TEHRAN (AFP) – Hardline “thugs” surrounded the home of opposition Iranian leader Mehdi Karroubi, pelting the building with rocks to prevent the cleric from attending a rally, his website said.
In the latest such incident, members of the Islamist Basij militia “violently attacked” the building where the opposition cleric lives, the sahamnews.org website said.
The militia, “in a coordinated and pre-planned action, gathered in front of the building which houses Mehdi Karroubi,” the website said.
“The Basij thugs… with the support of police… disrupted public order and peace. They threw stones, sprayed the building with paint and stole security cameras of the building” in northern Tehran, the report said.
It said the Basij had been gathering outside the building every night since Sunday, and that the harassment was meant to prevent the opposition leader from attending annual nationwide rallies marking Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day.
They were “intimidating and terrorising public opinion, especially to prevent Karroubi from participating in the Quds Day rally,” Sahamnews said.
Every year Iran organises pro-Palestinian marches across the country on the last Friday of Ramadan, an event started by revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a protest against arch-foe Israel.
At a similar rally last year supporters of Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi staged demonstrations against the hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government.
Karroubi, along with Mousavi, have remained steadfast in rejecting the re-election of Ahmadinejad last year. They continue to claim that his victory was the result of massive vote rigging.
Their opposition to Ahmadinejad has deeply divided Iran’s ruling clergy, in turn threatening the very pillars of the Islamic republic.
The Sahamnews report said Karroubi’s wife Fatemeh has already written a letter to Iran’s hardline supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, complaining about the siege of their home.
“What have differences between my husband and your highness on issues which we all know about got to do with the right of my family to live?,” Fatemeh Karroubi wrote in the letter, according to the website.
Opposition websites claim that the two opposition leaders have been previously attacked by hardliners during public rallies, and that Karroubi has been surrounded and harassed by supporters of Iran’s hardline faction on other occasions.