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Khalaji: My father’s arrest could signal the start of a new wave of arrests of clerics -  Khalaji: My fathe...
Khalaji: My father’s arrest could signal the start of a new wave of arrests of clerics -  Khalaji: My father’s arrest could signal the start of a new wave of arrests of clerics Washington 14 January (WashingtonTV)--Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji, a clergyman who was close to the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, was detained at this home in Qom by the officials of the Intelligence Ministry of the Islamic Republic, on 12 January [22 Dey 1338]. In an exclusive interview today with WashingtonTV, the son of Ayatollah Khalaji, Mehdi Khalaji, who is a senior researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, spoke about the latest news concerning his father’s arrest, saying that apparently today, the Special Clergy Court had informed his family that Ayatollah Khalaji had been transferred to Tehran.  Mehdi Khalaji added that in the process of arresting his father, the Intelligence Ministry personnel searched and confiscated hundreds of notes, books, personal letters, the passports of all members of the family and also his father’s computer and satellite receiver and told family members, including the Mehdi’s mother and his own daughter that they were banned from leaving the country. Mehdi Khalaji’s mother and his daughter had planned to visit him in the United States during the Iranian New Year’s holidays [Nowruz, which is marked on 21 March each year] Following his interview which he gave at his place of work at the Washington Institute, Khalaji told an audience in the course of a speech in another part of the institute’s building: “The arrest of my father on the 12 January by the intelligence forces signaled a sickly campaign by the Islamic Republic against Islam”. He continued: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is displeased with and fears those traditional clergymen who reject the principle of the velayat-e faqih [or the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult] which underpins the rule of the Iranian state. Elsewhere in his interview with WashingtonTV, Mehdi Khalaji felt that his father was arrested both because of his own activities outside the country and also because his father was close to Ayatollah [Yusef] Sane’i and the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. Another reason had to do with his father’s “outspokenness” in view of his support for the Green Movement. Khalaji added that following the disputed presidential election of last June, the Islamic Republic has tried to portray members of the Green Movement as anti-Islam and pro-West. He went on to say that this arrest could be considered as the potentially start of a new wave of the arrest of the clergy, because, as he said, under the city of Qom’s “police” atmosphere, which has recently “become more police-controlled” Ayatollah Khalaji is the first clergyman to be detained by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s forces since the death of Ayatollah Montazeri. Mehdi Khalaji then spoke further about the situation in Qom.