Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, a senior and influential member of the Iranian clergy, has come out with a strong statement condemning immoral government actions, saying he is moved to defend Islam and the Islamic regime.
Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili (R) with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in April 2009
Mousavi Ardebili, who was the top judicial administrator during the leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, writes that such actions are "in violation of religion, the law, morality and human dignity." In the statement published on his personal website, Mousavi Ardebili says that "insulting and defaming" individuals and groups is completely unacceptable.
The senior cleric doesn't directly name the particular cases of violation currently occurring in the country; however, in recent months accusations of treason and sedition have been rampant against opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi as well as other moderate political figures in the regime.
"Today slander has become a normal and far-reaching activity, and anyone will unscrupulously insult whomever they want," the former judiciary expert says. "Or before someone is convicted of a crime and handed a punishment in a legitimate court, [some authorities] accuse people and issue their sentence without fear of any consequence."
The two opposition leaders, Mousavi and Karroubi, and their wives were put under house arrest and completely cut off from outside contact since they called for a rally on February 14 to support the recent Arab uprisings. While several members of the judiciary and the government have accused the two men of sedition and involvement in foreign conspiracies against the regime, there has been no official attempt to prosecute them. However, they have been put under arrest and no one can visit them.
Mousavi Ardebili emphasizes that such actions "distort the eminent teachings of Islam."
The state-backed daily Keyhan attacked Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili's statement, calling it an evident declaration of support for the two opposition leaders. While once again accusing Mousavi and Karroubi of collaborating with Israel and the U.S., the Keyhan editorial insists that Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili's statement is not in line with his "well-known and Revolutionary" character and concludes that he must have been influenced and exploited by the wrong elements.
In recent weeks, other senior members of the clergy have spoken out more directly against the treatment of the two opposition leaders.
Ayatollah Yousef Sanei condemned their arrest as a sign of the state's "political weakness and insolvency."
Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani protested the treatment of Mousavi and Karroubi referring to them as the "faithful friends of Imam [Khomeini] and the Revolution."
Ayatollah Dastgheib, a member of the Assembly of Experts has called for the establishment of a panel approved by both political camps in order to review the opposition leaders' challenges to the 2009 presidential election results. The senior member of the clergy has also called for an immediate end to their house arrest, which he refers to as "against the law and religion."
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