Iran's opposition leader under arrest

Feb. 10, 2011 at 11:53 AM
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TEHRAN, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was put under house arrest after calling for mass rallies in solidarity with Arab protesters, his relatives said.

Opposition leaders and former presidential candidates Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi wrote a letter to Iran's Interior Minister seeking permission to have a rally Monday, Radio Zamaneh, a Persian-language radio station in Holland reported.

Relatives of the 72-year-old cleric told the BBC Iranian police have his home surrounded and placed restrictions on his travel. His son told the British broadcaster that authorities prevented him from entering Karroubi's home and pledged to keep him locked inside until Feb. 14.

Iran ramped up security measures ahead of cuts to food and energy subsidies to curb rising prices last year. The measure was meant to ease pressure from unilateral and international sanctions imposed as punishment for a controversial nuclear program.

Mousavi and Karroubi warned the cuts could lead to public unrest. Both opposition leaders led the so-called Green Movement that challenged the 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Their latest calls for protests were intended as a show of solidarity with Tunisian and Egyptian demonstrators who challenged decades-old regimes in their countries.

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