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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

If Khatami Runs In Next Presidential Elections, He Would Dig His Political Grave

Published Saturday, October 25, 2008

Paris, 25 Oct. (IPS)    With the date of presidential elections in Iran approaching, the big question of the day is to know if former moderate president Hojjat-ol-eslam Mohammad Khatami will enter the arena or not.

          There is no doubt that “seyyed khandan” (the smiling seyyed), the nickname Iranian gave the handsome, chic, charismatic, Parisian-type intellectual cleric remains one of the most popular of all Iranian political figures and if he decides to enter the presidential arena and faces, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad as the candidate of the ruling “Principalists”, the would certainly win, provided the elections are not rigged and manipulated, as they had been in the last elections in favour of the present President.

          According to many Iranian observers, Mr. Khatami is still “quite popular” despite the fact that a great majority of his supporters, mostly young ones, women, students and the intelligentsia have been badly deceived by the years of his presidency, mostly his second mandate that saw him constantly bowing and retreating in face of the hard liners, even though he used to enjoy the backing of the Majles, or the Iranian Parliament, as well as a good number of popular and influential press.

Some pro reform journalists and political analysts like Mr. Ahmad Zeydabadi, have advised Mr. Khatami to “overcome” his doubts and not to run,

           “The problem with Khatami was, and is, that all those who feverishly supported him with great hopes were expecting to change the structures of the regime, particularly the authoritarian concept of the “velayat e faqih”, or absolute rule of the leader, to normalize relations with the United States, to implement the limited political, social and cultural reforms he had promised, and above all, to stand up firmly to the radicals who were creating obstacles, forgetting that Khatami is not a revolutionary, but an “evolutionary”, commented Mr. Mas’oud Behnoud, a veteran Iranian journalist.

          Some pro reform journalists and political analysts like Mr. Ahmad Zeydabadi, have advised Mr. Khatami to “overcome” his doubts and not to run, “because the time is not his time and a possible victory in the elections on the same pattern as before would produce nothing but pain and deception for himself and his supporters”.

          So far, in the reformist camp, only Hojjat-ol-eslam Mehdi Karroubi, a former Speaker of the Majles and the leader of the pro-reforms National Confidence Party has officially announced his candidacy, while on the Principalists side no one has listed against Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, who is expected to seek a second term.

           Khatami is not the only choice of the reformists. While he is hesitating, other popular reformist personalities like Hojjat-ol-eslam Abdollah Nouri a former Interior Minister under Mr. Khatami or Hojjat-ol-eslam Hassan Rohani, the former Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security and chief nuclear negotiator etc.. are urged to race.

But contrary to other would be reformist runners, the candidacy of Mr. Khatami would will immediately consolidate the ranks of the Principalists around their main candidate and make the victory of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad a certainty, while creating more competition, more fratricide fights and more divisions among the reformists, making their defeat irrevocable.

Rev. Guards
The Revolutionary Guard is becoming the most powerful political force in the nation, replacing the clerical corps

For, not only the Principalists have Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the man who has all the powers in his hands behind them, but they are also in possession of all strategic positions of the regime, the firm support of the Majles and more important, the backing of the Revolutionary Guars which, thanks to Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, has become not only a powerful political force, even more important than the clerical corps, but also a formidable economic firm.

          One has also to remind that back in the last year of Khatami presidency, almost 50 senior officers of the Guards had published an open letter, warning the president not to continue with his reforms, particularly those considering more freedom to the press, to the social class and to the women.

          In his present position, an independent intellectual cleric enjoying certain respectability in international intellectual circles advocating dialogue among religions and civilizations etc… and certain popularity at home, Khatami is a rare asset for the regime. But if he decides to run in the upcoming elections, not only he certainly would loose this situation, but also dig his own political grave. ENDS KHATAMI ELECTIONS 251008



5 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Abbas Kiani Rostam
Friday, October 31, 2008 17:54 [ 1 ]

Mr. Haeri first writes that Khatami will certainly win if he should make himself a candidate in the beginning of the article but at the end he is saying Ahmadinejad will win if Khatami should make himself a candidate. Mr. Haeri should make up his mind on this.

Akram Banai
Friday, November 14, 2008 06:25 [ 2 ]

I believe Elect President Obama is well educated person and he will be a President who can defeats discrimination action against people of United States. He is a family man and knowing that all members of society must have opportunity to improve their family education and social life. The First Lady Obama she is thoughtful and wanted contemporary life style. I am agree with our Elect President. As a Muslim woman I am proud of having a Muslim President In America. He protects United States Constitution and declare Bill of Rights. I personally believe in his expectations for all people in world. He will save supreme justice for all people equally. Therefore, Cyrus the Great once free all nations under God's roles. Now, America accelrates the equality for all people. Abraham Lincoln knew one day His Nation will stand for the rights of people. GOD BLESS ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HIS FAMILY.

SIncerely, Akram Banai

Akram Banai
Friday, November 14, 2008 06:31 [ 3 ]

I also believe that Mr. Khatami should be re-elected. He didn't have time to finish his corrections in Iran Society. He is a true gentleman of our country Iran. Iranian people are proud of him.

Thank you Akram Banai

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 14:58 [ 4 ]

the above coments are respectable but khatami is lameduck in his last eight year presidency against the western powers.therefore he is not suitable condidate for next election.espacially for islamic republic actual values.because he show himself a so called modren wich have nothing gain last his priod.he always bow his head in fornt of enemies and westren i stroningly condem the khatimi regime in form of cleric dress.the auther and above viewer should conseder thier views about islamic republic honest leader. the ahmadi nijad regime has taken an unpapular dicisions that is neccessry for country future economy.but other side MR ahmadi nijad is popular streat forward and brave president of world he simple and able and he has so many other triats he is not compare to any other personality in world now a days so kindly request that be ponder ever about ir most full regime in world. thanks lot.i am outsider of iran and nutral analyist.

Ribhi abusido
Friday, February 6, 2009 07:45 [ 5 ]

Ashgar i kinda agree with you. Akram Banai I think your politics is terrible and you are clueless!! For a Muslim to praise an american leader just shows how ignorant you are and its very sad. I am an arab but I support the Iranian Priniciplaists and I reject anyone who considers USA to be an ally. You people need to wake up and realize america, uk and france are one gang and have one plan, to dominate the muslim lands at all costs. Obama is just another pawn they put in power and maybe u should know his wife is a jew zionist who supports the state of Israel. Obama will not save arabs nor iranians, in fact America is already planning a war on Iran but they are hoping reformists will win to crush Iran as they did the arabs, by spreading drink, drugs, gambling and women in your land and make u forget your culture. I really dont understand what books some of you people read to forget the evil history the West has committed and planned for the middle eastern world. Making them friends is just a quick way to ensure the destruction of your heritage and roots. Good job to those who live for peace with the enemy. Maybe one day Iran will end up like Egypt and Saudia. Modern Pharaohs who keep money in their banks instead of using it on technology and people and expanding their empire. May Allah look after all the good sunni and shi"a brothers and make us unite as one soon. Amen. Muslims need to dominate the world and set their own laws and islamic rules instead of hoping one day america will save us and look after our people. Those days will never happen until u become one of them. Allahu Akbar.

Comments on this page are closed.

As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Mohammad Khatami-3
As he is, in his present position, Khatami is a rare asset for the Islamic Republic of Iran, but if he take part in the coming elections, he would dig his political grave.

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