Rival camps within Iran’s corridors of power intensified their threats against each other Friday, signaling potentially dangerous clashes within elite circles and the security establishment after the disputed June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Hard-line clerics close to Ahmadinejad called for prominent reformist Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament and a presidential candidate, to stand trial for making allegations of jailhouse rape and torture in the country’s detention centers.
On the opposing side, a group of former reformist lawmakers issued a letter late Thursday demanding that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, be investigated by the Assembly of Experts, clerics who have the power to replace the supreme leader, in relation to the election’s violent aftermath.
The factional disputes, which are expected to get worse before the naming of the next Cabinet, come as street protests have faded. [continued…]
Iran’s clerical leadership on Friday stepped up a campaign to silence opposition claims that protesters had been raped in prison, with prayer leaders in at least three major cities denouncing the accusations and their chief sponsor.
The accusations of rape — usually a taboo subject in Iran — have multiplied and provoked strong reactions in the days since a reformist cleric and presidential candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, broached the subject last weekend. His allegations added fuel to an already volatile debate about prison abuse in the wake of Iran’s disputed June 12 election.
Also on Friday, a group of reformist former lawmakers issued an extraordinary statement on opposition Web sites in which they denounced the government’s harsh tactics and appealed to a powerful state body to investigate the qualifications of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Although it was not clear who had endorsed the statement, or even if all of the lawmakers were in the country, it appeared to be the most direct challenge to the supreme leader’s authority yet in the unrest following the election. [continued…]