DUBAI: Two leading Iranian opposition figures held under house arrest for almost two years have been denied contact with their children, their daughters said in a statement published yesterday.
Mirhossein Mousavi stood in presidential elections in 2009 and became one of the figureheads of the huge street protests over allegations of vote rigging that followed. He was detained with his wife Zahra Rahnavardstood in February 2011.
The Islamic Republic is gearing up for another presidential vote in June and hardline clerical figures have accused opposition forces of plotting a second “sedition” — referring to the last protests that were crushed by security forces. Authorities have denied Mousavi and Rahnavard contact with their children for weeks, their three daughters wrote in a statement published yesterday by Kalame, a website close to Mousavi.
“In the last two months we have had no contact or meeting or even a discussion with them, nor have we even heard their voices except for one limited phone call, which was in the presence and under the pressure of (government) agents,” the statement said.
The daughters said their parents had not been in a good physical condition at their last meeting. “Our demand on the threshold of the start of the third year of their unexplained and illegal house arrest ... is the unconditional and immediate freedom of our father and mother,” their statement said.
Mousavi and Rahnavard are being held under house arrest in their home in Tehran. Another prominent opposition figure, Mehdi Karoubi, was detained at the same time as them and is being held in a separate location apart from his home.
Mousavi and Karoubi were detained after they called their supporters onto the streets for a rally in support of uprisings in the Arab world in 2011. Hardliners have asked the judiciary to execute both men, but authorities have so far chosen to isolate rather than officially arrest them.
Mousavi, 70, Iran’s prime minister in the 1980s, was treated for a heart problem in hospital in August, one of his former senior advisers said. Karoubi, 75, was taken to hospital in November after feeling dizzy and losing weight, a website close to him reported.