AFP: The United States said Monday that the detention of opposition leaders in Iran was “unacceptable” amid conflicting claims in Tehran that key anti-government figures had been arrested.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Monday that the detention of opposition leaders in Iran was “unacceptable” amid conflicting claims in Tehran that key anti-government figures had been arrested.
The White House took a new jab at Iran over its reaction to Middle East political tumult and its own domestic situation as the websites of opposition figureheads Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi reported their arrest.
Iran’s judiciary however denied the report, saying the leaders were at home.
“We obviously find the detention of opposition leaders to be unacceptable. And we call (for) them to be treated well and released,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman also hit out at what he said was the “hypocrisy” of the Iranian government over its different attitude to anti-government protests abroad and at home.
“We note with continued astonishment the hypocrisy of the Iranian government,” Carney said.
Long-time allies Iran and the United States have been trading frequent accusations since the outpouring of Middle Eastern revolt started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya.
Iran has described the wildfire of rebellion as a revolt by the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa against US-backed rulers.
Earlier Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said weapons manufactured and delivered to “dictators” by the United States were killing protesters in uprisings around the Arab world.
He said the United States and its allies must be blamed for imposing dictatorships on regional countries now in the grip of deadly revolts.
But Washington has used the popular uprisings to focus attention on political tensions in Iran, saying that it should allow its own people to enjoy the freedoms allowed, or seized elsewhere.
On Sunday, the US National Security Council condemned the Iranian government for what it said was an organized campaign of intimidation and arrests of political figures, journalists and activists.
Websites used by Mousavi and Karroubi said the two leaders and wives had been arrested and put in a Tehran jail.
The two had been under house arrest after judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said earlier this month they had committed “treason” and MPs demanded they be hanged.