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Iran’s Secular National Front Asks Rouhani Permit for Public Gathering


Members of Iran's National Front: Adib Brouman, Syyed Hussein Mussavian, Mohse Farshad and Davood Hermidas Bavand. Undated

The National Front, one of Iran’s secular political organizations, has called for a permit to hold a public gathering in Tehran on March 5.

The day marks the anniversary of the death of democratic Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq (1882-1967). National Front was the closest political organization to Mossadeq and his staunch political ally before the 1953 coup that led to his imprisonment and house arrest until his death.

In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani published on the National Front’s official website and received on January 30, the group requested a permit for the gathering.

The letter states that several officials, including Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have acknowledged people’s right to assemble and protest.

“The National Front wishes to invite the people of Tehran to a public gathering where they can listen to the front’s views and suggestions at this sensitive juncture of Iran’s history,” the letter further stated.

The letter reminded Rouhani of his proclaimed commitment to protect and enforce the Constitutional Law, asking him to order the Interior Ministry to permit the public gathering to take place in the afternoon of March 5 “on any square in Tehran.”

The National Front’s current leaders include Adib Boroumand, Mohsen Farshad, Ali Rashid, Seyyed Hossein Musavian, and Davoud Hermidas Bavand.

Once one of the two largest political parties of Iran alongside the communist Tudeh party in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the National Front was able to bring thousands to the streets to support Mossadeq, although the size of its membership was never officially revealed.

The National Front went underground after 1953 until it resumed its activities following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It was soon outlawed once again, by Khomeini because of its secular political leaning.

It’s activities were limited after 1981, but the fact that some of its vocal members were arrested every now and then indicate that that long-time activists continued their membership in the group.

The National Front’s request for holding a public gathering has been tabled while the Interior Ministry rejected a similar request by former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Rouhani reiterated his acknowledgement of the right to gather and protest on several occasions after the massive demonstrations that shook Iran in late December and early January.

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