Senior conservative figure backs opposition leaders
Habibollah Asgaroladi, who heads the Followers of Imam and Leadership Front, has once again declared his support for Iranian opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, saying: “I have worked for years with my brothers Mousavi and Karroubi … speaking as a jury member, I say I do not consider these two to be guilty of a crime.”
ISNA reports that at a meeting of the Islamic Coalition Party on Monday January 14, Asgaroladi said: “Mousavi led us as head of government; he would never support sedition. But there is an open path, and they should distance themselves from sedition. I say again it is the U.S., Israel and Britain that support sedition, and they need to denounce them.”
MirHosein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February of 2011. Mehdi Karroubi and his wife were similarly put under house arrest then; however, Fatemeh Karroubi has been released since then and Mehdi Karroubi remains under arrest alone.
These opposition leaders have been verbally accused of sedition by the Islamic Republic establishment for challenging the 2009 presidential election outcomes and supporting mass protests but they were never formally charged.
While reformist figures have repeatedly called for the release of the opposition leaders from house arrest, Asgaroladi, despite being a senior conservative figure, has lent his voice to this cause of late.
MirHosein Mousavi was Iran’s prime minister during the Iran-Iraq War, while Mehdi Karroubi has served twice as head of Parliament.
Recent statements by the head of the security forces, Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, revealed that Mousavi and Karroubi’s situation is directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who backed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 elections and refused to heed allegations of vote fraud.