Ex-Tehran mayor to face trial over wife’s killing

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Former Tehran mayor and prominent reformist Mohammad Ali Najafi will stand trial next month on charges of murdering his wife, the government-run Iran newspaper said Sunday.

Najafi, 67, turned himself in and confessed to shooting his second wife Mitra Ostad on May 28 at their home in northern Tehran, according to Iranian media.

“On July 1, the first trial session of Mohammad Ali Najafi, former Tehran mayor, will be held at Tehran’s Criminal Court,” the Iran daily reported.

A veteran politician, Najafi has previously served as President Hassan Rouhani’s economic advisor and education minister.

He was elected as mayor of the capital Tehran in August 2017, but resigned the following April after facing criticism from conservatives for attending a dance performance by schoolgirls.

There has been detailed coverage by state media of the case, a rarity in a country where scandals related to politicians are rarely highlighted on television.

Najafi married Ostad without divorcing his first wife, unusual in Iran where polygamy is legal but socially frowned upon.

There have been calls by ultra-conservatives for Najafi to be tried swiftly and without favoritism from the judiciary, with some claiming the case shows reformists’ “moral bankruptcy”.

Reformists, meanwhile, have criticized the conservative-dominated television of bias in their coverage and weaponising the case for political ends.

If convicted, Najafi could face the death penalty.

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