In an increased crackdown against reformers in Iran as well as marginalizing their ideas and destroying their popular bases, which have become the most threatening factor for the Mullahs’ regime, the Iranian authorities and through the Special Court for Clerics imposed new restrictions on former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who had been banned from leaving Iran. This has provoked angry internal reactions whose repercussions continue to escalate, especially amid the confusion among the leaders of the Iranian regime who have become in confrontation with the Iranian people and symbols of the reformist movement.

Despite the initial denials of the Iranian authorities and their assertion that no new restrictions were imposed, such as house arrest against Mohammad Khatami, newspapers and news websites of the reformist movement, including Saham News of the reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi, have confirmed, through close associates of Mohammad Khatami, that new restrictions have indeed been imposed on Khatami by the Special Court for Clerics in Iran, headed by Ebrahim Raisi, the leader of the hardline movement close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Khatami’s supporters unanimously agreed that the trial was illegal because the defendant was not present before the court to defended himself, which is clearly contrary to the Iranian constitution, especially that Khatami was the president of Iran between 1997 and 2005. This has led 86 members of the Iranian parliament to protest the new restrictions on Mohammad Khatami. Those members considered that the imposition of new restrictions on Khatami is a clear violation of the articles of the Iranian Constitution, and demanded President Hassan Rouhani to prevent such actions and inform them of the result.

The Iranian Parliament’s Hope Faction issued a statement saying that increasing restrictions on Mohammad Khatami’s participation in political, cultural and media activities is in direct contradiction to articles 20, 23, 36 and 37 of the Iranian constitution. The statement stressed that the imposition of new restrictions on Khatami will increase his popular base. A number of Parliament Members have also sent a letter to President Rouhani asking him to stop these restrictions, including Ali Motahari, Mohammed Reza Aref, Gholamreza Heydari, Elias Hazrati, Mohammad Reza Tabesh, Soheila Jolodarzadeh, Fatemeh Saeidi, hamide zarabadi, Abdul Karim Hassan Zadeh and Shahabaddin Bimegdar.

According to Mohammad Khatami’s lawyer, Mohammad Anjam, the Special Court for Clerics issued a ruling banning Mohammad Khatami from appearing in any political, cultural or media activity for three months. Reza Baqeri, another lawyer for Khatami, added that this ruling was issued by the court without forming a judicial file, which means a clear violation of the Iranian law.

observing reformers’ newspapers and social media platforms, this event has caused widespread public and political uproar, and widened the gap between the Iranian people, especially young ones and the Iranian regime. Vice President of the Shura Council, Ali Motahari, strongly criticized the decision of the Court of the Clerics, stressing its violation of the Iranian constitution. Mohammad Reza Aref, head of the Supreme Council for Reformist Policy, said that such rulings against Mohammad Khatami would damage the people’s trust in the Iranian authorities.

The Iranian authorities, ordered by Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard commanders, are cracking down the symbols of the Reform Movement, especially Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi and restrict their movement and activities by imposing house arrest on them for nearly seven years. Khatami has also been affected for his support to them, since more restrictions have been imposed on him in 2015 since Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced that he still sees Khatami as a wrongdoer and a rebel because of his sympathize with the leaders of the Green Movement, which is described by the regime as the symbols of sedition. This indicates that there is broad political and popular base that rejects the Mullahs’ regime in Iran.

The gap between the Iranian people and the Mullahs’ regime is increasingly widening recently due to several factors, including the widespread frustration among citizens from the regime’s policy and its interference in the affairs of the region, the intolerable deterioration of the situation, the isolation imposed by the international community on the country and the consequence hatred of the world’s peoples for Iran, therefore, the clerics who dominate politics and economy, headed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, became no longer accepted in the Iranian street, which is preparing for a new uprising against the regime policy.

Al  Mezmaah  Studies & Research Centre

11 October   2017