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Angry Iran Lawmakers Urge Trial For Opposition Leaders

A member of parliament shows a sign calling for Musavi and Karrubi to be tried.

A member of parliament shows a sign calling for Musavi and Karrubi to be tried.

Iranian lawmakers have called for charging two opposition leaders with capital offences after protests in which two people were killed and dozens wounded, according to state media.

Clashes broke out February 14 between security forces and protesters when thousands rallied in sympathy for popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

The official IRNA news agency quoted a statement, signed by 222 out of 290 lawmakers, that said the main opposition leaders Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi "are corrupt on earth ... and should be tried."

Being "corrupt on earth" is a capital offense in Iran.

Musavi and Karrubi had called for the demonstration as way for the Iranian people to show solidarity with pro-democracy protests around the Arab world. The authorities denied permission for the rallies, saying the population could show sympathy during state-sanctioned demonstrations.

On the eve of the demonstrations, both Karrubi and Musavi were placed under house arrest and prevented from taking part.

U.S. President Barack Obama has harshly criticized the crackdown on opposition protesters, drawing a sharp contrast with the Egyptian military's more restrained handling of Egypt's upheaval.

He told a news conference in Washington on February 15 that it was "ironic" that the Iranian regime pretended to celebrate what happened in Egypt, when in fact they "gunned down and beat people" who were trying to express themselves peacefully.

compiled from agency reports