A campaign to free Iran’s opposition leaders has been renewed, four years after the strict house arrests of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has released a video highlighting the plight of Mousavi and Karroubi — both candidates in the disputed 2009 Presidential election “won” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — and Mousavi’s wife, academic and artist Zahra Rahnavard:
Fearing the revival of mass protests in February 2011, Iranian authorities — reportedly acting with the Supreme Leader’s blessing — ordered the detention of the three “Green Movement” leaders, along with Karroubi’s wife Fatemeh, who was freed months later.
Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard are strictly limited in their visits with relatives and their communications. They are also a small selection of State-run newspapers and broadcasts. Their families say they have suffered from delay in the provision of essential medical care.
President Rouhani promised in his 2013 election campaign that he would seek the freedom of the trio, as well as other political prisoners. He has been blocked by hardliners from pursuing the pledge, but leading MP Ali Motahari has taken up the campaign and called on Rouhani to appear in Parliament to explain his caution.
On Tuesday, head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani displayed anger at the efforts to release the leaders so they can face a formal trial over the regime’s allegations of “sedition”.
Larijani denounced a recent statement by the US Government about the cases:
The US State Department…has blatantly interfered in out internal affairs and it has said that no one should be under house arrest. They are telling our judges and legal experts, “Your own constitution does not allow house arrests.”…
You can’t do a damned thing….We believe the case of the seditionists must take place within the framework of secular and religious laws, and the State Department should know that their misplaced recommendation is nothing but prattle. We shall continue the path which we have hitherto taken, which is an accurate, legal, and judicial path with no problems.
The Foreign Ministry has also criticized Washington over the statement, which condemned the “continued detention and the harassment of their family members” and called on Iranian officials “to respect their international obligations and to release all [political] prisoners in their custody”.