Iran detains grandson of powerful cleric

  • Mon Mar 22nd, 2010 6:43am
  • News

By Nasser Karimi Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities detained the grandson of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the most powerful opposition supporter inside the country’s clerical leadership, a news agency reported today.

Hasan Lahouti was arrested at Tehran airport upon arrival from London late Sunday, the semiofficial Fars news agency said. It did not give a reason for his detention.

Rafsanjani has come under harsh criticism from hard-liners for his support of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in his challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who the opposition says won June elections by fraud. Rafsanjani, who serves as president in the early 1990s, heads a powerful clerical political council that has the power to chose the country’s supreme leader.

Lahouti’s mother, Faezeh — Rafsanjani’s youngest daughter — also has been a prominent participant in opposition protests since the election.

The Iranian government has arrested thousands and put more than 100 opposition figures on trial in a crackdown aimed at crushing the wave of protests sparked by the election controversy.