Khatami urges Iranians to help create 'miracle' by electing Mousavi

With 72 hours until election, young supporters of reformist campaign in streets in overwhelming numbers.

Khatami Mousavi 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Khatami Mousavi 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Former president Muhammad Khatami called on Iranians on Tuesday to turn out en masse to support Mir Hossein Mousavi in the upcoming presidential elections, saying they would witness a "miracle." With just 72 hours until the election, young supporters of the reformist hopefuls were campaigning in the streets in overwhelming numbers, engaging in local debates until 2 a.m., and in many cases, blocking the streets and disturbing the peace. The youngsters chanted slogans against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and mocked the alleged US plot for his abduction in Iraq during his state visit. "I wish the US would have taken Ahmadinejad, just like they did to Saddam," remarked a student from Teheran University. "His lies need to stop. Not only is he out for blood outside of Iran, now he wants to take down all of the reformist parties and replace them with radical clones." Everywhere, young people have painted Teheran green, the color of Mousavi's campaign, while supporters of Ahmadinejad have resorted to splashing paint on the rival candidates' banners and tearing down his posters. Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen opened fire on Ahmadinejad's campaign center in the southeastern city of Zahedan, wounding two adults and a two-year-old in the attack. The assault did not come as a surprise, since Ahmadinejad had vowed to disclose the names of all high-profile reformist party officials whom he described in a live televised debate as "economic swindlers." Acknowledging the assassination attempt, Ahmadinejad said he had received threats throughout his campaigning. "I got messages warning me to watch out," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying to a group of supporters in the northwestern city of Tabriz. Violence also broke out in Qom after pro-Mousavi campaigners disturbed Ahmadinejad's populist supporters during a radio broadcasting. In retaliation, hard-liner pressure groups set fire to Mousavi's campaign headquarters. Despite the civil unrest, Ahmadinejad appears to have the upper hand in the current national debate on the nuclear issue because the West's "red line" on Iran's nuclear program has, for all practical purposes, evaporated. Iranian officials have also commended the Ahmadinejad administration for its craftiness because of US President Barack Obama's Cairo comments on the nuclear program. "Any nation, including Iran, should have the right to access nuclear power if it complies with its responsibility under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," responded a senior legislator, taking a line from Obama's speech. "Today, for solving the crisis in other countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran's assistance and political influence is sought, as is also the case in Latin America and Palestine." Given the green light by Obama, Ahmadinejad and his entourage could not have asked for a better time to expound upon their role in establishing Iran as a regional and nuclear power over the past four years. Addressing his supporters, the president said the influence of the Islamic revival revolution was evident in the disappointment and frustration Westerners were now showing toward the declining capitalist system governing their own countries. One senior official continued to gush over Iran's successful promotion of "peaceful" nuclear technology. "We are the only Islamic country that has managed to launch its own satellite into orbit and has access to nuclear technology," he said. "More than 3.5 million of our students are now enrolled in universities. This progress is a sign of Iran's scientific and technological prowess."