Source: Tehran Times
Former president Mohammad Khatami has said that the situation is not prepared for him to stand as a candidate in the June presidential election, expressing hope that his predecessor Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani would run for president.
"An election in which everything goes normal is a way to come to power and its criterion is the vote of the people. But we are in a situation where the election mechanism is flawed in this respect. There are people standing against us who prefer another trend, and if someone criticizes that trend and mull over a better path for the society and the country, they do not allow him to have a presence," Khatami told a number of reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
He said, "Election is a principle for reformism as it is the heart of democracy, and we believe that no one should sulk with the ballot box. Two groups sulk. First, those who do not believe in the principle of the system, and, second, those who are hopeless and frustrated and show their displeasure with their absence.
"We are in no way among the first group and condemn subversion and also regard it as impossible. But we are not as hopeless as the second group (who say that) nothing can be done. We should move forward to find a way."
Doors are closed to competent people, Khatami said, adding, "I can name dozens of people who are young, wise, and educated and are qualified to assume responsibilities in high positions, but they have been deprived of the opportunity to be introduced and known to the society. See the city council elections. They are intimidating (reformist candidates) by saying, 'You will be disqualified.' to compel them to stand down. The situation is worse in regard to the presidency. It is not the case that we do not have (competent) forces. But the situation is not prepared for their presence."
The former president added, "We should make efforts so that elections, instead of leading to further restrictions, lead to openness in such a way that the people's rights and the boundaries of the government's power are clear and can be commented on. I am saying that subversion is rejected and condemned and is also not possible, but the trends that lead to decline should be changed.
"Is announcing candidacy logical if an election is such that it would exacerbate the crisis; if instead of dozens of jailed that we have, hundreds of prisoners show up; if instead of three people, we have dozens of people under house arrest; if further restrictions are imposed on a popular movement which is seeking reforms, has good intentions, and is seeking change; and if, worst of all, instead of seeing the economic pressure, foreign threats, and security restrictions reduced, all these increase?"
Khatami went on to say that he would have been completely ready to stand as a candidate "if it was felt that the path to save the country and the people and serving them is reaching an agreement to change the (existing) approaches."
"But where is the sign of change? What can be done without that?"
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatami expressed hope that Ayatollah Rafsanjani would run for president, saying, "The presence of Hashemi would be a victory for all."
"If Mr. Hashemi comes, with the help of God, we will pass through this difficult juncture."
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