Top Revolutionary Guard Official Wants Moussavi and Khatami Tried

09 August 2009

The political chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard force says opposition political leaders should be put on trial for inciting violence during weeks of unrest after Iran's disputed June 12 presidential elections.

From left, defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and defeated reformist presidential candidate  Mehdi Karroubi and former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami
From left, defeated Iranian presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami
Iran's smoldering political rift is intensifying, after a key figure in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard demanded Iran's top opposition leaders be put on trial for inciting unrest, following the country's disputed June 12 presidential election.

Iran's official news agency (IRNA) reports that Yadollah Javani, the head of the Guard's political bureau, wants opposition leader Mirhossein Moussavi, former President Mohammed Khatami, and defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi to be tried for inciting violence.

Javani accuses the three of trying to engineer what he calls a "velvet revolution," and says with all the "documentation and irrefutable evidence over the failed coup," that it makes sense that these "key instigators be arrested, tried and punished."

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused "enemies of Iran" of trying to instigate a "velvet revolution," but has always stopped short of accusing top opposition leaders of involvement in such a coup.

Hundreds of opposition leaders, journalists, professors, and other protesters were jailed during weeks of unrest and dozens have been put on trial during two sessions of a revolutionary court in the past 10 days.

Iran's Press TV showed one defendant from Saturday's trial, Mohammed Reza Zamani, whom it calls a monarchist, reading his alleged confession for provoking violence:

He says that his group plotted to carry out bombings and other violence leading to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. He also claims he had contacts with an alleged U.S. intelligence operative in Iraq, whom he says gave him a mobile phone.

Meanwhile, the official Iranian News Network, IRINN, says the head of the recently closed Kahrizak detention center has been jailed due to widespread abuse of detainees and at least three deaths.

In an apparent effort to allay public anger over prisoner abuse, Iranian police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam announced the official's arrest:

He says that the director of the Kahrizak detention facility has been fired and sent to jail. He notes that three other policemen at the facility who beat prisoners have also been jailed.

Ahmadi-Moghaddam also admitted some of those arrested during recent unrest were tortured at the Kahrizak jail, which Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordered to be shut down for sub-standard treatment of prisoners.

Top opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and former president Mohammed Khatami have repeatedly demanded the immediate release of all detainees, insisting that their confessions were made under duress and therefore were "illegitimate."