By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RLThe son of opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi says hardliners tried to forcefully enter his father's house tonight but were stopped by his bodyguards. Hossein Karrubi -- who was at his father's house at the time of the attack -- told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the attackers fired shots at the house and smashed the windows and surrounding street lamps.
Mehdi Karrubi among supporters - December 2009
"They launched their attack with the slogan 'Ya Labaik Khamenei!' ('We're ready to obey your orders, Khamenei!'). They set the door to the house on fire -- it is still burning. They wanted to enter the house but the guards opened fire to scare them. I think several of them were injured. They were forced to retreat," he said.
The house of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi was attacked today by hardliners.
Karrubi's website, "Sahamnews," reports that the head of his security team was beaten up and seriously injured when he tried to speak to the attackers. According to the website, the guard, identified as "Mr. Yari," has been taken to the hospital.
Iranian Opposition Leader Karroubi Is Attacked, Son Says
By Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ
Mr. Karroubi issued a statement asking supporters not to come to his house, but by late Thursday night, several hundred demonstrators from the opposition Green Movement had begun to gather in Mr. Karroubi's neighborhood, according to eyewitnesses.
"I am very angry. We will back Karroubi one hundred percent until Iran is free," said Mostafa. The young man, who didn't give his last name, was on his way to Mr. Karroubi's house with several friends.
Security forces and antiriot police were dispatched throughout the capital. They set up checkpoints and dispersed the crowds. In many neighborhoods, people chanted "God is great" from rooftops, witnesses said.
The attack is believed to be an attempt to intimidate the opposition leader and
prevent him from taking part in Friday's Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally.
Last month Karrubi said he planned to attend the annual rally, which was used last year by opposition members to protest what they said was the fraudulent re-election of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
The regime supporters have surrounded Karrubi's house for the
past four days, pelting stones, breaking windows, and spraying the walls with
paint and slogans like "American cleric."
The men are described on Karrubi's website as "Basij thugs."
They also chanted slogans against the opposition cleric, including "Death to Karrubi!" and accused him of being connected to groups such as the communist Tudeh party and the opposition Mujahedin Khalq organization, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Earlier this week, Karrubi's wife, Fatemeh Karrubi, condemned the ongoing siege
of the house in an open letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and blamed him for
the violence against her husband.
"These manifest crimes were committed in the name of support for Your Excellency and in front of the police," she wrote.
Karrubi's son has also suggested that the Supreme Leader is behind today's attack against his father.
"I want to tell Mr. Khamenei, 'You claim you're like [Imam Ali] (the first Imam of Shiite Islam) -- is this his style? You set fire to the house of a 73-year-old man because [you] have disagreements with him? Is this the way of Ali?'" he said.
As the younger Karrubi was speaking to Radio Farda, chanting could still be heard outside the house.
When asked what his father was doing while the house was being attacked, Hossein Karrubi said the opposition leader was reading the Koran. He added that his father will not be intimidated.
This isn't the first time that the elder Karrubi, who is a former speaker of the
parliament and presidential candidate, has come under attack by hardliners. He
is often criticized or physically attacked for speaking out about the
post-election crackdown and human rights abuses committed under Khamenei and
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
Throughout, he has refused to back down, saying the country cannot be ruled by "threatening people and [the creation] of fear."
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