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Plainclothesmen Allegedly Attack Ahmadinejad’s Allies in Sanctuary

Former Iranian vice president and Ahmadinejad ally Hamidreza Baghaei showing a basket full of documents he carries to court on October 22, 2017.

Dolatebahar, a Telegram channel run by supporters of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has circulated video clips allegedly showing plainclothesmen attacking three of his top allies who have taken refuge in Shah Abdul-Azim, a Shi’a sanctuary south of Tehran since Wednesday, November 15.

The latest round of tensions began when Ahmadinejad’s deputy for executive affairsand his former vice president, Hamid Baghaei declared on Wednesday that he has once again been summoned to court but, he is going to ignore the summons.

Baghaei, along with two other allies of the former president, Ali Akbar Javanfekr and Habibollah Khorasani used the old tactic of “bast neshini” or taking refuge in a sanctuary to protest what they described as judiciary’s politically motivated decisions against them.

A day later, Ahmadinejad met the trio and delivered a vitriolic speech against the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, November 18, pro-Ahmadinejad Dolatebahar’s (government of spring) Telegram channel claimed that an unknown number of plainclothesmen attacked the trio and their supporters at the sanctuary, “battering” some and “stealing their cellphones”.

In one of the clips circulated, an alleged attacker is seen preventing one of Ahmadinejad’s supporters from filming the incident.

The authenticity of the video clips has yet to be independently verified.

However, in one of the clips, Baghaei is seen shouting at the a group of men, “You are after me, why are you beating these guys?”

While the reported clashes took place, the Telegram channel claimed that, contrary to the previous days, there were no police forces seen around the sanctuary.

The plainclothesmen attacked the sanctuary while minutes earlier Ahmadinejad had left the place after a short stay among his supporters, the Telegram channel asserted.

Earlier, in an unprecedented acerbic speech on Thursday at Shah Abdol-Azim’s shrine, Ahmadinejad had explicitly declared, “We are against Larijani brothers”, adding “Is it a crime to oppose somebody?”

Furthermore, addressing judiciary top officials, he had insisted, “You are either not Iranians or you do not know Iran”.

Ahmadinejad was referring to five Larijani brothers who have always served in high position in the Islamic Republic.

Three Larijani brothers, all born in Iraq to an Iranian ayatollah, currently occupy key positions in Iran. Ali Larijani is the Speaker of Parliament, Sadegh Amoli Larijani is Chief-justice and the eldest brother, Javad Larijani is the Secretary of High Council for Human Rights under the supervision of his younger brother, the chief-justice.

Two other brothers, Fazel and Bagher have also held high positions in the Islamic republic’s ruling system.

Ahmadinejad, renowned for not mincing his words, reiterated, “We cannot let these [brothers] dominate the country and place people under pressure to the point that they submit to foreigners”.

Moreover, he warned, “Over my dead body you may convict Baghaei”.

In the meantime, Telegram channels supporting Ahmadinejad have reported that his official website and other website promoting his positions, including have been blocked. Nevertheless, it appears that these websites are still accessible.

Mizan, a news website close to the judiciary compared Ahmadinejad’s supporters to the so-called “anti-revolutionary” forces, including Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization, MKO, and Marxist Fedayeen Khalq. This shows a new level of tension between Iran’s judiciary and the former president.

Calling Ahmadinejad and his supporters, “munafiq”, a term meaning hypocrite and generally used by Iran’s officials to describe MKO members, Mizan reported on Saturday, November 18, “They search for crowded places of the cities to use them as a location for their showoff, a tactic explicitly copied from the hypocrites’”.

Moreover, referring to a basket full of documents Baghaei had brought to one his court hearings, Mizan has derided Ahmadinejad’s supporters as “Basket” cult.