Saturday, May 23, 2009

Khatami Backs Mousavi

Khatami Addressing Mousavi Supporters at Azadi Campaign Rally
Tehran. Azadi Stadium. 23 May 2009
ILNA and
IRNA Photos

Iran’s former reformist president Mohammad Khatami today openly threw his support behind former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has emerged as the main rival to President Ahmadinejad in the 12 June presidential elections.

Speaking to thousands of young supporters at a rally in Tehran’s indoor Azadi (Freedom) sports stadium, Khatami urged the cheering crowd to “stand up and do not miss this rare opportunity.”

“All of you, come to the ballot boxes and by writing down the name of Mir Hossein Mousavi, fulfill your duty to the revolution and to Islam and also define your own fate,” Khatami said [IRNA, 23 May].
Many in the crowd dressed in Mousavi’s trademark green color or wearing green scarves or wristbands.

“I know that filtering of thoughts and restriction of freedom has increased ... Interference in electoral matters ahead of the election and at the time of the election has also increased in order to prevent the will of the people from being heard,” Khatami said.

Even as he spoke, ILNA News Agency reported that Iran had blocked access to Facebook ahead of the polls, allegedly to prevent supporters of Mousavi from using the site for his campaign.

“According to certain Internet surfers, the site was banned because supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi were using Facebook to better disseminate the candidate’s positions,” ILNA reported.

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