Judiciary Shuts Down Reformists’ Campaign Headquarters in Iran’s Second Largest City
The campaign headquarters of reformists in Khorasan Razavi Province, northeastern Iran, was shuttered on May 2, 2017—three weeks before the country’s presidential and local council elections on May 19, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The order to shut down the Committee of Reformists in Khorasan Razavi Province was issued by Judge Hassan Heidari, the deputy prosecutor of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city.
An informed source told CHRI the headquarters were shuttered because posters of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) had been hung up on the walls along with green banners, a symbol of Iran’s Green Movement.
The movement arose from the widespread peaceful protests that broke out across Iran in 2009 over the results of that year’s presidential election.
“After sealing the headquarters, the agents also shut down two branch offices in the Ninth and Kowsar districts of Mashhad,” added the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
The campaign workers said their offer to take down the posters and banners was refused by the judicial officers.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, presidential candidates in the 2009 election, and Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest, without charge or trial, since February 2011 for disputing the validity of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory and encouraging protests after the election.
Since February 2015, media outlets in Iran have been banned from reporting on or publishing images of Khatami. The authorities have also not allowed images of him to be displayed in any form in the country.
The judiciary first announced the ban on February 16 when Spokesperson Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters that on orders from the Tehran prosecutor, the media were not allowed to publish images or content pertaining to the former president.
In the six months leading up to the elections in May, security agencies have arrested more than 20 reporters and political and civil rights activists close to reformists and the government of current centrist President Hassan Rouhani.