Middle East

Iranian court bans two leading opposition parties

Opposition supporter during a rally in Tehran, 15 June 2009
Image caption The Iranian authorities clamped down on dissenting voices after last June's protests

An Iranian court has banned two leading reformist parties, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie has said.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organisation were "dissolved", he said.

Both supported opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in last year's disputed election.

Members of both parties were jailed during the government's efforts to stifle the mass protests that followed.

Earlier this year, a political watchdog affiliated with Iran's interior ministry accused the parties of undermining national security.

"Their case was sent to the court which dissolved both parties and they are not allowed to have any activities," Mr Ejeie was quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency.

In recent weeks, Iranian security forces have stepped up attacks on opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mr Mousavi, with attacks on their homes and offices.

The two reformist leaders maintain that Mr Ahmadinejad's re-election last year was the result of massive vote rigging.

Thousands of opposition supporters were rounded up after the mass street protests following the June 2009 vote. Scores remain in prison.

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