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Manouchehr Mohammadi: Iran's students' movement was based on IRI Constitution

5/11/04 Tehran, May 11, IRNA -- One of the university students leaders who was arrested in 1999 student unrest of Tehran University Dormitory said in Tehran on Monday that his political activities were within the limits of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Manouchehr Mohammadi who is still serving his term at Tehran's Evin prison made the remark in an interview with a group of reporters.

He further reiterated, "We have always been taking special care to regulate our moves in the framework of the constitution, although I confess we have had mistakes, too."

Mohammadi, who has been sentenced to a fifteen-year imprisonment term, along with his brother Akbar Mohammadi, has so far served five years of his term, and is currently on a week-long vacation.

Evaluating his political activities, as well as the moves made by is other friends as "activities within the reformist move of the Iranian nation", Mohammadi said, "Although these moves were not within he boundaries of the country's political system, they were definitely all of a democratic nature."

Mohammadi said he does not believe in existence of any serious enmity between the right and left factions within the system, and yet added, "The conduct of both need to be criticized, and the truth should be revealed, at any case."

He said he believes it is not right to label all kinds of political moves outside the barriers of the system's political framework as "moves aimed at overthrowing the system" since some of them are "approved by the constitution and are in line with securing the social and national interests."

Elsewhere in his talks with the press, the student activist appreciated the improvements observed in the conditions of the prisons in Iran in recent years, adding, "But we expected much greater improvements."

Mohammadi said that the reforms and improvements observed in recent years "rarely affect the conditions of the political prisoners."

Referring to the conditions inside prisons, he said, "Presently we can listen to foreign radio stations in our cells, and we have access to various types of books."

He further emphasized, "The conditions in our prisons are today better than the past, and I expect will get even better in the future."

The imprisoned student activist described the letter issued by the judiciary chief recently as "progressive", yet adding, "The real value of that directive would be tangible once it would be put in effect practically."

Mohammadi criticized what he labeled "discrimination in giving vacations to prisoners" adding, "My brother and I, have been given only 20 days off during the past five years of our imprisonment terms."

Stressing that after release from prison he would not approach political activities for quite a long period, he said, "If one day I will have such an intention, I will make dead sure that it would be within the barriers of quite legal activities permitted by the constitution, and even that, after acquiring all required permits."

Mohammadi, majoring in law, said, "After release from prison, I intend to continue my studies."

He rules out assumptions that "reforms movement nears its end arguing, "I believe the reforms movement clicked with the May presidential elections would keep on paving the way for reforms in Iran."

He said, "I believe some of the individuals within the reformers camp are not true reformers, while some conservatives, as I said, are actually reformers, since any move in the right direction is desirable, and considered a reformist move."

He announced during the meeting that the National Union of Iranian University Students, that he himself was one of its founders, is now dissolved, adding, "We want to make quite sure that the continuation of this organization's activities won't be a deviation from the objectives originally announced by its founders."

In response to a reporter's remark, "some foreign media take advantage of you to push forth their own political intentions," he said, "The political intentions of those media are none of my concerns, but I myself am mature enough not to be affected by such propagation."

Manouchehr and Akbar Mohammadi, who spent the last day of their rare week-long vacation on Monday, will have to sign themselves in Evin Prison tomorrow, on Tuesday.

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