World Bulletin / News Desk
The son of Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founder of the Islamic Republic, was detained on Monday after returning from exile, accused of inciting post-election unrest in 2009.
Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani arrived in Tehran late on Sunday having spent three years in Britain following the widespread protests at the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The 43-year-old presented himself at court to hear the charges and face questioning. His lawyer was not allowed to be present, the Iranian Students' News Agency reported.
Rafsanjani was then transferred to Tehran's Evin prison after the court issued a temporary detention order, news agencies reported.
Analysts say Mehdi's return could indicate a deal has been agreed with authorities to resolve the charges, and may signal a revival in the political fortunes of his father, a grandee of Iranian politics whose star has waned since the election.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a close aide to the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has held most of the Iran's top political positions, including parliament speaker, armed forces commander and president from 1989 to 1997.
But the pragmatic conservative's power has waned since he expressed sympathy for opposition demonstrators after the 2009 vote that triggered the deepest political crisis and worst unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
However, as oil and banking sanctions bite, some are saying Rafsanjani could make a surprise comeback bid for the presidency at an election scheduled for June 2013.
In a sign of his return to favour, Rafsanjani was photographed walking alongside Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran last month, and sat next to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
But the wealthy Rafsanjani family remains under pressure. On Saturday, Mehdi's sister Faezeh, a former lawmaker and a women's rights activist, began a six-month jail sentence for "spreading anti-state propaganda".
Faezeh was detained briefly in 2009 after addressing supporters of Ahmadinejad's main election rival, Mirhossein Mousavi, who himself has been under unofficial house arrest since February 2011.
New Dehli announced an indefinite travel ban for Indians going to Libya
Jens Stoltenberg says Mansoor hindered Afghan peace, reconciliation, but stops short of approving US airstrike on Taliban leader
'From Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul, this is a crucial message ... that the path to progress for regional countries goes through joint cooperation and utilising regional opportunities,' Iranian president says
A report on family sizes among Indian communities shows that the largest decline in family members is within the Muslim community
Three policemen have been killed by suspected rebels in Indian-occupied Kashmir
The amendments include eliminating the term limit for Emomali Rahmon and lowering the age of eligibility to become president from 35 to 30 as well as a ban on forming parties based on religion
Outgoing govt's chief negotiator warns further delay in peace process would work against stability of next administration
According to Pakistani Foreign Office's statement US strike has violated country's sovereignty
Man reported to have been killed in self defense as police tried to round up around 21 escapees from detention center
Children of hill tribes in northern Thailand unable to escape flames as they slept in the school dormitory.
'Mansour was being closely monitored for a while... until he was targeted along with other fighters aboard a vehicle,' Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security says
US Secretary of State says 'Mansour posed... an imminent threat to US personnel, Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces' as well as peace process
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms the strike, adding that they are investigating whether Mansour had in fact been killed
US Defense Department says airstrike in Afghanistan-Pakistan border targeted Taliban leader, still assessing whether he was killed
China appears to be major obstacle standing in way of New Delhi’s entry into elite club
Appeal to President-elect to help address ‘historical injustice’ they say has seen terrorism equated with Moro identity