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Reports conflict on Green trio's possible release.

There have been conflicting reports this month about moves within the regime that might free three opposition figures from house arrest after seven years.

The first report said the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)--which is chaired by President Rohani but has a majority of members appointed by the Supreme Leader--had voted to urge ending the house arrests of Mehdi Karroubi, Mir-Hossain Musavi, and Musavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard.

Karrubi's son, Hossain Karrubi, told Ensaf News July 28 that he had been informed by a "reliable source close to" First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri that the SNSC had taken the vote and was seeking final approval from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenehi, the man who ordered the house arrests and has refused to free the trio since then.

"The SNSC is waiting for the leader to express his view on this matter. They say if the leader doesn't respond in 10 days, the decision becomes enforceable," the younger Karrubi said.

The next day, however, Reformist Majlis Deputy Gholam-Reza Heydari denied that any such recommendation had been made by the SNSC. The SNSC has said nothing.

The three have been confined to their homes in almost total isolation since February 2011 for fomenting mass protests against the outcome of the 2009 presidential election, which saw President Mahmud Ahmadinejad re-elected. The three have never been charged with anything in a court of law.

"I followed up with the Majlis Speaker [Ali Larijani] and, unfortunately, he did not confirm the report," said Heydari July 29. Larijani is a member of the SNSC.

"We had also heard things and were hoping that they were true because ending the house arrests is one of the most necessary things for the country's national interests in these discouraging times of tension and conflict," Heydari said.

On July 28, the Fars news agency, which is linked to the Pasdaran, published a commentary stating that, if the report were true, it meant the opposition leaders had agreed not to break the law and their freedom "would not cause insecurity in society." Khamenehi has reportedly made that a requirement for the trio's release from house arrest, but they have never agreed to it.

Then on July 29 Fars blamed "anti-revolutionary media" for "widely spreading rumors," adding, "Society is facing much more important issues than things like house arrests."

In an open letter published May 30, Karroubi, 80, wondered if he and the others would ever be freed. "The way things are going, it seems our fate will be determined by the angel of death," he wrote.

Caption: DETAINED--From left, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossain Musavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, and former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karrubi have been under house arrest for seven years now.

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Title Annotation:Mehdi Karroubi, Mir-Hossain Musavi, and Zahra Rahnavard
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Aug 17, 2018
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