June 10, 2005


TEHRAN 18 Feb. (IPS)    Mr. Mohsen Sazegara, an outspoken dissident and critic of the Islamic Republic and the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i was arrested Tuesday, his son and relatives reported.

The arrest, by unidentified security agents, follows the last letter he wrote, entitled "First Step, Last Word" in which he repeated his criticism of the theocratic regime, its leaders from both left and right, and proposed a referendum for defining the nation's future regime.

A veteran journalist and a candidate to the last presidential elections, he also proposed peaceful civil unrest and disobedience and nation-wide strikes in order to force the conservatives to accept the referendum.

With other friends, including Dr. Qasem Sho'leh Sa'di, a former member of the Majles and another critic of the regime, Mr. Sazegara created recently the "National Coalition of Iranians for Freedom", a new political group struggling save the country from disintegration and chaos brought upon by the present rulers.

According to his son, Vahid, Mr.Sazegara was arrested by plainclothes men immediately after leaving his residence around noon local times, brought back to home to confiscate "every kind of document, recorded or written, diskettes, cds, computers, then taken to his office, "ALL Iran" where also the agents took all existing documents, before being transported to an undisclosed location".

He said he did not know to which organ the men belonged and added that at a time of the arrest, he was accompanied by a friend whose fate is not known.

Mr. Vahid Sazegara said he did not know that if the agents had warrant for arresting his father, but added that in his view, the controversial letter, a recent book, entitled "Islamists Against Islam", also published on his internet site "www.alliran.com" and his activities could explain the arrest. ENDS SAZEGARA ARRESTED



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