The Iranian government has tightened the screws on its opponents by staging what moderate former President Mohammad Khatami called a “show trial.” 100 reformists, including senior officials, stand accused of trying to instigate a so called “velvet revolution”. Many of the defendants had spent weeks in jail without access to lawyers.
The trial is seen as the latest shot in the government’s campaign to dampen the flames of defiance by those who claim the presidential election on the 12th of June was rigged to ensure the reelection of hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Khatami insists the trial violated Iran’s constitution. He said that such show trials will directly damage the system and increase public distrust. On his website Khatami asserted that Iranians’ rights have been violated through vote rigging. Even some hardliners have criticized the trial and the official portrayal of the protestors as intent on overthrowing the system. The aftermath of the election has highlighted deep cracks within Iran’s clerical and political elite.