London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Hossein Musavian, deputy head of the Iranian Center for Strategic Studies (ICSS) and an advisor to Hashemi Rafsanjani who heads the State Expediency Council, was arrested in his home on April 30. An Iranian source close to the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahrudi, said that the judiciary was not involved in Musavian’s arrest.
A group of security personnel from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ministry raided former nuclear negotiator Musavian’s home and office, the latter of which lies in close proximity to Rasfanjani’s office, last Monday at dawn. Following Musavian’s arrest, all documents, computer files, images and tapes found were confiscated.
It has been revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Musavian, who would have assumed the post of foreign minister had Rafsanjani won the last presidential elections, is currently held in room 209 of Evin Prison for investigation. This is the same room in which writer Hashem Agajari was detained and is part of a section in the prison that is monitored by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
Musavian’s wife has been in contact with Rafsanjani and the Supreme Guide’s [Ali Khamenei] office as well as the heads of parliament and the judiciary, expressing her concern over the information leaked out of Evin Prison’s 209 section which maintains that Musavian might have been subject to psychological pressures in the case of refusing to sign confessions against him that have been set by the Iranian Intelligence.
According to informed sources, the intelligence apparatus of a country amiable towards Iran was the one to inform the Iranian government about Hossein Musavian at a time when one of Musavian colleagues at the ICSS has described the aforementioned act as one of retaliation. He said that the aforesaid country was reciprocating for a blow that it had received over 25 years ago when British Intelligence informed the Iranian government about Soviet agents working in the communist Tudeh Party of Iran, which resulted in the detention of hundreds of leaders and cadres of the party. Among those arrested were the Iranian Navy’s Commander in Chief, Captain Bahram Afzali, and a number of senior army officers and guards, in addition to then-secretary-general of Tudeh, Noureddin Kianoori, and the editor of ‘Kihan’ newspaper Rahman Hatefi. Dozens of detainees were executed following the arrests.
Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi has confirmed that Iranian intelligence is investigating Musavian’s case and that he is currently being questioned by the MOIS. Mortazavi furthermore confirmed to Fars News Agency that Musavian is detained in Tehran but refused to disclose any further details until the end of the investigation.
According to Fars News Agency, there is speculation that the reason behind Musavian’s arrest is because he is a prominent member of the nuclear negotiating team and is associated with Iran’s nuclear program, however the agency failed to provide any further clarification.
During the second term of former president Khatami’s regime, 2001-2005, Musavian was the second man in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) in charge of nuclear negotiation after secretary Hassan Rohani who was succeeded in office by current chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Musavian was also former ambassador to Germany during the 1990s and is a renowned figure among European officials.
According to Fars News Agency the man detained on suspicion of leaking secrets about Iran’s nuclear activities to an oppositional group abroad has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The agency added that the court had fined the man whose name it did not disclose but whom it said works in a special research center for the parliament with the sum 25 million riyals [approximately US $2,702].