Iran: Hopes, Doubts, Questions over Former President's Candidacy

Reformist former president Mohammad Khatami's announcement on 8 February that he will run again in the 2009 Iranian presidential election, attracted a lot of attention in the virtual as well as the real world. Several bloggers shared their hopes, doubts, questions and concerns about Khatami who served between 1997 and 2005. His supporters use digital tools such as Facebook to pass their campaign messages.

‘A hero's welcome’

Here is a film from Khatami's recent visit and speech in Shiraz where his supporters chanted slogans against dictatorship.

Mohmmad Ali Abtahi, the former vice president, is very optimistic about his former colleague's chances of winning. In his weblog, he writes [en]:

Undoubtedly with 2 poles in this presidency election we will have an attractive and enthusiastic election this term which consists of Mr. Khatami in one side and Mr. Ahmadinejad on the other side which will be held in the most important historical condition of Iran and world. Naturally Mr. Khatami has been nominated to win in the election and regarding to the public opinion for changing current situation, it won't be so difficult… despite of all early attacks to ruin the competitors , various powers especially the young generation who think to improve the life condition will guarantee wining Mr. Khatami by their positive behaviors in front of other negative efforts.

‘No Program’

All bloggers do not share the same optimism. Pouya is disappointed that Khatami does not propose a program. The blogger says [fa]:

در مورد خاتمی و موسوی اظهار نظر کنم، لااقل اول ببینم اینها چه می گویند، چه می خواهند، چه طرحی دارند؟
دریغ از یک متن کوتاه! …جالب این است که در هیچکدام از نوشته ها نقل قول مستقیمی از آقای خاتمی یا دفتر نماینده ی رسمی او نیست که ما برنامه ی کشورداری مان اینگونه یا آنگونه خواهد بود. من نمی دانم آنها که از حالا رای خودشان را بصورت “چک سفید” به خاتمی داده اند، به کدام حرف و سند رسمی او رای شان را می دهند؟

I said to myself, now that I want to write about the elections and the Khatami and Mousavi candidancy, first I should find out what they say and what are their programs. It is pity I could not find even a line…. It is interesting there is no mention from Khatami nor his official deputy that there is such a program to manage the country. I do not understand people who already consider their vote to Khatami as a granted thing. I don’t get what document (program) or words they base this on.

Nikahang, a leading cartoonist says in his blog that he has no problem with Khatami but with propagandists that try to impose Khatami as a product to people that is completely different from reality. Khatami is a lovely and conservative person who presents his tolerance as a weakness, he says.

‘Forgoten people’

Z8tun who has voted twice for Khatami says [fa] she still has a lot critiques for reformists and Khatami's way of doing things, such as nepotism and forgetting election promises. The blogger adds:

به محض رسیدن به قدرت، تمام شعارهای خود را فراموش می‌کنند و تمام هم و غم خودشان را صرف نگهداری قدرت و مسائل شخصی خود می‌کنند. به مردم بی‌اعتنا هستند

As soon as they get in to power, they forget all slogans, do their best to hold the power, and forget people.

Ahestan says [fa] that leading reformist figures do not pay attention to people's wishes. He has published several quotes from Kahatmi and other top reformists from the past, including one of Khatami from 8 years ago saying that according to surveys up to 80 per cent of people's concerns are economic.


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