Reformist cleric Mehdi Karubi has lashed out at Iran's judiciary and hard-line lawmakers, accusing them of becoming the tools of the political leadership and security forces, according to a statement posted on the sahamnews.org
One of two high-profile reformist challengers in last year's disputed
presidential election, Karubi likened them to "jackboots" in an atmosphere of mounting intimidation and imprisonment.
Observers expect tensions to increase with the approach of the first anniversary of the June 12 vote.
Many critics of the vote united under the banner of the Green Movement and turned out in huge numbers to protest the awarding of the vote to conservative Mahmud Ahmadinejad, sparking street clashes, mass roundups, and televised trials.
Karubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossen Musavi have maintained their insistence on the need for reforms despite calls by hard-liners for their trial on "sedition" and other serious charges.
In his statement, which the website says was addressed to Grand Ayatollah Musavi Ardebili, Karubi described Ahmadinejad's behavior in the presidency as an "embarrassment to the Iranian nation."
Sahamnews.org is run by Karubi's Etemad-e Melli party.
Authorities say around 30 people have died in postelection unrest, while opposition and rights activists have put the number at two to three times that figure with a dozen or so others sentenced by courts to death.Clinton Urged To 'Prioritize' Rights In Iran
A group of U.S. congressmen has written a letter
urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to "prioritize human rights as part of the US policy toward Iran" amid that country's crackdown on postelection dissent.
Signed by 11 Republicans and two Democrats and dated May 21, the appeal condemns the "ongoing persecution of Iranian political prisoners" since the June vote.
It cites "the hanging of five political prisoners" and reports of detainee torture and asks Clinton to "demand answers for [the] seeming mockery of the judicial process."
"Democratic expression in Iran remains alive despite the repressive steps taken by the government," the letter says, noting student protests that greeted President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's appearance at Tehran University on May 10. "We urge you to vocally support such manifestations of popular will, now and in the coming months as the June 12 anniversary approaches."written by Andy Heil in Prague