An Iranian conservative lawmaker is on the defensive after it was revealed his son was jailed for links with the banned opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq, aka MeK.

The Islamic regime's enmity with MeK is so fierce that even those remotely connected to the group have been handed jail sentences by revolutionary courts, but Mirsalim’s son was pardoned and walked away.

Critics launched an attack on Mostafa Mirsalim for concealing his son’s arrest for three years from those who voted for him. They also criticized the Guardian Council for endorsing his credentials as candidate for the presidency in 2021 and parliamentary elections in 2020.

Mirsalim explained on Twitter earlier this week that "The MeK took advantage of" his son, a simpleton unable of making ends meet in his personal life." However, he said that "the group's only success was recruiting my son," meaning that the group did not get access to any key intelligence through his son. Mirsalim appears to have deleted the tweets later, but it was too late as the press had already cited them.

Critics on social media strongly challenged him. One critic wrote on Twitter that with Mirsalim's position at the Majles and the Expediency Council, “he has released tons of intelligence at home even through sneezing!”

Mirsalim further explained that his son was arrested in June 2019 and was sentenced to five years in jail in February 2020 on charges of acting against national security but was out on bail. He was finally jailed in February 2021. During this period, Mirsalim did not tell anyone about this. However, the lawmaker's son was soon pardoned and released as Mirsalim told the press.

Conservative activist Mansoor Haghighatpoor told Etemad News: "Mirsalim's son could have given a world of intelligence to the MeK as he had access to tons of information. The critic also revealed that the children of some of the Guardian Council members were killed because of their links to the outlawed group. "Although the council disqualified former Majles Speaker Ali Larijani only for her daughter being a resident of a foreign country, it endorsed Mirsalim's qualification for both the presidential and parliamentary elections," Haghighatpoor said.

Aftab News website, quoted reformist activist Abbas Abdi as saying that the arrest and release of Mirsalim's son in 2019 was one of the most destructive forms of discrimination in Iran's political structure. He criticized Iran's conservatives for their silence about the development as well as their attempt to conceal it while even much more benign reasons could have led to severe punishment if the accused was linked to reformists.

Mirsalim, a seasoned member of the hardline conservative Islamic Coalition Party, was previously interior and culture minister in the early years of the Islamic Republic. He who represents Tehran, is known for making potentially libellous comments about the alleged corruption of Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. The bitter relations and financial rivalries and conflict of interests over Mirsalim's role in preventing the import of new cars to Iran could have played a part in the revelations about his son's case.

Mirsalim's behavior was most certainly being scrutinized by his political rivals. Last week, he had to explain why he was wearing US-made shoes, revealed in a photograph from the parliament floor, that found its way to news websites and social media.

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