Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is personally responsible for ordering the house arrest of opposition leaders, says the country’s Police Chief.
In an interview with the ultra-conservative newspaper Keyhan, Commander Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said that during the unrest that rocked Iran following the 2009 presidential election, security officials presented Khamenei with a list of forty individuals thought to have been orchestrating the protests.
“In a meeting held after the sedition of Ashura [anti-government protests on 27 December 2009], we mentioned to him [Khamenei] that a number of those involved in this sedition must be detained. He said, ‘identify them and seek my approval [for their arrest].’ We provided him with a list of forty individuals,” Ahmadi Moghaddam told Keyhan.
Khamenei then reportedly told his commanders to “leave the remaining few to me,” in an apparent reference to the leaders of the opposition Green Movement Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest for nearly two years.
Ahmadi Moghaddam claimed that were it not for Khamenei’s intervention, the security apparatus would have resorted to “far more severe” measures than house arrest in quelling the pro-democracy movement.
“He didn’t allow us.”
In April 2011, the Police Chief and 31 other top-ranking Iranian officials were sanctioned by the European Union for their role in the violation of human rights in Iran after the 2009 election and the arrests of journalists, political figures, and human rights activists.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi spearheaded the opposition Green Movement that emerged in the aftermath of the fraudulent 2009 presidential elections. However, the pair and their wives were placed under house arrested after calling for demonstrations in solidarity with the uprisings in the Arab World. Human rights groups say their ongoing detention violates international law as well as Iran’s own constitution.
The house arrests have not been followed by any proper charges or prosecution in a court of law. In addition, they’ve been deprived of rights normally afforded to prisoners, such as regular visitations, access to lawyers and communication with the outside world.
Up until now, no Iranian official has officially accepted full responsibility for the house arrest of Karroubi, Mousaiv and Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard.
In early 2012, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar told the semi-official Fars news agency that Khamenei had indeed had the final say in ordering the house arrests.