'This Government Is Unworthy'

'This Government Is Unworthy'

In an interview with SPIEGEL, opposition politician and former president of the Iranian parliament Mahdi Karroubi, 72, discusses allegations that he has bowed under pressure from the government in Tehran.

SPIEGEL: Hojatoleslam Karroubi, you are supposed to have recognized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in an interview with a pro-government news agency last week. Is that true?

Mahdi Karroubi: I also told the news agency that this government is not legitimate. And I stand by my opinion that the election was not conducted correctly. But this government is now taking care of the daily political business. Even if a government comes to power via a putsch, it has to bear responsibility for what happens.

SPIEGEL: Your remark was interpreted as an offer of compromise.

Karroubi: My comments were not a step backward. There is no sign of a willingness to compromise from our side -- and also not from the other side either.

SPIEGEL: What concessions do you demand from the Tehran regime in order to resolve the crisis?

Karroubi: The political prisoners must be set free, we need freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, our electoral law must be changed and a free election must take place. But then the current government would hardly be able to hold on to power.

SPIEGEL: Will you be taking part if new demonstrations are held this Thursday, Feb.11, an important national holiday which will mark the ... >>>

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