Iran’s op­po­si­tion lead­ers barred from travel abroad

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

TEHRAN, IRAN: Iran's op­po­si­tion lead­ers are barred from leav­ing the coun­try, a prom­i­nent con­ser­va­tive law­maker said Satur­day, hik­ing up the pres­sure on the re­form move­ment.

The com­ments by Mousa Qor­bani, a mem­ber of the Ju­di­cial Com­mit­tee in par­lia­ment, were the first of­fi­cial word of a travel ban on the top op­po­si­tion fig­ures, Mir Hos­sein Mousavi and Mahdi Kar­roubi - who both ran in the dis­puted 2009 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions - as well as for­mer re­formist pres­i­dent Mo­ham­mad Khatami.

Qor­bani also sug­gested the pres­sure by hard-lin­ers to put the top lead­ers on trial, a step the govern­ment has so far stopped short of tak­ing, though many mid-and low-level fig­ures in the op­po­si­tion move­ment have been tried and sen­tenced to long prison terms in the fierce crack­down that crushed protests fol­low­ing the 2009 vote. Qor­bani said au­thor­i­ties had "rec­og­nized" that Mousavi, Kar­roubi and Khatami are "mo­hareb" - a term mean­ing that they are "fight­ing God."

"There­fore, they are barred from leav­ing," Qor­bani was quoted by the state TV-run Youth Jour­nal­ists Club as say­ing Satur­day. Many other op­po­si­tion fig­ures who have been con­victed were tried on charges of be­ing "mo­hareb." The elite Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard, Iran's most pow­er­ful mil­i­tary force, has pushed for the trial of the three op­po­si­tion lead­ers. Jail­ing Mousavi, the most se­nior leader, or ei­ther of the other two could stoke ten­sions with the op­po­si­tion. Though no travel ban had been of­fi­cially an­nounced, Khatami was for­bid­den to travel to Ja­pan in April to at­tend a con­fer­ence on di­a­logue be­tween cul­tures. -Afp

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