Mehdi Khazali, outspoken government critic and head of Hayan publications criticized Iranian president Hassan Rohani for “surrendering to the ruling faction” of the Islamic Republic and has called on him to resign.

Mehdi Khazali

Mehdi Khazali

Saham News has published Mehdi Khazali’s open letter to the president, in which he refers to Rohani as a mere “opening in a solitary confinement” that can only allow in “a bit of fresh air from the winding corridors of the prison”.

He expressed concern that the ruling faction in Iran is using Rohani to stifle the people’s struggle for their rights.

The Rohani administration has been criticized because after 20 months in power, it has not been able to address issues of domestic concern such as the openness of political and media activity and free expression. The leaders of the Green Movement remain under house arrest and media outlets remain under constant pressure and the threat of closure for reporting on reformists, specifically Mohammad Khatami.

Human rights groups also maintain that there has been little improvement in the state of human rights.

Khazali, who has been banned from presenting Hayan publications at the approaching Book Fair, says: “You say the matter of house arrests is not within the scope of your authority, we accept that. However, if you cannot even take charge of the activities of the Book Fair in this country, then you might as well resign and avoid destroying people’s hopes.”

He has warned that if Hayan Publications is not given permission to exhibit its books at the fair, he will go to the fair holding a flag and shouting out his citizen’s rights.

The 28th Tehran Book Fair will take place in the capital May 6 to 14.