Ali Motahari

Conservative MP Ali Motahari has once again called for the active participation of reformists in the coming parliamentary elections.

Iranian reformists have announced they will boycott the elections because the government has not heeded their demands for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of political activity and transparent elections.

Motahari said: “If the reformists want greater freedom of speech or the release of political prisoners, that is fine. We do not say that they should not pursue these demands; however, they should not make their presence in the elections contingent on these demands.”

He urged the reformists to pursue their demands through legal channels and even perhaps through the next parliament.

Motahari insisted that since the country is going through a difficult time, internal differences should not be promoted. He added: “The make-up of the Guardian

Council is now more moderate and it is unlikely that they will disqualify many candidates.”

The reformists have accused the Guardian Council, which is in charge of determining the eligibility of candidates, of bias against reformists.

Motahari insisted that the reformists should declare their faith in the system and the Revolution by joining the elections.

After the controversial election of 2009, which led to the arrest and isolation of reformists, the Islamic Republic establishment has become heavily divided, and an outright absence of reformists in the coming parliamentary elections would further highlight the growing divide.