Washington, DC – In response to Iran’s arrest of Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji, the father of Mehdi Khalaji, a senior research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) issued the following statement:

"We are deeply concerned by reports that the Iranian regime has arrested Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Khalaji and confiscated both his and his family’s personal possessions and passports, thereby preventing them from leaving Iran.

"The regime’s intimidation and imprisonment of clerics critical of the current government must cease at once.

"The American people stand with all those inside and outside of Iran who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law."