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Iran's Pro-Reform Lawmakers Dispute 'US Pawn' Charge By Military - 2002-07-22


In Iran, pro-reform lawmakers are demanding the defense minister explain statements by the Revolutionary Guards, Iran's security forces, accusing the reformers of being pawns of the United States.

Pro-reform legislator Rajabali Mazrouei called the Revolutionary Guards' statement an illegal and irresponsible interference in political life. He says the statement accusing reformers of being U.S. pawns is blatant factional politics in favor of the conservative faction.

More than 90 legislators have signed a letter demanding that Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani explain the guards' statement, which says the United States is preparing a military attack against Iran.

The head of the pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation Front charges that a small number of Revolutionary Guards is trying to sabotage their military position by turning the corps into a political party.

The Guards' statement, issued Saturday, also accused Iran's reformers of openly supporting subversion in the streets and of wanting to introduce a secular regime.

Reform activists have long complained that conservative elements in the judiciary and security forces are blocking efforts to reform Iranian politics and its foreign policy.

The reform movement has worked toward repairing Iran's relations with the West, including the United States.

The U.S. administration cut off relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. But Reformist President Mohammad Khatami has endorsed unofficial contacts between the two countries aimed at easing tensions between them.

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