Iran Prosecutor Threatens Opposition Leaders

Associated Press
The Wall Street Journal
December 31, 2009

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s opposition leaders faced new threats Thursday with the state prosecutor warning they could be put on trial if they don’t denounce this week’s antigovernment protests — the worst unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June election.

The warning came a day after crowds at progovernment rallies chanted calls for the execution of the opposition leaders and a group posted an online threat that suicide squads were ready to assassinate those leaders if the judiciary didn’t punish them within a week.

For a second straight day, government supporters staged a rally wearing white funeral shrouds to symbolize a willingness to die in defense of Iran’s clerical rulers. Several hundred turned out for Thursday’s demonstration in southern Tehran outside the offices of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, state radio reported.

Iran’s internal strife has taken a violent and bitter turn for the worse since Sunday, when at least eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition protesters on Ashoura, a sacred day for Shiite Muslims. It was the worst violence since huge street protests — some drawing hundreds of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators — erupted into clashes with security forces and militiamen in the weeks following the election. A harsh crackdown ended those protests. But the opposition movement has regained momentum over the last few weeks even though security forces continue the crackdown.

State prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei said the opposition leaders could be accused of supporting people who defy God by protesting against the government last Sunday. He said the leaders may face charges of “supporting apostates,” or those who go against God. His comments were published in state-owned Iran newspaper.

The article continues, with video and photographs, at WSJ.

Comments are closed.