According to the granddaughter of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani recently condemned the use of chemical weapons by “a government,” a distinction that other Iranian officials have not made, and reminded those at the meeting of the fate of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Opposition website Jaras published an extensive article titled “40 Reasons For the Necessity of Khatami’s Candidacy” on March 8. The article, written by Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour, has been shared and critiqued widely on Facebook and is the latest call to former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami to participate in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections this summer. In writing the article, Jalaeipour stated his intention was to have a “public discussion” about Khatami’s candidacy.
Jalaeipour believes that a Khatami presidency would increase the possibility of the end of Mir Hussien Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi’s house arrest and bring about the freedom of political prisoners. 2009 presidential candidates Mousavi and Karoubi have been under house arrest for two years without charge. He also believes that Khatami is able to address some of Iran’s economic problems and also decrease sanctions and the possibility of military strikes. Some on social media wrote that Jalaeipour overestimates Khatami’s abilities to reign in the various issues Iran is facing.
One of the more interesting reasons given for Khatami’s candidacy is that Jalaeipour believes that the next president may be the last president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Previously this year, Ayatollah Khamenei had suggested the possibility of moving from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Some analysts believe this move would provide Khamenei more leverage over a prime minister than he currently has over the president.
Yesterday at Tehran University, Khatami gave a speech which was printed by opposition website Kalameh. In relation to the elections Khatami set forth a list of prerequisites in regards to elections. He explained how “the government should be run by the people” and that people “must be free from fear, force, intimidation […] to express themselves as they want.”
Feb. 18 it was reported that the Reformist Front, a group of Reformist parties and groups, had nominated Khatami as their candidate for the presidency although he had not yet responded to their nomination. Many on social media who are close to the Reformists are suggesting that Khatami will soon decide to run. However, several Reformists told Iran Pulse that nothing is confirmed yet.
On March 6, Minister of Intelligence Haydar Moslehi warned of “an individual connected to the seditionist camp” has connections to BBC and VOA and that they “desire this person’s candidacy.” Although Moslehi did not mention Khatami by name, it was generally known that that’s who he was referring to. The “sedition” is what Iranian state media refers to the Green Movement protests that erupted after Iran’s 2009 contested elections.
In Other News
The Iranian delegate at at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session accused Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed of “working with terrorists” in compiling his latest report.
At the 22nd Human Rights Council session, Shaheed’s report accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of human rights violations ranging from the arrests of journalists to the high rate of executions and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. This is Shaheed’s fourth report on Iran in nearly two years.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iran’s delegate at UNHRC and also head of human rights council to the judiciary in Iran, also accused Shaheed of “reducing himself to a political activist who is against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Days before the session in Tehran, Larijani accused Shaheed of acting like “a movie star running from one network to another.” Larijani also said that unlike in other countries, “no question has been left unanswered” in regards to human rights. He also accused the United States of human rights violations after Sept. 11, 2001 for the purposes of “protection of security.”
The European Union announced yesterday that nine Iranians were added to their sanctions list of human rights violators. This list restricts their travel and activities to the 27 countries within the European Union. This addition brings the total list of Iranians on this list to 87.