Mohammad Khatami

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has called on the Ahmadinejad administration to make efforts to release political prisoners and leave behind a “positive legacy.”

Speaking to a group of student activists on July 3, Khatami said: “These things have happened during the tenure of this administration whether they wanted it or not. They can make a constructive effort in the remaining time to solve this issue, because asking Mr. Rohani (president-elect) to fix everything is not an easy task.”

The reformist candidates in the 2009 election, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, challenged the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with allegations of vote fraud. They have been under house arrest since 2011. A popular demand from president-elect Hassan Rohani, who is to take over in August, has been to release political prisoners.

“We represent the people’s demands and support the mottos of Mr. Rohani’s election campaign,” Khatami said. “We will help to realize them. We need a new approach and hope that there will be no political prisoners anymore. A reform approach will put an end to all incarcerations and house arrests.”

In addition to Mehdi Karroubi, MirHosein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard’s house arrest, many government critics have been incarcerated in the past several years. Numerous political activists and journalists are behind bars for their links to the Green Movement that grew out of the 2009 election protests.