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Iran issues arrest warrant for former president's son

By Reza Sayah, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An arrest warrant has been issued for former Iranian President Rafsanjani's son
  • Mehdi Hashemi left Iran for Britain after the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential election
  • Hashemi has been accused by hardliners of inciting anti-government protests
  • Rafsanjani's daughter Faezah was once briefly detained

(CNN) -- Iran's judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for the son of senior cleric and former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, according to Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency.

"There is an arrest warrant for Mehdi Hashemi, and as soon as he returns to Iran he will be arrested and taken to jail," said Ebrahim Raisi, the deputy head of Iran's Judiciary, Fars reported.

Hashemi left Iran for Britain shortly after the disputed June 2009 presidential election.

The report didn't specify what Hashemi is being charged with, though hardliners have accused him of supporting Iran's opposition movement and inciting anti-government protests.

Hashemi's father served two terms as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997. While the moderate cleric didn't publicly support a candidate before last year's presidential elections, he is seen as a bitter political rival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Following the elections, the former president condemned the government's crackdown against Iranians who were peacefully protesting the outcome.

His daughter Faezeh -- an active supporter of the opposition movement -- was briefly detained.

Raisi said Hashemi's treatment will be no different from others accused of a crime, according to Fars.

Journalist Farbod Jamali contributed to this report