Iran's Khatami calls for release of opposition chiefs

TEHRAN — Iran's former reformist president Mohammad Khatami has urged the authorities to release opposition leaders Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest, his website said on Saturday.

"Why should people like Mr Mousavi and Mr Karroubi, and their wives, who have had a glorious past in the revolution and the Islamic republic, and who are loyal to the revolution and the Islamic republic, be placed under house arrest?" Khatami said according to his website.

"Such action pushes people who are against the regime and who don't care for Iran... to manipulate the feelings of our youths.

"I hope that with the start of the Iranian New Year (March 20) we will see the end of the house arrest, the end of restrictions, the release of the prisoners and the creation of a safe and free climate... in which the people's vote will be decisive," he told clerics and university professors.

It was the first time Khatami has called for the release of pro-reform opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi.

His comments came after the websites of Mousavi and Karroubi, who are steadfastly opposed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had posted calls for new protests on Tuesday to demand their release.

Karroubi, Mousavi and their wives are under house arrest and living in complete isolation, their homes under surveillance and cut off from the outside world, according to their websites.

The call to demonstrate was posted on Kaleme.c... >>>

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