Iran’s former president urges government to cooperate with protesters’ demands

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has urged the current government to extend a cooperative hand towards the protesters amid ongoing demonstrations across the country that pose the biggest challenge to the Islamic Republic in decades.

In a message delivered on the Tuesday before Student’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1953 murder of three university students by Iranian police under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s regime, the former reformist president said the government must listen to the protesters. before it’s too late.

“I advise officials to appreciate this presence and, rather than treat it inappropriately, extend a cooperative hand to them and, with their help, recognize the wrong aspects of governance before it is too late to move towards good governance” Khatami said, regarding the government’s handling of the protests.

Nationwide demonstrations have been underway in Iran since September, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being detained by the morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly.

The authorities have unleashed a deadly crackdown on protesters. Human rights activists say at least 448 people have been killed in the unrest, according to the organization Iran Human Rights.

CNN cannot independently verify the number of arrests or the death toll (precise figures are impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm) and opposition groups, international human rights organizations and local journalists have given different estimates.

Khatami said that the principles of freedom and security do not have to be mutually exclusive. “Just as freedom is an urgent need and an important demand, security is also important for the country,” said the former president.

“Freedom and security must not be allowed to conflict with each other, and consequently freedom be trampled under the pretext of maintaining security, or security, which is a condition for the establishment of order and good order in society. , is ignored in the name of freedom,” Khatami explained.

The former president also emphasized that it is important to pay “attention to the just demands of society.”

Khatami appeared to blame the government of Iran a few weeks ago when he tweeted that the “bitter events” in Iran were being caused by the “faulty and wrong governing mechanism and method.”

Khatami also called the phrase “Zan (woman), Zendegi (life), Azadi (freedom)” a beautiful message “showing movement towards a better future.”

Other Iranian public figures have also recently called on the government to take steps to listen to and protect protesters. Leading Iranian Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi called on the country’s judiciary to investigate and prosecute people who abuse women in prisons.

CNN has reported on the abuse suffered by women prisoners in Iran’s notorious detention centers, with survivors and eyewitnesses who have fled the country telling CNN about the sexual assault they suffered.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Ismaeelzahi said: “News of sexual assaults on female prisoners with the intent to humiliate, suppress and force confessions have been reported in the media, and the accounts of some female prisoners confirm this.”

“If proven, the greatest corrupters on earth are the perpetrators of these crimes,” he said, referring to an accusation made against some protesters who were sentenced to death, “it is necessary for the judiciary to prosecute these people and severely punish them.”

Source: CNN Espanol