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Concern grows for detained Iranian opposition leaders


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has expressed grave concern regarding the health of Iranian political prisoners, including the condition of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest since February of 2011.

Khatami's official website published a message on the occasion of National Student's Day, which reads: "We are seriously concerned about the health of these loved ones, especially Mr. Mousavi, Mr. Karroubi and Mrs. Rahnavard, who are in a situation where their health is under threat."

Kaleme had also published a previous report emphasizing that the Mousavi family has new concerns about the health of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard.

The family reports that while the couple's guards previously refused to let the family bring in any food for the two detainees and insisted on providing everything themselves, they are now demanding that the family bring in the necessary food.

Mohammad Khatami has urged the authorities to release all political prisoners including the opposition leaders, explaining that such a development would benefit the system by "opening a path to a better future."

"We hope that we will soon witness the release of all loved ones as well as an opening in Iranian society's economic, political and cultural atmosphere, which is in the interest of everyone: the government, the people and all those who love their country and the Revolution," Khatami was quoted as saying.

The former president recently visited Reza Khandan, the husband of jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and once again called for the release of political prisoners, stressing that such an action "would even ease the foreign threats that have been imposed on Iran by softening the social and political atmosphere of the country, benefitting the government and the people."

Nasrin Sotoudeh only recently broke her 49-day hunger strike after authorities finally agreed to lift the travel ban imposed on her daughter. She had been refusing food in protest against the violations of her rights as a prisoner and the pressure imposed on her family.

Khatami said that the country must reach a situation where "not only the rights of prisoners are fully respected, but even better, where no prisoners are held for political reasons."

Iranian authorities insist that Iran has no political prisoners and they refer to political activists held in prison as security threats.

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