Hard-line Iranian prosecutor fired

Hard-line Iranian prosecutor fired

Iran’s new judiciary chief ousted the hard-line prosecutor behind the ongoing trials against opposition figures in Tehran, replacing him with a relatively moderate newcomer from the provinces, an Iranian news agency reported Saturday.

For years, Tehran prosecutor-general Saeed Mortazavi, a staunch ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been the bane of reformists, journalists and activists.

His removal suggests an attempt by the new judiciary chief, Sadegh Larijani, the scion of a powerful conservative family, to curtail the influence of hard-liners and clean up the image of the country’s legal system. [continued…]

Neither Islamic nor a republic

As the second act of the post-electoral drama unfolds in Iran, internal weaknesses are exposed more clearly than ever before. Behind the facade of victory lie deep divisions among the top clergy about what an Islamic government should be composed of and how it should treat its citizens.

Ayatollah Ali Montazeri – who is not a state official but has great religious authority in Iran – addressed “top officials” directly when he wrote: “At least have the courage to admit this is neither an Islamic state nor a republic.”

Ayatollah Khamenei sidelined Montazeri in 1989, when he should have occupied the seat of the supreme leader after the death of the leader of Ayatollah Khomeini. Montazeri has been enraged by recent developments and made public statements condemning the treatment of the detained demonstrators. In a letter responding to 293 journalists who asked his opinion on recent developments in Iran he said he expected the authorities to stop these “show trials and forced confessions” which were ridiculing Islamic justice. [continued…]

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