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Iran: MP alleges office bugging - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iran's outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in mid-June gives a speech during a ceremony at Tehran's Golestan Palace celebrating its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 7, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in mid-June gives a speech during a ceremony at Tehran’s Golestan Palace celebrating its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 7, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A member of Iran’s parliament issued a statement on Saturday claiming that his office had been illegally bugged.

Ali Motahari, a conservative MP from Tehran, released a statement on his personal website on July 13, saying his office was wiretapped and videotaped illegally.

His personal website at alimotahari.ir was suspended a few hours after the release of the news, and was still unavailable as of the end of July 14.

Motahari said in his statement that “surveillance equipment” was discovered in “the air conditioning ductwork” at his office on July 9, 2013.

The Tehran MPs statement reads: “the chief of staff of my out-of-parliament office noticed minor changes in the air conditioner duct. He opened the air vent and found a surveillance camera and a covert listening device.”

Motahari stressed that the intrusion had happened recently and said: “the fresh layer of plaster on the camera cable was still wet which shows that intruders had entered the premises a night before.”

The Mp claimed that the recording of the video shows “the face of the intruder who installed the camera and also two other men who were helping him during the installation of the camera.”

A porter of the building said the intruders entered the building forcefully once before, in March 2013.

Motahari said: “the day after, on July 10, at 6 pm, three men wearing police uniforms seized the tape of the main entrance of the building. After contacting the police, they denied any involvement.”

Motahari urged the Intelligence Ministry “to investigate this illegal act, which is against the Iranian constitution, is only compatible with the law of the jungle, and violates the human rights.”

Article 25 of the Iranian constitution states that “the inspection of letters and the failure to deliver them, the recording and disclosure of telephone conversations, the disclosure of telegraphic and telex communications, censorship, or the willful failure to transmit them, eavesdropping, and all forms of covert investigation are forbidden, except as provided by law.”

The Tehran MP took his case to the Iranian parliament Majlis. However, he was advised by the Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani to take his complaint to the judicial system and urge them to protect him against such an intrusion.

Motahari’s allegations have raised questions about the identity of those who installed the surveillance equipment, their motives for doing so, and the possibility that it represents another development in the feud that has divided Iran’s conservatives.

In February 2013, the Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played a video, recorded covertly, during an appearance in Iran’s parliament, which he alleged showed Fazel Larijani, the speaker of parliament’s brother, in conversation with Saeed Mortazavi, a close Ahmadinejad supporter.

Ahmadinejad claimed Fazel Larijani was demanding a bribe in return for providing political favors to secure an illegal business deal. Ahmadinejad played the video during the impeachment session of his Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Abdolreza Sheikholeslami.

Fazel Larijani called on the Tehran Prosecutor to press charges against Ahmadinejad for defamation and slander.

In mid-June Ahmadinejad was summoned to a criminal court following a complaint by parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani. he is scheduled to appear in court on November 26, 2013.

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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