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Iran: Supreme Leader Backs Reformers, Orders Radio/TV Probe

Tehran, 18 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today authorized a controversial parliamentary probe into the conservative-run state radio and television IRIB. Khamenei's move reversed a setback to President Mohammad Khatami's reformist camp a day earlier when parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi blocked a scheduled financial investigation into IRIB by the reformist-led parliament.

Khamenei said in a letter read on television that conducting investigations into various state institutions is a suitable means of preserving the health of these bodies.

The IRIB is widely seen as biased against reformers.

Reformers have long sought reforms in both IRIB and the courts, which have jailed many reformers and closed their newspapers in a crackdown on dissent.

Khamenei has the final say in Iran and often uses his power to prevent factional disputes from turning into all-out conflict.