An undated photo showing Khamenei (L) with former president Khatami

Khamenei Silent On Reform Leader's Plea To Stop Violence

Saturday, 11/26/2022

A senior aide to former reformist President Mohammad Khatami says his letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about the ongoing protests has not received a reply.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Khatami's chief of staff during his presidency in the late 1990s and early 2000s added that "There is no indication that the government has welcomed the reformists' suggestions for ending the ongoing violence” and bringing about a truce with protesters who have been fighting it in the streets for longer than two months now.

During the past week some conservatives and in particular the highly influential IRGC weekly publication Sobh-e Sadeq welcomed Khatami's ideas and characterized his suggestion of reforming the political system from within, which he called auto-reforms, as a step forward for Iran's reformists.

Khatami had also spoken against regime change, calling it "neither possible, nor desirable," although he regretted that "tens of people, many of whom are children and adolescents,” were killed during recent protests which he called "bitter events."

Abtahi said: "When the IRGC weekly characterized Khatami's statement as 'Good but not enough,' many took this as an invitation for Khatami to come forward and expound on his ideas. But nothing more has happened and the whole thing appears to be yet another article to sow discord in the society." Abtahi further reiterated that "Khatami's reformist views have not been accepted by the government."

Khatami's long-time confidant Mohammad Ali Abtahi

Abtahi also explained that Khatami has always distanced himself from both those who call for regime change and those who absolutely support the regime."

In the meantime, several reformist figures have held meetings with Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei and security chief Ali Shamkhani, who has also held meetings with a few members of the families of the founder of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a bid to seek their support for a move to pacify the people and put an end to the ongoing violence.

This comes while many in Iran doubt whether any of the two families have any influence on the protesters. Not only protesters have not expressed any support for the two dead clerics, but they have also criticized both for their role in suppressing human rights and civil liberties.

Mojtaba Khamenei (R) speaking with a high-level official at his father's office

Meanwhile, other reports say that Khamenei's son Mojtaba has a held a meeting with Rafsanjani's daughter Fatemeh Hashemi with the same purpose in mind.

Shamkhani's office later denied that he had sought help from the two families and very little has been said about Ms. Hashemi's meeting with Mojtaba Khamenei. However, according to an Aftab News report on November 25, reformist figures including former Reform Front leaders Bezad Nabavi and Javad Eman, former lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi and Executives of Construction Party leader Hossein Marashi were present at the meetings with the security chief and judiciary chief last week.

The spokesman for Reform Front, Ali Shakouri Rad, told the press that "They offered their analysis of the ongoing developments and called for stopping plainclothes security forces' violence against protesters. They also called for respecting the people's right to protest and avoiding branding protesters as rioters particularly in the universities." Meanwhile, the reformists called for legal and democratic treatment of the detained protesters, Shakouri Rad said.

Another reformist figure, Fatemeh Rakei, the deputy chairperson of the Reform Front, complained that the government not only did not listen to the people's demands and complaints, but it also refused to apologize for the deadly violence it has used against protesters. "It might be too late for a reconciliation, but we can still stop violence," she added.

Neither reformist figures, nor the media said anything about the government's response. There is no indication whatsoever that the government is willing at all to listen to anyone.

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