Khatami calls for `the rule of law'

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT Mohamed Khatami of Iran - whose election proved his country's ability to choose a leader democratically - used the anniversary of the Islamic revolution yesterday to demand "the rule of law".

His determination to establish a "civil society" in Iran - a land respecting human rights and free of arbitrary arrest - was linked to the institution that Ayatollah Khomeini introduced after the fall of the Shah.

"Defending the revolution is defending the constitution," he said. "The stability of the revolution is only possible with the rule of law." Civil rights must be respected and the best way to reach this goal was to participate in the local elections, to be held on 26 February.

It was left to Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, the Supreme Leader, to attack the United States. The revolution, he claimed, "marched on despite "hostile acts" from America. Khatami's call for a dialogue has received a paltry response from Washington, which still wishes to "contain" Iran and Iraq on an equal footing. The lack of enthusiasm has damaged the president's appeal and helped Khamanei's anti-American rhetoric.