Iran News ...


12/14/11

Iranian Reformist Group To Sit Out Upcoming Elections

Source: Radio Zamaneh

A major reformist organization has announced that it will not participate in the coming parliamentary elections. ILNA reports that Ali Mohammad Gharibani, the head of the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, has issued a statement to announce that it will not endorse any candidates in the elections set for this March.

The announcement indicates that "after months of anticipation and struggle to open the political arena to fair elections and to provide a transparent election process, the situation is in effect becoming more and more restrictive."

In recent months, the government has halted gatherings and meetings of reformist groups and has announced on several occasions that reformists will not be eligible to run campaigns.

The major reformist groups, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, have been specifically banned from official participation in the elections.

The Coordination Council indicates that in the "absence of any possibility for the reformists to inform and campaign," they have decided not to present a list of their candidates or endorse any candidates.

The reformists have become the target of a widespread crackdown since they questioned the results of the 2009 presidential elections, alleging that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gained his victory through vote fraud.

People demonstrated in the millions to protest the alleged vote fraud, but protests were put down with violence. The two reformist candidates for the presidency, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are currently under house arrest.

While the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has said that reformists can run in the elections if they "admit to their errors," a senior reformist figure, former president Mohammad Khatami, has set forth three conditions that must be met before reformists can run: the release of all political prisoners, the opening up of the political arena to all groups, and the assurance of transparent elections.

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