Iran General NewsIranian wiretapping allegations lay bare political divisions

Iranian wiretapping allegations lay bare political divisions

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Bloomberg: The political divisions facing Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani were laid bare at a heated debate in Iran’s parliament over a lawmaker’s allegation his office was bugged.
Bloomberg

By Ladane Nasseri

The political divisions facing Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani were laid bare at a heated debate in Iran’s parliament over a lawmaker’s allegation his office was bugged.

Ali Mohatari’s charge shunted aside other orders of business when lawmakers reconvened after an 18-day summer recess, the Etemaad newspaper reported today. Several legislators said the Intelligence Ministry should address the accusations. Another warned that foreign media would use the episode to illustrate divisions among Iran’s ruling elite, according to Etemaad and Shargh, another Tehran-based newspaper.

Rohani, who takes office Aug. 3, has vowed to work to bridge rifts between top officials that deepened under incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Wiretapping is perceived by the Iranian public as widespread. Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi hasn’t immediately commented on Motahari’s wiretapping claim.

Motahari is critical of Ahmadinejad and in 2011 spearheaded a petition to summon him to parliament for questioning over allegedly illegal acts including violations of budgetary laws and mismanagement of the economy.

He wrote on his website July 13 that his office director noticed changes in the room and new paint on part of the wall, then dug out audio and video recorders from behind the air conditioner’s pipe.

“By law, tapping may be carried out on a judge’s order in critical cases, like the hunt for a murderer,” Motahari wrote on his website. “When this is how a well-known lawmaker is treated, I wonder how ordinary Iranians are oppressed.”

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