Iranian MP claims sexual abuse of protesters has been proved | World news | guardian.co.uk An Iranian MP said today there is proof that some reformists were sexually abused in prison after the disputed presidential election in June. "Raping of some detainees through baton and soda bottle has been proved to us," the unnamed member of the investigative committee was quoted as saying. His comments are the first official acknowledgment that prisoners were violated. Until now, Iran's leaders had dismissed such opposition claims as mischief-making. One of the defeated reformist presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi, has alleged that some of those arrested after mass demonstrations were raped. Yesterday Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rebuked opposition leaders for calling attention to alleged abuses of detainees. Without directly naming anyone, Khamenei criticised them for highlighting claims of mistreatment in Kahrizak prison, one of the sites where protesters have been held. "Some ignore defacing of the system while highlighting the issue of Kahrizak," he was quoted as saying by the state Islamic Republic News Agency. "This way of thinking is an open unfairness." Earlier this month, Iran's police chief admitted that protesters who were arrested after the election had been tortured while in custody in Kahrizak, south-west Tehran. But General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam denied that any of the detainees had died as a result and said the head of the detention centre had been dismissed and jailed. The allegations of prison mistreatment have been a lightning rod for criticism of the regime, with senior Iranian political figures calling for a full investigation. The latest comments from one of the MPs on the investigating committee are likely to intensify the pressure on the regime as it confronts the gravest threat to its authority since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah. In another sign of the confusion within ruling circles, Khamenei expressed doubt over claims by conservative hardliners that opposition leaders were backed by the west, in direct contradiction to charges set out during recent mass trials.