Iran General NewsAide to Iran ex-president denies arrest: report

Aide to Iran ex-president denies arrest: report

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AFP: A close aide to former Iranian reformist president Mohammad Khatami has denied that he has been arrested as reported on opposition websites, ILNA news agency said on Friday.

TEHRAN, January 7, 2011 (AFP) – A close aide to former Iranian reformist president Mohammad Khatami has denied that he has been arrested as reported on opposition websites, ILNA news agency said on Friday.

Morteza Haji “denied his arrest” when he was contacted by a reporter from the news agency, said the report.

Haji was cooperative minister during Khatami’s first term from 1997 to 2001, and education minister during the reformist president’s second term from 2001 until 2005.

Rahesabz.net, which is close to reformist opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, reported on Thursday that Haji had been arrested the night before.

The website cited “informed sources” as saying Haji had been taken to Tehran’s Evin prison, but it did not say why he had been arrested.

Khatami warned late last year that more “restrictions” would be imposed on future elections in the Islamic republic, and called on the authorities to ensure “fairness” in the electoral process.

Haji was previously arrested in December 2009 after opposition protests against the re-election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which turned deadly on the Shiite sacred day of Ashura.

Haji, who was among the founding fathers of Khatami’s non-governmental Baran organisation, was reportedly released in January 2010 after nearly two weeks in detention.

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