Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, to hold early presidential and parliamentary polls.
Ahmadinejad issued the appeal in an open letter to Khamenei published late Wednesday on the Devlet-i Bahar website, which is known for being close to the former president.
In his letter, Ahmadinejad also demanded the release of all those arrested and jailed for taking part in a recent wave of protests, mostly on charges of "undermining the ruling regime".
Under the circumstances, Ahmadinejad wrote, "free early elections are essential for ending the crises” the country currently faces.
He also called for reforming Iran’s judicial system, asserting that "steps taken in this regard will pave the way for political reform”.
Last December, thousands of Iranians took to the streets in the northeastern cities of Mashhad and Kashmar to protest rising inflation, high unemployment and perceived government mismanagement.
In some instances, the protests soon turned into full-fledged anti-regime rallies, with several clashes reported between Iranian security forces and violent demonstrators.
More than 20 people were killed in separate clashes, including at least one police officer, while hundreds of others were detained by the authorities.