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Mousavi Daughters: Parents 'Held by Those Who Hate Them for Their Ideals'

03 Mar 2011 09:30Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

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File photo of Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi meeting with the family of 19-year-old Sohrab Arabi (pictured above Mousavi), who was shot and killed in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential election.

11 p.m./March 3 More news items and commentary from our columnist Muhammad Sahimi:

The three daughters of Mir Houssein Mousavi and his wife, Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, have issued a statement to the Iranian nation.

According to the statement, 18 days after the disappearance of their parents, "While the mass media of the empire of lies keep questioning their arrest and claim that Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife can meet with their immediate family members and relatives, their daughters could not see them last night either." They went to their parents' home, but the doors were closed and only security agents were there.

The statement continues, "We, like any other children that suddenly have been cut off from communicating with their parents, are highly concerned. We live in an absolute news blackout about our loved ones. It is clear to us that our loved ones are held by those who hate them only because of their ideals. We are concerned because we read that our parents have not been imprisoned, and are not under house arrest, but are only escorted by security agents, and that we, their children, can see them. But it has not been that way. We the children have not seen our parents, have not heard their voices, and what concerns us most is the contradiction" between what the regime says and what is actually taking place.

A group of political prisoners' wives has written a letter to the grand ayatollahs and other religious leaders, asking them for help. Regarding what is going on in the nation, they ask, "Is it not the time to protest?" The letter continues, "It is your duty to be courageous" and not allow the regime to explot Islam to justify its crimes.

The request by reformist journalist Masoud Bastani, imprisoned for the past 18 months, for a medical leave has been denied. Over this period he has not been granted any furlough, and even spent last year's Nowruz holiday in jail. He was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the 2009 election and after a show trial was given a six-year sentence. Bastani worked with the reformist dailies Shargh and Kargozaran and the website Jomhouriyat.

The home of outspoken reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh and his wife, Fakhr ol-Sadat Mohtashamipour, was invaded last night again by the security forces who, after a thorough search, took some items with them. Both are imprisoned, Tajzadeh since last year and Mohtashamipour since Tuesday, March 1.

Hossein Taeb, notorious head of the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence unit, claimed that the infamous Chain Murders that extended from the late 1980s to 1998 were the work of the "enemy." Speaking at a gathering to commemorate the martyrs of the Guard intelligence unit, he accused Western intelligence agencies of being behind the murders, even though the Ministry of Intelligence announced in January 1999 that its own agents were the culprits.

Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, head of the organization of prisons, said that over the past year the number of imprisoned people has increased by 55,000. He did not specify how many of them were political prisoners, or "security prisoners," as they are called in Iran. He said that the existing prisons cannot house this many prisoners.

Kayhan columnist Hossein Ghadyani declared that the man who verbally assaulted Faizeh Hashemi is named Saeed Tajik. He said that in Hezbollah's thinking Hashemi is a "whore." He also said that those who have criticized the assault must first criticize Ayatollahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, because they were the first to use profanity to describe people like Hashemi.

A group of students at Tarbiyat Modarres University has issued a statement praising the people's resistance against what it calls "a regime that is armed to the teeth." It says that victory is near and calls on people to continue their resistance.

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Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib conducting a service in Shiraz's Ghoba Mosque.

10 a.m./March 3 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:

The Association of Teachers and Scholars of Qom, a leftist clerical group, has issued a statement condemning the arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives.

The statement declares, "Who can believe that, in a republic that has Islam in its name and in a Majles with an Islamic name, those who derive their legitimacy from the people and have taken the oath of office to protect the law become judges themselves in full view of the world and without paying any attention to Islam, morality, and the law and issue death sentences, not as a result of proper deliberation, but among noise and screams?" This is a reference to the reaction of hardline Majles deputies the day after the February 14 demonstrations, who shouted "Death to Mousavi, Death to Karroubi." The statement continues, "Who can believe that those who wear the clerical outfits and shout Islamic slogans, instead of inviting people to be pious and respectful of the gods, make baseless accusations? Which 'smart' political analyst has discovered that all the high figures of the Revolution, the members of the [1979] Islamic Revolutionary Council, and the past presidents are committing treason and are corrupt? For what offense have Mousavi, the prime minister of the painful years of the imposed war [with Iraq] who was always supported by the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]; Mehdi Karroubi, the loyal and trusted friend of the Imam who was appointed by him to various posts and was the head of the legislative branch for eight years and has spent years aiding the veterans of the war and families of the martyrs of the war and the Revolution; Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, the Qur'an scholar, the moral artist, and the thinker who is our pride, and Fatemeh Karroubi, the great manager who always helped those who sacrificed for the war, been arrested and denied their religious and lawful rights?"

