Tehran threatens to arrest Rafsanjani's son on return

Published Date: April 18, 2010 

TEHRAN: A son of influential Iranian cleric and ex-president Akbar Hashemi 
Rafsanjani faces arrest on return from abroad, Tehran's prosecutor said in a 
newspaper report yesterday. The threat keeps up the pressure on Iran's 
opposition movement, with which the former president has been sympathetic since 
last June's disputed re-election of serving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Pro-regime hardliners have repeatedly called for the arrest of Mehdi Rafsanjani 
and his sister Faezeh for their alleged role in inciting mass street protests 
which rocked Iran in the wake of the vote. "There were reports about the 
possibility of Mehdi Hashemi's return to Iran over the (Iranian) New Year 
holidays," which ran from March 21 to April 2, said Tehran prosecutor Abbas 
Jafari Dolatabadi. "So officials in Tehran and Kish airports have been told he 
should be referred to the Tehran prosecutor's office should he return," 
Dolatabadi said, quoted in a reformist newspaper, Bahar.

According to Iranian media reports, Mehdi Hashemi has been living in Britain 
since he left Iran last summer. The animosity between Ahmadinejad and 
Rafsanjani, who heads two powerful state bodies, was highlighted during the 
vote campaign when the hardliner accused Rafsanjani's children of financial 
corruption on television. Ahmadinejad also accused Rafsanjani of directing the 
opposition movement to his government. Several members of the Rafsanjani 
family, who openly backed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the June 
election, were briefly detained during the protests.

A grandson, Hassan Lahooti, was arrested on arrival from Britain during New 
Year holidays and released on bail a day later, and a former top aide, Hossein 
Marashi, has been jailed for a year on charges of anti-regime propaganda. The 
pragmatic conservative cleric himself refused to openly side with any candidate 
before the poll. But Rafsanjani has blasted the authorities over their handling 
of the post-vote unrest and treatment of opposition supporters, dozens of whom 
were killed in protests and scores of others jailed. - AFP

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