Security Forces Exit Mehdi Karroubi’s Home, As Pledged By Government
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry agents retreated from inside opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s home in Tehran on August 29, a day before he was discharged from hospital, his son told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Last night the security forces gathered their personal effects and security equipment and evacuated the house,” said Mohammad Taghi Karroubi. “As of today, the house arrest is being imposed from the outside. In effect, agents control comings and goings from a guardhouse.”
Mehdi Karroubi (79), along with fellow opposition leader Mir Hosseini Mousavi (75), and his wife Zahra Rahnavard (71), have been under extrajudicial house arrest since February 2011 for their role in the 2009 peaceful protests against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which became known as the Green Movement. They have had no charges publicly announced or trial during their more than six years of house arrest.
Karroubi ended a hunger strike on August 17 after one day when two senior government officials—Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi and Deputy Intelligence Minister Mohammad Pourfalla —visited him in the hospital and agreed to his demands for the security forces to withdraw from his home in the Jamaran neighborhood, north Tehran, and to be put on trial.
On August 20, Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei rejected as “total lies” reports that agents would leave Karroubi’s home.
Ejei, who is also the deputy judiciary chief, added that there was no plan to put the three on trial unless the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, decides otherwise.
“It is beneath the judiciary to undermine agreements made by the government,” Mohammad Taghi Karroubi told CHRI. “In someone is speaking on behalf of the judiciary, he shouldn’t deny the truth, even if he doesn’t like it.”
In an interview with Saham News opposition website on August 30, Mehdi Karroubi’s wife and former member of parliament, Fatemeh Karroubi, also confirmed that the security forces had withdrawn.
“Fortunately, the government made good on its pledge and, in the seventh year of the house arrest, the security forces have left our house,” Fatemeh Karroubi said. “I feel it is necessary to thank the honorable authorities who helped in the withdrawal.”
Mehdi Karroubi has been hospitalized at least three times in the past two months, mainly to receive emergency treatment for low blood pressure. On July 31, he received an angiography at the Rajaei Medical Center in Tehran.
The former presidential candidate’s deteriorating health has prompted calls by many politicians in Iran to bring the prolonged standoff to an end.
“Mr. Karroubi’s heart disease and his transfer to the hospital is a good opportunity to use some wisdom to end this tragic house arrest saga,” tweeted conservative Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahhari, a staunch supporter of freeing the three political figures, on July 24.