Former Iranian president and prominent reformist Mohammad Khatami says he wants reformists to participate in the coming presidential election.
“Participating in the election is a right, and we will make every effort to ensure this right is not taken from anyone,” the former president’s website quotes him as saying.
Following the 2009 presidential election, which was challenged by reformist candidates MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the country was rocked by mass protests, which in turn sparked a violent government crackdown.
Since then, the reformists have been severely isolated from the political scene and many are currently serving jail terms, while the two reformist candidates have been under house arrest since February of 2011.
Khatami said in a speech to a group of students in a meeting on Tuesday, September 11: “Elections are a vital issue…but because of the last election, there are certain problems, and many people remain behind bars and there remain many restrictions.”
Khatami has been trying hard to find a common ground between the progressive elements of the conservative establishment and the isolated reformists.
The Islamic Republic’s conservative factions refer to the reformists who supported the 2009 election protests as seditious elements and have stressed that they will not be allowed to run in the next election.
Khatami has tried to establish that the reformists are in no way against the regime and only aim to achieve reform through the existing constitution.
Many Iranian dissident groups that supported the 2009 protests have condemned Khatami’s attempts at reconciliation with the establishment while so many political activists and figures still remain behind bars.