September 11, 2009 / 7:25 AM / 9 years ago

Ally of Iran's Mousavi detained - reformist website

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An ally of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi has been detained, a reformist website said on Friday, the third pro-reform opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be held within the past week.

A supporter of former Prime Minister and Iran's upcoming presidential election candidate Mirhossein Mousavi holds-up a campaign poster during an election rally in front of the University of Tehran, June 3, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/Files

The Etemad-e Melli website said Mohammad Ozlati-Moghaddam, a member of Mousavi’s campaign headquarters staff ahead of the disputed June election, was detained in his home earlier this week after it was searched.

It did not give a source for the report and there was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Reformist websites reported the detentions of senior moderates Alireza Hosseini Beheshti and Morteza Alviri on Tuesday. Beheshti’s office, which looked into the situation for post-election detainees and the number of deaths in street unrest after the vote, was also raided.

On Wednesday, Mousavi urged his supporters not to be provoked by the detentions, saying they were a “sign of more horrendous events to come”.

Mousavi and pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, who finished second and fourth respectively, say the poll was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Officials reject the charge.

The hardline president shored up his position last week when parliament approved most of his new ministers after almost three months of political turmoil in the major oil exporter.

“CONQUESTS”

Karoubi, whose newspaper was closed down three weeks ago, angered hardliners in August by saying some jailed protesters were raped and abused in jail. Authorities denied it, while the judiciary and parliament have agreed to look into the issue.

Etemad-e Melli is the website of Karoubi’s party.

It also carried a letter by Karoubi to the head of the judiciary, in which he said the Revolutionary Guards had ordered the Health Ministry not to release information about people wounded in post-election unrest.

The Guards and a pro-government Islamic militia helped quell the huge opposition protests that followed the election.

Their influence appears to have grown since Ahmadinejad, himself a former Guardsman, came to power in 2005. A senior Guards commander last month called for the arrest of Mousavi and Karoubi.

In his letter, Karoubi “disclosed new dimensions in regards to investigations on post-election crimes”, Etemad-e Melli said.

“Don’t let armed and paramilitary forces, after commanding the field of politics and medicine, begin thinking about intervening in judicial affairs and add another summit to their post-election conquests,” Karoubi’s letter said.

The election and its turbulent aftermath plunged Iran into deep internal crisis. Rights groups say thousands of people, including senior pro-reform figures, were arrested after the poll, though most have been freed.

The opposition says more than 70 people were killed in the unrest. Officials estimate the death toll at up to 36 people and say members of the Islamic Basij militia were among them.

Hardliners have portrayed the opposition protests as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic government system.

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