Iranian Reformists Commemorate the Anniversary of Ex-President Khatami's Election on Twitter

One of the #2nd_ofKhordad_Iam posters being circulated by reformists on Twitter.

One of the #second_ofKhordad_Iam posters being circulated by reformists on Twitter. It states, “Second of Khordad I am. Post your small blurbs about the second of Khordad with the hashtag #second_ofKhordad_Iam. #wewillbe_Khatami's_media”. Image taken from the Twitter account of Arash Bahmani.

The hashtag #دوم_خردادی_ام is trending on Twitter today amongst Iranian reformists.

Translating into “second_ofKhordad_Iam”, it references 2 Khordad, 1376, the Persian date for 23 May, 1997 when the reformist candidate Mohammad Khatami won a presidential election with an overwhelming 70% of the vote.

Reformists on social media with the #second_ofKhordad_Iam hashtag are honouring the anniversary of the election of Mohammad #Khatami in the year 76

Khatami's re-election in June 2001 cemented his popularity amongst the Iranian population, with another majority victory of 77%.

His campaign platforms were based on liberalization and reform, and throughout his time in office he advocated for freedom of expression, tolerance, civil society, and diplomatic relations with the West.

Discussing Khatami's political impact, Asef Bayat, an Iranian sociologist and researcher on Iran's democracy movement stated the following in an interview with the BBC in 2001:

First of all, there's a change in ideas, and that's very important. Khatami's discourse of civil society, democracy, transparency, rule of law, and all this – which were quite absent in the 1980s – became dominant concepts, so that even certain segments of the conservatives tried to speak a similar language

But Khatami's presidency was also marred by conflict, with many conservative politicians pushing back against his reforms.

Since the end of his presidency, Khatami has remained an important political figure. He endorsed the reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi during the 2009 elections. Mousavi's later role as a catalyst and leader of the popular Green Movement led to his house arrest, which continues until today.

Khatami's ongoing popularity and continued support for controversial figures such as Mousavi has left him in a tenuous position in Iran: the judiciary, a governing body separate from the administration of current moderate President Hassan Rouhani issued a ruling that banned any mention of Khatami in Iranian media earlier this year.

In campaign posters circulating today, supporters have been sharing photos of Khatami with the hashtag #رسانه_خاتمی_میشویم, translating as “we will be Khatami's media.” Critically, the media ban has not stopped Iranians from taking to social media, circumventing blocks on popular platforms such as Twitter to voice their support for the former president.

I forgot to remind you…. #second_ofKhordad_Iam

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