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Report: Iran Jails Senior Reformer For Five Years

Behzad Nabavi during a hearing at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in August 2009.
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- An Iranian court has confirmed a jail sentence of five years for a reformist former industries minister over his role in unrest that erupted after last year's disputed election, ISNA news agency reported today.

ISNA also said one of those arrested during antigovernment demonstrations on December 27 was sentenced to death. Eight others were sentenced to prison terms.

Behzad Nabavi was among senior reformist figures arrested after the disputed June presidential election that plunged Iran into turmoil.

The opposition says the June poll was rigged to secure hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's reelection. The authorities have rejected the charge and portrayed postelection protests as Western-backed.

"Among the issued verdicts, is a confirmation of a five-year prison sentence for Behzad Nabavi," ISNA reported.

"One person has also been sentenced to death and eight others were sentenced to jail," the report said.

Opposition websites have urged people to take to the streets again on February 11, when Iran marks the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Police have warned they will not tolerate any more antigovernment protests.

Several other leading opposition supporters have already received jail terms on charges including acting against national security.

An Iranian court on February 8 sentenced reformist former Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh to six years in jail.

ISNA said Alireza Beheshti, an adviser to Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, was released on bail from prison today.

Thousands of people protesting against the conduct of the June vote were arrested. Most of them have since been freed, though more than 80 people have been jailed for of up to 15 years.

Last month, Iran hanged two people sentenced to death in postvote trials. The West and human rights groups condemned the executions, accusing Iran of staging "show trials" and of seeking to intimidate the opposition.