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Iran: President Predicts Peace On Revolution's Anniversary

Tehran, 11 February 1999 (RFE/RL) - More than 100,000 Iranians filled Tehran's Freedom Square today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution and listen to an address by President Mohammad Khatami. In his 30-minute speech, Khatami predicted an era of peace and prosperity for Iran and said respect for laws and the constitution will guarantee stability.

Khatami's moderate policies have alienated Iran's hard-line clergy, some of whom have accused him of undermining the revolution. In the last year and a half, vigilantes opposed to Khatami have attacked dissidents and liberal newspapers.

Khatami urged Iranians to take part in local council elections scheduled for February 26. He said that active participation in the polls will inspire greater respect for civil rights and help shift power from the conservative clerical establishment.

Khatami also pledged to lead Iran out of isolation, stressing the need to cultivate a dialogue with the international community. Khatami said Iran is gaining worldwide respect without sacrificing its revolutionary principles.

Khatami's speech closed a 10-day celebration marking the upheaval that ended 2,500 years of monarchy and established the world's first modern theocracy. Today's anniversary was marked by rallies across the country.