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Iran eases restrictions on reformist Mousavi

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Tehran (AFP)

Iranian authorities have granted limited visiting rights to reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, under house arrest following protests sparked by a contested 2009 election, two media outlets reported Monday.

Mousavi, 75, his wife Zahra Rahnavard and fellow reformist Mehdi Karroubi were placed under house arrest in 2011 over their role in the millions-strong Green Movement protests.

The protests -- known as "the sedition" by hardliners -- followed allegations of rigging in the 2009 presidential election won by hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Neither of the men has been charged with a crime.

On Monday, reformist-linked ILNA news agency said some restrictions on visits to Mousavi and Rahnavard "have been lifted... over the past week".

Citing Ghasem Mirzaie Nikou, a member of a parliamentary committee that lobbies for the leaders' release, said the "daughters, the grandchildren and the two sons-in-law of Mr Mousavi and Mrs Rahnavard can visit them normally".

He told the outlet he hoped other family members would also be granted access.

The semi-official ISNA agency cited Gholamreza Heidari, another member of the same committee, as saying there had been "an opening" in the couple's case.

Authorities "have come to the conclusion that maintaining (their) house arrest does not go in the direction of the national interest or that of the system," he said.

Heidari told ISNA he hoped the couple would soon be released but added that "of course we will have to be patient".

Karroubi, 80, was granted similar visiting rights in August 2017 following a heart operation.

President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate conservative who succeeded Ahmadinejad in 2013, has pledged to do what he can to liberate them.

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