An ultraconservative Iranian student group has called for the return of an expropriated villa occupied by the Islamic Republic’s former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi.
The villa located in Lavasan, north of the capital, Tehran, was expropriated after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and let for free to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Major General Firouzabadi in 1993.
In its open letter to Tehran’s prosecutor, an ultraconservative student group, called Justice Seeking Students Movement (JSSM), says, “The Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has twice ordered the evacuation of the villa, but it is still occupied by the retired IRGC Major General Firouzabadi.”
The JSSM was formed in early 2002, as a group supporting the anti-corruption statements of ayatollah Khamenei. As such, the group maintained regular presence in state sponsored meetings and gatherings. However, over time it somewhat gravitated toward former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supported him in his two election bids.
The general secretary of JSSM, Mohammad Javad Motametinezhad attended a meeting of student groups with Khamenei on May 28, where he delivered stinging attacks on Iran’s judiciary. This was an unusual act in the presence of the Supreme Leader, who appoints the heads of the judiciary and directly supervises them.
“The head of the judiciary has been promising for years to publish the list and images of corrupt judges, but nothing has come of it,” Motametinezhad said at the meeting with Khamenei. “A lack of transparency has led to a situation where the corrupt elements feel safe, rather than the oppressed -- people have lost their trust in the judiciary.”
Motametinezhad’s words are very similar to the literature used by Ahmadinejad.
The letter, published on Sunday, June 17, has maintained, “Despite numerous legal warnings, Firouzabadi has defied the law and continued to stay in the one-hectare villa.”
The day after the publication of the letter, a senior official insisted that no orders were ever issued for the villa to be vacated.
Firouzabadi, 67, was dismissed as the Islamic Republic’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff nearly two years ago, after holding the position for 27 years.
According to the letter, the villa, expropriated after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, is officially owned by “Executive Headquarters of Imam’s [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic] Order”.
The headquarters is managed under the direct supervision of Khamenei. Firouzabadi was also appointed chief of staff by Khamenei, who is the commander in chief of the armed forces.
The letter, published on the Justice Seeking Students Movement’s website, insists, “Despite two consecutive orders by the Supreme Leader and legal verdicts, the security forces (led by IRGC commanders) have refused to force the retired Major General to evacuate the villa.”
Meanwhile, in an unprecedented tone, the JSSM has warned authorities, “If the occupation continues, the Movement will be duty-bound to implement its revolutionary right, forcing him (Firouzabadi) to evacuate the property.”
However, it is not yet clear how Firouzabadi has defied orders of Khamenei and judicial authorities, if what the ultraconservative student movement says is true.
According to some posts in social media, the luxury villa belonged to the late Princess Ashraf, twin sister of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad-Reza Shah.
The villa, along with thousands of other properties owned by authorities of the ancient regime, as well as Jewish and Baha’i citizens, was expropriated after the Islamic Revolution in February 1979.
The ownership of many of the expropriated properties was transferred to the nascent regime’s officials and institutions for free, in a situation still shrouded in mystery.