Iran to hang nine more over poll unrest
Tehran, February 2, 2010
Iran said on Tuesday it would soon hang nine more rioters over the unrest that erupted after the June presidential vote, and the leader of the opposition said such repression showed the 1979 Islamic revolution had failed.
"Nine others will be hanged soon. The nine, and the two who were hanged on Thursday, were surely arrested in the recent riots and had links to anti-revolutionary groups," said senior judiciary official Ebrahim Raisi, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The two men hanged last week were among a group of 11 people sentenced to death on charges including "waging war against God" and being members of armed groups.
Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, former prime minister, said on Tuesday the repression showed the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the US-backed Shah "had not achieved its goals".
"Filling the prisons and brutally killing protesters show that the root of ... dictatorship remain from the monarchist era," he said on his Kalemeh website.
Influential cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised the hangings and urged the judiciary on Friday to execute more. "The cruel cleric praises the judiciary for the hangings despite serious concerns over the methods used for getting confessions from detainees," Mousavi said.
Eight people, including a nephew of Mousavi, were killed in demonstrations during the Shi'ite ritual of Ashura on Dec 27 and officials said over 1,000 were arrested.
"The 'green movement' will not abandon its peaceful fight ... until people's rights are preserved," Mousavi told the Kalemeh website. "Peaceful protests are Iranians' right."
His comments may encourage supporters to take to the streets on Feb 11, when Iran marks the anniversary of the 1979 revolution with state-organised rallies. If so, clashes are expected.
Since a disputed presidential election in June, the opposition has used state rallies to stage anti-government protests. Mousavi and another defeated candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, have urged their supporters to attend the Feb 11 events.
"Under no condition will we let the 'green movement' show up ... it will be firmly confronted by us," said Hossein Hamedani, a commander of the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran has been rocked by protests since the election that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term.
The poll, which reformist leaders said was rigged, touched off the worst internal crisis in the Islamic Republic's history. The government denied any fraud in the voting. - Reuters