Conflict & Justice

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied access to Tehran's Evin prison


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends a press conference in Tehran on October 2, 2012.



In another sign that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's power is waning during his last year in office, judges have blocked his request to visit Tehran's Evin prison.

According to the Tehran Times, National Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said an inspection of the Prison by Ahmadinejad would not be in the interests of the country. 

Ahmadinejad wrote to the country's equivalent of a chief justice after the Sept. 26 arrest of Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and the president’s media advisor. 

Javanfekr was serving a six-month sentence for publishing an article deemed offensive to public decency, Reuters reported, and also allegedly insulting the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran's judiciary is controlled by conservative hard-liners close to the Ayatollah.

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"Given the fact that a person who is related to him has been arrested and is in the prison, this [the inspection] would cause political [misunderstandings]… The inspection is not appropriate in the current circumstances," Mohseni-Ejei reportedly said, referring to Javanfekr.

Mohseni-Ejeii also referred to an economic crisis which parliamentary rivals have blamed on mismanagement by Ahmadinejad's administration, as well as on Western sanctions.

"We must pay attention to major issues," Mohseni-Ejei reportedly said. "Visiting a prison in these circumstances is a minor issue. If we have in mind the best interests of the nation, a [prison] visit in these circumstances is not appropriate."

According to the BBC, the refusal is seen as a sign of Ahmadinejad's waning authority eight months before the end of his term.

Iran's judiciary is controlled by conservative hard-liners close to the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.