The wife of the Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi spoke out forcefully on Thursday against the recent publication of accusations against her imprisoned brother, saying the accusations were false and amounted to a new effort by Iran’s hard-line leadership to discredit the opposition movement.
Mr. Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, is a well-known figure in Iran who played an important role in his campaign before the disputed June 12 election. She made her statement on Thursday after a hard-line lawmaker accused her brother in print of helping orchestrate the post-election rallies and riots. The brother, Shahpour Kazemi, was arrested a month ago, and the Iranian authorities are reported to be preparing to broadcast videotaped confessions by some people detained in the unrest.
“I am announcing that if they force a confession out of Mr. Kazemi or publish a hundred pages of accusations against him, neither I nor the people of Iran will believe it,” said Ms. Rahnavard, in comments published on Mr. Moussavi’s Web site.
Mr. Moussavi and his followers assert that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide election victory was rigged and that the real winner was Mr. Moussavi. They have resisted strong pressure from the Iranian authorities to renounce those claims, and recently Mr. Moussavi has said he plans to form a new political and social movement, in another challenge to the ruling elite.
The lawmaker who accused Mr. Kazemi, Elias Naderan, also impugned Mr. Kazemi’s wife, adding that she traveled frequently to the United States and had even acquired a green card.
In her statement, Ms. Rahnavard did not deny that her brother and his wife had traveled to the United States, but said the trips were for treatment of the wife’s illness and for “the transfer of knowledge and new technologies in the field of communications,” which is Mr. Kazemi’s expertise.
The dispute came as Iran’s Press TV, citing a top lawmaker, reported that Iranian state television would soon begin broadcasting the confessions of those accused of orchestrating the post-election unrest. Such confessions are almost always coerced, sometimes through torture, according to former detainees, Iranian political figures and human rights groups.
Even as conflict continued over the election and its aftermath, a separate controversy involving Mr. Ahmadinejad’s new cabinet has worsened. His choice to be his top deputy, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, infuriated conservatives last year by suggesting that Iranians were friendly toward the Israeli people, and he has drawn increasing opposition in the past week. On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reportedly urged Mr. Ahmadinejad to drop the unpopular appointment. But so far the president has defended Mr. Mashaei, a former culture minister whose daughter is married to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s son.
On Wednesday, a bitter dispute broke out in a cabinet meeting, Iranian newspapers reported, in which ministers were demanding to know why Mr. Ahmadinejad had not announced Mr. Mashaei’s dismissal. Mr. Ahmadinejad said he would make his position clear and left the room, directing Mr. Mashaei to run the meeting in his place. The other ministers then left, shocked at this “insulting” behavior, according to Jahan News, a newspaper that is associated with Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters in Parliament. ROBERT F. WORTH in nytimes.com, July 23