In Iran, opposition leader goes home


Defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, third from right, joins a crowd of supporters in Tehran during the 2009 Green Movement. ( Reuters)

One of the two leaders of Iran’s 2009 post-election protest movement is going home Sunday, according to domestic media reports.

Mehdi Karroubi, the 76-year-old former speaker of Iran’s parliament, has been held under arrest in a heavily guarded state-controlled residence since 2011.

Karroubi and fellow presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, are accused of inciting massive street protests after the disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

The move is the first sign that the two men may be exonerated for leading what is commonly referred to by their political adversaries here as the “sedition” of 2009 and known internationally as the “Green Movement.”

But Karroubi’s son, in an interview Sunday with the official Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), said that though his father returned home Saturday night, the elder Karroubi’s fate is still unclear.

“The groundwork for this transfer was done 10 days ago, and now he is living on the second floor and the security team are in a separate suite on the first floor. The security situation has not changed, just the location,” Hossein Karroubi said.

Karroubi said that his father is allowed to watch domestic television, but he cannot watch satellite TV or use the telephone or Internet.

The move comes at the beginning of a period known as the “Ten Days of Dawn,” which celebrates the February 1979 founding of Iran’s Islamic republic.

Since the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president last June, there have been growing calls from Rouhani’s reformist supporters for the release of Mousavi and Karroubi, but progress has been slow with the domestic turmoil of 2009 still unsettled.

“We are hopeful that the situation for him gets better, though we know that improvement of security issues will be slow,” Hossein Karroubi said.

Jason Rezaian has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He was previously a freelance writer based in Tehran.
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