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article imageEx-Iran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi arrested

By Layne Weiss     Feb 5, 2013 in World
Tehran - Iran has arrested former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi. The arrest comes two years after Mortazavi, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was found to be responsible for the torture deaths of at least three jailed anti-government protestors.
Mortavazi was taken to Tehran's Evin prison, but beyond that, no details have been given, The Associated Press reports.
According to Reuters, the arrest may be linked to the prison deaths.
Until January 2013, Mr. Mortazavi, 45, served as head of Iran's social welfare fund, BBC News reports. He was removed due to pressure from parliament. Just a day later, President Ahmadinejad rehired him, but this time under the guise of "official caretaker" of the social welfare fund.
His arrest may also be related to Ahmadinejad's clashes with parliament and the judiciary.
In a speech Sunday, the President accused both the head of parliament and the head of the judiciary of corruption, Reuters reports. During the speech, Ahmadinejad played a tape Parliament Speaker Ali Larijiani's brother Fazel meeting with Saeed Mortavazi. In the tape Fazel, was trying to "use his family's prominent political status" to blackmail Mortavazi, a close ally of of the President's.
The Larijiani brothers denied the accusations and Fazel Larijiani said he would file a legal complaint against both President Ahmadinejad and Saeed Mortazavi.
The head of Iran's judiciary committee, which Ahmadinehad also accused of corruption, is another Larijiani brother, 52-year-old Sadegh, The New York Times reports. Their brother Mohammad Javad, who studied mathematics at Berkeley, is also an official of the judiciary.
On Monday, both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijiani were accused of "lacking self control" and "shaming the country" as both seemed to let their personal vendettas get in the way of protecting Iran's best interests.
During his time as prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was dubbed "butcher of the press" for shutting down so many newspapers and for the arrests and dozens of journalists and activists, The AP reports.
"Over the last decade, his (Mortavazi's) name has been closely linked to most, if not, all of Iran's human rights imbroglios," Yasmin Alem, a United States based expert on Iran's electoral system told Reuters.
"Now he is at the crux of a political fiasco that has brought all the regime's dark secrets to the surface."
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