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Iran to Release 140 Post-Election Detainees

Iran authorities Tuesday released 140 people who had been arrested in the country's post-election unrest.

Lawmaker Kazem Jalali told Iranian media that the newly freed detainees face minor charges and have been released on bail.

Earlier Tuesday, members of a special parliamentary committee that is investigating post-election detentions visited Tehran's notorious Evin prison. Many people detained in the post-election protests are believed to be in this facility.

As of Monday, Iranian officials said 300 people rounded up in the post-election protests remained jailed. Lawmaker Jalali said the roughly 150 people who are still being held face more serious charges than those released on bail.

Iranian media reported Monday that the nation's judiciary chief ordered officials to decide within a week whether reformist detainees should remain jailed or be released.

In other news, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered the closure of a jail where some political prisoners are believed to be held.

Officials Tuesday said he ordered Tehran's Kahrizak detention center to be closed because the jail does not meet the necessary conditions to preserve the rights of detainees.

It is not clear how many detainees are in the jail, whether they were arrested in the post-election protests, or whether they will be released or transferred to other prisons.

Political activists, journalists and others were arrested as part of a crackdown on protests that stemmed from the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The political opposition alleges fraud, but Iranian authorities say the vote was fair.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.