On February 15, the State Department issued a statement on the seven-year anniversary of the house arrest of three Iranian opposition leaders. “The United States calls on Iran to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals in Iran consistent with its international obligations,” said Spokesperson Heather Nauert.
Former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, women’s rights activist Zahra Rahnavard, have been under house arrest since 2011 for their roles in the opposition Green Movement.
Karroubi and Mousavi ran for president against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election. The two became symbolic leaders of the Iranians who staged mass protests to dispute the results. Hardliners labeled them “traitors” and “seditionists.” The three have not been formally charged. In 2016, Karroubi wrote an open letter to President Rouhani pleading to be formally charged and tried. “I want you to ask the despotic regime to grant me a public trial based on Article 168 of the constitution,” he wrote. “It will show which side continues in the path of the revolution and is honorable.” In 2018, he criticized Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in another letter for allowing corruption to become pervasive in Iran.
STATEMENT BY HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON
February 15, 2018
Seven-year Anniversary of the House Arrests of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard
This week marks the seven-year anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential election candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, as well as Mousavi’s wife and women’s rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. The continued house arrest of these three individuals contradicts Iran’s international obligations including those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to provide minimum fair trial guarantees and not to subject citizens to arbitrary arrest or detention.
The United States calls on Iran to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals in Iran consistent with its international obligations, including ensuring the fundamental right of peaceful freedom of expression and the right to participate in civil society and in the political process without fear of arbitrary arrest and detention or denial of fair trials. We join the international community in condemning the continued arbitrary detention of these three individuals without charges or fair trials and in calling for their immediate release and for the release of all prisoners of conscience unjustly detained in Iran.