Iranian Member of Parliament Ali Motahari says at times the Islamic Republic has treated its opposition worse than the former Iranian regime did, and as he once again spoke out against the house arrest of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi, he stressed that some of the West’s human rights criticisms against Iran are valid.

Ali Motahari

Ali Motahari

ISNA reports that Motahari told a meeting of the Tehran University Islamic Association on Saturday October 31 that “any fate might befall a person” who expressed an opinion about the events of 2009 that happens not to coincide with the accepted views.

The Islamic Republic establishment refers to the 2009 election protests as a seditious movement, and the leaders of the green movement, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the candidates who challenged the election victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 and triggered street protests, have been branded as seditious elements and been under house arrest since February 2011.

Motahari added that in some cases the Islamic Republic has acted worse than the former regime, saying for example: “During the time of the Shah, my father [Ayatollah Morteza Motahari] went to prison, but when he was released he was not banned from teaching.” Motahari also spoke out against the arrest of journalists.

He went on to say that since the nuclear disputes with Western countries have been resolved, it is now time to reform the regime’s treatment of the opposition. “If we can solve the nuclear problems through dialogue and reach an acceptable result, why should we not be able to resolve our domestic issues.”

He once again called for an end to the house arrest of the opposition leaders and said one of the reasons that the arrest can continue is the “indifference of the different strata of the society such as the clergy and the elite.”

Motahari has faced severe criticism for his vocal support for ending the house arrests. He was assaulted at Shiraz Airport last year after he was invited to give a speech at the university.