In an open letter to Muslim religious leaders worldwide, Mir Hossein Mousavi’s daughters have accused “some” Iranian officials of “hoping and planning” for the “gradual death” of their father, mother Zahra Rahnavard, and fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reports.
Mousavi, Rahnavard and Karroubi have been under extrajudicial house arrest and forced isolation for more than six years for leading the peaceful protests against the disputed result of Iran’s 2009 president election.
Mousavi’s daughters, Kokab, Zahra and Narges Mousavi, said they are only permitted to see their parents once a week at their home on Pasteur St. in Tehran. No one else is allowed to enter the home without an approval from security agents.
“Some are hoping and planning for the gradual death of the detainees while others see it as an easy solution for this inescapable problem. They [officials] are trying to escape responsibility with a thousand different tricks. We, the daughters of Zahra Rahnavard and Mir Hossein Mousavi, address you at a time when we have been witnesses to injustice against our parents under house arrest for nearly seven years. Their most natural rights, such as access to medical care, are delayed for as long as possible so that the abuse impacts their health,” wrote Mousavi’s daughters in a letter addressed to “the great scholars in religious schools in the world of Islam,” published on October 15, 2017, on the reformist Kalame website.
Activists and MPs renewed calls for the elderly opposition leaders to be released after 79-year-old Karroubi was repeatedly hospitalized in the summer of 2017 to receive emergency treatment for heart complications, including low blood pressure.
According to comments by officials familiar with the case, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has long insisted that the three must apologize for their role in the peaceful mass protests of 2009, which were violently repressed by the state.
On August 29, agents of the Intelligence Ministry, who had been stationed inside Karroubi’s home in the Jamaran neighborhood of northern Tehran from the beginning of his house arrest, retreated after he went on hunger strike to demand their exit. However, the opposition leader’s second demand, to be tried in public, was ignored.
“We are left completely in the dark for a whole week every time we leave our parents. We cannot even call them on the phone without permission. They are lingering in a hopeless situation that is not only unlawful, but also un-Islamic and inhumane, they have been left at the mercy of vengeful people seeking power,” wrote the Mousavi sisters in their letter.
A day after the letter was published, Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, an outspoken moderate religious leader in the city of Qom, condemned the house arrests.
“The officials are busy fighting over power and don’t care about the people’s problems. During the [May 2017] election campaign, the people demanded Mousavi’s freedom and they voted with the hope that someone would do something for those who are under house arrest. But no one has,” said Sanei in an interview with Kalame on October 16.
Ending the house arrests was one of President Hassan Rouhani’s top pledges during his 2013 election campaign. Crowds of supporters chanted for the trios’ freedom during many of his campaign rallies in 2013 and again in 2017. However, after his re-election on May 19, 2017, Rouhani adopted a more cautious line and suggested that a solution depends on cooperation from other branches of state.