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Former Iranian President Tells The Regime ‘Change Or Perish’

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Former President and reform leader Mohammad Khatami says the Iranian regime should acknowledge its mistakes and rectify them; otherwise, it will face destruction.

According to Rouydad24, Khatami made this assertion during a meeting with former Islamist political prisoners. He added that “with this system of government, Islam, Iran and the Iranian people are likely to sustain irreparable losses.”

Khatami advised Iran’s reformists to “stand by the people and try to understand their problems and simultaneously convey to the government that it is treating the people poorly.”

Praising the Iranian middle class as the driving force of the country, Khatami noted that the current government has pushed the middle class into the underprivileged strata of the society. He further mentioned that a portion of the Iranian middle class has emigrated, while those who remain are grappling with various issues.

Khatami with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. circa 2000

Expressing his frustration, Khatami stated, “The people are not slaves. Entrust political power to someone capable of addressing people’s needs and responding to their demands. And if you plan to exert force openly, do not do so in the name of Islam.” This marks one of Khatami’s harshest criticisms of the system’s inefficiency.

Khatami also remarked that the Islamic Revolution aimed to establish a republic akin to those in the rest of the world, aiming to eliminate backwardness, exploitation, and colonialism. These were the people’s demands since the 1906 constitutional revolution, he noted. Khatami further added that the people would not have voted for the Islamic Republic in 1979 had they known this system would reject their vote, rule, and parliament.

Regarding the Iranian rulers’ interpretation of Islam, Khatami stated it is incompatible with democracy and has led to various inefficiencies. He elaborated, “The Assembly of Experts was designed to appoint and dismiss the Supreme Leader and oversee their performance, and the Guardian Council was established to safeguard against misuse of people’s votes. However, they were not meant to make decisions for the people.”

Reformist politician Behzad Nabavi

Khatami clarified that he is not against the Islamic Revolution or the Islamic Republic but reiterated that the latter should rectify itself to become a government that promotes welfare and justice. He underscored that Iran currently lacks “good governance.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with Agahi Now magazine, the former leader of Iran’s Reform Front Behzad Nabavi also expressed his support for the regime by stating “We do not intend to destroy the structure of the regime. He added that Khatami speaks about politics based on contemporary requirements, while noting, “I expressed different views and faced harsh criticism from the public.” He mentioned that during last year’s protests, people no longer even listened to former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was once revered.

Millions of disgruntled Iranians who protest in the streets or form “the silent majority” have lost trust in the regime as a whole, including reformists who are still loyal to the system after trying for more than a quarter of a century to make it more rational and democratic.

Although the interview was also published by several online media outlets, portions that were missed or deliberately overlooked by Iranian websites emerged on social media. According to some social media accounts, Nabavi criticized the election of Azar Mansouri, a woman, as the leader of the Reform Front stating, “Electing a woman to this position is unlikely to attract young Iranians to the reform camp.”

Referring to the impact of the 2022 protests on reformists, Nabavi said, “During the protests, some reformists concluded that the situation was evolving and attempted to prepare themselves for the next step by critiquing the system. However, he noted, “No one listens to reformists anymore, even those who have novel ideas.”