By Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online
Just a day after the news that Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani had met was leaked out, and despite the growing calls for Khatami to run in the June presidential race, the reformist minded former president announced that he was not prepared to accept the presidential candidacy because of pressure and the possible repercussions to his supporters.
Soon after this announcement, political activists outside Iran who believe in boycotting the June presidential elections and the overthrow of the regime in Tehran, welcomed the news and continued their criticism of Khatami while arguing that the calls made by political prisoners in Iran for Khatami's participation in the elections were based on misreading the realities inside the country.
The Bahar News report on the breaking news wrote that the first thing that Khatami said in his meeting with a group of war veterans was that whoever becomes the president of the Islamic republic should not be expected to confront the regime.
"This regime has a foundation called the constitution which has a principle called velayate faghih (the rule of the clergy) to which we are all committed and must remain committed. At the same time the constitution also mentions the rights of people specifying that all affairs must be done through elections," Khatami has said.
"Our main problem is the violation of laws in all areas. I wish we had a constitutional court with independent judges to implement the law which would also punish violating judges," he continued. He also said that Iran had become internationally isolated and that the way out of this problem was clear. He defended his 2-term presidency by saying that in those years his administration did not incite the world and instead had built international confidence in the country.
Khatami criticized many of the policies of the current administration and said that all the forces of the country should be used, rather than the monopoly of a group. He even said that if they really believed in all the accusations that are flouted against him, they should try him.
The reformist former president defended Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who continue to be under house arrest since early 2011. "Why must Mousavi and Karoubi be under house arrest?" he asked.
A number of media interpreted these remarks to mean that Khatami would not run in the June race, with some even using it to attack those who called for his candidacy. Others in the reformist camp wrote that Khatami's words did not rule out his future participation.
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