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Minimizing Khatami

Some Iranian and Western media are reporting that former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami will announce in the next few days his decision to run in June's presidential election.

The reformist Khatami has been considering whether to run or not for several months now. He has signaled that his decision would depend on whether former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Musavi, who is also close to the reformist camp, will run.

Some reformists and national religious activists have advised Khatami not to run, saying that Iran's current situation is such that there is nothing Khatami can do to improve things.

Meanwhile, some reports indicate that conservatives would rather not have Khatami in the presidential race.

A news website, Teribon, run by a group of student activists, has reported that some news agencies and websites have put limitations on the use of Khatami's pictures.

According to the report, Khatami's pictures should not be used alone, but pictures of him should be used where other people are with him so that he doesn't get "too much attention."

Another website, Mihan, based outside Iran has speculated that the recent arrest of Said Razavi Faghih -- a former member of Iran's largest reformist student group, the Office To Foster Unity, who was close to the reformist faction of the Iranian establishment -- is a signal from Iran's hard-liners to the reformists that they should give up the idea of making a political comeback.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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