Mohammad Khatami

Entekhab website reported today April 30 that former President Mohammad Khatami will not be running in the June presidential elections.

After weeks of speculations on whether the senior reformist figure would run in the elections and repeated endorsements by various progressive organizations, Entekhab website reports that Mohammad Khatami announced today that in view of the many restrictions laid against him by the government, he will not run in the elections.

There has been conflicting views on whether the former president would have actually been allowed to run in the elections by the Guardian Council, the powerful body that has to clear candidates to enter the election campaign.

Khatami’s candidacy may have triggered further divisions amongst the Islamic Republic establishment which appears to be the reason why the former president has decided to step back from the fray.

Khatami was quoted as saying: “Do you think when as an ordinary citizen they are imposing such restrictions on one’s statements, opinions and movement and one is constantly being subjected to insults, that they would surrender the reigns of the country to such a person?”

He added: “When they say that one has to repent, what do they mean? To repent from reformism? What wrong have we committed that we need to repent from?”

Some senior hardliners have said that reformists can only run in the elections if they repent from their actions in the 2009 elections and the aftermath.

The 2009 election was challenged by the reformist candidates and led to widespread protests which were crushed violently by the government.

The reformists have been heavily sidelined since the 2009 elections and the two reformist candidates of 2009, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrobui, have been under house arrest for over two years.