Minister Denies Rouhani Will Play Role in Mousavi, Karroubi Case



Contradicting his previous statements, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said that President Hassan Rouhani’s administration would not get involved in the effort to release Mir Hussein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavarad and Mehi Karroubi, who are approaching nearly 1,000 days of house arrest.

After meetings today, Pourmohammadi responded to reporters’ questions about the recent attack on Mousavi’s daughters by security agents guarding Mousavi and his wife. Pourmohammadi said, “What could be said about this event is that it is noise from the media.”

When asked if the Rouhani administration has formed a special committee to end the house arrests of Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi, Pourmohammadi said, “The administration will not interfere in this matter.”

On Oct. 10, Pourmohammadi told reporters that the house arrests were being “reviewed” at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and that there would be a release of prisoners on the upcoming Eids. Rouhani had appointed Ali Shamkhani to head the SNSC and many believed that the release of high-profile prisoners would take place on Eid-e Ghadir.

On Oct. 14, the Iranian judiciary, which is independent of the administration and more closely affiliated with the supreme leader, denied that there would be any releases on the upcoming Eids and he stressed that the case of the house arrests was always under the jurisdiction of the SNSC.

While Pourmohammadi’s role is more of a liaison between the administration and judiciary, his contradictory and dismissive statements on the house arrests and the attack on Mousavi’s daughters has angered many people online.

On Oct. 24, Nargess Mousavi wrote on her Facebook page that while on a rare visit to see her parents on Eid-e Ghadir, she and her sister were struck in the face by a security agent when they refused to undergo a strip search. She also took a picture of her arm, where she claimed she was bitten by the security agent.

In response to the attack, judiciary spokesman Mohsen Ejei said that no complaint had been filed, but that the Ministry of Intelligence would “pursue the matter.” Conservative politician Ali Mottahari criticized the ministry’s silence on the matter and said that if the accusations are true, they should “apologize to Mousavi’s family and the people.”

One of Rouhani’s campaign promises was to secure the release of Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi, among other political prisoners. Karroubi and Mousavi were the Reformist candidates in the 2009 contested elections.

Both candidates had both refused to back down from claims that the elections were fraudulent, as the size and duration of street protests continued to surprise the intelligence and security community. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said that negating the results of the 2009 elections was his red line. Mousavi responded, “The people are my red line.”

If Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi are eventually released, hard-liners have demanded that they be tried and convicted for their positions and actions after the 2009 elections.