Speaking in an interview on state-run TV November 3, the former chairman of the largest reformist party, the Islamic Participation Front, openly accused hardline conservatives of stealing the 2009 presidential election for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"If we could turn the clock back to 2009, our party wouldn’t even nominate a candidate for president, because as we now know, [the hardliners] weren’t going to allow a reformist to win,” said Mohammad Reza Khatami.
After the controversial reelection of Ahmadinejad in 2009, mass pro-democracy demonstrations erupted across Iran in what came to be known as the “Green Movement.” Authorities cracked down on demonstrators and Ahmadinejad’s challengers, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, were put under house arrest along with Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard.
"Eight million fraudulent votes were cast to seal Ahmadinejad's victory,” said Khatami, who in addition to leading the reformist camp, is a former first deputy speaker of parliament. “They say that 39 million votes were cast in in the 2009 presidential election, but there were only 31 million legitimate ballots,” he alleged.
Lambasting the conservatives backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for what he says was their key role in rigging the 2009 vote, Khatami says his information comes from anonymous sources within the conservative camp itself.
Independent election monitors have echoed Khatami’s allegations of fraud.
In an audio recording circulated on social media in 2010 that is is widely believed to be the voice of an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander and deputy intelligence minister who goes by the nom de guerre “Moshfegh,” the speaker admits that security forces monitored reformist candidates and implemented a detailed plan to prevent reformist candidates from beating Ahmadinejad.
Furthermore, a leaked video clip shows IRGC Chief Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari saying that in the run-up to the election, it was the consensus among high-ranking IRGC and conservatives that allowing a reformist to win the 2009 presidential election was a “red line.”
When protests against Ahmadinejad's reelection gained momentum, Khamenei stepped in and threatened the demonstrators by saying, “If they do not cease, then the responsibility of the consequences, the chaos, will be on them.”
In the video Gen. Jafari says "After [Khamenei’s remarks about protestors], it was clear that we couldn’t allow even the peaceful demonstrations to take place.”
Immediately after Khamenei's warning, over 100 reformists, including Khatami himself, were arrested in June 2009.