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate, has called on people to demonstrate on Tuesday, March 8, International Women's Day. She says that equal rights for men and women cannot be achieved unless the political system is democratic.

In response to a request by the children of Mousavi and Karroubi, who asked religious leaders and grand ayatollahs to respond to the arrest of their parents, Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, the popular moderate cleric and supporter of the Green Movement, observed that the Revolutionary Guards have entered politics and defend certain vested parties, rather than the nation. The ayatollah said, "Some people's representatives to the Assembly of Experts take order from the members of the Guardian Council, whereas the council itself has not carried out its duties, including protecting the Constitution.... Over the past 20 years, the Council has ignored people's views and has been an impediment to the [true] Islamic Republic and free elections." He also said that, at the moment, the main duty of the grand ayatollah is seeking justice for the people, not being silent. "Mousavi and Karroubi must be freed," he said, "and must be allowed to express their opinion through the Voice and Visage" -- the national network of television and radio channels."

Kayhan, the mouthpiece of the extremists, claimed once again that Mousavi and Karroubi have not been arrested, and have only been restricted in their own home. It also claimed that the permit for their children to see their parents has been issued. This is while the children of the two leaders have not seen their parents for two weeks, and have repeatedly said that the only way to disprove that their parents are not in jail is allowing them to meet with their parents. Apparently, the hardliners do not have the courage to admit that they have arrested the Green Movement's leaders. On the front page of its Thursday, March 3, issue, Kayhan, quoting a report by the Majles hardliners, also declared, "Mousavi and Karroubi are counterrevolutionaries, and any delay in punishing them is no longer acceptable." Resalat and other newspapers close to the conservatives and hardliners also emphasized the Majles report in their Thursday issues.

The Association of Former Majles Deputies, a group of former reformist and moderate legislators, has issued an open letter to the nation asking the people to continue their protest against the current conditions. It says in part, "Dear People of Iran, now that the Constitution has been violated by the coup agents, and the government is controlled by illegitimate elements, we have no where to turn to but you. Thus, we ask you not to be silent about the arrest of the courageous leaders of the Green Movement and do not leave them alone.

Hossein Taeb, the notorious cleric and head of the Revolutionary Guard intelligence unit, claimed that the United States will try to provoke a velvet revolution in Iran in about a year. Taeb said that the United States will try to coordinate its sanctions against Iran with people's unhappiness about rising prices as a result of elimination of the subsidies, and eventually push for the revolution.

Ali Tabatabaei, son-in-law of Fakhr ol-Sadat Mohtashamipour, wife of incarcerated reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, said that his mother-in-law is being held in the Guard-controlled section of Evin Prison.

Shahrbanou Amani, reformist ex-Majles deputy who was arrested prior to the February 14 demonstrations, has been released on bail. She criticized the 2009 presidential election, calling it unfair.

Judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani has ordered all courts, judiciary officials, and prisons in the country not to grant furloughs to political prisoners for Iran's New Year's holiday, which begins on March 21. He has allowed common criminals to be granted furloughs, however.

Ten political prisoners who are held in Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, have declared that they would go on a two-day hunger strike to protest the treatment that another political prisoner, Mohsen Dokmehchi, has received. He has cancer, but the prison officials and the judiciary have refused to grant him a medical leave to get treatment. Among the ten are such prominent figures as outspoken reformist journalists Eisa Saharkhizand and Keyvan Samimi and former university activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi.

At least four students of the University of Tabriz have been arrested in the aftermath of the March 1 demonstrations. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

Some time ago, Ahmad Jannati, the hardline secretary-general of the Guardian Council, claimed that the United States through Saudi Arabia had given $1 billion to the Green Movement's leaders. Subsequently, Minister of Intelligence Heidar Moslehi not only supported Jannati's claim, but also avowed that the actual amount was much higher. That prompted reformist Majles deputy Mostafa Kavakebian to demand that Moslehi be summoned to the parliament to defend his claim. And then yesterday, to everyone's great surprise, the following happened: Moslehi said that what he had said before had not been reported correctly by the press and that he had most certainly never meant to say what he had been so widely reported as saying so long ago -- thus retracting the lie uttered by both him and Jannati.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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