Archiv für den Tag 17. September 2014
Why didn’t Khatami visit Iran’s supreme leader in hospital?
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei checked out of the hospital yesterday, Sept. 16 after undergoing prostate surgery. Since he entered the hospital Sept. 8, his personal website has live-blogged the entire event, uploading pictures and videos of visits from current and former political figures, Iranian artists and regional officials from Iraq and Lebanon. The most notable absence — excluding his family, who is hardly ever photographed — was former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
Given the sensitive nature of the issue, much of the news about it had come via social media, written by political and media figures themselves.
Yesterday, political dissident Isa Saharkhiz wrote on his Facebook page that Khatami had consulted with a number of Reformist figures and decided it would be best to “request a meeting” with Khamenei while he was in the hospital. When the request was not accepted, Khatami then decided to leave Tehran Sept. 12 and visit his ill mother in his birthplace of Ardakan, where he also met local officials and prayed for Khamenei’s health and successful surgery.
Journalist Seyed Mahdi Dezfouli shared over Google Plus that during an interview with Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Khatami’s former vice president, Abtahi was asked why Khatami did not visit Khamenei in the hospital. According to Dezfouli, Abtahi said that Khatami had gotten in touch with Khamenei’s office, which answered that if permission were granted, the staff there would get in touch with him. On his Facebook page, Abtahi denied making any such comments.
Also on Sept. 12, Khatami wrote a personal letter to Khamenei saying that his successful surgery “brought joy to various groups inside and outside of the country, especially the people of Iran.” The letter was delivered through the Reformist group the Association of Combatant Clerics.
The snub of Khatami is made much more stark given that the two other presidents during Khamenei’s tenure as supreme leader, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both of whom Khamenei has had issues with in the past, visited him in the hospital.
In a 2013 statement, Expediency Council member Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi said, “For three years, Khatami has not had the ability to meet with Khamenei.” He added that before that, Khatami used to meet with Khamenei once a month.
It is no secret that Khatami, who was president from 1997 to 2005, had a falling out with Ayatollah Khamenei over the contested 2009 elections. Khamenei rejected a recount of the votes and called the post-election protests “sedition.” Khatami supported candidates Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both of whom have been under house arrest for three and a half years after calling for mass protests.
The editor of Kayhan newspaper, Hossein Shariatmadari, who is appointed by Khamenei, wrote thatKhamenei did not respond to the letter from the Association of Combatant Clerics because its members are part of the “leaders and agents of the American and Israeli sedition of 2009.” He wrote, “After that great betrayal against Islam, the people and the system, how can you expect to have the attention of the people without explicitly repenting [and] exonerating yourself from the American, Israeli and British triangle?”
Khatami gave speeches in support of the protests and wrote a letter to the judiciary criticizing the post-election arrests. He also criticized the “military confrontation” against protesters and warned that the propaganda against the election protests, especially from state TV, was becoming a “coup d’etat.” The heads of all of these institutions that Khatami criticized are appointed by the supreme leader.
Many conservative media outlets began to assert that the “leaders of the sedition” were in fact Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami. Since the fallout, Khatami has not been allowed to leave the country.