Iran’s ex-president: Khatami criticizes suppression of protests

Iran’s ex-president
Khatami criticizes the suppression of protests

Protest in Tehran at the end of October. photo

© Uncredited/AP/dpa

Politicians should reach out to the protest movement in the country “before it’s too late,” warns the former president of the Islamic Republic.

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami has warned the country’s current leadership against further crackdown on protests that have been going on for nearly three months. “One should not use security as an excuse to suppress freedom,” the Islamic cleric was quoted as saying by the daily Shargh. Chatami warned that the demands of the protest movement should be taken seriously. She demands a better future with the “beautiful slogan: woman, life, freedom”. Politicians should shake hands with her “before it’s too late”. Khatami was president between 1997 and 2005.

The trigger for the current protests in Iran was the death of the Iranian Kurd Jina Mahsa Amini in mid-September. She died in police custody after being arrested for breaking Islamic dress codes. The ex-president is assigned to the reform camp. Because of his moderate views, the 79-year-old is a thorn in the side of the political leadership.

According to observers, however, Khatami could play an important mediating role in the deadlocked political situation. Nevertheless, many people who have been taking to the streets in the country for weeks now also reject the positions of the reform politicians. A majority of the demonstrators consider reforms to be impossible and call for a change of power.

Khatami is also rejected as a “man of the system,” especially by young supporters of the protest movement. As an Islamic cleric, the ex-president advocates compulsory headscarves. In mid-November he had rejected calls for a political system change.


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