The son of Mehdi Karroubi, a former Iranian opposition leader and presidential candidate who has been held under house arrest in Iran since February 2011, says Iran’s Supreme Leaders Ali Khamenei is directly responsible for the illegal detention of his father. “The whole issue comes down to Mr. Khamenei’s personal decision,” Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, who lives in London, told the Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “He ordered the house arrests against the law… We have to see if he’s willing to listen to his own close advisers and act or not. We have to wait and see what impact these political pressures will have on the regime. The decision is in Mr. Khamenei’s hands,” he added. He further noted that President Hassan Rouhani shared the blame because he had not acted to to fulfill his 2013 election campaign promise of releasing political prisoners.
Comment: This week marks the six-year anniversary of the illegal detention of prominent Iranian opposition figures Karroubi and Hossein Mousavi, as well as Mousavi’s wife and women’s rights activist Zahra Rahnavard. Recently, the so-called reformist camp in Iran has increased pressure on both Rouhani and Khamenei to free the Green Movement leaders. In addition to human rights organizations, the U.S. Department of State also released a statement calling for the trio’s freedom. “Their continued house arrest contradicts Iran’s international obligations including those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party, to provide minimum fair trial guarantees and not to subject citizens to arbitrary arrest or detention,” the State Department statement said. But any hope that the regime would relent vanished earlier this week when Khamenei, who has the final say in all state matters, rejected the reformists’ call for “national reconciliation.” Tehran’s Prosecutor-General Abbas Ja'afari Dolatabadi also defended the house arrests, arguing that the detention was a “national decision’ and served the country’s national interest.