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Iranian Officials Warn Opposition Members Not To Protest

The opposition is hoping to rally people in support of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia on February 14.
The opposition is hoping to rally people in support of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia on February 14.
Iranian officials have renewed their verbal attacks and warnings against the opposition movement.

The warnings came just a few days after opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi asked the Interior Ministry for permission to demonstrate on February 14 to show solidarity with uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

They also come as Iran gets ready for a state-sponsored demonstration on February 11 to commemorate the 1979 revolution.

A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran, Hossein Hamedani, told the official IRNA news agency that opposition members will be dealth with by force if necessary.

"The seditionists are nothing but a dead corpse and we will strongly confront any of their movements,” he told IRNA.

He said every year as the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution approaches, Iran’s “enemies” get active to discourage people from participating in state-organized demonstrations to mark the day.

“The seditionists should know that no one will be fooled by them anymore to protest against the result of the vote. We definitely consider them as counterrevolutionaries and spies, and we will strongly confront them,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said those wishing to show solidarity with Egypt and Tunisia should join in the state-organized rally on February 11. Ejei was quoted by Iranian media as saying the opposition’s demand to hold a rally was politically motivated and divisive.

“Choosing another day would mean that they have separated themselves from the people and that would lead to divisions and discord,” he said. He added, “This is a political act, but the people have to be aware, and if required, they will respond to them.”

When Iranian leaders use the formulation the “people will respond,” it usually means security forces and the militia will take action.

Iranian officials are clearly concerned about the outbreak of antigovernment protests like those in Tunisia and Egypt.

If the Green Movement were really dead, as Iranian leaders say, then there would be no need for harsh warnings and an ongoing crackdown on opposition members and their families.

In the past 24 hours, another opposition member, Taghi Rahmani, has been arrested. He had campaigned for reformist cleric Karrubi ahead of the disputed 2009 presidential vote and has spent around a third of his life in jail.

His arrest could be part of efforts by Iranian officials to prevent opposition members from taking to the streets.

“Bultannews,” said to be close to the government, claimed Rahmani had a “major role” in the “illegal gatherings” of the opposition movement.

More arrests could be forthcoming.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.


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