Outspoken Iranian MP Ali Motahari says Iran’s Supreme Leader has turned down his request to release MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest, maintaining that their offence is too big and that if the late leader of the Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini were alive, he would have been even more severe with them.

Ali Motahari told Khabar on line on Sunday June 29 that he met with Ayatollah Khamenei three weeks ago to discuss the house arrest of Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi.

He said that he had told Iran’s leader that he and several others believe that the continued house arrest of these leaders is not in the best interests of the country and the Revolution. “I said that if one of these individuals dies under these conditions, the situation would turn into an infected abscess for the Islamic Republic,” Motahari said; “I ask of you to call on the judiciary to end the matter. If need be, prosecute them and all other individuals involved in the matter and bring the matter to a close.”

Ayatollah Khamenei reportedly answered: “Their offence is too big. If Imam (Ayatollah Khomeini) were alive, he would treat them more severely. If they were prosecuted, their sentence would be too heavy and for sure it would not please you. We have treated them with kindness.”

The conversation between Motahari and Ayatollah Khamenei has hit the media only after he gave a speech on June 28 condemning “the elimination of the opposition from the system” during the rule of the late leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as at the present time. “It is wrong to put someone under house arrest without any trial or court order and then say that we are being kind to you,” he said. Motahari has also been quoted as saying that many MPs are against the continuation of these house arrests but are afraid to speak up.

Mousavi, Rahanvard and Karroubi have been under house arrest since February of 2011 for challenging the legitimacy of the vote count in the 2009 presidential election and triggering widespread protests.