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EU calls for release of Iranian opposition leaders

03/27/11 Source: Radio Zamaneh

Catherine Ashton, the EU chief of foreign policy, is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Mir Hosein Mousavi (L) and Mehdi Karroubi

In a statement posted on the European Parliament's website, Ashton dismisses Iran's justification for the house arrests as "unconvincing". The statement reveals that EU officials have asked Iranian officials and ambassadors why the opposition leaders and their wives are being detained. The Iranian government contends that house arrests are necessary for the opposition leaders' own protection.

"This justification remains unconvincing," says Ashton, "and does not explain why they have not been allowed normal communications."

The statement goes on to say that an "immediate and unconditional release" of the opposition leaders will "dispel the impression that the continued restrictions under which they are held constitute a means of deliberate suppression of political opposition in Iran."

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were put under their house arrest together with their wives after they rallied the supporters of the Green Movement in Iran to march in solidarity with the recent uprisings in the Arab nations.

Islamic Republic judiciary officials have said the leaders will be prevented from making any more public announcements.

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