Iranian Opposition Leader Ends Hunger Strike

Mehdi Karroubi (c) Attends a Gathering to the Mark Anniversary of the Death of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti Who Was Killed in a Bombing On 28 June 1981 at Ghoba Mosque in Tehran, 28. June 2009.

Detained Iranian opposition leader and cleric Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest for six years, ended his hunger strike late Thursday after the government agreed to remove intelligence agents from his home. However, his demand for trial hasn’t been granted.

Karroubi, 79, was hospitalized early on Thursday, a day after he had started a hunger strike demanding a public trial and an end to his 6-year house arrest. Karroubi and fellow opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been confined to their homes since 2011, following their support for pro-democracy rallies amid Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. Despite the long-standing detainment under the watchful eye of Revolutionary Guards and 24/7 camera surveillance, none of them have been publicly charged or tried.

Karroubi’s son told Jamaran news site that his father decided to end a strike after a meeting with Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi. Sahamnews website reported that the government had promised to remove the agents from Karroubi’s home, but no promises were made regarding the trial.

Former president Mohammad Khatami, the figurehead of the reformist movement, spoke to Karroubi’s son telling him there was nothing he could do to secure a trial, according to Sahamnews.

The elderly reform leaders put themselves at odds with the regime when they ran for president in Iran’s 2009 election, which was won by the hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a process that was described as “fraudulent” by many observers. His victory prompted mass protests of opposition supporters who demanded a re-run of the vote. The demonstrations were ultimately crushed by the Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia.

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