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Iranian Opposition Leader Ready For 'Public Trial'

Mehdi Karrubi has been under house arrest since at least February 14.
Mehdi Karrubi has been under house arrest since at least February 14.
An adviser to Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi says the Green Movement leader is prepared to face trial on charges that he is trying to overthrow the Iranian system, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mojtaba Vahedi, a Karrubi adviser based in the United States, told RFE/RL on February 17 that he was finally able to speak that day to Karrubi, who along with fellow Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Musavi has been under house arrest since at least February 14.

He said Karrubi believed the government officials who this week called for his arrest were pressured into doing so.

Vahedi said Karrubi told him calls by Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Hassan Rohani, a member of the Supreme National Security Council; and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to prosecute Karrubi and Musavi suggested "they were the result of orders from higher authorities, who were clearly threatening [the men] to support the government or be counted as seditionists."

Vahedi told RFE/RL that Karrubi's response to the three men was: "If you are brave enough to pass such statements, why don't you demand from the government a public trial against us, in which we are ready to prove that we are merely trying to reform the system, not topple it."

He said Karrubi added: "If the government has enough courage, why don't they hold a public trial for us that is covered by the media, just as the royal rulers of Iran did for [such activists as Iranian communist activist Khosrom] Golsorkhi, [and Ayatollah Mahmud] Taleghani."

Vahedi said Karrubi didn't expect state television, with its reputation of "fabricating news," to broadcast such a trial fairly. He told Vahedi that the print and online media outlets should cover the trial. He added that it "should be held very soon and be open to the public."

Vahedi said that "throughout my conversation with Karrubi I did not notice a single sign of fear of arrest, despite the fact that he is currently virtually imprisoned, along with the announcement of [parliament speaker Ali] Larijani, who said on Thursday [February 17] that [Karrubi and Musavi] are no longer allowed to publish statements."

Vahedi told RFE/RL that "only the future can tell what Karrubi and Musavi have planned, although Karrubi has always taken steps to try to prevent his supporters from being harmed."

He added that Karrubi's first concern after his house arrest was to apologize to his neighbors for having to put up with the constant presence of security forces outside their apartments and for having to endure their "rude behavior."