Thirty-six Iranian political prisoners have issued a statement calling on “the Green Movement and the reformists” to support the elections only if they are “open and free” and in any other case to refrain from allowing their participation to “legitimize an illegal election process.”
In an announcement issued on Saturday November 5, the prisoners refer to the Iranian Parliament as a “sham” akin to the Egyptian Parliament during the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak.
“For a long time, the blatant interference of the government, and especially that of security and military forces, have turned elections into an elaborately staged show” the political prisoners write. “And the resulting Parliament has become a sham parliament, one that is even unable to defend its own rights and to ascertain the execution of its own legislation.”
The prisoners continue: “Parliament has been humiliated on several occasions by the executive branch, and the president and has remained silent in the face of all attacks against the rights of its representatives.”
The coming parliamentary elections in March have been cause for concern for the Islamic Republic establishment, because allegations of vote fraud in the presidential elections of 2009 led to widespread protests. The protests caused a deep rift in the establishment, and numerous reformists were arrested and sentenced to stiff prison terms. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief opponents in the presidential race, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been under house arrest since last February
Most recently, the government announced that three major reformist organizations are banned from official participation in the parliamentary elections.
Reformists are poised to boycott the elections because the government has not met their conditions: free and open elections, allowing open political activity, and releasing political prisoners.