Iran opposition politician Yazdi released - source

Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:45am EDT

TEHRAN, June 19 (Reuters) - Iranian opposition politician Ebrahim Yazdi has been released from jail a day after he was detained while in hospital, a source close to him said on Friday.

Yazdi, who heads the banned Freedom Movement, was one of scores of reformist activists detained since Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election.

The source said he was released on Thursday after being detained by security agents while he was in a Tehran hospital on Wednesday undergoing medical checks for stomach problems.

Yazdi was foreign minister in Iran's first government after the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed shah, but was sidelined as religious hardliners took over.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Yazdi said last week's election had revealed deepening establishment divisions and that the Islamic Republic faced its biggest crisis since the revolution three decades ago.

He also said seven of its members had been detained after last Friday's vote and warned of worsening "political suppression" in Iran.

Yazdi is an important opposition voice in Iran but has no influence on state policy and limited popular support.

Saturday's announcement of official election results showing hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a landslide against moderate Mirhossein Mousavi sparked running street battles between Mousavi supporters and riot police.

Mousavi has accused the authorities of rigging Friday's vote. The government has dismissed the charge.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday demanded an end to the post-election street protests and said any bloodshed would be their leaders' fault.

Earlier this week, reformist sources said police had detained more than 100 reformers, including a brother of former President Mohammad Khatami and leading reformist Mohammad Ali Abtahi. Police denied Khatami's brother had been arrested.

Separately, scores of protesters have been detained in various cities over the last week, according to Iranian media. (Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Charles Dick)

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