Former President Khatami is about to issue a statement in Tehran, in a few hours, to announce that he will not pursue his candidacy for presidency. He made this decision after a conference with Mr. MirHussein Mousavi, Iran's war time prime minister and a much revered personality among the old guards, during which Mr. MirHussein Mousavi emphasized that he would continue his bid. Mr. Khatami had formerly announced that either Mr. MirHussein Mousavi or he, himself, would represent the reform movement in the coming election, now it seems he considers it his duty as a gentleman to withdraw himself.
By doing so Mr. Khatami represents the worst aspects of an Iranian noble character! In the name of duty and morality he is escaping his responsibilities and in the name of the reform movement he is abandoning his reformist supporters. Although out of power for 4 years and out of favor with the hard liners for much longer, he was a genuinely popular politician with a sizable following among the middle class, women and students. The news is heart breaking for the members of his campaign and his supporters, many of whom begged him to stay during an emotional farewell meeting last night.
Mr. Khatami is worthy of praise for his intelligence, excellent manners and his bona fide belief in civil rights and a democratic approach to government, however history will remember him as an indecisive politician who was more concerned with his personal vanity than his political agenda. Both as a president and as a politician he was more inclined to follow requests and to answer the calls of duty than gaining initiative and devising plans to materialize his goals.
May be he believes by doing this he has been selfless, as he should be according to Islamic morality code and principles. However he forgot that in the name of altruism no one could possibly forget or forego his duties and his obligations to his fellow citizens. Unfortunately Mr. Khatami has done just that. He might have many good reasons for it, but it will take time to get over this episode.