At an April 2013 campaign rally, presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani was asked about the house arrests of the 2009 Green Movement leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi. At the time, the Green Movement leaders had been imprisoned for over two years without trial for calling for protests against the contested 2009 presidential elections, which kept the hard-line Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.
Rouhani responded to the question by saying, “This condition is not to our benefit. This split, which day by day is becoming deeper, must be eliminated.” He added, “I am hopeful that the elections will decrease the distance somewhat and that the future administration can bring about an atmosphere that is not securitized. In my opinion, it is not a problem for conditions to be brought about one year from now such that not only those under house arrests are freed but that all of those who were imprisoned over the 2009 events will also be freed.”