The lawyer Saeed Dehghan has announced the dissolution of nationwide charity the Imam Ali Society by an Iranian court.
The nonpartisan NGO, which was first set up in 1999 and whose full name is the Imam Ali’s Popular Students Relief Society, is one of the largest non-state-backed charities in Iran with more than 10,000 volunteers across the country.
It supports vulnerable households and children with food packages, school equipment, workshops, therapy and educational and cultural activities in the areas in which they live.
Last summer key members of the organization were targeted by the security forces of the Islamic Republic. Founder Sharmin Meymandinejad and several directors were arrested and their homes were raided based on a complaint originating from the Revolutionary Guards’ Sarollah headquarters.
Members of the Imam Ali Society were accused by the security services of "insulting the Supreme Leader and the founder of the Islamic Republic," "acting against national security," and "having ties to Israel”. They were later released on bail.
The charity had since announced that the Interior Ministry had asked the judiciary for its dissolution. On the morning of Wednesday, March 3, Saeed Dehghan wrote, an order to this effect was issued by the courts.
Writing bitterly that the content had been “completely neutral”, Dehghan added that the detailed eight-page resolution, Dehghan said, was issued immediately after the hearing the previous day. As such, he said, “it must be concluded that the verdict had already been drafted”.