Iranian Opposition Leader Defiant Despite Government Crackdown

Almost a year after the apparently manipulated Iranian presidential election, the regime has largely succeeded in silencing the opposition. Leading reformist cleric Mahdi Karroubi remains undaunted, however. Despite having lost almost everything, he continues in his criticism of the government and has now announced new protests.

They have taken almost everything Iranian opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi has. In a bid to neutralize him, they have banned his Etemad-e Melli party (National Confidence Party), closed his newspaper of the same name and arrested 50 of his associates and confidants.

They have not even shied away from taking harsh action against his three sons. Hossein, 44, has seen his passport revoked, which is often the last step before an indictment. Taghi, 42, who was seriously wounded in the war against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was prevented from leaving the country for medical treatment in London. And his youngest son Ali, 37, was detained, interrogated and severely beaten.

It appears to be only a matter of time before the 72-year-old Karroubi himself is targeted. Rocks have already been thrown through the windows of his house and death threats smeared on the walls. When the cleric was traveling in a rural area early this year, unknown assailants shot at him, and it was a stroke of luck that he wasn’t hit.

Nevertheless, the religious scholar remains undaunted. He greets his visitors with a broad smile and makes fun of…

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