TEHRAN (Reuters) – Moderate former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has been barred from traveling abroad, the pro-reform Parlemannews website reported on Thursday.
“Mohammad Khatami was barred from leaving Iran to attend a conference in Japan,” an unnamed source told the website. The source did not give details.
“Khatami was supposed to leave Tehran for Japan Thursday night … to take part in a conference on nuclear disarmament in Japan.”
There was no immediate comment from Iranian authorities, or from Khatami’s allies.
Khatami publicly backed moderate defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi during the country’s disputed June presidential election, which reformists said was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
Official results of the vote showing Ahmadinejad won by a landslide, but the country was rocked by street protests by Mousavi supporters. Authorities rejected vote rigging allegations.
Security forces quelled the protests but opposition leader Mousavi and his allies have refused to back down, saying the reform movement will continue.
The aftermath of the vote, which plunged the Islamic state into its worst internal crisis, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite.
The authorities blame the opposition leaders for trying to topple the clerical establishment, which is also locked in a standoff with the West over Iran’s nuclear work.
Khatami’s allies denied a report by the semi-official Fars News Agency in March that said Khatami was barred from leaving Iran.
Under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, a judicial decision is needed to bar Iranian citizens from leaving the country.
The clerical establishment has prevented some reformist politician, rights activists and pro-reform artists from traveling out of Iran since last year’s election.
Several Khatami allies were detained after the vote for various charges, including acting against national security. Some of them have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 16 years.
Hardline authorities have repeatedly accused the opposition leaders of links to “foreign enemies,” calling on them to repent or “face charges of supporting apostates in defiance of God.”
The United States and its European allies have condemned Iran over its handling of post-election protests, supporting Iran’s reform movement. Reformists deny the accusation.