Monday, 14 February 2011

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi arrested ahead of rally

Iranian security forces have placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, in a bid to prevent him attending a rally in support of Egypt's revolt. Mousavi is one of several opposition figures to have been recently censored; another one, also under house arrest, is Mehdi Karroubi.

A number of opposition factions pledged to take part in the rally, which has been banned by the authorities. Iran's government, however, has been officially supporting Egypt's protests but says the rally is a "political move" by the two opposition leaders.

The country's police blocked the lane leading to Mousavi's house and disconnected his mobile phone and land lines. Last week, the authorities also detained a dozen people close to the opposition leader.

Iran has increased security in Tehran, blocked access to certain internet domains, and has clamped down on several satellite news channels. The government is acting in a bid to suppress any fledgling anti-government movements, last seen in 2009, against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Opposition supporters, however, revived a tactic from the unrest, shouting "Allahu Akbar," [God is Great], in a sign of defiance toward Iran's leadership.

Sources: BBC News, AP, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, Trend News Agency

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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