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Rouhani Adviser Indicted For Remarks On House Arrests

President Hassan Rouhani's adviser, Hessamoddin Ashena. File photo

An indictment has been issued for President Rouhani's top aide, Hessamoddin Ashena and a lawsuit against him delivered to the court, Tehran’s prosecutor said on Tuesday, January 22.

Ashena, the head of Center for Strategic Studies, and Rouhani's Cultural Advisor, is prosecuted for comments he made about forty days ago on the fate of Iran Green Movement's leaders who have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Ashena had remarked on December 9, 2018 that the house arrests have become much less restrictive and are more of a formality now and had tried to get credit for having played a role in changing the conditions of the house arrests.

Firing back, Tehran's prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said yesterday, "The house arrests are firmly in place."

Ashena on January 11 made other, perhaps more provocative remarks, saying that the underlying reasons for popular protests and unrest have not been deal with.

It is not clear if his indictment stems from the house arrests remarks or the more recent interview about mass protests.

Former Prime Minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi (1981-1989), his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, and former speaker of parliament Mehdi Karroubi have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Mousavi and Karroubi were the main challengers of the hardline incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and rejected the highly controversial 2009 elections result.

Their protest led to widespread demonstrations against the Islamic establishment and its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who had ardently supported Ahmadinejad.

There were reports during 2018 that the three opposition figures were allowed to receive more visitors and in one case even leave the house.

Nevertheless, the trio are still kept under house arrest, contrary to optimistic predictions about their imminent release.

Some political figures have said the house arrests can be lifted only if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gives the order.