Iran’s Khamenei Lays Conditions For 2009 Protest Leaders Release

In a meeting with representatives from students groups on Sunday, Iran’s leader called on those who claimed vote fraud in 2009 presidential election to apologize to the nation.

In response to a question asked by one of the student about the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei urged that the main figures behind the election unrest  should not be forgotten, emphasizing that although many made mistakes during the unrest, the main issue was violation of law and street riots.

A student talking to the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. July 28, 2013.

A student talking to the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. July 28, 2013.

After the reformist-backed Hassan Rowhani won the 2013 presidential election, a number of so-called reformist figures and media demanded the freedom of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two 2009 presidential candidates who are under house arrest for inviting people to street riots.

“The main issue should not be lost. Well, in 2009 election those who claimed fraud in the election why did called on people to come to streets to deal with the alleged cheating? Why don’t they answer this question?”

For the first time, Ayatollah Khamenei also talked about having private talks with the two candidates without mentioning their names. “We asked them many several times in non-public gatherings but they didn’t have any response. So why don’t they apologize? In private meetings they say we confess there was no fraud [in the 2009 election]. Well, if there was no cheating why did you brought all the disasters for the country. Why did you impose all the costs to the country?”

He warned that the 2009 unrest in Iran could have led to bloody conflicts like what currently is taking place in Egypt. “Had God not helped and people had fought each other, do you know what would have happened? Today you see in the countries in the region where people fight each other what happens. They led the country to the brink of such a precipice. God didn’t let that happen, the nation also had insight. This is the main issue of 2009 events.”

The MP Ali Motahari also demanded the clarification of the fate of Mousavi and Karroubi, pointing to the “national reconciliation” created as a result of the recent election. He also demanded “the removal of the effects of the 2009 crisis”.

But Iran’s leader has set two main conditions for forgiving Mousavi and Karroubi, “apologizing to the nation” and “publicly confessing that there was no vote fraud in 2009 election”.

Ayatollah khamenei also pointed to the strategy of the Islamic Republic in the region, emphasizing that Iran’s supports and policies about the regional events in most cases guarantees the internal stability of the country.

“The events you see happening in Egypt and some other places show Islamic Awakening exists in these countries but it wasn’t managed well, they acted naïvely. The scene in Egypt is a very painful scene. It is very painful for us who observe. This happened because of the mistakes. Some things should not have been done, some things should have been done but were not. The Arrogant Powers are in a strange lining today, making a long front against this awakening.

“When observing the regional events, one notices something and that is the deep strategy of the Islamic Republic in these regions. There are events that count like roots and means of stability or holding ropes of the tent for the inside [of the country]. This is deep strategy with which the Arrogant System is anxiously fighting, with no result so far and no result in the future.”

“They have a wrong understanding of our deep strategy and what they are doing is wrong,” Khamenei added.

In response to a student who asked about the motto of the president-elect, “the moderation policy”, the leader said the president himself is going to define “the moderation” and people can judge it then. He reiterated his support for Rowhani and the future government, reacting to the criticism against the president-elect. “I don’t oppose criticism but note that first, criticism is different from reproaching, and second, he must be given a chance to work.”

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