The head of Iran’s Parliament is reportedly inviting “moderate and prominent reformists” to take part in the parliamentary election next March, Iranian media report.
The Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) cited an “informed source” saying Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has had a secret meeting with a reformist member of the current Parliament to discussed issues around the next election.
The report adds that the meeting took place a month ago in Larijani’s office in the presence of his deputy, Hassan Zamani. “Mr. Larijani has asked the reformist MP about moderate well-known reformists who could run in the next election.”
ILNA says its source has indicated that the parliamentary speaker continues to make efforts to meet with reformist representatives, adding: “Mr. Larijani criticized the current parliamentary makeup and said the coming Parliament must be composed of moderate and experienced individuals from both factions [reformists and conservatives] in order to avoid the current problems.”
In the meantime, the reformist MP Jalal Jalalizadeh from Sanandaj told ILNA that the reformists are still undecided about joining the upcoming election. First and foremost, he said, the conditions set out by former president Mohammad Khatami must be met before such issues can be discussed.
Khatami, one of the chief reformist figures in the Islamic Republic, posed three conditions for the participation of reformists in the coming elections: first, the release of political prisoners and freedom of activity for political parties; second, officials must commit to following the Constitution; and finally, the election must be free and transparent.
After the 2009 presidential election, the opposition accused the government of widespread vote fraud. The establishment and the conservative elite denied the allegations and clamped down on mass protests, which resulted in dozens of deaths and thousands of arrests. Several newspapers and reformist media were shut down, and reformist political parities have been dissolved.
Khatami has tried to bring about a national reconciliation by calling on the establishment to release political prisoners and to end its excessive use of security forces across the country to crush dissent.
Meanwhile, some opposition figures have criticized Khatami’s conciliatory efforts, accusing him of showing more concern for the system rather than the legitimate demands of the people.