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Iran Opposition Figure Karrubi Ends Hunger Strike

Mehdi Karrubi in Tehran in 2008

Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karrubi, who has been under house arrest for more than six years, has ended a hunger strike, his son says.

Mohammad Taghi Karrubi tweeted on August 17 that his father called off the strike after authorities promised to withdraw security agents from his home.

Karrubi began a hunger strike on August 16, demanding a public trial and that the guards leave his house.

The 79-year-old, who suffers from heart disease, was taken to hospital early on August 17, where he was visited by the health minister and deputy intelligence minister.

Mohammad Taghi Karrubi wrote that the two officials also promised that President Hassan Rohani's government will take measures regarding Karrubi’s demand for a public trial.

Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi told the official IRNA news agency that his visit to Karrubi was ordered by Rohani. He also said that Karrubi's health situation is under control.

Mehdi Karrubi, along with opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, were placed under house arrest in February 2011 for challenging the establishment over the disputed 2009 presidential vote and also for highlighting human rights abuses.

Rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of the three opposition figures.

Amnesty International said last month that it was "high time" Iranian authorities ended their "unjust treatment" of Karrubi, Musavi, and Rahnavard.

"All three have been unjustly deprived of their liberty in a chilling illustration of Iran's zero tolerance approach to political dissent," the London-based watchdog's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi said in a July 31 statement.

With reporting by AP and Reuters