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Iran arrests ex-president Rafsanjani's grandson: reports

Iranian authorities have arrested a grandson of former president turned opposition supporter Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Persian: اکبر هاشمی رفسنجانی Akbar Hāshemī Rafanjānī), Hashemi Bahramani  on his arrival from London, Fars news agency Fars News Agency (FNA) is an Iranian news agency. It was officially launched in Tehran in February 2002 to "promote the principles of the Islamic Revolution and safeguard national interests".  and an opposition website said Monday.

"Hassan Lahouti, who left Iran 10 days after the presidential election for London where he resides, was arrested last night on arrival in Tehran by agents carrying judicial orders and taken to prison," Fars said, quoting an unnamed source close to Rafsanjani's family.

The source did not give a reason for Lahouti's arrest.

Opposition website reported that the 23-year-old was arrested at the airport and taken to Tehran's Evin prison Evin Prison (زندان اوین) is a prison in Iran, located in the north of Tehran [1]. It is notorious for its political prisoners' wing, from before the 1979 Iranian Revolution and since. .

It quoted unnamed sources saying Lahouti's detention "may have to do with some hardliners' claims about the role of Hashemi Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh in the post-election events."

Faezeh Hashemi Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani (فائزه هاشمی رفسنجانی; born 1962) is an Iranian politician and the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, currently studying in  Rafsanjani is Lahouti's mother and has been denounced for her alleged involvement in inciting riots. Several months ago, the outspoken member of the ex-president's family was briefly detained and later released.

Rafsanjani himself, who held office twice between 1989 and 1997, has also been heavily criticised by hardliners for his support of the defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in his challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mousavi and hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets after Ahmadinejad's re-election last June, protesting that the poll was massively rigged, which prompted a crackdown on dissent.

Rafsanjani currently heads two powerful institutions in the Islamic republic, the Assembly of Experts which has the power to supervise and replace the supreme leader and the arbitration body the Expediency Council.

The courts have sentenced several top reformists and political activists to varying jail terms after convicting them of acting against the regime.

Several detainees have been released on bail in recent weeks, but news reports say 10 protesters charged with taking part in the post-election unrest have been sentenced to death.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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