: August 8, 2001

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Reform minded President Mohammad Khatami was finally sworn in for his second and final four-year term. Religious conservatives delayed the ceremony several days in a political squabble. Although the current constitution gives religious conservatives veto power over new laws and presidential orders, the reformers see time as on their side. Khatami was re-elected with nearly 80 percent of the vote (although a smaller proportion of the electorate voted than in the previous election.) Although only about a quarter of the population backs the conservatives (to any degree), this faction see themselves as obeying God's will. Compromise with anyone holding those views can be difficult. But the reformers do not want to risk civil war to enact needed economic and political reforms.  

 

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