November 30, 2016


Defiance Thrusts Iranian Lawmaker Into Spotlight (Golnaz Esfandiari, 11/30/16, Radio Liberty)

Until recently, Mahmud Sadeghi was an obscure legal expert whose most conspicuous professional accomplishment was a two-year advisory stint with Iran's Education Ministry.

That changed with the 54-year-old's election to parliament in Iran's tightly controlled elections in February, as one of 133 relative moderates allied with reformist President Hassan Rohani to have won seats in the 290-seat legislature, known as the Majlis. [...]

He has aired defiant criticism of state repression and censorship, grabbing the spotlight late this month as the target of an abortive arrest after he expressed suspicions around the financial dealings of one of Iran's most powerful political figures, Judiciary head Sadegh Larijani. (Larijani has rejected the allegations as "lies.")

Sadeghi rebuffed the security officers who arrived at his home on November 27 by citing parliamentary immunity, but it was arguably the mobilization of supporters via digital media that set the incident apart from other such raids in Iran.

News spread quickly on social media, users shared his address, and colleagues and activists gathered outside his house to prevent his arrest.

The officers backed down, although Tehran's prosecutor has pledged that Sadeghi must turn himself in or face detention.

Sadeghi then vowed via Twitter that "pressure" would not prevent him and other lawmakers from "seeking transparency and fighting corruption in all [Iran's state] institutions.

Posted by at November 30, 2016 4:13 PM