Iranian Panel Calls Official in Charge of Prison ‘the Main Culprit’ in Detainee Deaths
New York Times / Nazila Fathi

A parliamentary panel in Iran on Wednesday implicated a senior official and ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the deaths of at least three detainees arrested in June during antigovernment demonstrations, the Alef Web site reported.

The Web site, which is overseen by a prominent conservative member of Parliament, Ahmad Tavakoli, said that the panel had submitted its report on Sunday and that it was expected to be read on the floor of Parliament next week.

The man singled out in the report, Saeed Mortazavi, was responsible as Tehran’s city prosecutor for the arrests of more than 100 journalists, activists and former government officials after the election. Reformers have loathed him since the late 1990s, when he closed scores of reformist newspapers and arrested dozens of journalists.

The allegations against Mr. Mortazavi reveal a tug of war between the conservative factions within the establishment: the one led by Mr. Ahmadinejad, which favors a severe crackdown against protesters, and his conservative opponents who favor compromise to end the protests, Iran experts said.

“They want to sacrifice Mortazavi, thinking that people would back down,” said Mohsen Sazegara, an opposition figure and political analyst in Washington. “This conservative faction is willing to even sacrifice Ahmadinejad to end the protests.”

Iran’s state radio reported that the panel had concluded its investigation and listed some culprits, but did n... >>>

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