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Iranian opposition demands healthy elections

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami charted the conditions necessary for the participation of the reformists in the next parliamentary elections in the coming year.

Mohammad Khatami

Parleman News, the website for the minority faction of the parliament reported that Mohammad Khatami met with reformists MPs Sunday night calling for "release of political prisoners, creating freedom for political parties, complete commitment to the constitution and holding free and healthy elections."

Khatami maintained: "If these conditions are met, we will see how to proceed; however, in view of the current predominant atmosphere, it seems that the situation will become even more difficult in the future and everything will become more closed and restrictions, more widespread."

According to the former president if people feel that their desired candidates are present in the elections and the announced votes correspond with the votes put in ballot boxes, they will begin to feel more certain about the elections and consider participating in them.

He added: "When we say unhealthy elections, we are not just talking about the possibility of rigging the ballot. Our insistence on healthy elections includes every stage of the election from identifying eligible candidates, the right of candidates to supervise ballots boxes as well as voting procedures and counting the votes."

Green opposition supporter protesting the outcome of the June 2009 presidential elections.
Tehran, July 2009

According to Islamic Republic laws, the Guardian Council determines eligibility of candidates to participate in elections, a role which the opposition claims the Council has abused to the benefit of the conservative factions in politics.

Today Iranian conservative MPs criticized Khatami's comments maintaining that "Khatami has no possibility of returning to the political arena."

Pro-Ahmadinejad forces in the government refer to Mohammad Khatami along with MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi as "leaders of sedition" and say they have to be prosecuted.

The three opposition leaders have repeatedly denied the charge of sedition and maintain that they are supporters of the Islamic Republic regime but against the aggressive policies of the current government which has led to the arrest and death of peaceful protesters.

Khatami said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic system can be a system worth fighting for through criticism and reform. He added however that "exclusivity and aggression feed the opposition voices that are against the actual system."

... Payvand News - 12/29/10 ... --

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