Execute protesters, cleric urges
TEHRAN: A hardline Iranian cleric called on judicial authorities yesterday to execute more opposition protesters to end anti-government demonstrations kindled by last year’s disputed presidential election.
A day earlier, Iran hanged two men sentenced to death on charges including waging war against God and trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment.
Opposition websites have called on people to hold antigovernment rallies on February 11, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Authorities have warned the opposition against “illegal” rallies.
“I thank the judiciary chief for executing two rioters and urge him to execute others if they do not give up such protests,” Jannati told worshippers in a speech was that was broadcast live on state radio.
Jannati heads the Guardian Council, which vets candidates for national elections, and is a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose victory in the June vote he has repeatedly praised.
Earlier this month Iran’s interior minister warned opposition activists they risked execution as enemies of God if demonstrations continued.
Authorities said the two who were executed were part of an 11-member pro-monarchy and anti-revolutionary group who had planned to plant bombs and assassinate officials to create tension on and after the elections. Death sentences imposed on the other nine are being appealed.
In Iran’s bloodiest unrest since the immediate aftermath of the vote, eight people were killed on December 27, the date of the Shia ritual of Ashura. Authorities have accused opposition leaders of links to “foreign enemies”. The opposition denies the allegation.
Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise since the vote and confrontations are expected to intensify on February 11. – Reuters