Mehdi Khazali

Mehdi Khazali, an critic of the Islamic Republic and the head of Hayan Publishing, was arrested yesterday and taken to an unknown location, Tahavolesabz website reports.

Mehdi Khazali is the son of ultra-conservative cleric Abolghassem Khazali, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts. Last year Abloghassem Khazali publicly disowned his son and condemned his critical views of the Islamic Republic government.

The son responded by saying: “Can Jihad be abandoned by a father’s orders? The issue is eliminating oppression and tyranny, which is incumbent upon all of us, and a father’s permission does not figure as a condition in this matter.”

Mehdi Khazali was previously arrested in September 2010 and released after a month in custody. He had also been arrested last July and released on $20,000 bail.

Mehdi Khazali tried to run as Qom representative in the parliamentary elections of 2007 but was disqualified because he had made allegations of vote fraud in the 9th parliamentary elections. He was also disqualified from joining the Governing Board of College of Physicians but was later elected as the head of the Tehran Media Co-op board of directors.

On his personal weblog, Khazali has been highly critical of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration over the past two years.

He has described the Iranian president as an “attention freak” and predicted that one day he will even “stand against the leader” in his quest for fame.