The Iranian government has launched a crackdown on its critics in an apparent attempt to prevent them from standing in forthcoming parliamentary elections.
While Iran’s international opponents have been distracted by the row over the country’s nuclear programme and the British naval hostages, Teheran has taken the opportunity to tackle reformers targeted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since he came to power.
As part of a wider crackdown, Iran’s parliament has also passed laws enabling security organisations – including the Revolutionary Guard, which was responsible for kidnapping the 15 Britons – to detain suspects for months for the purposes of interrogation.
Police are also reportedly planning to tackle more low-level dissent, including standards of public attire. Women who fail to cover their hair fully, or who wear skirts or coats considered immodestly short, are expected to be among the first targets in the next few days.