Iranian authorities demand halt to protests

The Jordan Times
Friday, 1 January 2010

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian hardline authorities ordered their opponents on Thursday to cease anti-government protests and denied an opposition website report that troops were heading for Tehran ahead of a planned opposition rally.

The authorities have signalled they will tolerate no more protests after eight people were killed in fiery demonstrations on Sunday during the Shiite ritual of Ashura. A nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was killed the same day.

State television showed a group of pro-government demonstrators wearing white shrouds and carrying placards that read: “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the leader” – referring to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Jaras opposition website said troops and armoured vehicles were moving towards Tehran and that security forces had deployed in several city squares to foil the opposition rally.

Officials denied the report that troops, which have not previously been used for crowd control, had been called in.

Independent verification was impossible because foreign media have been barred from covering protests directly.

Iran’s intelligence ministry accused the opposition leaders of links to “foreign enemies and anti-revolutionary groups” and vowed to confront them with no mercy unless they changed course.

The article continues at The Jordan Times.

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