Monday, July 20, 2009

Full text of former President M. Khatami's call for a referendum to restore the people's trust

No doubt, Khatami's promotion of a national referendum will be rejected by the denizens of the regime, but in raising the idea Khatami keeps the pressure on Khameinei to justify himself in order to stop the erosion of his legitimacy. Arguably, it is Khameinei who has been the big loser in the crisis.

Report of comments made by Khatami when visiting the families of people arrested following the June 12th elections.

"He maintained that the people's trust has been seriously damaged and that millions of Iranians have lost trust and added that the only way according to the constitution out of this crisis is holding a referendum in order to find out the people's opinion and repair the people's trust towards the system."

Translation by the OpenSource Center:

"Seyyed Mohammed Khatami and the members of the Militant Clerics Association held various meetings with the families of social and political activists detained in the days following the election. What makes these meetings different from similar meetings held previously is that whilst these meetings were held a number of political activists in prison contacted their family members for the first time. In fact even before the meetings were confirmed Mohsen Aminzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh and Mohsen Safa'i-Farahani one after the other contacted their wives and very briefly managed to hear the voices of their loved ones. Towards the end of one of the meetings, Javad Emam also rang his family and managed to speak to Seyyed Mohammad Khatami who happened to be there. The meeting finished following the speeches made by members of the families of political activists who were detained.

"Those present at the meeting criticised the way their loved ones were detained: mainly during the night in an illegal way by the use of force and threats and against moral, religious and legal ethics and morals. They criticised the officials in the judiciary and security organisations who have avoided taking any responsibility for the detainees. The family members expressed concern over the fact that no one knows where the detainees are held and under what physical and mental conditions. They criticised the fact that officials in the Judiciary and security organisations have failed to adhere to the basic human and legal rights of the detainees and their families and unfortunately at times they have been disrespectful towards the families of the detainees who based on their legal right wanted to find out where their loved ones are being held.

"Families of the political activists detained maintained that what they have witnessed does not befit the name of the Islamic Republic. Whilst expressing concerns over the condition of the detainees of the recent events their families insisted on the importance of a swift resolution to the problems of the detainees. They further maintained that all organisations, scholars, figures and sources must, based on their good, will enter this debate. They also confirmed that their first demand is the protection of people's vote in the recent election and that they are prepared to tolerate this situation in order to achieve this significant objective.

"In this meeting Khatami praised the recent remarks of Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani at [this week's] Tehran's Friday prayers and mentioned that these remarks were out of sympathy and goodwill and that acting upon these demands is the minimum step which needs taking in order to find a resolution to the current crisis. He maintained that the people's trust has been seriously damaged and that millions of Iranians have lost trust and added that the only way according to the constitution out of this crisis is holding a referendum in order to find out the people's opinion and repair the people's trust towards the system.

"Seyyed Mohammad Khatami then praised the presence of the families of the political activists in a gathering of the Militant Clerics Association. Whilst expressing his sympathy towards the honourable families of the political activists, Iran's former president stated: "You and your loved ones who are now detained are paying the price of your love towards the revolution and the system and your concerns over deviation in the system."

"He maintained that he feels sorry to see that justice and morality are breached. Seyyed Mohammad Khatami then praised the logical and positive remarks of Tehran's Friday prayer leader Mr Hashemi-Rafsanjani and maintained that the recommendations of Mr Hashemi are the minimum demands that can moderate the public atmosphere and prepare the grounds for a return of the trust lost by the people towards the system: "I declare frankly that relying on the people's vote and holding a legal referendum is the only way for the system out of the current crisis. This referendum must be held by impartial organisations such as the Expediency Council so the people can be asked whether they are happy and content about what has happened. If the majority of people accept the current circumstances we will give in."

""Illegal and irreligious issues occurred during the recent detentions and whilst the detainees were held have not only damaged the republicanism of the system but have also questioned the Islamism of the system. Islamism of the system was meant to be used in order to make up for the deficiencies in democracy. One of the manifestations of the Islamism of the system is when justice and morality rules society's general atmosphere. Unfortunately following the actions of the ruling organisations both these pillars have been pulled into question questioned. With regret I have to say although it is a catastrophe that the blood of lots of our fellow citizens was shed during the recent events and the children of this country were detained on mass, questioning republicanism and Islamism is a more significant catastrophe. Suggestions made by Hashemi out of his goodwill during the Friday prayers must be the basis of our action. We must return general trust to the public. All of our demands from the start were finding ways to return trust to the public and to the society. Our remarks however were not being paid attention to. I frankly declare that the only way out of the current crisis is by relying on the people's votes and holding a legal referendum."

"Seyyed Mohammad Khatami at the end congratulated Id of Mab'ath [when Mohammad became a prophet] and maintained that these celebrations are good occasions for freedom of dear prisoners who are held in detention.

"In this meeting prominent figures of the Militant Clerics Association including Messrs Musavi Khoe'iniha, Emami Jamarani, Seyyed Mohammad Razavi, Majid Ansari, Musavi Bojnurdi, Mohammad Moqqadam, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur,... were also present."

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