Any debate over the upcoming presidential elections will have to take place after the release of opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, believes former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mohammad Hosein Karroubi, son of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, said that during he had met with former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. During the meeting, Khatami reportedly stressed that his main concern was the release of political prisoners and an end to the house arrest of Karroubi and Mousavi.
“[Khatami] said that his main wish is the release of all political prisoners, in particular Mr Karroubi, Mousavi and Ms Rahnavard … [he] said that he sees signs that this wish might come true,” the young Karroubi wrote.
2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard, were placed under house arrest after calling for opposition rallies in support of the Arab Spring in February 2011.
Rights groups say their continued house arrest violates international conventions and Iran’s own constitution.
According to Karroubi’s son, Khatami sees free elections as the only way to tackle the international pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. The two-time president believes that any join reformist action for the 2013 presidential “must definitely” take into account the views of Green Movement leaders Mousavi and Karroubi.
Khatami and his former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri recently met to discuss the reformist strategy vis-à-vis the 2013 vote.
Following the meeting, Ali Ashraf Nouri, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, warned about what he called a “new sedition” fuelled by increasing economic hardships.
He told Tehrane Emrooz daily that the “enemies of the Islamic Revolution” were attempting to exploit the growing “economic instability” and civil unrest in anticipation of next year’s vote.