Suspects Identified, but No Action Taken in Attack against Critic of House Arrests
Despite the fact that several suspects have been identified in the recent attack on Member of Parliament Ali Motahari, who was the Iranian Parliament’s most outspoken critic of the continued house arrest of the Green Movement leaders, no arrests have been made so far, according to official statements.
“Based on various evidence, including photos and video, 10 suspects have been identified and the prosecutor is due to take necessary steps,” said Hossein Zolfaghari, Deputy Interior Minister in charge of Law Enforcement and Security.
Earlier, Interior Ministry Spokesman Hosseinali Amiri had said that between 50 and 200 individuals had taken part in the March 9 attack in Shiraz. “There is 20 minutes of film available from this incident with the [attackers’] faces almost clearly visible,” he said, but added that no one had yet been arrested.
Motahari, a conservative Member of Parliament, has outraged radicals for repeatedly questioning the legality of keeping opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard under house arrest for more than four years.
Motahari was due to make a speech in Shiraz when the taxi taking him from the airport was attacked by a gang wielding sticks and stones. They broke the car’s windows and pepper-sprayed the MP, who suffered breathing problems.
A week after the incident, Shiraz Governor Mohammad Ahmadi told the press that the attackers had been identified and reported to judicial authorities. Yet neither the governor nor Interior Ministry officials have given any details of the suspects.
President Hassan Rouhani formed a special task force with instructions to pursue and arrest the attackers. The Majlis and Judiciary have also announced their own investigations.
Meanwhile, Motahari’s lawyer, Mostafa Tork Hamadani, has also become a target. “I went to Shiraz on Friday (March 13) to follow up this case. When I came back from visiting the tomb of Seyyed Alaeddin Hossein, I saw my car had been attacked with bricks and all the windows had been broken and the words ‘First Warning’ had been sprayed on the car,” Hamadani told the ILNA news agency.
Despite official condemnation of the incidents in Shiraz, the city’s Friday Prayer leader has tacitly defended the attackers. In his March 13 sermon, Ayatollah Assadollah Imani said, “If someone breaks the sanctum of the Supreme Leader, should he not expect his own sanctum to be broken? If you sow seeds of the wind, you will reap a storm.”
In response, Ali Motahari wrote a letter to Imani insisting that he would not allow a storm caused by thugs to create a suffocating atmosphere.