Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Iran arrests man who accused clerics of corruption

Well... here's a surprise!

Abbas Palizdar, Secretary of Majlis Investigative Commission, who has leveled major allegations of corruption against Iran’s religious establishment, was arrested in Tehran today.

(AFP) 11 June 2008

TEHRAN - Iran arrested a mid-ranking civil servant on Wednesday for "spreading lies" after he reportedly made unprecedented corruption allegations against several of the country's most powerful clerics (link).

Abbas Palizdar, presented as a supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also charged in the speech in the western city of Hamedan on May 27 that the authorities had assassinated two prominent officials, reports have said.
He was summoned to the government employees tribunal on Wednesday and charged with financial irregularities, spreading lies and disturbing public opinion, the Fars news agency reported.
"He was issued with a detention writ and sent to prison," the news agency added, without giving further details.
Neither Iranian newspapers nor official news agencies have carried the contents of the controversial speech but the conservative news site Tabnak has published excerpts.
Palizdar made corruption allegations against prominent clerics including ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tehran Friday prayer speaker Mohammad Emami Kashani, former parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri and former judiciary chief Mohammad Yazdi, according to the reports.
He has also alleged that a transport minister in the former reformist government and a former commander in the elite Revolutionary Guards -- both killed in plane crashes -- had been assassinated.
Palizdar, said to have worked for Iran's auditing organisation, presented himself as a member of parliament's research centre and ran for Tehran's municipal elections with a faction backing Ahmadinejad.
Combating corruption was one of Ahmadinejad's main campaign slogans and the president -- who has faced mounting criticism over his economic policies -- has accused his opponents of orchestrated efforts to paralyse his government.
The president angered several figures with an outspoken speech in the clerical city of Qom in April in which he accused his opponents of forming an economic and political mafia.
"Ahmadinejad makes no allowance for anyone in combating financial corruption," Palizdar was quoted as saying.
"The government is on its own in its fight against corruption and nobody is supporting the government."
But Ahmadinejad loyalists and the government newspaper were quick to distance themselves from the allegations.
"Palizdar has attacked and accused some clerics and simultaneously supported the government's anti-corruption campaign to put clerics and respectable figures at odds with the government," the government daily Iran fumed.
It described Palizdar as a "fake whistleblower" and denied he had any links to Ahmadinejad's government or the conservative-controlled parliament.
"The fact that his comments play into the hands of biased people reveals a conspiracy against the government to create disagreement among officials," Iran quoted Mehrdad Bazrpash, a senior figure in Ahmadinejad's faction, as saying.
Iran newspaper also said that Palizdar owed a state bank 63 billion rials (6.8 million dollars) and "had lied about officials in a headlong rush to clear his offences."
The hardline daily Kayhan said: "Palizdar was chosen by counter revolutionaries as the right prey for this propaganda.
"Security and judicial forces should confront the plotters and agents of this project and avoid the simplistic attitude customary in such incidents," it added. (KhaleejTimes)


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