Mehdi Karroubi, Iranian Opposition Leader, Ends Hunger Strike
One of Iran’s most prominent opposition leaders ended a one-day hunger strike on Thursday, after the government agreed to meet some of his demands, his son reported on social media.
Officials promised the opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, 79, that the 12 guards watching over him around the clock would no longer be permanently stationed in his house, his son, Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, said. Mehdi Karroubi, who has been held under house arrest in Tehran since 2011, will remain so, but the government also promised to “endeavor” to realize his longstanding demand for a public trial, his son told the Saham news website.
“The hunger strike is over,” Mohammad Taghi Karroubi wrote on Twitter. “The government has promised to do all it can to realize his second demand, which is for a public trial.”
He told the Saham news website that because of a previous problem, his father would have stay in an emergency care unit for an additional 48 hours. The elder Mr. Karroubi has been in and out of the hospital over the past year with heart problems.Mr. Karroubi’s success in extracting the concessions from the Iranian establishment is small but significant. Analysts said they still expected it would be quite a while before a public trial started — “perhaps too long for Mr. Karroubi, who is old and sick,” said Farshad Ghorbanpour, a political analyst close to the government.
The government’s concessions were a political lift for President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate whose supporters have long demanded the release of Mr. Karroubi; another opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi; and Mr. Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard. Mr. Mousavi and Ms. Rahnavard have also been held since 2011.