By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN (AA) - Iran has been rocked by a series of legal cases implicating high-profile political figures over charges ranging from compromising national security to insulting the country’s founder.
Shahindokht Molaverdi, who served as vice president for women and family affairs in President Hassan Rouhani’s first Cabinet, was on Saturday sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
The verdict announced by an Islamic revolutionary tribunal in the capital Tehran said the politician and jurist had been sentenced to two years in prison for “providing classified information and documents in her capacity as a government official” with the aim of “disrupting the country’s security."
She was also handed a six month prison term for “propaganda activities against the sacred system of the Islamic Republic."
Molaverdi, who also served as President Rouhani’s special assistant on citizenship rights in his second Cabinet before being asked to resign, said she will appeal the ruling.
According to official sources, the accused had been charged in the past too over “corruption,” and was subjected to severe criticism by conservatives over a contentious agreement with a UN agency.
The former vice president’s conviction comes as the country’s judiciary ups the ante against prominent political figures and bureaucrats from the reformist camp.
The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, who took over from Sadeq Larijani last year, has publicly stated that he would go after everyone involved in corruption or national security cases.
On Sunday, another top reformist politician was summoned by a court in Tehran over charges of “insulting” the republic's founder Ayatollah Khomeini.
Isa Kalantari, the vice president and head of Iran’s environmental protection organization, caused a stir in Iran last week with remarks about Khomeini and the 1979 revolution.
In an undated video that was circulated online, he referred to the founder of Iran as a “rebellious child” used by the US and Britain to overthrow the Pahlavi regime.
The remarks drew sharp reactions from many lawmakers who demanded legal action against the reformist figure, who has had ministerial stints under previous reformist governments too.
According to officials, he was summoned by the government employees’ court on Saturday, and charged with "insulting the founder of the Islamic revolution." But was released on bail later.