AFP: A former Iranian nuclear official detained on national security-related charges and close to a centrist former president could be released on bail, the intelligence minister said on Tuesday. TEHRAN, May 8, 2007 (AFP) – A former Iranian nuclear official detained on national security-related charges and close to a centrist former president could be released on bail, the intelligence minister said on Tuesday.
Hossein Moussavian, a member of a moderate negotiating team that agreed a deal with Europe to suspend uranium enrichment and an ally of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was arrested on April 30.
“I think the judge will soon switch his detention writ to bail,” said Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie, according to state media.
He added that Moussavian was in the “final stages of interrogation” at the section overseen by the intelligence ministry at Evin prison in Tehran.
Ejeie described Moussavian’s case as “security” related and refused to offer any details “until the investigations are complete and it can be discussed more clearly.”
The Fars news agency has said he was charged with spying on Iran’s controversial atomic programme but no officials have gone on the record to confirm this.
According to the intelligence minister, two more unnamed individuals were summoned on Monday for questioning about the case and “the investigation about them is continuing.”
Since leaving the negotiating team, Moussavian has on occasion issued veiled criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s confrontational stance on the nuclear issue.
Ahmadinejad replaced the entire nuclear negotiating team after coming to power in 2005 and also reversed the agreement with Europe for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.
Moussavian has urged Iran to pursue the nuclear case with flexibility and moderation and hit out at Ahmadinejad after he described a UN sanctions resolution against Tehran as a “scrap of paper”.
Rafsanjani meanwhile broke his silence on the affair more than a week after news of the arrest broke, the Etemad newspaper reported.
“The truth will be revealed soon,” the newspaper quoted him as saying before asking reporters to allow him not to comment any futher.
Moussavian is now deputy head of an international affairs research institute belonging to the Expediency Council, Iran’s top political arbitration body which is headed by Rafsanjani himself.
The head of the Strategic Studies Centre is Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric who was Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and national security chief under reformist President Mohammad Khatami to 2005.