Former President Mohammad Khatami warned yesterday that electronic surveillance has become too prevalent in Iran, and that he too has not only been a victim of wiretapping by intelligence agencies, but that fabricated and distorted audio tapes have been used against him. Continue reading
When President Hassan Rouhani called for a special committee on the return of individuals who left Iran after the 2009 election protests, the judiciary publicly responded that anyone who committed a crime would be pursued upon returning. The judiciary also said that there would be no change in the status of the house arrests of Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, detentions that have exceeded 1,000 days. Continue reading
In a speech at Tehran University, former President Mohammad Khatami urged the students to be patient in their expectations of the new administration and warned them that there are forces inside the country who are hoping President Hassan Rouhani will fail in his international and domestic goals.
Hard-line Iranian parliament member Ruhollah Hosseinian spoke to Reformist Shargh newspaper on the ongoing detention of Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi and whether parliament will invite former president Mohammad Khatami to President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration.
Hosseinian, who worked in the Ministry of Intelligence under Ali Fallahian when the notorious “Chain Murders” took place, at first attempted to deflect questions about Karroubi and Mousavi. When asked about MP Ali Motahhari’s recent statements in support of the two suggesting they be allowed to “defend themselves,” Hosseinian said, “This has to do with the National Security Council and it has nothing to do with me whether they remain imprisoned or not.”
In a meeting yesterday at Tehran University, former president Mohammad Khatami warned about the “misplaced expectations” some may have with the election of moderate president Hassan Rouhani.
According to Khatami’s website, at the meeting, students from the Islamic Student Association of Tehran University shared their concerns with the Khatami and asked that they be conveyed to president-elect Rouhani.
With eight days left before the June 14 election and the unpredictable nature of Iranian presidential politics, Reformists and moderates have been exerting pressure on Mohammad Reza Aref and Hassan Rouhani to unite. Some fear that if Aref and Rouhani fail to unite, their votes there could be a repeat of 2005 election that brought the hard-line Ahmadinejad to power.
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has once again issued statements about the potential of his candidacy for the Iranian presidency. Registration for candidates begins tomorrow and ends Saturday, May 11, at the Interior Ministry building. On his potential candidacy, Rafsanjani said to a group of Tehran University students, “I am currently assessing if it’s even needed for me to run.” He continued, “If I conclude that I should run, I need to speak to the leader [Khamenei] about the matter, because without his consent I will not run, and without his agreement, the result of my running for the elections will be the opposite [of what is desired].” In contrast to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Rafsanjani has expressed more concern about Iran’s current direction, going so far as saying recently that “if I feel that I can save the country, I will run.” He and Khamenei had long been considered two of Iran’s most powerful figures, but after the 2009 elections, Rafsanjani’s power and influence had decreased considerably. It is commonly known that both figures, and particularly their children, are at odds politically. Rafsanjani continued that “if a situation comes about that there are disputes between me and Khamenei, it will be to everyone’s detriment.” He added, “Our condition is bad, but it shouldn’t result in our despair. Rather, it should cause us to raise our consciousness.” On Saturday, Khamenei’s older brother, Ayatollah Mohammad Khamenei, criticized Rafsanjani’s position in the 2009 elections and the current presidential race. He said, “The enemies of the Islamic Republic put all their support behind the 2009 elections, and Mir Hussein Mousavi was picked by Rafsanjani and other opposition groups to pursue their own goals.” Mousavi ran as the Reformist candidate in the 2009 elections. He and his wife have been under house arrest for over two years without charge for contesting the results of those elections. Mohammad Khamenei, head of the Sadra Islamic Foundation, warned, “There is a new scenario by the experts and designers from American think tanks and their domestic advisers, who were the leaders of the 2009 sedition. In the new scenario, they’ve tried to present an individual who is likely to run and receive votes and be close to their intellectual perspective. What can be witnessed is that presumably, Rafsanjani is the best person for this plan and it makes no difference if he is aware of the depth of this conspiracy or not.” Mohammad Khatami, another potential presidential candidate, recently expressed his views on the presidential elections and the state of the country. He described Iran as being in “a suffocating security environment.” He added that “trust between the people and the government is gone. From the lower economic classes to the employers and the elite and especially the middle class and the young, they’ve lost their hope and trust, and this needs to be revived.” Khatami added that there must be “an understanding at the upper levels” of government. “Without Khamenei wanting it and without cooperating with him, these problems will not be solved. Someone needs to run for the elections who has this approach and understands the power of cooperation.”
