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The conservatives responded to liberalization with vigilante attacks against reformist leaders, lawsuits, forced resignations, and the closing of reformist newspapers. Despite these setbacks, the reformist position was strong enough to achieve the relaxation of regulations for the establishment of political parties. Eighteen parties joined to form the reformist Second of Khordad coalition, named after the Iranian calendar date of Khatami’s election (May 23, 1997). A large number of reformist clerics registered to contest the October 1998 elections for the Assembly of Experts, a body charged with selection and oversight responsibilities regarding the Leader (see The Leader or Faqih; The Assembly of Experts, this ch.). The credentials of most, however, were rejected by the Guardians Council, a body empowered to oversee the electoral process (see The Guardians Council, this ch.), ensuring a victory for the conservatives. The reformists’ call for the creation of local legislative councils, which had been mandated in the constitution but never established, gained strong public support and, in 1998, parliamentary approval. Consequently, in February 1999 all cities and villages held local council elections. Reformists swept these elections amid a very high turnout, delivering another strong electoral mandate for the reformist movement.
Nevertheless, in early 1999 vigilantes continued to assault leading reformists at public functions; the judiciary arrested several reformists on dubious libel charges; parliament tried unsuccessfully to impeach Ataollah Mohajerani, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance who had virtually ended government press censorship; prosecutors arrested 13 Iranian Jews on charges of espionage; parliament gave preliminary approval to a bill imposing sharp limits on the press; and the judiciary closed down two popular newspapers.
Data as of 2008
Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.
Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iran was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.
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(﷼) Iran Rial (IRR)
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