TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The opposition movement in Iran is not temporary because the people long for freedom and security, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said.
Khatami joined forces with opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi in the wake of the disputed June elections. Iranian demonstrators took to the streets in several days of protest against the contested victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Despite strict crackdowns on pro-Reformist demonstrations, opposition leaders have taken advantage of government commemorations to broadcast their message of dissent.
Khatami spoke out against government action aimed at silencing the opposition as Iran sentenced five election demonstrators to death.
The former president said the crackdown and scare tactics would not silence government critics, reports Radio Zamaneh, an independent Persian broadcaster in the Netherlands.
"This movement is a deep and widespread movement," he emphasized.
He went on to say the dissenting voice in Iran was broadcast in an effort to achieve freedom from despotic leaders.
"The people of Iran want freedom," he said. "They want financial, economic, social and political security and because they have suffered through despotism, they want to be masters of their destiny."