Mohammad Hossein Moussavian, a former Iran’s senior atomic negotiator, was arrested around 7 pm on Monday, May 1st, at his residence in Tehran “Moussavian was taken away from his house by eight plainclothes security agents”, the BBC’s correspondent in Tehran reported, quoting sources that did not want to be identified. He was taken to an unknown location; according to some reports inside the country he may be in the notorious Evin prison.
“The reason might be his recent criticism of the Government regarding the nuclear talks,” he added quoting informed sources.
In the heat of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s negotiations with the international community, Moussavian had criticized Ahmadinejad government’s handling of the nuclear issue and accused it of deceiving the public on the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
After Ali Larijani took over as both the Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security and the head of the nuclear negotiations team, Moussavian was forced to move to the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s virtual number two. A former Iranian ambassador to Germany and Russia, many political assassinations of Iranian opposition leaders took place in the EU and Germany on Moussavian’s watch.
Despite the silence of the regime on Moussavian’s arrest, some media inside the country like the ILNA (Labor News Agency) and the anti-Ahmadinejad daily E Temaad confirmed the arrest by quoting unnamed judiciary sources. Rumors of a security breach have also been heard inside Iran for justifying Moussavian’s arrest.
His detention is a very good indication of the power struggle inside Iran for the control of the country right now, and comes only days away from the Sharm el-Sheikh’s conference on Iraq, where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iran’s foreign minister are supposed to be meeting.