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Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri: Arrest of My Brother Was “Expected”

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CHRI - First Vice President of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, has confirmed the arrest of his brother, Mehdi Jahangiri, calling it an "expected" event.

"I don't have any detailed information about how he was arrested or what the charges are, but in any case he is not employed by the government or engaged in political activity," wrote Eshaq Jahangiri on Instagram on October 6, 2017, the day his brother was arrested.

"What happened was expected and now we must wait," he added. "I hope this is not a case of political abuse and everyone will be treated equally in the quest for justice, in the fight against corruption, and in accordance with the rule of law," he added.

Mehdi Jahangiri, deputy chairman of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and head of the Tourism Financial Group, was arrested on October 6, reported the independent Tabnak news site.

Iranian authorities, including judicial officials, have not made any announcements or comments on his arrest.

In the months leading up to the May 2017 presidential election, rumors, spread by President Hassan Rouhani's conservative rivals, circulated about Mehdi Jahangiri's "epic wealth," implying he had acquired it through connections with the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-13).

"Vice President Jahangiri's brother had agreements with the previous government of Ahmadinejad and now controls a wealth of mythical proportions," said former conservative member of Parliament from Tehran, Alireza Zakani, on July 3, 2016.

"How did this man become so rich when his brother was in charge of fighting corruption?" he added.

Zakani was referring to Rouhani's appointment of Eshaq Jahangiri in June 2016 to head an investigation into the allegedly exorbitant salaries paid to the heads of Iranian state banks and companies.

Despite criticism from conservatives, Mehdi Jahangiri received an award from Rouhani for being one of the top entrepreneurs of the year in September 2016.

In May 2011, the conservative website Alef published a report alleging financial corruption and embezzlement involving contracts between the Ahmadinejad government and the Tourism Financial Group. At the time, Mehdi Jahangiri was the firm's deputy chief in charge of investments.

The allegations were not investigated by the judiciary.

Mehdi Jahangiri was arrested one week after seven pro-Rouhani reformist politicians were sentenced to a year in prison on charges of "propaganda against the state."

Mohammad Reza Khatami, Mohsen Safaei Farahani, Ali Shakouri-Rad, Azar Mansouri, Mohammad Naimipour, Hossein Kashefi and Hamidreza Jalaeipour—all senior members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF)— were also banned from political and media activities for two years.

The Special Court for the Clergy also imposed new restrictions on former president and reformist leader Mohammad Khatami, banning him from any public activities for three months, reported the reformist Kaleme website on October 5.