Iranian opposition leader under house arrest

An Iranian opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, was placed under house arrest yesterday. Security officers were posted at his door and one of his aides detained after calls for a rally in support of the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Mr Karroubi had joined another leading opposition figure, Mirhossein Mousavi, in asking the government for permission to hold a rally on 14 February.

State prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehi rejected the demand on Wednesday and warned of repercussions if the rally takes place. Instead, those seeking to show solidarity with Egyptian protesters should join a state-organised rally marking the 32nd anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution on Friday, he said.

Security officers were stationed at the entrance of Mr Karroubi's house in Tehran and prevented relatives, including his children, from meeting him, according to Mr Karroubi's website, sahamnews.org. A security official told Mr Karroubi that the restrictions would remain in place until after 14 February.

He and Mr Mousavi are the main political adversaries of the hardline leadership. Both men ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an election in June 2009 that the opposition believes was rigged. The protests that swept Iran in the months after the vote grew into the biggest challenge faced by the clerical leadership.

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