Iranian authorities have opened an investigation into former presidential candidate Mahdi Karroubi, a report said Tuesday, in a possible first step toward unleashing the hard-line judiciary on the opposition's top leaders.
No formal charges have been filed, but the probe signals that Iran's Islamic leadership could use the courts against the most senior dissenters - whose claims include widespread vote fraud in June's disputed presidential elections and abuses by security forces against protesters in the violent aftermath.
The powerful Revolutionary Guard and other pro-regime groups have urged for charges against the top opposition figures, including Karroubi, fellow reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and former president Mohammad Khatami. More than 100 activists and political figures have already been tried on charges that include seeking to overthrow the Islamic system.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying an investigative file has been opened on Karroubi and the case is under review by a special cleric court.
Dolatabadi said "some individuals have already been summoned" as part of the inquest in Karroubi - a Sh'iite cleric and former parliament speaker - and added that 10 more people would go on trial on charges related to the postelection turmoil.