Iranian opposition leader Karroubi recognizes Ahmadinejad


Published in German weekly “Die Zeit” on January 25 2010

Apparently, the pressure eventually became too much: As the first opposition leader, cleric and politician Mehdi Karroubi acknowledged the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi during a press conference in June 2009 © AFP/Getty images

More than seven months after the presidential elections in Iran, opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has now acknowledged the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As explained by Mehdi Karroubi’s son Hossein, the reason for this was the fact that the religious leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, endorsed Ahmadinejad’s election, however, Karroubi maintains his stance that the ballot was marked by massive fraud, said Hossein Karroubi referring to his father.

In the past weeks, Mehdi Karroubi was repeatedly attacked. In early January, in the city of Qazvin, shots were fired at Karroubi’s car. And in the end of December unknown persons smashed the wind screen of Karroubi’s car when he was heading for a mourning ceremony in the East of Tehran.

Moreover, currently there are legal investigations being held against Karroubi for his publicly denouncing the torture of detained opposition supporters. Agitators had called Karroubi an “enemy of God” who should be punished by death penalty.

The former speaker of parliament is the chair of the political party Etemad-e Melli (National Trust Party) and is considered the most outspoken critic of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Karroubi along with the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai and the former prime minister Mir Hossein Moussavi campaigned against the incumbent in June, however, according to the official final result were clearly defeated.

Reports on vote rigging had caused the largest mass demonstrations in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. About two weeks after the elections, Karroubi had joined the protesters. The June ballot was “not valid”, he said. “I do not recognize this government as legitimate.”

Source: ZEIT ONLINE, dpa, AFP


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