Iranian authorities have detained President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, the judiciary spokesman said on Sunday, in a corruption case that the president’s supporters say is politically motivated.
“Multiple investigations have been conducted regarding this person. Also other people have been investigated, some of whom are in jail,” Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said in a televised press conference.
Ejei noted that that bail was issued for him on Saturday, but since he failed to secure it, he was sent to prison.
State television quoted Ejei as saying Hossein Fereydoun, who is also a close adviser to Rouhani, was summoned for questioning on Saturday in a case in which he faces unspecified financial charges. He was later detained.
“If Fereydoun arranges bail, he will be released,” Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying. “He has been heard several times, and others have also been questioned, and some of them are being held … and the case continues.”
No details were available on the amount of bail he needs to pay.
Some Rouhani supporters have interpreted the charges against Fereydoun, a senior diplomat who took part in the talks that led to a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, as a move by the hardline judiciary to discredit the president.
Rouhani was born Hassan Fereydoun before adopting his new surname.
Fereidoun is a close confidante of the moderate president, a cleric who changed his surname to Rouhani, meaning “spiritual,” after joining the seminary decades ago.
Fereidoun has long been a target of hard-liners, who have accused him of misdeeds including money laundering and misappropriation of government funds, report AP.
The unproven allegations were a flashpoint during the May presidential election, with the president’s hard-line challengers demanding that the judiciary investigate accusations against Fereidoun.