Ali Motahari

Ali Motahari, a conservative member of Iranian Parliament, has commended Mohammad Khatami’s decision to vote in the elections last Friday.

Khabar-on-line reports that Motahari, who represents Tehran, said on Tuesday: “We thank Mr. Khatami for the reconciliation of those who had been at odds with the system.”

He added: “When the peacemakers of society are at odds with the regime, opportunists and extremists infiltrate the community and marginalize the true Revolutionaries.”

Motahari, who has won his seat in the next Parliament, said: “I believe that those who participated in the elections despite their protests chose a better method, because we must try through elections rather than leaving the arena open to the adversary and moving in a path that suits the enemies of the country.”

Mohammad Khatami, a former Iranian president and top reformist figure, surprised his fellow reformists by casting a vote in the ninth parliamentary elections.

Previously, Khatami had stipulated that the government had to “guarantee healthy elections, release opposition leaders and political prisoners and also open up the space for political and media activity” in order for the elections to be meaningful.

As none of these conditions was met, most reformist and opposition groups announced that they would boycott the elections; therefore, when state media reported that Khatami had cast his vote at a secluded voting station, the opposition was taken off guard.

Khatami, however, has justified his action by saying he was trying to maintain negotiation channels with the establishment.

After the presidential elections of 2009, reformist figures and their supporters became the target of widespread arrest and persecution. The two reformist candidates, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were put under house arrest last February together with their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, and the two main reformist parties have been banned.