(Enduring America) | March 15, 2010
Scott Lucas

We’re watching carefully the reported ban on the activities of Iran’s leading reformist political party, Islamic Iran Participation Party (Mosharekat).

Deputy Interior Ministry Solat Mortazavi told the Iranian Students News Agency that all activities of IIPF have been banned and its headquarters have been locked.

Mortazavi implied that the ban was in place before the IIPF announcement that its congress had been called off because of pressure from security forces. (IIPF’s position is that there is no ban, since this would have to come from a judicial decision, only the postponement of the congress.)

Speaking to BBC Persian, a leading member of the IIPF, Ali Shakouri, disputed the claim that the party was banned but confirmed that its headquarters are locked and inaccessible. He added that the party continued publishing communiques and other activity (which in practice amounted to little more than keeping Norooz News up and running) despite the lack of headquarters and the imprisonment of several leading party figures.

Shakouri said that the party has no idea who was behind the locking of the headquarters and reiterated that no judicial source has yet ordered the suspension of party activities.

The IIPF has also put out a statement declaring that the ban is a sign of Government weakness and calling on activists to maintain their campaign against the “empire of lies”.

An EA correspondent comments:

This is potentially a very destabilising move that would be impossible without the direct consent of the Supreme Leader.

Whether the judiciary confirms the Interior ministry announcement will be the next big development. If the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani agrees with Mortazavi, Ahmadinejad’s political deputy, this would be a major setback for those hoping for a conservative alignment against the President.

Originally reported by Dr. Scott Lucas of Enduring America. Updates may follow here.