Tehran mayor gets five years, verdict victory for hard-liners

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A court convicted Tehran’s reformist mayor Thursday and sentenced him to five years in prison for corruption, another twist in the struggle between Iran’s moderate president and his hard-line political rivals.
Gholamhossein Karbaschi also was banned from holding public office for 20 years and sentenced to 60 lashes, but the court suspended the flogging because of his social standing. Karbaschi was fined $530,000.
Karbaschi was not present for the verdict, which was read by a court official at the Imam Khomeini Judicial Complex.
Karbaschi — who ran President Mohammad Khatami’s election campaign last year — has been at the center of the tug-of-war between the competing factions in Iran’s Islamic government, headed by Khatami and the country’s hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The verdict against the popular mayor was a show of force by Khamenei’s hard-liners, who showed they wield considerable power despite their crushing defeat during Khatami’s election.