September 23, 2009 / 12:19 PM / in 10 years

Iran detains leading female reformist: website

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior female member of Iran’s leading reformist party has been detained, a pro-reform website reported Wednesday, signaling further pressure on the opposition after the Islamic Republic’s disputed June election.

Azar Mansouri, deputy head of the Mosharekat party, was detained Tuesday evening by intelligence agents in the town of Varamin south-east of Tehran while on her way home, the Norooz website said.

Mosharekat leader Mohsen Mirdamadi and other key party members were detained in the days after the June 12 presidential election, which plunged Iran into a deep internal crisis.

Mirdamadi and other Mosharekat officials were also among more than 100 reformers, activists and others who were put in the dock in a series of mass trials that began last month on charges of orchestrating opposition protests after the election.

Norooz listed the names of 20 Mosharekat members detained since the poll, which the opposition says was rigged to secure hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. The authorities deny charges of vote fraud.

Another reformist website, Mowjcamp, said agents had searched Mansouri’s home and confiscated personal belongings, a computer and a mobile phone.

There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Rights groups say thousands of people were detained after the election, though most of them have since been freed. Less than 200 remain in prison, officials say.

The authorities have portrayed the huge opposition protests after the election as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic Republic’s clerical leadership.

Reporting by Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Samia Nakhoul

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