Iranian opposition leader ends hunger strike after government agrees to relax house arrest

Behnam Ben Taleblu
17th August 2017 - Quoted by Erin Cunningham - The Washington Post

 An Iranian opposition leader living under house arrest has ended his hunger strike after authorities agreed to lift some restrictions and consider his demand for a public trial, a family member said Thursday. The decision marked a potentially rare concession from a government generally resistant to public pressure.

The 79-year-old Mehdi Karroubi, one of the unofficial leaders of Iran’s pro-reform Green Movement, began his hunger strike Wednesday to protest his six years of confinement. He demanded that the intelligence officers stationed inside his home be removed and that Iran’s hard line judiciary set a date for his trial. He has not been formally charged with a crime.

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According to Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, if Karroubi had died under house arrest, “Rouhani would have much to atone for.”

The president’s supporters “tragically believed that Rouhani was interested in or could further social and political reform in the Islamic Republic,” Taleblu said. “The imprisoned and ailing Green Movement leaders will continue to be yet another political football in Iran’s domestic political game.”

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