Iran: still no trace of Mousavi or Karroubi

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Iran: still no trace of Mousavi or Karroubi

Iran: still no trace of Mousavi or Karroubi
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It is 18 days since Iranian opposition leaders Mahdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi and their wives were removed from their houses in Iran. Mousavi was the Iranian Prime Minister for 8 years. Their disappearance caused concern throughout Iran as well as in the international community. To find out more, we spoke to Mousavi’s spokesman, Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, in Paris.

Nima Ghadakpour: “Hello, have you got any news of Mr Mousavi and his wife?”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “We have no news. They have disappeared. The authorities in Iran will not take responsibility for their disappearance. But the children haven’t seen their parents for 18 days.”

Nima Ghadakpour: “But Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs, told Euronews that they had not been arrested and were free. We also contacted the Prosecutor General, Mohseni Ejei, who also said they were neither imprisoned nor arrested. Why, do you think, is there no accurate news?”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “I think there are lots of contradictions in what they say and no-one wants to take responsibility. If they are free why haven’t their children seen them?”

Nima Ghadakpour: “But…”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “It wouldn’t be the first time the Iranian authorities have lied.”

Nima Ghadakpour: “But in recent months they’ve been under a sort of house arrest.”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “After the demonstrations on February 14 the authorities were frightened of the Green Movement. So they created further limits on the freedom of the two opposition leaders, and then they put them in prison, thinking that would discourage people. But as we see, opposition protesters still fill the streets.”

Nima Ghadakpour: “The regime in Tehran thinks that there are not many protesters in Iran and the protests can’t compare with those in Egypt and Tunisia and that means that the Iranian people don’t want change. Do you think there will be any fundamental change in Iran?”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “The authorities have never told the truth about the numbers of protesters. Like on June 15, 2009 there were more than three million people on the streets of Tehran and the authorities said there were only 10,000. Today they repeat the same lies, but despite the incredible repression, the opposition still goes out onto the streets to protest. Not only in Tehran but also in Azerbaijan, Mashahd, Shiraz and Isapahan. That shows that the movement still has plenty of supporters.”

Nima Ghadakpour: “What is your immediate demand as one of the representatives of the protest movement in Iran?”

Ardeshir Amir Arjomand: “First the liberation of the opposition leaders Karroubi and Mousavi, then free elections. But also the liberation of all political prisoners and freedom of speech.”