Is Iran’s former Reformist president under house arrest?

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Article Summary
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was prevented from leaving his home to attend a meeting with other political figures.

According to Iranian opposition websites, security forces prevented former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a Reformist, from leaving his house to attend an unspecified ceremony Oct. 18. Saham News, which is affiliated with Mehdi Karroubi, a Green Movement leader who is currently under house arrest, wrote that three cars belonging to security forces had parked outside Khatami’s home and prevented him from leaving.

Though details about the ceremony that Khatami was to attend are unknown, news reports state that Khatami had intended to meet with political figures. Security forces instructed Khatami and his security detail that they would not be permitted to leave the house. Afterward, security forces remained outside Khatami's house.

According to Saham News, the situation was eerily similar to when Green Movement leaders Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard were put under house arrest. The three leaders had questioned the outcome of the 2009 presidential election and called for street protests. They have been under house arrest for over six years without trial. Khatami remained a supporter of the Green Movement leaders, and hard-line media outlets would often refer to him, along with Karroubi and Mousavi, as “leaders of the sedition,” which is the term they use for the 2009 postelection protests.

According to later reports, security forces eventually left the vicinity of Khatami’s house, which suggests the ban was temporary and event-specific. Kaleme website said this was not the first time Khatami had been physically barred from leaving his house. Earlier in October it was reported, and later confirmed by Khatami’s lawyer, that the judiciary had banned the former president from attending public events, whether political or cultural, for three months.

While Khatami is restricted from attending various political events, he is still permitted to go to his office and host guests. Khatami issued his latest political statement under such conditions. During an Oct. 14 meeting with members of the Reformist student group, the Islamic Association of Students, Khatami responded to US President Donald Trump’s Oct. 13 anti-Iran speech.

“I am really sorry that there is someone of this character at the head of the strongest and most powerful country in the world, with those manners and positions, and [who] issues false statements to people and lies,” Khatami said of Trump. "I feel bad for the people of America and feel that at the very least the elite and leaders of the country are not happy about him."

Khatami added, “America’s enmity with the nation and people of Iran is not a new issue.” He continued that Trump did not present anything new in his speech other than referring to the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf. Khatami attributed Trump’s renaming of the Persian Gulf to his “entrepreneurial spirit” and appealing to rich countries, meaning Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, particularly Iran’s rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Khatami said, “In Iran, there may be differences of views, but, in protecting the dignity of Iran, the principle of the revolution, and national interests, and opposing foreign threats, there are no differences.”

Found in: Judiciary

Al-Monitor Staff

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