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Disagreement Over Mortazavi, Leaders Respond To Attack

Tehran's former prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi
Tehran's former prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi

Mortazavi Case Reveals Fundamentalist Split

In a letter to the head of the judiciary, moderate fundamentalist MP Ali Motahhari objected to Saeed Mortazavi’s new government posting and asked the judiciary to address his charges.

Last week the investigatory committee of the parliament named Saeed Mortazavi, the former judge and prosecutor of Tehran, as the main culprit in the July deaths of three protestors in custody at Kahrizak prison. The committee asked the Islamic court to act accordingly. But in the meantime, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed Mortazavi as the head of the Center for Combat Against Goods and Currency Smuggling. Radio Farda talks to journalist Seraj-elddin Mirdamadi about how this incident illustrates a new gap between different factions of fundamentalists.

Mirdamadi believes that Mortazavi is a symbol of struggle between radical and moderate fundamentalists. While radical fundamentalists try to support and idealize him as a defender against reformists, moderates, such as Motahhari, are attempting to pin him as the main culprit. In doing so, their goal, he says, is to try to decrease the fundamentalists' faults surrounding the Kahrizak issue.

Ultimately, Mirdamadi thinks support will come down on the side of the moderates. "I believe, in Mortazavi's case, the Supreme Leader will support the moderate fundamentalists in order to somehow show his flexibility toward the opposition movement," Mirdamadi says.

[listen in Farsi]

Iranian Leaders React To Terrorist Attack

In a newly released statement, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, called the death of physics professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi "a new conspiracy." Ali-Mohammadi died on Tuesday in a bomb explosion in front of his house and was buried on Thursday, January 14.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami also sent his condolences, calling the attack on Ali-Mohammadi "the nasty face of the terrorism."

Some in the regime continue to blame the United States and Israel for the attack. Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian parliament, said that days ago Iran had clues that Israeli and U.S. intelligence services were going to carry out a terrorist attack in Tehran. The U.S. State Department has dismissed these allegations.

[read in Farsi / read in English]