Iranian political activists have commended the government’s decision to release scores of political activists, saying it would promote “peace and calm” in the country.
After the mass demonstrations against the 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which was marred by allegations of vote fraud, thousands of people were arrested to quell the protests.
Conservative MP Ali Motahari told Shargh newspaper that the release of political prisoners will return Iran to where it was before the 2009 election.
Motahari added that the release of prisoners will allow “some of the government critics who had become more obstinate because of certain extreme measures, to sense justice and fairness once more and change their stance.”
A reformist figure, former interior minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, said the release of political prisoners is “highly effective in changing the political atmosphere and assuaging the situation.”
Majid Ansari, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council, also lauded the release of political prisoners and expressed hope that it would pave the way for the release of the rest of them.
Reformist political activist Ahmad Shirzad called for “forgiveness and fairness” in order to deal with what happened after the 2009 election.
Former MP Emad Forough told the Etemad daily that the release of political prisoners “strengthens the acceptance and legitimacy of the Islamic Republic regime and promotes public trust.”
He added that the release of these prisoners could be an prelude to the “very welcome event of pardoning the rest of prisoners who are being held for political and security reasons.”
Currently, hundreds of dissidents are held as prisoners, and most were arrested over the past two years. Kaleme reports that there are 200 political prisoners just in ward 350 of Evin Prison, and 120 of them were detained in the past two years.
Senior reformists and members of the clergy have often called for the release of political prisoners over the past two years and urged the government to alleviate the atmosphere of heavy security.