Interior Ministry: Arrested Dissidents not Charged of ‘Seeking to Overthrow Islamic Regime’
Iran's interior ministry has denied that the arrested 42 opposition members are not charged of "seeking to overthrow the Islamic regime," reported the official IRNA news agency, citing an official at the ministry as saying.
"According to the documents on hand in the intelligence ministry, the detainees have not been conspiring to topple the Islamic regime," the unnamed source said.
He said that the judiciary has acted "independently," and that the ministry has played no role in the mass arrest.
Tehran's Revolutionary Court announced Sunday the arrests of 42 Islamic nationalists, mostly linked to the banned Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), saying they were in cahoots with the Iraqi-based terrorist group of the Mujahedeen Khalq.
Meanwhile, reformist MP Davoud Soleimani said that Interior Minister Ali Younessi has also rejected the charges, said IRNA.
The reformist-led Iranian parliament (Majlis) summoned Younessi to appear in the chamber on Tuesday for questioning on the arrests. On Sunday, President Mohammad Khatami expressed regret over the recent arrests of journalists, students, academics and members of political groups in Iran.
Iran's largest pro-reform grouping, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), headed by Khatami's brother, condemned the latest arrests Sunday.
"These unprecedented arrests are an attempt to influence political participation and the will of the people," it said, urging the people to turn out en masse for the June presidential election.
Deputy parliamentary speaker Behzad Nabavi also on Tuesday denounced recent arrests of several members of the religious-nationalist opposition, saying neither the public nor the officials know the motives behind the arrests, IRNA quoted him as saying. He called the arrests "wrong and imprudent," saying "such treatments" could undermine the Islamic system and obliterate its image before the international opinion.
IRAN'S ARMED OPPOSITION RESPONDS TO RECENT ARRESTS WITH ROCKET ATTACK
MEANWHILE, Mujahedeen Khalq said on Tuesday that it launched a rocket attack on a garrison of Iranian troops Tuesday, inflicting "heavy casualties and damages," in retaliation for the recent wave of arrests in the country, said AFP.
In a statement received by fax in Nicosia, the group said "six of the group's operational units in northern Khuzistan pounded this morning with multiple rocket launchers the strategic garrison of the army's southern command in Einkhosh."
The statement described the garrison as "the headquarters of a military security detachment dispatched from Tehran," saying the opposition group had struck at both the detachment from Tehran and two army battalions based in Einkhosh.
"Fuel and ammunition dumps of the army's sixth region were also destroyed," it said.
The attack "was in retaliation for the continuing wave of suppression and arrests ahead of presidential elections of the mullahs' illegitimate regime", the organization said.
The statement also said that amid the arrests, the operation should "serve as a warning to the mullahs and their suppressive agents and Revolutionary Guards," saying the arrests "were designed to consolidate the domination of mullahs' Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ahead of presidential elections", in June.
Earlier Tuesday, students at Tehran university protested at the mass arrest of liberal dissidents, including one of their professors, and called on Khatami to intervene.
The state IRNA news agency said students gathered on campus and signed a petition calling on the reformist president to ensure the security of citizens as the guardian of the constitution.
Later Tuesday, the banned organization faxed another statement to AFP in Nicosia in which it said its "operational units in Tehran fired RPG-18 rockets at the command headquarters of the State Security Forces (SSF) in downtown Tehran's Youssef-Abad district".
"Heavy casualties and damages were inflicted on this key suppressive center in Tehran", the statement said, adding this was the "fifth operation by Mujahedeen in retaliation for the recent wave of arrests and suppression in Tehran" – Albawaba.com
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