High ranking Reformists have first meeting with Supreme Leader since 2009


The Reformist daily Etemaad has reported that three well-known Reformist politicians have met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The politicians were former MP and vice president for Legal affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Hojjat al-Islam Majid Ansari, Hojjat al-Islam Abdol Vahed Mousavi Lari, a former Interior Minister and Eshaq Jahangiri, a former Minister of the Industry. It has also been speculated that Jahangiri could be a potential presidential candidate put forward by the Reformists.

According to Etemaad the last official meeting between members of the Reformist camp and the Supreme Leader was 16 June 2009 when representatives of the presidential candidates attended a meeting in order to convey the latter’s views on key issues. Moreover, it is claimed that since that day there have been no reports of meetings between the Supreme Leader and the Reformists.

Ansari, who is also a member of the Reformist Assembly of Combatant Clergy, described the meeting as “very good” and added that a number of the major issues facing the country were discussed. Details however, were not forthcoming. But apparently the upcoming presidential election was not addressed in the course of the meeting.

The meeting is significant insofar as since Iran’s controversial 2009 presidential election which saw the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a considerable swathe of Reformist politicians have been jailed and pushed to the side lines of Iranian political life. Two of the major Reformist political organizations, the Organization of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Iran Participation Front, were also dissolved.

According to Kaleme, the website affiliated to opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Kokab Mousavi, the elder daughter of Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, was summoned to Evin prison for interrogation. In the course of the interrogation it was asked of Kokab Mousavi that she sign a document accepting responsibility for recent statements and interviews relating to her parents’ arrest.

Last week, Mousavi and Rahnavard’s other two daughters, Narges and Zahra, were arrested for some hours, where they were asked of their relations with Kaleme and other Green Movement affiliated websites. Narges Mousavi, recalling her arrest, claimed that her captors treated her in a “threatening” manner and that one of the men “threatened her with death”.

The son of fellow opposition leader, Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Karroubi, Mohammad Hossein Karroubi, was also arrested for some hours, but later released by authorities.

Gholamhossein Mohseni Ezhei, Iran’s General Prosecutor and Spokesman for the Judiciary on Monday 18 February announced the names of the individuals convicted in Iran’s “biggest financial corruption case”, which saw the embezzlement of some $2.6 billion. The charges include “disrupting the economic order”, money laundering and various charges of bribery.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the death penalty for four of the convicted individuals. Mahafarid Khosravi, the general manager of Amir Mansour Development Capital Company and alleged “mastermind” behind the embezzlement scandal, has stated in public session at the court that high ranking members of the Iranian state were involved and apprised of his activities. Khosravi has also threatened to reveal information regarding these alleged high ranking officials’ involvement if they do not explain themselves.

Khosravi has claimed that one of the country’s authorities has asked him for help in combating sanctions against the country.

A group of MPs from Khuzestan province have issued a statement criticizing a recent and controversial statement by Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, the head of the Ammar Strategic Base, in which he said that Iran’s priority is “keeping Syria” in the event of an “enemy attack” and that Syria takes precedence over Iran’s own southern province of Khuzestan. The MPs called Taeb’s comments “careless and irresponsible”.

Taeb, who has been roundly criticized by personalities who run the gamut of the political spectrum, has since claimed that his statements were “distorted”.

Commander Mohammadreza Naqdi, head of the Basij paramilitary organization, has sought to distance his organization from the controversial attack against Majles Speaker Ali Larijani in Qom on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. It was reported that Larijani had to abruptly end his speech as he found himself pelted with prayer stones and shoes.

At a memorial service for the “Martyrs of the Women’s Society of Doctors”, Naqdi stated, “A Basiji would never do such an act. Discipline is a quality of a Basiji, not ill-discipline”.

The attack has also been widely condemned by high ranking members of the clergy and the political elite, including the Supreme Leader Khamemei himself.