Mousavi and Karroubi

Ali Motahari, a conservative Iranian MP, says opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi must be given a chance to speak in an official court.

Motahari told the Asman weekly that Mousavi and Karroubi must inform the people of Iran of all that happened, referring to the 2009 election protests.

The opposition leaders are currently under house arrest and have been there since February 2011 without ever being officially charged by the judiciary or appearing in court. Their incarceration has been challenged by several reformist figures, but the government has ignored the calls for their release.

Motahari added: “If [Mousavi and Karroubi] are convicted, then the Guardian Council must decide how someone who served as the prime minister for eight years and another who was speaker of parliament in two parliaments turned out this way… they must be heard and judged.”

Motahari stressed: “Mr. Jannati’s statement — that all leaders of sedition and all those who remained silent in view of it are not eligible to run in the elections — is not logical.”

When Mousavi and Karroubi alleged that the vote had been fixed in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election, mass street protests sprang up. Iran’s Supreme Leader referred to the protests as sedition and condemned Mousavi and Karroubi for supporting them. Furthermore, Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed the finger at those who remained silent in the crisis and did not follow his example in condemning the protests and its leaders.

Motahari said, however: “Many were silent because they were concerned that speaking out would mean having to list the faults of the other side [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad], which could have caused further problems, so they decided to remain silent. They acted wisely.”

Ayatollah Jannati, the hardliner who heads the Guardian Council, announced earlier: “There is no room for seditious elements to enter the election scene.”

The reformists, who were heavily sidelined following the 2009 election, are looking at the possibility of returning to the political scene in the June presidential election. While some conservative factions of the government are supportive of their efforts, ultra-conservative voices like Ayatollah Jannati have been highly forbidding.