Apr. 15, 2016
Prisoner of the Ayatollahs – Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
- It’s been nearly two years since Hassan Rouhani vowed to free the two leaders of Iran’s pro-democracy movement. Such promises were at the heart of the Iranian president’s “moderation” pitch, yet today both opposition leaders remain under house arrest without charge. Now one has written a public letter calling Mr. Rouhani to account.
- Mehdi Karroubi was a reform candidate for president in 2009’s fraudulent election that saw regime favorite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected. Millions poured into the streets to protest, and Karroubi and ally Mir Hossein Mousavi found themselves leading a mass uprising that became known as the Green Movement.
- “I am not asking you to lift my house arrest,” Karroubi wrote. “I want you to ask the despotic regime to grant me a public trial.”
- Rouhani lacks the authority to free the Green leaders even if he was inclined to. The puzzle is how Western powers came to imagine that Rouhani could bind such a regime to its nuclear promises.
See also Karroubi’s Letter to Iranian President Rouhani (U.S. Institute of Peace)