In an unprecedented move Hossein Ansarian an influential Iranian cleric harshly criticized the physical and psychological torture of political prisoners.

Speaking at a Ramadan-related religious ceremony last week, Ansarian whose remarks were being broadcast live on the Iranian state television told security officials: “If you have someone under arrest, do not lie to him about his imminent execution. Do not scare those who worship God.”

Months of anti-regime protests and the insistence of hardliners to force hijab upon women, has led to a public debate in Iran, with some regime insiders condemning repressive policies.

The comment brought many reactions on social media, with some saying Ansarian is going his own separate way, while others pointed out that “he is now standing with the people.” . Some of Iran’s high-ranking clerics such as Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli also defended Ansarian.

Others posted comments by former Presidential Adviser Mohammad Ali Abtahi who recalled that when he was jailed in 2009, he was told by his interrogators that he was going to be executed the next morning.

Responding to those who said Ansarian has disembarked from the train of the Islamic Revolution, Abtahi said that if Ansarian is not on the train, it must have been hijacked.

This comes while, IRGC general Esmail Kowsari, currently a member of the Iranian parliament, denied the accounts about threatening prisoners with execution, and said: “We do not have torture in Iran. Some people complain about being tortured as soon as they are deprived of sleeping for a few hours. We do not force confessions.”

Ansarian who is known to be close to regime officials and has been often seen delivering religious speeches at Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s house also talked about the hijab controversy and the regime’s harsh measures against women who defy compulsory hijab. He said he respected Iranian women and believed that 90 percent of them complied with the religious teachings about hijab.

Ansarian said: “If you want to arrest women for not observing hijab rules, come and arrest me instead.” Furthermore, he called on Iranian security officials to respect prisoners, not to swear at them or humiliate them, not to beat them, and stressed that all of these behavior are strictly prohibited in Islam.” He repeated, “They are haram.”

Apart from Abtahi, many other former political prisoners in Iran have said that they had been subjected to mock executions as a tool of intimidation. According to Iran International, Sahand Mohammadzadeh, who was arrested during the protests last year, has said that interrogators pretended they were going to execute him. He said he was also tortured in other ways during his imprisonment which followed a seven-minute trial.

Another former prisoner, Maziar Ebrahimi who was jailed on the false charges of assassinating Iran’s nuclear scientists in 2010s, revealed in 2019 in detail about having been tortured in Iranian prisons.

Following the November 2019 protests in Iran, Amnesty International listed mock executions among other forms of tortures used against Iranian political prisoners.

During recent days, other regime insiders including hardliner eulogist Mahmoud Karimi have said that authorities ordered him not to talk about religious stories that advocated compassion toward prisoners.

Meanwhile, Mehdi Nasiri, a former editor of the Kayhan newspaper has also openly spoken in criticism of Khamenei, blaming him for the country’s problem. Sedigheh Vasmaghi, a female jurisconsult has also warned Khamenei that he would be responsible for dividing Iranians over the issue of hijab.

According to Iran International, as more regime insiders begin to speak about the problems in the core of the regime, this can give way to the assumption that the crisis in the core of the regime has become so obvious that could be concealed.

Source » iranintl