Iran`s Mousavi, Karroubi call for demo on poll anniversary
Iran`s main opposition leaders called on Tuesday for protests to mark the first anniversary of the June 12 disputed presidential vote, setting the scene for a fresh showdown with Islamic hardliners.
Tehran: Iran`s main opposition leaders
called on Tuesday for protests to mark the first anniversary of the
June 12 disputed presidential vote, setting the scene for a
fresh showdown with Islamic hardliners.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi took the
decision when they met yesterday to call on their supporters
to stage demonstrations on June 12, Karroubi`s website
Mousavi and Karroubi "insisted on staging a
demonstration on June 12... and called on all reformist
groups, organisations and parties to send their requests for
this to the interior ministry," Sahamnews website reported.
The two leaders lost out to President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad in last year`s elections and quickly dismissed the
result as massively rigged, sparking street protests which
rocked the Islamic republic throughout the summer.
Security forces cracked down heavily, with dozens of
protesters killed, hundreds arrested and scores of prominent
reformist leaders, journalists and rights campaigners put on
trial -- many receiving stiff jail sentences.
Hardline authorities have vowed to show no mercy
towards protesters and branded the opposition Green Movement
as a "sedition" masterminded by Iran`s foreign "enemies."
Demonstrations continued sporadically in the winter
but following violent clashes in which eight people were
killed on December 27, when Shiite Muslims marked the solemn
Ashura ceremonies, fewer people have turned out and their
protests have been more muted.
The opposition, which has exploited several
state-sponsored events to stage protest marches, has not been
able to hold any fresh rallies since the anniversary of the
Islamic revolution on February 11.
That protest fizzled when government supporters
overwhelmed the streets in central Tehran and security forces,
who resorted to firing tear gas, prevented opposition
supporters from gathering.
The hardliners backing Ahmadinejad have repeatedly
called for the arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi, especially
after Karroubi charged that some post-vote detainees had been
raped in jail.
The authorities denied this but admitted that
widespread prisoner abuse had taken place in the notorious
Kahrizak jail south of Tehran, where at least three protesters
died of injuries sustained in custody.
Mousavi and Karroubi, who were both very close to
Iran`s revolutionary father late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
have since the election turned into bitter critics of the
regime they helped create.