A group of activists in Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement have called on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to speak out against the continued house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi during his visit to Tehran.
The 16th summit of the Non-aligned Movement member states will be held between 26-31 August, during which Iran will assume the rotating presidency for the next three years. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is expected to attend the NAM Summit to be held in the Iranian capital.
In a letter to the new Egyptian president, a group calling itself the Green Messengers of Hope of Iran urged Morsi to voice his protest at the ongoing detention of the Green Movement’s leaders during his official visit to Tehran.
Mousavi and Karroubi spearheaded the opposition movement following the widely contested 2009 presidential election. The men were placed under house arrested in February 2011 after calling for demonstrations in support of protesters in Egypt and Tunisia.
“We know that you have yourself been the victim of political imprisonment in your country, the signatories said. “We share this experience. When you, as a democratically elected president, travel to our country, we urge you to express your concern regarding the continued detention of the leaders of the Green Movement, keeping in mind that it is the result of their calls for solidarity with the people of Egypt.”
“In your meetings with the officials of the Iranian government, we ask you to remind them of the fates of the leaders who kept turning their backs on the votes of their people, and to urge them to govern their country relying on the support of the Iranian people rather than [the] military forces.”
“We are confident that your support in this matter can result in the strengthening of the unity between the nations of the region,” the statement went on to add.
On Thursday morning, after nearly 550 days of illegal house arrest, Mousavi was taken to a cardiovascular hospital after developing heart problems. A three-hour angiography was performed on the former Prime Minister who has has been returned to his place of residence where he is recovering.
In an interview with the BBC’s Persian service, Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, a top Mousavi advisor, said that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei bore ultimate responsibility for the opposition figure’s well-being.
“In the beginning [of the house arrest], Mir Hossein Mousavi was in very good health. If anything happens to Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mr Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Republic, will be held directly responsible.”
Full text of the statement:
To the Honourable Dr. Mohamed Morsi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
We, as a part of the Iranian Green Movement and as inheritors of a hundred years of struggle against tyranny, are very pleased to bear witness to the democratic transition of power in Egypt, in which the people of a nation has decided about its future in a peaceful process. A country being governed by the will of its people is a dream come true, and it fills us with hope for the future of the Middle East. The people of Iran have strove for many years to improve the prevailing circumstances of the country and to bring about change through a democratic process. After electing Mr. Mohammed Khatami in 1997 as the president, these struggles culminated with the presidential election in 2009. However, the regime chose to oppose the people’s choice of change by manipulating the election result. This was followed by the arrests of reformists and members of opposition campaigns, the closure of independent media, the dissolution of many political parties, and the brutal cracking down of post election protests. The protests by Iranian citizens demanding to know what had become of their stolen votes, led to the birth of what is now known as the Green Movement.
A year and a half later, the Green Movement was revived and gained momentum when neighbouring countries in the region, including Egypt, began to rise against their authoritarian regimes; we remembered, once again, that tyranny will not last. On the 14th of February 2011, during the height of the uprising in Egypt, the leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, called for a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia, according to the constitution of Iran, which allows such peaceful demonstrations. Many Iranians responded to the call by coming to the streets of Tehran; an act which was violently suppressed and led to the arrests of a large number of political activists and ultimately to the illegal house arrest of the leaders of the Green Movement. Moreover, the Iranian government continued an unchangeable support for the dictator of Syria.
We know that you have yourself been the victim of political imprisonment in your country. We share this experience. When you, as a democratically elected president, travel to our country, we urge you to express your concern regarding the continued detention of the leaders of the Green Movement, keeping in mind that it is the result of their calls for solidarity with the people of Egypt. In your meetings with the officials of the Iranian government, we ask you to remind them of the fates of the leaders who kept turning their backs on the votes of their people, and to urge them to govern their country relying on the support of the Iranian people rather than military forces. We are confident that your support in this matter can result in the strengthening of the unity between the nations of the region.
The Green Messengers of Hope of Iran