A former Iranian interior minister, Abdollah Nouri, has called on the leaders of the Islamic republic to hold a referendum over the fate of the country’s nuclear programme.
As economic sanctions begin to take their toll and the threat of war looms, Nouri said that “the disadvantages” of the nuclear programme meant that it should be left to people to find a way out of the current stalemate.
"The harms, disadvantages and pressures caused by the Iranian nuclear programme have got out of control and the establishment should make a reasonable and wise decision to find a way out of this deadlock in order to protect the country’s national interests," he told a group of student activists gathered at his house, according to opposition websites.
"With regard to the nuclear issue and finding the solution that best serves the country’s interests in the current situation, we should ask the opinion of our experts, economists and politicians and all the commentators who wish good will for Iran,” he said. “Our constitution considers referendum as a solution for such important and crucial issues.”
Nouri fell foul of Iranian authorities more than a decade ago for his reformist ideas and was put on trial for insulting officials and the Islamic revolution. He was subsequently sentenced to five years in jail in 1999. He has since become an outspoken critic of the Iranian leaders and is respected by the opposition inside the country.