Khatami Bows Out of Presidential Election

Former president and leading reformist candidate Mohammad Khatami has decided to back out of Iran’s June 12 presidential election, according to Reuters. Khatami allies said that he decided to withdraw in order to unify the opposition and not split the reformist vote, although he was seen by many as the leading reformist candidate against current President Ahmadinejad. Although he has not stated publicly which candidate he will back, he did meet recently with former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, another moderate candidate.

As we’ve written here before, during Khatami’s presidency a number of independent newspapers were allowed to open, although they have since been shuttered. Many journalists from that era, such as Sina Motalebi, later moved to the blogosphere but were eventually forced out of the country for their writing. As we have also reported here, it seems that the Iranian government is cracking down on online speech in the lead up to the presidential election, especially opposition elements.

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