Mohammad Khatami

Mohammad Khatami has called on Islamic Republic authorities to allow reformists to hold their congress.

The website of the former Iranian president published a statement on Monday saying: “This congress could be a sign, however small, from the government that it is willing to allow for all choices in the coming elections.”

The congress is scheduled for January 16 and 17, and so far the Interior Ministry and other authorities have not made any statements about this gathering.

The reformists have been forcefully sidelined since the 2009 election, and their candidates from that election remain under house arrest. In addition, many top reformists are now in jail serving stiff sentences.

Khatami has been quoted as saying that “if conditions are not prepared according to the constitution for the presence of all the groups who agree with the essence of the Revolution and support the regime, the election will not be agreeable.”

The presidential election in Iran will be held in June of 2013.

Khatami criticized the current situation, saying many Revolutionary groups are now being barred from political activity. He added that the coordination of a reformist front could be a “point of hope” for the reformists.

The reformist congress is comprised of 17 parties and groups.

While some conservatives have seemed open to the participation of reformists in the election, others, such as Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati , the hard-liner head of the Guardian Council, have spoken against it.