DATE=2/28/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=IRAN STUDENTS NUMBER=5-45529 BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=TEHRAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Reformers won an overwhelming victory in Iran's recent elections, thanks in large part to the major role students played in the elections. Correspondent Scott Bobb talked with some Iranian student leaders about the elections and about their aspirations for the new parliament. TEXT: Election day was chilly in Tehran, but people still turned out in record numbers to elect a reformist parliament by what would prove to be a landslide. As polls began to close that night, students standing in the cold night air outside a mobile polling station talked about their hopes for the next parliament, or majlis. Zahr Kharsani says the Iranian people have many problems that need addressing. /// KHARSANI ACT /// Everything, our society, and the economic problems, and everything. The people are under pressure now. /// END ACT /// Reza Talebari, a mechanical engineering student, says the presidential election three years ago marked the first big victory (for the reformers) -- people delivered what he calls a "big no" to the forces of repression and monopoly. That election, he says, brought reform to the executive branch of government. This election will bring reform to the legislative branch. After that, he says, the next target will be the judiciary, which is still controlled by Islamic conservatives. ///TALEBARI ACT. IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION/// (Laughs) It's not that hard you know. Gradually, little by little, once our good representatives find their way into the majlis, gradually they start whispering about the essential things. (Laughing) And it's not farfetched to think of changing our constitution. /// END ACT /// Student protests led the Iranian revolution 21 years ago. And Iranian observers say student protests last July boosted the shift toward reform in the Iranian electorate. A leader of the students' union at Tehran's Khajeh- Nassir Toosi University, Jamal Zaherpour, does not believe the Iranian revolution has ended. But Mr. Zaherpour, a graduate civil engineering student, says there are deep problems. ///ZAHERPOUR ACT IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION/// There have been deviations from the principles of the revolution. There have been mistakes. /// END ACT /// Mr. Zaherpour cites as an example special courts that have been used to imprison reformist clerics and journalists. And he notes that, over the years, special privileges have been granted to some members of society. At the same time, he says the people became disillusioned and participated less and less in politics. A colleague, electrical engineering student Soheil Tajbakhsh, says the wave of reform was partly a reaction to the previous parliament, the fifth majlis. ///TAJBAKHSH ACT. IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION/// During the fifth majlis some laws were passed which were not in accordance with the people's need. We want the annulation (annulment) of those laws. And also we want laws passed to ensure freedom of the press and freedom in society, and also providing reforms for the economic situation. /// END ACT /// In a bare conference room at the national alliance of student unions, called the Student Consolidation Office, spokesman Nimo Fateh discusses the overwhelming victory by the reform movement. ///FATEH ACT. IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION/// This is basically an evolution of the revolution. To us, to the students, there are three important slogans, the Islamic republic, independence and freedom. And anytime any of these are distorted or are threatened, then there's a reaction. /// END ACT /// Many student leaders say the revolution was hijacked from them. They say the Islamic character of Iran is important, but they want to revitalize the ideals of the constitution to guarantee greater social freedom and freedom of expression and political activity. At the polls on election evening, a student named Abedin Farahani predicted the election for Iran's sixth parliament would be a historic event. /// FAREHANI ACT IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION /// We are at an important moment in our history. The reforms have already started. And if we continue the trend of reforms, we think we will reach a point where we will have democracy and freedom. /// END ACT /// Most student leaders urge caution. They note the student movement was set back last year because of violent protests that led to the imprisonment of many leaders. As a result, they support gradual reform because they say the conservatives are still strong. (Signed) NEB/SB/GE/KL 28-Feb-2000 13:09 PM EDT (28-Feb-2000 1809 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .