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Mousavi supporters say Iran ordered murder of his nephew

A spokesman for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former presidential candidate and Iran Green Movement leader, charged that the murder of Mousavi's nephew on Sunday was a targeted assassination designed to send a message to the political reformist.

By Iason AthanasiadisCorrespondent / December 28, 2009

A worshiper holds a picture of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi during a rally against opposition supporters who insulted the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, after Friday prayers in Tehran on December 18.

Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

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Istanbul, Turkey

A spokesman for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the head of Iran’s opposition "Green Movement," blamed the Islamic Republic for the killing of the former presidential candidate's nephew on Sunday. The spokesman alleged it was a targeted assassination.

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Seyd Ali Mousavi, the nephew, was shot through the heart, according to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a political spokesman for Mr. Mousavi who lives in exile in Paris. He said that Mr. Mousavi had been threatened before his murder to cease his political activities.

“The style of his killing was assassination rather than just a chance shooting in the middle of a protest,” says Delbar Tavakoli, an exiled Iranian journalist living in Turkey. “A car goes to his house, five men get out and shoot him in the stomach from close up.”

State media reported that authorities were carrying out forensic tests on his and four other bodies, preventing them from being buried within 24 hours as is customary in Islamic tradition.

The bodies were “retained in order to complete forensic and police examinations and find more leads on this suspicious incident,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

Another government-aligned news agency, Fars News, opined that the incident was “suspicious” and suggested that the murder might have been carried out by foreign intelligence operation aimed at sowing internal discord. Similar claims were made in the official press after the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in June.

The Mousavi family earlier said that their relative’s body was removed from Tehran’s Ibn Sina hospital where it was being held after opposition supporters clashed with a strong police presence outside the hospital yesterday evening.

“This is huge in the sense that Mousavi’s nephew’s death will get more attention because he was very active,” said Mehdi Noorbakhsh, an associate professor of international affairs at Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg University. “From what we know, they targeted him perhaps in order to put more pressure on Mousavi to give up. It was a threat that, if you don’t give up, that is the price you have to pay.”

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