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Release Jailed Iranian Women, Musavi's Wife Urges

Zahra Rahnavard
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- The wife of Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi has called on the authorities to release women jailed after the disputed June presidential election, the reformist Kaleme website reported.

"We demand immediate and unconditional release of all [political] prisoners, particularly those women who have been arrested since the election," the website quoted Zahra Rahnavard as saying.

Moderate defeated presidential candidates Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi have urged their supporters to take to the streets on November 4, the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. A reformist website said Karrubi will attend the rally.

Anti-U.S. rallies will take place outside the former American embassy, now called the "den of espionage" in Iran, to mark seizure of the embassy after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution when radical students took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Some reformist websites have called on people to gather outside the Russian Embassy instead, in an apparent protest at Moscow's recognition of Ahmadinejad's reelection on June 12.

The vote sparked Iran's worst unrest in the past three decades and exposed deep divisions in the establishment. The opposition rejects the vote as rigged, saying Ahmadinejad's government is illegitimate.

The authorities say the vote was "the healthiest" since the revolution. Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last week it was a crime to question the election.

Avoid Illegal Gatherings

Iran's Revolutionary Guards and allied Islamic Basij militia suppressed the postelection protests and thousands were arrested. Over 100 of them, including former senior officials, lawyers, and activists are still in jail.

Iran's hard-line clerical establishment, trying to avoid any repeat of the huge demonstrations say security forces will confront any "illegal" gatherings, warning the opposition not to use the anti-U.S. rallies on November 4 to stage new protests.

"Today, our duty is to defend the revolution and the Velayat-e faqih [Islamic jurisprudence]," Mohamadreza Naqdi, head of Iran's volunteer Basij militia, was quoted as saying by the "Hayat-e No" daily.

The opposition says more than 70 people were killed in the postelection violence. The official death toll is 36 people.

Tehran's prosecutor also called on Iranians to be careful about "diversionary" slogans at the November 4 rallies, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Those who try to disrupt the anti-American rallies on Wednesday will be confronted," said Abbas Jafari.