Fars News Agency reported on Monday morning that Ali Shakourirad, the head of the newly formed reformist party, Union of Islamic Nation of Iran, was reportedly arrested on August 31. Later news of the day, reflected in some media outlets such as Kaleme website, reported that Shakourirad was released on bail on Monday evening.

Ali Shakourirad

Ali Shakourirad

The charges for the arrest were reportedly described as past offences and persistence in “seditious” activities.

Shakourirad was a member of the outlawed Islamic Iran Participation Front and a former MP. He was elected head of the Union of Islamic Nation of Iran at the party’s first congress on Thursday August 20, 2015.

Ali Shakourirad was arrested after the controversial election of 2009 for giving interviews to Persian-speaking media outside Iran. Many reformist figures were arrested or sidelined after the 2009 presidential election, accused of seditious activities.

Reports indicate that his release after the 2009 arrest was secured through a request by Ayatollah Shabiri Zanjani from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Iranian political parties are preparing for parliamentary elections in March, and the establishment of the new reformist party has been criticized by many hardliners as indicating a resurgence of so-called seditious activities to topple the regime.