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Senior Iranian Cleric Calls For Release Of Opposition Leaders

Source: Radio Zamaneh; photos by Babak Bordbar, Mehr News Agency

Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, a senior Iranian cleric and a chief critic of the Islamic Republic's recent domestic policies, has called on the establishment to end the house arrest of Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, the two opposition leaders who have been detained since last February.

Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib (center) attended funeral of his uncle ayatollah Mohammad Hashem Dastgheib in Shiraz on Monday

Ayatollah Dastgheib's website, Hadis-e Sarv, published his statement calling for the release of the opposition leaders and other political prisoners.

Ayatollah Dastgheib has repeatedly criticized the government crackdown on the opposition over the past two years. His criticisms have led to attacks on his office and the Qoba Mosque, where he regularly leads prayers.

The two opposition leaders were put under house arrest last February, along with their respective wives, after they rallied people to demonstrate in support of the Arab uprisings in the region. The demonstrations were met with force by the authorities, resulting in several deaths and widespread arrests.

Dastgheib recently wrote a critical letter to the Guardian Council, saying that "the Islamic Republic's problems are all due to the violations committed by their council" and maintained that "according to the constitution, releasing Karroubi and Mousavi and other prisoners" is the only acceptable path for the regime

Related Photos: Funeral of ayatollah Mohammad Hashem Dastgheib in Shiraz on Monday

According to opposition website kaleme, the security forces had a strong presence at the funeral and prevented ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib from attending the burial and performing prayers as requested in the will of the deceased. After the 2009 elections and the protests that followed, Ayatollah Mohammad Hashem Dastgheib had lent support to ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani who had urged the regime to compromise with the opposition and release all political prisoners.

... Payvand News - 02/01/12 ... --

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