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Former Tehran mayor under fire for criticism of Syria war

Former Tehran Mayor Gholam Hossein Karbaschi has been indicted for criticizing Iran’s approach to the Syrian civil war.
Former Tehran mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi listens to Mehdi Karroubi, Iranian reformist presidential candidate and former parliament speaker, (not seen) during a press conference in Tehran on May 25, 2009. Karroubi, a 72-year-old cleric who has been dubbed the sheikh of reforms, is challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ex-premier Mir Hossein Mousavi and former Revolutionary Guards head Mohsen Rezai in the June 12 presidential poll. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty

Former Tehran Mayor and head of the Reformist Executives of Construction Party Gholam Hossein Karbaschi is under fire for doing what few of Iran's active or former politicians or even journalists do: criticize Iran’s approach to the seven-year Syrian civil war. During an April 29 speech in Esfahan province in support of President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election campaign, Karbaschi said, “We too want peace in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, for the oppressed to be defended and the Shiites to be supported. But this cannot be done by giving money, buying arms and killing.”

On May 2, Karbaschi was indicted for “insulting the martyrs of the defenders of the shrine.” Iranian soldiers who fight in Syria are referred to as “defenders of the shrine,” in reference to the Shrine of Zeinab in Damascus. Ahmad Khosravi Vafa, Esfahan’s chief justice, said that Karbaschi will soon be summoned to court.

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