TEHRAN: Former president turned opposition backer Mohammed Khatami predicts that more and more "restrictions" will be imposed on elections in Iran, an opposition website reported on Wednesday.
Khatami said all sections of Iran would take part in future polls if conditions to ensure "fairness" in the electoral process were met; Rahezabz.net quoted him as telling a group of reformist MPs.
"Everyone will take part in the vote if people feel that their candidates are allowed to participate, votes are announced as they were cast, electoral preparations are not holding them back, and if they are sure of the fairness of the election," the charismatic cleric and two-time former president said.
"If these conditions are met, then we will decide how to act," he said at the meeting on Tuesday.
"But considering the current situation, it seems that conditions will become more difficult in the future, the paths will be more blocked and restrictions will be increased."
Khatami, once a pillar of Iran’s clerical regime, has turned into a vocal critic after the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.
The former president and other opposition leaders insist that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was fraudulent.
Soon after the election results, hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters poured onto Tehran streets for protests which shook the pillars of the Islamic republic.
Iranian authorities cracked down by making thousands of arrests and prosecuting hundreds of top political activists and journalists. Dozens of people were killed in clashes after the election.
Khatami, who reiterated opposition calls for the release of all prisoners held since the 2009 election, set the terms for a fair poll.
"This would require healthy steps in the process of holding the election, including its preparation, vetting the candidates, the rights of candidates to monitor the polls, and the process of counting the votes," he said.
Iran’s electoral watchdog, the Guardians Council, vets candidates and also endorses the final results.