Accessibility links

Breaking News

Daughters Of Green Movement Leader Plead With Grand Ayatollahs

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard:, 11 Feb 2013

In a letter to grand ayatollahs (Shi’ite sources of emulation), the daughters of Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi have bitterly criticized Iranian officials for what they call “skipping their responsibility.”

The slow death of those under house arrest, the daughters have lamented, “has become the plan for one group of people. For others, it has become a convenient solution” so they don’t have to do anything. “They will just sit and wait and then bring a thousand excuses to say they were not responsible.

Kokab, Zahra, and Nargess -- Mousavi’s daughters -- insisted in a letter published on a website close to Iran’s Green Movement on October 15, “Those under house arrest have deliberately and willingly paid the heavy price of telling the truth with their heartfelt faith. Nevertheless, this does not eliminate responsibility and commitment of others.”

The daughters of house detainees, Mousavi, 76, and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, 71, have also complained, “[Iran’s] officials have deliberately skipped their responsibility to address such blatant callousness” and “sufficed to privately and only clandestinely inquire about the detainees’ health.”

However, it is not quite clear who is the main target of their criticism.

Lifting the house arrest has been one of the main demands of those who have voted for Rouhani both times he was elected president.

The entities and organizations affiliated with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have always defended keeping Mousavi, Rahnavard, and another leader of the Green Movement, former speaker of the parliament Mehdi Karroubi, 81, under house arrest. President Hassan Rouhani and his officials are apparently against it but practically have done nothing toward tackling the problem so far.

Lifting the house arrest has been one of the main demands of those who have voted for Rouhani both times he was elected president.

Rouhani has not only been unsuccessful in releasing the Green Movement leaders, but he has also witnessed further restrictions imposed on reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, who played a crucial role in his re-election.

Last September, in a letter to Rouhani, several Religious-Nationalist activists inside Iran called for the immediate release of the Green Movement leaders.

Iran opposition leaders under house arrest
Iran opposition leaders under house arrest

They argued in their letter that “Rouhani has enough power and authority” as chairman of the Supreme National Security Council to bring the case up at the SNSC and “try to convince the regime’s high authorities” to lift the house arrests.

Rouhani has yet to respond to the letter.

Furthermore, Mousavi’s daughters have cautioned about their parents’ health, noting, “Our parents’ medical treatment is delayed as much as possible to consequently leave its various detrimental impacts on them.”

Addressing all grand ayatollahs, Shi’ite schools, and seminaries, Mousavi’s daughters also wrote, “Our parents have been illegally kept in an un-Islamic and inhumane suspended situation while we are just allowed to meet them once a week.”

The grand ayatollahs fall into three categories: first, there are those who are branded as hard-liners, allied with the supreme leader; second, so-called reformist grand ayatollahs, who have no influence on Khamenei and his conservative allies; and third, those who believe in a separation of religion and politics, avoiding interfering in state matters.

Karroubi, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Rahnavard, had branded the 2009 presidential election an “obvious cheat” and “engineered” in favor of their main challenger in the election, incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Their protest led to months of bloody unrest, known as the Green Movement.

The trio were extrajudicially placed under house arrest in February 2011, after they invited people to participate in street demonstrations in support of democracy movements, or the Arab Spring, in Egypt and Tunisia.

A few Iranian politicians, including parliamentary deputy speaker Ali Motahari, have explicitly stated that the extrajudicial detention of the trio is solely Khamenei’s decision.

Iran’s constitution grants broad powers to the supreme leader, but according to Article 30 no one can be banished from his place of residence, prevented from residing in the place of his choice, or compelled to reside in a specific locality except in cases provided by the law.