Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has announced that Iran’s political situation has not improved enough to warrant the participation of reformists in the coming parliamentary elections.
In a short interview with the press on Monday, Khatami said: “All indicators show that we should refrain from participating in the elections and, therefore, participation in them would be meaningless.”
He added: “My statement is the same as that of the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, which announced that the reformists cannot and should not have a candidate list in the elections.”
The council announced last week that it will not endorse any candidates in the parliamentary elections slated for next March.
The head of the reformist coordination council, Ali Mohammad Gharibani, issued a statement saying that competing political interests are continually squeezing out reformists, and since “reformists have no possibility to advertise and inform the public while the competition is in control of all advertising venues,” the council has decided not to endorse candidates or even compile a list.
Khatami said, however, that this decision does not translate into a boycott of the elections.
Khatami had said earlier that reformsits will participate in the elections if all political prisoners are released, if all political parties are given a chance to engage in free political activity and if the elections are guaranteed to be open and transparent.
Since the controversial presidential election of 2009, when allegations of vote fraud threw the country into deep turmoil with mass demonstrations by millions of protesters, the establishment has been accusing reformists of playing into the hands of Iran’s foreign enemies, and many senior reformists have been jailed and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
In addition, the two reformist candidates in the 2009 presidential elections, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been under house arrest since last February.
The establishment accuses the reformists of sedition, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, has said reformists can only participate in the elections when they “admit to their errors.”