January 6, 2011
TEHRAN (AFP) — A close aide to former Iranian reformist president Mohammad Khatami has been arrested by security forces, opposition websites reported on Thursday.
Morteza Haji, who was education minister during Khatami’s first term from 1997 to 2001, was arrested on Wednesday evening, Rahesabz.net reported.
Rahesabz, which is close to reformist opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, cited “informed sources” as saying that Haji had been taken to Tehran’s Evin prison, but it did not say why he had been arrested.
The arrest comes after Khatami warned that more “restrictions” will be imposed on future elections in the Islamic republic, and called on the authorities to ensure “fairness” in the electoral process.
Haji was previously arrested in December 2009 following opposition protests against the re-election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which turned deadly on the Shiite sacred day of Ashura.
Haji, who was among the founding fathers of Khatami’s non-governmental Baran organisation, was reportedly released in January 2010 after nearly two weeks in detention.