Ex­e­cute pro­test­ers, cleric urges

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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