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Iran: President Khatami Criticizes Religious Hard-Liners

Tehran, 12 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (pictured) says religious hard-liners opposed to reforms alienate the country's youth and create trouble for the future. Speaking today to a conference of nongovernmental organizations in Tehran, Khatami said "misusing religion and Islamic values" could create big problems for society.

The state news agency IRNA quoted Khatami as criticizing those who "believe that their thoughts...are God's religion itself."

Khatami said that the 1979 Islamic revolution was not supposed to "create a religious aristocracy."

Khatami said his efforts to introduce reforms have been largely fruitless.