A statement issued by 39 high-profile Iranian political prisoners urges the public to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Participation in those elections, slated for March, has been a hot topic in Iranian political circles, with reformists widely advising an all-out boycott.
The presidential elections of 2009 were marred by allegations of fraud, and since then, reformists have been saying that if the government does not release political prisoners and guarantee open and transparent elections, reformists would have to sit out the elections.
The political prisoners assert that participation in the elections will only “help strengthen the roots of despotism,” adding that the atmosphere of political oppression guarantees the elections will be a sham.
The announcement refers to the continued house arrest of opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the two reformist challengers in the 2009 elections. Authorities have kept them cut off from public contact since last February.
The announcement is signed by figures such as Mostafa Tajzadeh, Behzad Nabavi, Issa Saharkhiz and Abdollah Momeni.
Last week, the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front announced that it will not endorse any candidates or provide a list of candidates in view of the “lack of a fair and open elections process.”
Another major reformist organization, the Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope, has also called for a public boycott to protest the authorities’ refusal to open up the political arena to a free and fair political race.