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Iran: Hardliners crack down on Ahmadinejad supporters - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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 handout picture released by the Iranian presidency shows the Islamic Republic's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashing the sign for victory following the weekly cabinet meeting in Tehran on May 22, 2013. (AFP)

handout picture released by the Iranian presidency shows the Islamic Republic’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashing the sign for victory following the weekly cabinet meeting in Tehran on May 22, 2013. (AFP)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—In the run up to the June 14 presidential elections, Iran’s judiciary and security services have started cracking down on supporters of President Ahmadinejad and disqualified presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Elsewhere, an anonymous security official speaking to FARS news announced that “the security services have dismantled a group of active agents connected with the Mujahidn Khalq Organization (MKO)”
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“These agents recently infiltrated the country to arrange anti-regime activates, particularly to incite strife prior and during the elections,” the unnamed official added.

Hojjat al-Islam Bahman Sharif Zadeh, known to be a strong supporter of Rahim Mashaei, has also been summoned for questioning on two separate occasions over a period of 48-hours, according to IRNA. The report also revealed that at least 5 pro-Ahmadinejad websites have been closed.

This crackdown is understood to be taking place nationwide although the Iranian authorities have yet to release any information about the identity of individuals arrested.

Prior to the disqualification of Rahim Mashaei, who is a close aide of Ahmadinejad, there was widespread speculation that the outgoing president would seek to expose corruption cases surrounding his opponents in a bid to counter pressure from the hardliners.

More than 4 days after the verdict issued by powerful election watchdog the Guardian Council to disqualify both Hashemi Rafsanjani and Rahim Mashaei, there has been no serious reaction from the Ahmadinejad camp despite his previous threats.

Today’s arrests follow the routine pattern of security services raiding the residencies and work-places of suspects, detaining them under vague circumstances with no record of whose organization they represent or where they are being held.

On Friday morning, a number of local websites published statements by Mashaei who threatened to reveal unknown scandals surrounding public figures, emphasizing that they have not been held accountable to the law. However it was later revealed that Mashaei had made these comments one day before the Guardian Council disqualified his presidential candidacy.

News of the arrest of Ahmadinejad supporters was not widely reported by the reformist media while the majority of Friday Prayer imams announced their support of the Guardian Council’s decision to disqualify Rafsanjani and Mashaei, rejecting calls for Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei to intervene and overrule this verdict.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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