Revolutionary Guards commander sets conditions for return of reformists

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) discussed the potential role of reformists in the coming elections in an interview yesterday.

The daily newspaper Ebtekar quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jaffari, saying: “Those reformists who have not crossed red lines can obviously participate in political races. As for how successful [former Iranian president Mohammad] Khatami could be, that depends on his political stance.”

The IRGC commander added: “In the course of sedition, Khatami did not pass the test with flying colours, as he was, after all, a collaborator with the leaders of the sedition. He supported them and so far he has not yet purged himself from that movement.”


The Islamic Republic establishment refers to protests that took shape in 2009 after the disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as “sedition.” MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two Ahmadinejad opponents in the presidential race who are currently under house arrest, are referred to as “leaders of sedition.”

Former president Khatami has publicly commented on what it would take for reformists to participate in the elections set for next March: political prisoners must be released, political parties must be allowed to resume open activity, and officials must guarantee that the elections will be transparent.

The reformists allege that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged. Numerous reformist political figures were arrested during the post-election protests, and the government dissolved two major reformist parties.

Brigadier General Jaffari said in yesterday’s interview that Khatami will not succeed if his political manoeuvering continues; those reformists who have not “crossed the red lines can actively participate in the elections.”

Khatami recently called for a national reconciliation, asking both the leadership and the people to end their disputes for the sake of the country’s future. Some have accused Khatami of being more concerned with the preservation of the system than recognizing the people’s legitimate demands.

The conservatives have been divided in their response to the reformists. While ultra conservatives such as Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, have called for reformists to be completely banished from elections, more moderate conservatives fall in line with Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani, who has said: “Denying the existence of the reformists is a denial of reality.”



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