Tehran: Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, under house arrest for six years, ended his hunger strike late Thursday after the government agreed to remove intelligence agents from his home.
However, his demand to face trial—he has never been charged since being placed under house arrest in 2011—appears no closer to being granted.
Karroubi, 79, stopped eating and drinking on Wednesday morning and was hospitalised a day later with high blood pressure.
His son, Mohammad Hussain, told the reformist Jamaran website that Karroubi had met with Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi on Thursday, and secured promises that convinced him to end the hunger strike.
Sahamnews, a website linked to the Karroubi family, said the government had promised to remove the agents from his home.
Karroubi and fellow reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were candidates in Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election which sparked months of mass protests over claims that the polls were rigged in favour of hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Both were placed under house arrest in 2011 for their role in the protests, which were brutally put down by the regime.
Former president Mohammad Khatami, the figurehead of the reformist movement who has been banned from appearing in the media since the protests, said there was nothing he could do to secure a trial.
“The fact that I cannot do anything to remove these worries makes me even more sad,” he told Karroubi’s son, according to Sahamnews.
They have never been put on trial or publicly charged. Both Karroubi, 80, and Mousavi, 75, suffer from ailments partly associated with their age.
Karroubi has been hospitalised twice in recent weeks and underwent heart surgery.
Karroubi and Mousavi ran in what became a disputed 2009 election that returned hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and triggered mass protests ultimately crushed by the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia.
Dozens of political activists, lawmakers, journalists and artists have urged pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani to fulfill his campaign promises of getting the opposition leaders freed, but he has been blocked by security and judiciary services that answer only to hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“He does not expect a fair trial but wants it to be public and would respect the verdict,” Karroubi’s wife told Sahamnews on Wednesday.