Mehdi Khazali, a prominent Iranian political prisoner, has ended his hunger strike after 140 days following the announcement of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s decision to run for president.
Kaleme reports that Khazali’s son quoted his father saying that he was convinced to end his hunger strike as soon as he was informed that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani had agreed to join the presidential race.
Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was reluctant to join the race after four years of attacks from the conservative camp. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, had condemned Hashemi’s support for those who challenged the result of the 2009 presidential election and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.
However, Ahmadinejad has also fallen out of favour with the Supreme Leader in the past few years, raising the possibility that the reformists could return to the political scene.
Khazali’s son reported that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani had sent a message to his father in prison, urging him to end his hunger strike, and he has apparently agreed to do so in view of the moderate cleric’s candidacy.
Mehdi Khazali was arrested with a group of writers last November as part of the government crackdown on reformists. While all the detainees from that day have been released, Khazali has remained behind bars.