More than one hundred prominent reformists figures have been tried in the past three years, a conservative member of the Iranian parliament has admitted.
In an interview with the Arya news website on Wednesday, Ahmad Salek, a member of the conservative Combatant Clergy Association, conceded that more than one hundreds pro-reform figures had been tried in the aftermath of the widely contested 2009 presidential election.
“Many of these reformists were exposed during the sedition,” Salek said.
“Sedition” is the term commonly used by Iranian authorities to refer to the mass protests against Ahmadinejad’s 2009 re-election.
Salek has held many high-ranking positions within the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s elite fighting force over the past three decades.
In an interview with the semi-official Isna news agency on 8 July, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, categorically denied the existence of any political prisoners in Iranian prisoners.
“A political prisoner is someone who has been politically active within the framework of the laws, but he has been unjustly imprisoned because the rulers and state authorities did not like what he was doing. According to this definition, there are no political prisoners inside the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he alleged.
Since the Green Movement’s inception in June 2009, Iranian authorities have resorted to mass round-ups, televised show trials for pro-reform figures, lengthy jail terms, grisly executions, and finally, the house arrest of its leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi in February 2011, to crush the pro-democracy movement.
Nuclear referendum a ‘satanic’ idea
Salek also issued a warning about a possible reformist comeback in the upcoming 2013 presidential elections. “These men have begun their activities so as to reclaim their position in the [reformist] current. But the people … have the issue under control … this comeback will cost them dearly.”
According to Iranian media reports, former President Mohammad Khatami and former Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri recently met to discuss the reformist strategy vis-à-vis the 2013 vote.
On Wednesday, Ali Ashraf Nouri, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, warned about what he called a “new sedition” fuelled by increasing economic hardships.
He told Tehrane Emrooz daily that the “enemies of the Islamic Revolution” were attempting to exploit the growing “economic instability” and civil unrest in anticipation of the 2013 presidential race.
Abdollah Nouri recently called for a referendum to decide the future of the nuclear programme.
Salek reacted to the remarks by saying that any calls for a referendum over the fate of the country’s nuclear programme ultimately played into the hands of the “satanic” intentions of world powers.