Iran Presses Opposition With Attacks and Jail Time
New York Times / Michael Slackman

TEHRAN — As Iran approaches the first anniversary of a contested presidential election that touched off a deep political crisis, opposition supporters remain under intense pressure, with student leaders receiving long prison terms and a prominent opposition politician and a filmmaker being attacked.

A former vice president, Muhammad Ali Abtahi, was attacked by a mob of men wielding cables and knives as he drove from a religious ceremony on Thursday, according to Iranian Web sites. The filmmaker, Mohammad Nourizad, was pummeled so badly when he was allowed out of his prison cell that his vision was damaged, according to a reformist Web site.

Both men were once leaders within the machinery of the Islamic republic, who became disillusioned with the direction of the state and called for change. Both were subsequently sentenced to prison for their views.

Mr. Abtahi, a vice president under President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, was sentenced to six years and is free on bail during his appeal. Mr. Nourizad, who once used his film skills to promote the state’s interests, was sentenced to three and a half years on charges of spreading propaganda against the state.

There is no way to know exactly who the attackers were, and the government credited the police with preventing Mr. Abtahi from being seriously harmed.

Reformists have been under pressure since the government succeeded in suppressing an uprising that began last June, when Mahmoud... >>>

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