And for the past six weeks, Hajjarian, 55, has languished in prison, a key target of the apparatus he helped create.
“He is a great symbol of what the Islamic republic does to its own,” said Farideh Farhi, an Iran specialist at the University of Hawaii who first met Hajjarian in the 1990s. “Obviously, today, some in the Intelligence Ministry think he was the brain behind [opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein] Mousavi’s campaign.” Hajjarian’s arrest, she added, “suggests his continued significance as a reflection of what the hard-liners most fear.”
Hajjarian was arrested three days after the disputed June 12 presidential election, along with thousands of other people. Family members said his medications for problems such as seizures and motor control have been administered erratically, which could lead to brain damage or death. After a visit last week, his wife, a doctor, described him as depressed and tearful, and said he has been interrogated in direct sunlight in temperatures of more than 100 degrees and doused with ice water, affecting his heart rate dangerously.
On Thursday, two days after a Human Rights Watch report described his “deteriorating” condition, officials said Hajjarian had been moved to a “state-owned house” with “suitable” medical facilities. His wife, in an interview, said she had not seen the house or been told anything about it.