Mehdi Khalaji, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has just sent around a message regarding the arrest and disappearance of his father, Mohammad Taqi Khalaji, an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime. It is reproduced below in full.
“On Tuesday (January 12) afternoon four agents of intelligence ministry went to our home in Qom and arrested my father Mohammad Taqi Khalaji. They searched the home and collected hundreds of his notes, books, personal letters, computer and also our satellite receiver. They also took the passport of whole family and said that all members of family are banned from leaving Iran. My parents along with my daughter were planning to come to United States on March to visit me for two weeks. My family does not know where my father is held and Iranian officials do not give them any information.
My father is a prominent cleric who was close to Ayatollah Montazeri. He is one of closet clerics to Ayatollah Sanei who was recently attacked by regime. My father was an outspoken cleric who supported the green movement and criticized the regime for its policy in his recent speeches in Tehran and also in Qom.
His photos as well as the audio file of his speech on Ashoura eve in the house of Ayatollah Sanei are available. I believe spreading the news is better than keeping silent. I deeply appreciate any effort to disseminate the news of my father arrest and I am ready to discuss it this with media.”
Sadly, this treatment of political opponents in Iran comes as little surprise, although their abuse of the family of a prominent western based Iranian does show a worrying increase in the boldness of the Mullah regime.
Mehdi’s contact details can be found here, and I strongly urge any journalists who may be reading this to get in touch with him.