Iran’s regime reaches out to opposition

Moderate supporters of Iran’s regime are reaching towards a compromise with the opposition by sacrificing the hardline fundamentalist who served as Teh-ran’s prosecutor-general.

A parliamentary committee has publicly blamed Saeed Mortazavi, an ally of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president, for the deaths of a least three prisoners in a detention centre.

The committee found that Mr Mortazavi had authorised the imprisonment of 147 opposition supporters and 30 criminals in a cell measuring only 70 sq m in Kahrizak detention centre. The inmates were frequently beaten and spent days without food or water in the summer.

The investigation ruled out opposition allegations of rape but confirmed that at least three prisoners were killed in Kahrizak, south-eastern Tehran, which was set up in 2001 to imprison thugs considered too dangerous to hold in normal jails.

The detentions happened after the opposition disputed June election results that gave a landslide victory to Mr Ahmadi-Nejad. Unrest against the Islamic regime has simmered since, prompting a crackdown that led to tens of deaths and thousands of detentions. The arrest of journalists, students and politicians continues.

Analysts believe that blaming Mr Mortazavi, who has been the public face of the regime’s repression for more than a decade, is a sign that senior figures are exploring possible reconciliation with the opposition Green Movement.

Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, however, showed his disap… >>>

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