A former President of Iran has called upon Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end the house arrest of opposition leaders who disputed the results of the 2009 presidential elections. Mohammad Khatami posted the appeal on his personal website, urging Khamenei to “resolve” the house arrest of reformist politicians Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Musavi.
The two men have been under house arrest since 2011 along with their wives, Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi. Concerns over their deteriorating health have been raised by a number of rights groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), which earlier this month accused the Iranian authorities of denying health care to both men. HRW also alleged that several members of parliament tried to visit Karroubi in hospital but were denied permission.
With no legal justification given for their continued, apparently arbitrary detention, President Rouhani promised during his 2013 presidential campaign to lift the former candidates’ house arrest, but he has not done so.
Khatami’s statement is the first time that a senior political figure has asked Khamenei publicly to intervene on the issue of house arrests. The ailing health of Karroubi and Musavi, however, has raised the pressure on Rouhani to push harder for their release.