News sources are reporting that security forces have recently raided
the Serat Institute, the publishing house that publishes Dr
Abdulkarim Soroush 's works, and its affiliated research institute.
The security forces seized documents and subjected the students who
were at the institute to many hours of detention, pressure and
questioning. According to Green Movement (http://www.rahesabz.net/)
sources, these measures were in line with the pervasive security
pressure that is being exerted on Dr Soroush's family. In recent
months, Dr Soroush's son-in-law has been subjected to psychological
and physical pressure, in the course of which he has been asked to
speak against his wife (Dr Soroush's daughter) and against Dr
Abdulkarim Soroush himself, and to say that they are "corrupt and
adulterous", so that his statements can be broadcast on Iranian
radio and TV.
It has also been reported that at a time when Soroush Dabbagh (Dr
Soroush's son) has been repeatedly summoned by the security forces
and had threats made against his life, last Wednesday [9 February],
Intelligence Ministry forces raided the Serat Institute and its
affiliated research institute, seized the two institutes' documents,
and detained the innocent and unsuspecting students who were at the
site and subjected them to questioning for several hours.
It has to be added that, in view of the pressure brought to bear on
Abdulkarim Soroush 's family in recent months, his children have had
to leave Iran and his other relatives fear persecution. Analysts are
of the view that the main reason for the unprecedented scale of the
pressure on this religious intellectual's family is the publication
- after the June 2009 presidential elections - of several open
letters that have been critical of Mr Khamenei.
In one of Dr Soroush's open letters, he said: "We are a fortunate
generation. We will see religious tyranny crumble and we will
The Serat Institute was established in Tehran in 1986 by Abdulkarim
Soroush and a number of his friends, who sought official
authorization for the institute and were granted it at the time.
Over the past 24 years, the institute's activities have mainly
revolved around the publication - in book and CD formats - of the
writings and speeches of religious intellectuals, philosophers,
researchers and translators who work in the realm of research into
religion, Islamic mysticism, contemporary philosophy and modern
theology. In addition to disseminating the works of Dr Abdulkarim
Soroush , the Serat Institute has published works by Dariush Ashouri,
Morad Farhadpour, Arash Naraghi, Soroush Dabbagh and Abolghasem
Fanaei. The Serat Institute and its affiliated research institute -
which offers courses and hosts speeches and book review sessions and
is run under the auspices of Soroush Dabbagh - have had a
distinctive and influential presence in the realm of Iranian thought
and culture in recent years. These two institutes were closed down
for six months in 2003 on the orders of Judge Saeed Mortazavi.