Mousavian affair – Is a storm brewing in Iran?

Roozonline is all over the Mousavian story. A big battle is apparently shaping up inside Iran. Roozonline is closely following what Iranian President Ahmadinejad will do next in pursuing the case of Iran’s former nuclear negotiator, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who was acquitted last week of spying for foreign powers, but convicted of “working against the regime”. For that charge, Mousavian was reportedly then given a suspended sentence — until the hardline prosecutor intervened to reopen the case. Ahmadinejad has vowed to publish the evidence against Mousavian, saying that if “foreigners” have the materials that Ahmadinejad believes Mousavian gave them, then the Iranian public should have it too.

Mahboubeh Niknahad has written a post published yesterday, “Disagreements in ‘Nuclear Spy’ Case Reach Highest Levels“, reporting that “Just as the Fars news agency and hardliner newspapers had expected, Tehran’s infamous public prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi objected to an earlier court decision to clear former top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian of charges brought against him in connection with the nuclear spying case … Nevertheless, it is not clear whether Mortazavi’s objection covers all of Mousavian’s three charges, which include ‘spying’, ‘holding confidential documents’, and ‘propagating against the regime or selected items’. Last Tuesday, judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters that Mousavian had been acquitted of spying and keeping confidential documents, but added, ‘He has been found guilty of engaging in propaganda against the state, and has received a suspended sentence for that’. However, in a statement released by the judiciary’s public relations desk, it was announced that Mortazavi ‘had objected to the court’s decision in this case and had ordered for the continuation of the defendant’s trial’ … With Mortazavi’s objection, the case is now expected to be resubmitted to the prosecutor for additional investigations. If Mortazavi continues to object even after the completion of the investigation, Mousavian’s case will then be sent to trial. Mortazavi’s involvement in Mousavian’s case comes at a time when some senior Iranian officials have taken sides in the row over his case. Last week, two of the conservative faction’s most prominent figures, supreme leader’s special representative Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, and Majlis president Haddad Adel, made public comments in support of Mousavian’s acquittal. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad called for an open trial of the former nuclear negotiator. ‘We continue to insist that the documents that were given to foreigners and others be published so that the public is informed’ … According to many analysts, the row over Mousavian’s trial reflects a deep power struggle that is kicking into a higher gear. Majlis [Parliament] president Hadad Adel told reporters last week, ‘The judiciary’s independence must be preserved. The sentence of the judge must be respected. No pressure must be placed on the judge so that he is able to examine the case with enough time to issue a sentence’.” This Roozonline story, and other Roozonline coverage of developments in the story about the Mousavian case can be found here.

Hossein Mousavian - from Roozonline

On Monday, Roozonline reported, “E’temad daily reported yesterday that Mousavian has been officially cleared of all charges by the judiciary. No official source has yet denied or confirmed the news. Without explicitly naming Mousavian, E’temad daily reported, ‘It has been said that a judge has cleared a defendant in a recent case that has made a lot of news. However, the judge’s ruling will not be published soon. Apparently, charges brought against this defendant were not proven in court. The defendant was charged with nuclear spying” … Roozonline added that “Seyyed Hossein Mousavian is best known for his role as the spokesperson for the nuclear negotiation team under Khatami. He was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents last spring and released on bail seven days later. His case is currently awaiting a judgment by the judiciary. Reformist Norooz website, affiliated with the Participation Front (Jebhe Mosharekat), quoted an informed insider and reported that Mousavian had prepared a ‘comprehensive and convincing’ defense brief, ‘the publication of which will reveal important points about the mistakes of the current nuclear team and the baseless accusations brought against Mousavian’. Norooz added that Mousavian has been banned from publishing his defense brief, adding, ‘The judiciary continues to withstand pressure from the Administration by relying on information from this brief’. ” This Roozonline article is posted here.

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