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Iran: Senior political figure defends opposition leaders, cleric

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Habibollah Asgaroladi, a senior Iranian political figure, has expressed his support for Hashemi Rafsanjani, adding that the Islamic Republic government should not easily give up on the opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Habibollah Asgaroladi

The Mehr News Agency reports that Asgaroladi, while speaking at a gathering of the conservative organization "Followers of Imam and the Leader Front", criticized the sidelining of figures with significant background in the Islamic Revolution.

Asgaroladi referred to the recent attacks on Ayatollah Rafsanjani, adding: "This kind of treatment for Hashemi Rafsanjani is not acceptable."

Hashemi Rafsanjani, a senior political figure in the Islamic Republic establishment, has been harshly attacked in recent years, especially after the 2009 election, when he chose to align himself with those who challenged the election results.

Most recently, his daughter and his son have been subjected to prosecution. His daughter is serving a six-month jail term for insulting the authorities in the media and his son was released on bail following three months of investigations in custody.

Iranian MP Hamid Resayi has spoken out against the release of Ayatollah Rafsanjani's son and subjected the senior cleric to severe verbal attacks in Parliament.

Asgaroladi stressed that Hashemi Rafsanjani needs to be respected, adding that he has served the Islamic Revolution and should not be subjected to "character assassination."

Asgaroladi also reiterated his views regarding the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. He stressed that he does not believe that the two leaders, who are currently under house arrest, have ever had "seditious" intentions, although they may have been surrounded by certain figures that had such intentions.

Following the 2009 election, the mass protests that challenged the legitimacy of the election were condemned by conservative elements in the system as a "seditious" movement, and the two candidates that challenged the election results, Mousavi and Karroubi, were finally put under house arrest to quell the protests.

The episode has caused deep rifts in the Islamic Republic establishment, sidelining the reformists and even creating divisions in the the conservative factions.

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