Moussavi dismissed as the head of the Academy of Arts

2009/12/22

Published in “Focus” on December 22 2009
Source (German): http://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/iran-mussawi-als-akademie-praesident-abgesetzt_aid_465436.html

The regime in Iran takes a toughened stance. An opposition leader was forced to leave his post as an academy president. Hundreds of militias devastated the house of a dissident cleric.

Mir Hossein Moussavi. Photo: AFP


The Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution has dismissed Mir Hossein Moussavi. This was announced by Fars Mohammad Mohammadian, a member of the council, according to the state-run news agency Fars. Moussavi will be succeeded by Ali Moalem Damghani. The Council of the Cultural Revolution is headed by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Moussavi ran the academy since its foundation in 1999. The former prime minister and challenger to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections in June had repeatedly called into question the outcome of the election, and accused the leadership in Tehran of electoral fraud. The Academy of Arts is a state-run institution supervised by the president’s office, and its purpose is to preserve Islamic and national art, and “counter intrusive cultures”.

Office of a dissident attacked
Moussavi had attended the mourning ceremony for the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri on Monday. According to eyewitnesses, tens of thousands of mourners as well as numerous reformists were present at the ceremony that took place 130 km South of Tehran. Observers spoke of a political rally against Ahmadinejad. Montazeri in his lifetime had been a harsh critic of the ultra conservative president.

On Tuesday, militias responded to the protests by attempts of intimidation: Hundreds of supporters of the president attacked the office of reformist Grand Ayatollah Yussef Saneie in the holy Shiite city of Qom. As reported by the website “Norooznews.ir”, which is affiliated with the reformist Participation Front, members of the Iranian basij-militias destroyed the windows. They then insulted and beat the staff members, and put up pictures of spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei had backed the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad in June, and gave order for a crack down on the protests against the election result. The website reported that the police took sides with the militias and prevented supporters of Saneie from defending the office. The incident has not been officially confirmed. Saneie had repeatedly criticized the ultra conservative president. After Montazeri’s death on Saturday, Saneie is regarded as his possible successor.

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