Iranian authorities have arrested a number of officials at the country’s Tourism Organization for their support of the “deviationist” movement, a term used against close associates of the sitting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his chief of staff and political confidant, Eskandar Rahim Mashaie. And the Judiciary’s First Deputy Director Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Raisi told reporters in Tehran today that the arrest of the “deviationists” will continue.
“The Judiciary, in combating this deviationist movement, will not have any hesitations and will not back off. Combating the deviationists is the legal duty of the Judiciary,” Raisi said [Kayhan, 12 July].
Another Judiciary spokesman said that some of the charges against the group were related to national security.
“Those arrested, in addition to economic and moral issues, have (national) security problems,” Gholamhossein Ejeie, the spokesman, said [Fars News Agency, 12 July]. “Some staff at the Organization of Tourism and Cultural Heritage and one person working for the national museum have been arrested,” Ejeie, added. He did not identify the detainees.
Hamid Baghaie, the current vice president for executive affairs, is also under investigation for “irregularities” during his tenure as the tourism chief. President Ahmadinejad, however, has drawn a red line against the authorities arresting the members of his cabinet and his inner circle.