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05/21/10

Former Iranian Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi Attacked

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who was jailed in the postelection crackdown, has been attacked by unknown assailants.


Mohammad Ali Abtahi appears during his trial in the wake of the postelection unrest.

The hard-line Fars news agency reported that "suspicious" individuals attacked the car carrying Abtahi in Shahr-e Rey, south of Tehran.

According to Fars, Abtahi was on his way to a memorial ceremony for a senior cleric, Ayatollah Mirza Javad Aqa-Tehrani, when the attack happened. Fars says police forces prevented the assailants from assaulting Abtahi.

But Abtahi wrote on his Facebook page that after he left the ceremony, plainclothes agents attacked him with cables and knives, broke his car windows, and threw tear gas into his car.

He says he "miraculously" managed to leave the area in spite of the damage to his car and the effects of the tear gas. He said the attack was "very savage," and no one helped him fend off the attackers, who seemed to be "fearless and confident."


Related posting on Mir Hossein Mousavi's facebook:
Mohammad Ali Abtahi, vice president during Khatami's administration, and Mohammad Atriyanfar, senior reformist figure, both strongly denied the lies by pro-government's propaganda that they had written letter to Mir Hossein Mousavi and criticized him. Following this denial Mohammad Ali Abtahi in his personal Facebook page reported that he was brutally attacked by plain clothes militia when he was driving his car today.

Abtahi has also posted some pictures of his car after the attack on Facebook. A few of those pictures have been picked up by the reformist Parlemannews website.

Abtahi was among some 100 key reformist figures and intellectuals who were tried and sentenced in the postelection crackdown. He was released in November on a large bail.


Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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