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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 17:07 UK

Iran MPs demand action on Mousavi

Mir Hossein Mousavi on June 12, 2009
Mir Hossein Mousavi came second in the disputed June election

One-third of Iran's members of parliament have demanded that legal action be taken against opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Mr Mousavi has said the June election that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power was fraudulent.

MP Hamid Rasaie, an Ahmadinejad ally, said Mr Mousavi's claims had damaged the "reputation of the Islamic system".

Separately, an Iranian court jailed two reform figures for their involvement in the post-election unrest.

State news agency Irna said Iranian-American academic, Kian Tajbakhsh, was sentenced to 12 years in jail, while Iranian journalist Masoud Bastani was given six years.

'National crime'

One hundred MPs from Iran's 290-member parliament made their complaint against Mr Mousavi in a letter to the chief prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohsen Ejeie, Irna reported.

"The crime committed by Mousavi is a national crime and he has violated the rights of the Iranian people," it quoted MP Rasaie as saying.

The demand for Mr Mousavi's prosecution comes a week after lawmakers launched a similar bid for legal action against Mr Ahmadinejad's other moderate challenger, former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi.

Both men allege that the presidential election was rigged, a charge denied by the Iranian authorities.

They have criticised the crackdown on protesters in the weeks of demonstrations that followed the disputed 12 June presidential poll.

At least 30 protesters were killed in clashes and thousands were arrested. Some 200 opposition activists remain behind bars. Three have been sentenced to death.

Latest sentences

Kian Tajbakhsh
Kian Tajbakhsh had appeared at a mass trial in Tehran

In one of the latest sentences, Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh was jailed for more than 12 years for his role in the protests, Irna quoted his lawyer as saying.

Mr Tajbaksh had previously spent four months in Iranian prison in 2007 on charges of endangering national security.

The US has repeatedly demanded his release.

Irna provided no further details about the six-year sentence handed to journalist Masoud Bastani, who has been jailed since June.

The charges against both men reportedly included espionage, contacting foreign elements and acting against national security.

Critics have dismissed the trials that followed the Iranian demonstrations as show trials, arguing that any confessions that followed are without value.

The news of the sentences comes days after Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist working for the US magazine Newsweek, was released on bail after allegedly being arrested during an opposition protest.



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