Baku, Azerbaijan, March 13
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
A conservative Iranian cleric named Ali Reza Jahanshahi and his 14 supporters were arrested last night in Qom, Iran's Fars news agency reported on March 13.
Jahanshahi is head of so-called "Popular Front of Justice Seekers,"a hardliner group that was planning to start a walk from Qom to Jamkaran mosque-located out of Qom city- on March 13 to protest corruption in Iran.
Jahanshahi started his activities during the administration of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005 - 2013) and was been arrested several times.
First time he was arrested in his hometown of Sirjan while gathering signatures to protest corrupt land appropriation in the city. He was arrested again in 2008, shortly after beginning a protest walk from Sirjan to Tehran and spent eight months in jail. Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered officials to release him and expressed support for him.
Jahanshahi and his group also fight against "violating the Islamic dress code" in Iran.
Iran has fallen from 133 to 144 among 177 countries in terms of corruption perceptions compared to last year, according to Transparency International's annual report released on December 3, 2013. The country's rank started falling during the administration of Ahmadinejad. The worse rank belongs to 2009, when Iran ranked 168.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has urged the Ministry of Intelligence to make every effort to deal with widespread economic corruption in the country.
Iranian media outlets quoted MP, Ahmad Tavakoli as saying "we have reached a state of systematic corruption."
Those government agencies and state institutes that are responsible to fight the rampant corruption are to some degree corrupt themselves, according to Tavakkoli.