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Iranian Deputies Want Opposition Leaders Charged With Crimes

Mehdi Karrubi (left) and Mir Hossein Musavi
Mehdi Karrubi (left) and Mir Hossein Musavi
Scores of Iranian parliament deputies have signed an open letter to the head of the judiciary demanding swift legal action be taken against opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter, published on May 16, was signed by 175 of the Iranian parliament's 290 members. It targets two of the three challengers to incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential vote. Both Musavi -- who officially finished second -- and Karrubi claimed there was widespread fraud in the election.

The letter calls the two men the "heads of the sedition." It also asks that Musavi and Karrubi be brought to trial before the anniversary of the election in about three weeks.

The disputed election triggered Iran's largest protest movement since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Musavi and Karrubi, both former leading figures in the country's political establishment, broke with the government and aligned with demonstrators in protesting the election results.

The opposition movement they came to lead is known as the Green Movement.

The government, in turn, launched an intense crackdown and arrested thousands of opposition activists, journalists, and regular citizens.

Iranian analyst Mohammad Ali Tofighi told Radio Farda on May 16 that the possibility that Musavi and Karrubi will be arrested has increased.

"As the anniversary of the presidential election approaches, the establishment fears that people's protests will resume," Tofighi said. "Arresting the leaders of the Green Movement would most probably add fuel to [such] protests."

Gholamhossein Elham, a member of Iran's powerful Guardians Council, recently accused Musavi of "mohareb", or being an enemy of God, a charge that is punishable by death in Iran.