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Iran's Musavi Hints At Fresh Protest

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi (left) and Mehdi Karrubi (with glasses and white turban) at a funeral procession for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in Qom in December.
(RFE/RL) -- Opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi has urged Iranians to stage a fresh antigovernment rally in the capital, Tehran, in order to highlight the continued strength of his Green Movement.

Musavi's statements, his first extensive comments since opposition street protesters were beaten back with tear gas and police batons on February 11, came in an interview posted to his "Kaleme" website.

He appeared to hint that authorities would not prevent his and fellow opposition leader and cleric Mehdi Karubi's supporters from gathering at an unspecified date.

"I and Mr. Karubi think the Green Movement will be allowed to stage a order to put an end to all speculation," AFP quoted Musavi as saying in the posting.

Musavi also emphasized the importance of free elections in Iran, according to Radio Farda.

The Islamic republic has seen unprecedented unrest since conservative Mahmud Ahmadinejad was awarded reelection by a landslide in a June presidential election, followed by security roundups and disappearances, mass trials, and a clampdown on dissent and the media.

Musavi on his website warned that he "do[es] not think that such treatment of people will simply be relegated to a memory," according to Radio Farda.

He accused the government of engineering massive pro-regime demonstrations on February 11 in an effort to discredit the opposition.

Musavi condemned the use of government resources -- including buses and trains -- "to gather people for that rally," which marked the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Musavi compared it to "the authoritarian mentality and practices before the revolution," under the Pahlavi dynasty, Radio Farda reported.

Opposition leaders had urged their supporters to use that day to demonstrate their continued desire for increased transparency and democratic reform.

compiled from Radio Farda and agency reports

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