Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 11
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Opening session of Iran's parliament was interrupted by hardliner lawmakers while Tehran MP, Ali Motahari was talking against opposition leaders' continuing detention under house arrest.
Some MPs started chanting slogans against Motahari, and some others entered the tribune to cut his speech, Iran's Mehr news agency reported Jan. 11.
Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard, first deputy speaker of the Parliament, who was managing the session, criticized Motahari and called him for the cessation of his speech.
Then Aboutorabi Fard closed the session.
The Iranian opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi have been under house arrest since 2011 due to protests against the disputed presidential election of 2009.
After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran for the second term in 2009, the opposition leaders protested the decision, which later resulted in massive protests across Iran, particularly in Tehran. Many people were arrested.
Early in November Ali Younesi, who serves as President Hassan Rouhani's special aide for the affairs of ethnic groups and religious minorities said that releasing the house arrested leaders is beyond Rouhani's authority.
"The government only can prepare grounds for lifting house arrest but has no authority on the issue," Younesi added.
Earlier in October Motahari wrote an open letter to Rouhani warning him that if he did not end the house arrests of the opposition leaders, he would be summoned to parliament.
The government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht responded that the administration was not "indifferent" on the matter but is not going to make all of its efforts in this regard public.
Motahari also approached Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last June, saying that the detentions were harming the Islamic Republic's reputation abroad and raising tensions at home.
Motahari has repeatedly criticized the leaders' house arrest without any trial or court order.
Iranian hardliners argue that the opposition leaders should remain under house arrest until they "repent."
Iran's Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei accused the opposition leaders of "destruction of public property", claiming that they are also responsible for the people killed.
In mid-March the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused Rouhani of not fulfilling campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and called for the release of political prisoners in Iran including Karroubi and Mousavi.
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