Iran Arrests Former Nuclear Negotiator

Iranian security officials arrested former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian, a political ally of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. Replaced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mousavian had extensive contacts in Europe while fending off any attempts to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program:

A top Iranian former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian has been detained, according to sources in Iran who did not want to be named.
It is not clear why Mr Mousavian, who has also served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany, was arrested.
Eight security officials reportedly took him from his house on Monday.

The inner workings of the Iranian political elite are as murky as ever, and this is no exception. Mousavian apparently works at a government-run think tank, so he had not fallen from favor. Despite his electoral defeat two years ago, Rafsanjani had remained influential; he’s one of the richest men in Iran.
Those riches could be part of the problem. Rafsanjani’s son Mehdi Hashemi faces charges that he accepted $80 million in bribes from the French oil company Total. The CEO of Total faces a French investigation into the bribery, and it’s possible that Rafsanjani’s protege became involved during his years in Europe. The timing of the bribe corresponds to Rafsanjani’s tenure as president (1997). No one expects Mehdi Hashemi to face charges — he’s too well connected — but Mousavian could be the patsy.
Or it’s possible that the arrest is completely unrelated to Rafsanjani. The Iranians thus far have not even announced his arrest. The one safe conclusion is that Mousavian or his patron has done something significant to anger the ruling mullahcracy, and that’s enough to have eight men break into an Iranian’s house and haul him off.

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