Karroubi, Mousavi & Rahnavard

Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib has criticized placing conditions on the release of Iran’s Green Movement leaders and other political prisoners.

The Masjed Ghoba website, run by supporters of Ayatollah Dastgheib in Shiraz, reports that the senior cleric has heard of the imminent release of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi and other political prisoners on Eid Ghadir next week but he also has heard that conditions have been put on their release.

Ayatollah Dastgheib has been quoted as saying: “Apparently they have promises that on Eid Ghadir, Mr. Mousavi and his wife and Hojjatoleslam Karroubi and other political prisoners, who have been jailed and put under house arrest for years for no reason, will be released. But they have also apparently put some conditions such as people are not to create disturbances and the country should not fall into chaos.” The senior cleric goes on to add: “What have our people done but to pray for this release, and now that their prayers have been answered, the youth, as they should, may want to celebrate and be joyful. This is not throwing the country into chaos.”

Ayatollah Dastgheib is one of the top clergy that, despite his position in the Assembly of Experts, has been very critical of the government’s crackdown on protesters following the 2009 election and he has repeatedly called for the release of Mousavi, Karroubi and Rahnavard, who have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Since Hassan Rohani won the presidential election this year, there has been great hope that the opposition leaders and other political prisoners will be released.

Officials recently announced that the file of the three detained leaders had been forwarded to the Supreme National Security Council, and a pro-reformist figure has been appointed to head the Council.

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate, has said, however, that this is not a positive development and it will continue to keep these cases beyond the reach of law. She stresses that these leaders should be given the chance to face the charges against them in an open and impartial court.

The leaders have not been formally charged and have been simply cut off from the public and their families by being put under house arrest.