IRAN: After Mousavi, Karroubi disappear, U.S. urges Iran to 'allow active dialogue among its citizens'
The White House on Sunday urged Iran to allow active dialogue among its citizens, accusing the government of "ongoing hypocrisy" after a human-rights group said two opposition figures had been moved from where they were detained under house arrest.
The statement, issued by National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, said the U.S. "strongly condemns the Iranian government's organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists and bloggers" and accused the Iranian government of blocking Internet sites and jamming satellite transmissions.
"The United States and the world will continue to bear witness to the Iranian government's blatant violation of the universal rights of its citizens and its ongoing hypocrisy," Vietor said in the statement. "The Iranian government should allow active dialogue among its citizens, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly without fear."
The statement comes after the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called for the release of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives, whom the campaign said had been taken to an unknown location. Mousavi ran for president of Iran in the disputed 2009 elections of incumbent leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Karroubi is a former parliament member who also ran on a reform platform.
Mousavi and Karroubi and their wives "have been disappeared; they are being held incommunicado in an unknown location, a severe breach of Iranian and international law," said campaign spokesman Aaron Rhodes in a statement on the organization's website.
The two leaders have been under house arrest since a Feb. 14 rally in Iran in which protesters targeted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first widespread protests since the 2009 elections. But the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said that the two couples had recently been removed from their homes to a "safe house."
The campaign said Iranian security forces were "well known for using safe houses for all methods and techniques to get confessions from detainees without scrutiny or pressure from other legal bodies."
Some members of Iran's parliament had called for the execution of Mousavi and Karroubi after the Feb. 14 protests.
"The chiefs of the sedition have reached the end of the road, and it is time for [the authorities] to do their duty and judge and punish them," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said in a statement carried by Fars News Agency.
-- Alana Semuels
Photo: Mir-Hossein Mousavi in 2009. Credit: Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images