First Published: 2003-01-31

Iranian opposition leader dares conservatives

Sahabi challenges conservatives to execute him if they believe he is true threat to the Islamic republic.


Middle East Online

He accused the conservatives of trying to silence him politically

TEHRAN - Ezzatollah Sahabi, a 77-year-old senior opposition leader freed from prison last year, dared Iran's powerful conservative clerics Friday to execute him if he was a true threat to the Islamic republic.

"If you believe that I'm so harmful for the country, the people, Islam and the revolution, then execute me, because in any case there is another world where we will all be judged," Sahabi wrote in an open letter asking for support from reformist President Mohammad Khatami, Parliament Speaker Mehdi Qarubi and justice chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

Sahabi, a senior leader of the outlawed Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), went on to accuse the Iranian security forces of harassing him since he was freed last March after 15 months in prison where he was held with some 60 other dissidents on charges of plotting to overthrow the Islamic regime.

Sahabi, whose court sentence has never been publicly revealed, demanded Khatami and the others intervene to have the security forces who continue to haul him in for questioning "the same as when they held me in detention for 15 months" called off.

"I am ready to go to prison ... but I am sure even in prison I would not be able to escape these men. I ask to be executed," Sahabi said.

He accused the conservatives of trying to silence him politically.

"The agents charged with interrogating me ... threaten to open a new file against me and ask me to stop all political activity which is not under their control," he said.

Sahabi said that during his time behind bars he feared his foes would hang him. He said he faced such pressure he "was ready to sign whatever statements" his guards put in front of him.

The IFM was founded by Mehdi Bazargan, prime minister of a provisional government set up after the 1979 Islamic revolution that fell several months later.

The group was banned, but tolerated until March 2001, when it was proscribed by the conservative courts amid sweeping arrests and has been targetted amid the political battles between the country's conservatives and reformers.


UN Security Council lenient to Turkey’s Syria offensive

Washington probes Hezbollah ‘narcoterrorism’

Morocco's king appoints five new ministers

Pence pledges US embassy move by end of 2019 on Jerusalem trip

Iranian woman skydiver looks to break down stereotypes

Turkey arrests dozens accused of ‘terror propaganda’

Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Yemen conflict

Russia invites Kurds to join Syria peace process

Turkey shells Kurdish targets in northern Syria

Closer look at pro-Ankara rebels amassing around Afrin

Pence set for Palestinian snub

Abbas to ask EU to recognise Palestinian state

Saudi-led coalition to give $1.5 bln in Yemen aid

Mattis: Turkey gave US advance warning on Syria operation

Yemen releases budget for first time in three years

Saudi calls for cooperation between OPEC, non-OPEC countries

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds

The changing faces of al-Qaeda in Syria

Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem