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Iran: Government Puts Pressure On Opposition Clerics By Arresting Their Family Members

By Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online

The confrontation of political activists and the country's senior clerics entered a new phase with the arrests of their children.  While the mass arrest of political activists and journalists in the aftermath of the June-12 coup sparked widespread criticism against the Islamic republic, the arrests of the children of prominent Iranian reformist figures has led to a new wave of criticism.  The public views the arrests of these individuals - most of whom are not politically active or members of any political party - is considered by the public to be a form of hostage-taking to impose further pressure on the reformists.  Rooz has spoken with the families of ayatollah Montazeri, ayatollah Mousavi Tabrizi, Shirzad and Mirdamadi about their latest conditions.

Prison is Safer!

Ayatollah Montazeri's grandchildren were released after posting a heavy bail.  Ahmad Montazeri, ayatollah Montazeri's son, says, "They detained our children for several days until after the Qods Day (Palestine Day, to show solidarity with Palestinians).  They had told my children that they would be safer here [in prison] during the Qods Day!  They released them on Friday."

Ahmad Montazeri also said that ayatollah Montazeri's three other grandchildren who were arrested on Qods Day along with their spouses too have been released conditionally.

Ayatollah Mousavi-Tabrizi's Children Charged with Participation in Disturbances

Ayatollah Hossein Mousavi-Tabrizi's children, ayatollah Nazemzadeh and Mr. Ahmadi, who are prominent members of the Majma-e Modaressin va Mohagegin association of Hoze Elmie Qom (Association of Teachers and Scholars of Qom Seminary), were released on Friday on bail. 

Ayatollah Mousavi-Tabrizi's wife said, "The children weren't mistreated but they were charged with participation in disturbances and enticing the public to participate in disturbances." 

Mousavinejad Charged with Propaganda against Regime

Mehdi Mousavinejad, brother-in-law of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, former president Khatami's top deputy, was also released on Friday  - after Qods Day - on bail.  According to sources close to Mr. Mousavinejad, this young seminary student was charged with propaganda against the regime, but he has refused to accept the charge. 

Mousavinejad's arrest is regarded as an additional pressure mechanism on Mr. Abtahi's family.   

Unknown Fates of Mehdi Shirzad and Hossein Naiemipour

Nothing is known of the fates of Mehdi Shirzad and Hossein Naiemipour, the children of two prominent Mosharekat [Participation] Front's members, who were arrested during a Ramadan fasting gathering last Friday.

Mehdi Shirzad's father told Rooz that the regime has not yet accepted that people do not believe its lies. 

He said, "They don't want to believe that the movement is led by people and think that their problems are orchestrated by several political figures."

Mr. Shirzad told Rooz that the regime's current behavior emanates from a deep hatred of prominent politicians, adding, "We have problems even during our day-to-day life.  Anyone whose surname is close to ours is in some kind of trouble." 

... Payvand News - 09/21/09 ... --

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