The editor of Kayhan newspaper has come under intense criticism for his attacks in an op-ed against former Reformist president Mohammad Khatami. Kayhan’s editor is picked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the paper is distributed widely in government offices. On Monday, Hossein Shariatmadari wrote that “these days, some people who in a clear way and with hundreds of undeniable documents revealing their role in the 2009 sedition as a fifth column for America, Israel, England, — ‘corrupt on earth’ and ‘traitor’ are the clearest words to describe them — by announcing their candidacy for the presidency … which clearly has been initiated by those outside the country, talk about returning to the key responsibilities of the system.” Although Khatami was not mentioned by name, it was clear he was the individual Shariatmadari was writing about for his position during the 2009 protests and his recent statement regarding his possible candidacy for the presidency. A conviction for being “corrupt on earth” carries the death penalty. Shariatmadari continued “It should be asked: Where in the world and based on what legal system is the enemy’s recognized fifth column even allowed to breath?” He continued, “Can the leaders and agents of the sedition point to any action that was not a direct recommendation from America, Israel and England? Is not the claim of fraud in the elections, with the recommendation of the Zionist George Soros, made with the goal of attacking the republicanism of the system? Is not the chant “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran” a desire of the Zionist regime against International Quds Day?” Quds (Jerusalem) Day began after the 1979 Iranian revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini to show support for the Palestinian people. The article also pointed to statements made by Barack Obama, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu in support of the protest movements, asking, “Did they not leave their fingerprints on the traitorous identity of the seditionists?” Shariatmadari concluded that “the leaders and agents of the sedition not only do not have the smallest qualification for the most insignificant positions, but should expect to be tried and punished.” Mohsen Ismaeli, a member of the Guardian Council, which vets potential candidates, responded to Shariatmadari’s article. He said that “no one can judge on behalf of the Guardian Council. After the registrations, the Guardian Council will announce those approved. These speculations have no basis or influence on the Guardian Council, and perhaps they’re not appropriate for the political climate of the country.” He added, “So far, no discussions about any particular candidate have been raised” in the Guardian Council. The opposition Kalameh website, which is close to Mir Hussein Mousavi, wrote in response to Shariatmadari’s op-ed that “this isn’t Shariatmadari’s first immoral and unprofessional act, and it won’t be his last … because he learned journalism through artillery training and politics through Sepah’s (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps) political office.” The article added “eventually, we have to know whether Shariatmadari is a media activist, the supreme leader’s representative or a judge.” Mohammad Khatami has not responded to Shariatmadari’s latest attack, either directly or indirectly. The Entekhab website reported today that “it is certain that Seyyed Mohammad Khatami will not run in the elections.” No official statement from Khatami has yet been released.
Former President Mohammad Khatami spoke to a group of veterans, discussing not only the likely outcome of his candidacy but also the critical state Iran is facing domestically and internationally.
“The reality is that they will not allow me to enter the political scene,” Khatami said, meaning the security and intelligence forces, who are under the control of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He added: “Assume I run … their unhappiness and concerns will increase and they will make you pay the cost, and it will be a cost with no results. Personally, for me, the cost that will be imposed on the people with my candidacy is an unbearable cost. Especially when they don’t want it and they will not allow it how can I run, and even more so, how can one move forward a nation which has so many difficulties and hardships? Assuming I run, it would be to pay the price to make things better, but not to pay a price for things to get worse.” Continue reading