Ebrahim Yazdi

Ebrahim Yazdi has resigned as secretary general of the Freedom Movement reformist group, according to an interview published by IRNA upon his recent release from prison.

Ebrahim Yazdi was released after six-month sin prison on March 20 and acoording to IRNA, the interview took place on March 20 but it does not indicate why its publication was delayed.

In the interview, Yazdi maintains that his heart problems and weakened physical condition have prompted him to leave the leadership of the Freedom Movement.

Yazdi insists in the interview that he has the utmost respect for the Iranian constitution, but adding: “Whoever states a criticism cannot be regarded as a dissident. The dominant mode of thinking should not be that you are either for me or against me. If someone criticizes you, this does not mean they are your enemy.”

“I have no problem with the system but I am against certain actions that are unconstitutional,” the octogenarian politician says in his interview.

He is also quoted as saying that demonstrations are free so far as they do not disturb public order.

“It is best to coordinate relevant regulations,” Yazdi is quoted as saying, “because without such coordination, it is not just your supporters that come to the streets but also undesirable groups.”

Yazdi is quoted as saying that he had told opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi that when he invites people to join street demonstrations, it is clear that many of those who take to the streets are not in fact his supporters. “They chant their own slogans and demonstrate against the regime… and they damage the reform movement.” IRNA writes that Yazdi recommends a close investigation of Mousavi’s actions to determine why he has reached his current position.

According to IRNA, Yazdi also says that he was against Mousavi’s candidacy because he felt it was not right to have “a president that was not coordinated with the leadership.”

In the presidential elections of 2009, MirHosein Mousavi ran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a platform of government reform. Ahmadinejad’s election victory was challenged by Mousavi and his fellow candidate Mehdi Karroubi. Mass street demonstrations were met by a violent government crackdown that left dozens dead and thousands arrested.

Mousavi and Karroubi are currently under house arrest along with their wives for rallying their supporters in another mass protest last February 14.

Yazdi was one of many political figures who were arrested several times following the election protests. He was last arrested in October while attending a funeral in Esfahan. At 80, he was the oldest political prisoner in the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian opposition does not give any credibility to interviews with political prisoners, claiming they are pressured to utter statements that support establishment views.