Groups of Iranian reformist politicians and activists have come out in support of their top dissident figure against the Islamic Republic, demanding a referendum.

Over 400 political activists and journalists have signed a statement in support of Green Movement leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s call to end clerical rule in Iran.

“With the current social awakening, and the society’s disillusionment with reforms within the current [political] structure, there is no other way than allowing the people to decide their own destiny,” the statement said while expressing its support of Mousavi’s three-stage proposal and a “peaceful and non-violent transition” to a democratic government and the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Movement.

Mousavi, who was a presidential candidate in 2009 and has been under house arrest since 2011, said in a statement on February 4 that fundamental change was required to “save Iran” and proposed elections to appoint a constitutional assembly to write a new constitution and a referendum on the new constitution and its proposed form of government.

The statement which was released Sunday said the outcome of a political structure based on the rule of Islamic clerics, after four decades is corruption and injustice, a government that is structurally incapable of dealing with an array of crises, and social and political freedoms that have been suppressed.

In another statement, 112 reformists who are mostly former government officials, issued a similar statement Sunday admitting the goals of the 1979 revolution to have justice and democracy in Iran have failed, and voiced support for Mousavi’s demands.

Mousavi and his wife Rahnavard casting ballots in the 2009 presidential election

In the current atmosphere the support for Mousavi and his demand for transition from the Islamic Republic could entail serious repercussions for its signatories, who had so far remained loyal to the Islamic Republic.

It can also be a serious set back for the regime, as its opponents have begun uniting and organizing in the diaspora, while it is losing its traditional power base.

In 2009 Mousavi’s refusal to accept the results of the election sparked widespread protests that were brutally suppressed after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused him of “sedition” along with former parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi, another candidate in the same elections, and former president Mohammad Khatami.

The signatories of the statement include many of Mousavi’s former supporters and other reformists including Hashem Aghajari, a reformist politician who in 2000 was sentenced to death (later commuted) for “disrespecting Islam and Islamic sanctities” in a speech, and politicians such as Abolfazl Ghadyani who has been a harsh critic of Khamenei in the past decade.

Former revolutionary and now strong critic of Khamenei, Abolfazl Ghadyani

Among the signatories there are also women’s rights activists such as Noushin Ahmadi-Khorasani who was among the founding members of the One Million Signatures campaign, former student activists such as Abdollah Momeni who has been jailed several times in the past two decades, and veteran journalists such as Mashallah Shamsolvaezin who founded several popular reformist newspapers including Jame’e (Society) from 1998 onward.

Mousavi’s proposal has found support with some others including the prominent Baluch cleric Mowlavi Abdolhamid Esmail-Zehi, and leading reformist politicians Mostafa Tajzadeh and Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, both of whom are behind bars.

In a statement issued with five other political prisoners last week, Tajzadeh and Hashemi said “the only way out of the impasse for the government is to surrender to the right of the people to determine their own destiny.”

Tens of expatriate “Republican” figures and activists in a separate statement on Friday called Mousavi’s proposal “a positive and forward-looking proposal towards strengthening solidarity among the rainbow political atmosphere of Iranians seeking a transition from the Islamic Republic”.

Iran newspaper, the mouthpiece of the government, on Sunday mocked Mousavi’s proposed elections and referendum and said his record already included “insurgency against the republic during the 2009 sedition” while the semi-official Mehr News Agency in a commentary on the same day claimed that his statement proved again his “hostility” at a time when unrest in the country has subsided.

Karrubi has so far not made any comments about transition from the Islamic Republic but Khatami in a statement last week, a day after Mousavi’s declaration, called on the government to meet the people's demands and prevent a revolutionary change.

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