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Lawyer Denies Former President Barred From Leaving Iran


Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami

The semi-official Fars news agency, which allegedly has ties to the powerful Revolutionary Guard, has quoted an unnamed intelligence official as saying that Mohammad Khatami was barred from leaving the country. But Khatami's lawyer has denied the report.

Fars, which some refer to as "False News," quoted the executive head of the Society of Tehran's Preachers, Hojatoleslam Abbas Amirifar, as saying that an intelligence official said that Khatami had been barred from leaving the country in a private meeting of the society last night. The cleric added that the security official said Khatami was planning to leave Iran. He didn't provide further details.

Khatami's lawyer, Mahmud Alizadeh Tabatabi, however, told the ILNA news agency that as far as he knows there has been no case or charge against the former president resulting in him being barred from leaving the country.

He added that there should be a court case and a judicial decision in order to bar people from leaving the country. "There hasn't been so far any accusation against the head of the reform government and I strongly deny this issue," Tabatabi said.

In recent weeks, the authorities have banned two of the sons of reformist cleric and opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi from leaving the country. On March 8, a prominent Iranian poet and icon of Iran's women's movement, Simin Behbahani, was prevented from leaving Iran to participate in a ceremony in Paris.

The individuals who have been prevented from leaving Iran have usually been informed of the ban at the airport by security officials who have taken away their passports.

Banning a former president from leaving the country would be a highly unusual move. At the same time, Khatami has been a strong critic of the postelection crackdown. Earlier this month, he said that the reform movement will not retreat in the face of repression.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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