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Arrested Iranian ex-official taken to hospital

  • Story Highlights
  • Ibrahim Yazdi taken to hospital after arrest in Iran, relative says
  • Yazdi released from hospital, but it's not clear whether he still is in custody
  • Arrest came amid widespread protests after disputed presidential election
  • Yazdi's group pushes for more freedom and democracy under Islamic principles
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(CNN) -- A former Iranian deputy prime minister pulled from his hospital bed and arrested Wednesday was taken to a Tehran hospital Thursday and later released, his granddaughter said.

Relatives say they haven't heard from Ibrahim Yazdi, shown here in 1997, since his arrest Wednesday.

Relatives say they haven't heard from Ibrahim Yazdi, shown here in 1997, since his arrest Wednesday.

But it was unclear whether Ibrahim Yazdi, secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, was headed home after his release from Pars Hospital, said Atefeh Yazdi of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She said she was trying to reach him in Tehran but was unable to, possibly because of the lateness of the hour there.

It also was unknown whether Ibrahim Yazdi, who is about 76, remained in the custody of those who had arrested him Wednesday.

Yazdi has suffered from prostate cancer, and his condition must be closely monitored, family members said.

Atefeh Yazdi said Ibrahim Yazdi's wife received a phone call Thursday telling her that her husband was being taken to a hospital, supposedly because his health was declining, and asking her to bring clothes and supplies.

Atefeh Yazdi said she had spoken to her grandfather briefly while he was hospitalized; he told her he was fine. But she noted he might not tell relatives otherwise because he would not want them to worry.

"It's so hard to read him sometimes," she said. He did not mention being mistreated while in custody, she said.

Ibrahim Yazdi was in a Tehran hospital when members of the Basij arrested him Wednesday, relatives said. A relative had taken him there Tuesday because he wasn't feeling well, said his daughter, Lily Yazdi of Mountain View, California.

The Basij is a volunteer paramilitary force that takes its orders from Iran's Revolutionary Guard and is suspected of being behind most of the nation's recent reported violence.

Ibrahim Yazdi was pulled from his hospital bed during Wednesday's arrest, Atefeh Yazdi said.

The Freedom Movement of Iran's main objective "is to gain freedom, independence and democracy for the Iranian nation, on the basis of modern interpretation of Islamic principles," it says on its Web site.

Ibrahim Yazdi's arrest came amid widespread protests and some violence in the wake of disputed Iranian elections. See where protests have taken place in Tehran »

Atefeh Yazdi said her uncle, Mohandas Tavassoli, who also is involved in the Freedom Movement, was arrested Tuesday. She told CNN on Thursday there was no news of Tavassoli's whereabouts or condition.

Ibrahim Yazdi was an aide to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 revolution that overthrew the ruling monarchy and established Iran as an Islamic republic, according to a 1979 article about him in Time magazine. After the revolution, Yazdi held the post of deputy prime minister for revolutionary affairs in the provisional government of Medhi Bazargan, Time said. The magazine reported he later gave up that position to serve as foreign minister.

Supporters of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979, do not like Yazdi because of his role in the revolution, his granddaughter said Wednesday. And the current government doesn't like him because "he's a little too liberal."

She said her grandfather does not support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the present government.

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The Freedom Movement's newspaper announced Ibrahim Yazdi's arrest and said 15 other members also were arrested in towns and villages across Iran, Lily Yazdi said.

Ibrahim Yazdi has been secretary-general of the Freedom Movement since 1995, according to the group's Web site.

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