Anti-government forces are planning to deny Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another term in office and break the grip of what they call the "militia state," on public life and personal freedom, it was reported on Monday.
Opposition factions, democracy activists, and pro-reform clerics said they would bring together progressive parties loyal to former president Mohammad Khatami with so-called pragmatic conservatives led by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the UK's The Guardian reported .
The alliance aims to exploit the president's unpopularity, which is on the rise due to high unemployment, rising inflation and a looming crisis over petrol prices and possible rationing to win control of the Majlis in general elections which are due within 10 months.
Parliament last week voted to reduce Ahmadinejad's term by holding presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously next year.
However, the move is likely to be vetoed by the Guardian Council.
But opposition spokesmen said their broader objective was to bring down the fundamentalist regime by democratic means, transform Iran into a "normal country", and prevent the need for any military or other US and western intervention.
"The past two years have been a very bitter time for Iran," The Guardian quoted Mohammad Atrianfar, a leading opposition figure with ties to Mr Rafsanjani, as saying.
"Ahmadinejad has done everything upside down - politics, economy, foreign policy - putting all our achievements at risk. He has done a lot of damage at home and abroad."
Atrianfar said that a majority in the Majlis was now critical of the president and would certainly impeach him but for the support he enjoyed from the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Some 150 political activists, governors-general, former administration officials and dissident MPs drew up a coalition "victory strategy" at a secretive conference last month presided over by Mr Khatami, the Ali Alavi of Siyasat-e Ruz newspaper reported.
The strategy envisaged "aggravation of the differences among the fundamentalists" and "constant criticism of Ahmadinejad" by "presenting a dark image of the country's affairs," Mr Alavi said.
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