World News

Iran opposition figure's house attacked: website

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Attackers smashed windows and damaged security cameras at the home of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi ahead of a rally which authorities fear could reignite protests, his website said Thursday.

Iranian presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi listens to a question during a news conference in Tehran June 9, 2009. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Saham News said members of the Basij, a militia loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had been surrounding the house for days, “savagely assailed” Karoubi’s home on Wednesday night.

“These individuals, who seemed to enjoy police support and protection ... broke Karoubi’s windows, spread dye over his house and tore down the building’s surveillance cameras,” it said. It did not report any injuries.

Reuters was unable to confirm the report.

Karoubi, one of the presidential candidates who lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed June 2009 election, has remained a leader of the reformist “Green” movement opposed to the hardline government.

He has said he wants to attend an annual day of anti-Israel rallies known as Qods (Jerusalem) Day Friday, something he will not be able to do if prevented from leaving his house.

“If I am being subjected to aggressions, it is not a problem since I am a simple cleric and I am holding my life in my hands for the sake of the ideals of the late Imam (Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini) and the public’s rightful and legal demands,” he said, according to opposition website Kaleme.

Authorities quelled massive anti-government demonstrations in the weeks and months after last year’s election and there have been no major rallies since December when eight people were killed in clashes with security forces.

Opposition leaders have not planned any protests for Qods Day which is marked by state-organized rally.

But in another possible sign of the authorities’ increased nervousness about opposition activities, Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of another reformist leader, Mirhossein Mousavi, was harassed by a group of men in civilian clothes asking her about her commitment to the Islamic revolution, Kaleme said.

Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; editing by Noah Barkin