Iran cleric calls of execution of ‘rioters’
Tehran, June 27, 2009
A hardline Iranian cleric has called for the execution of leading "rioters" to teach a lesson to the tens of thousands who have protested against the result of the presidential election two weeks ago.
"I want the judiciary to ... punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, told worshippers at Tehran University.
Iran's top legislative body, the Guardian Council, said it had found no major violations in the election, which it described as the "healthiest" since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but said 10 per cent of ballot boxes would be recounted, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
It has rejected a call for the election to be annulled by moderate former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi, who has led mass protests since he was declared a distant second in the election behind incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iranian authorities have accused Mousavi of responsibility for the bloodshed, while he says the government is to blame.
Khatami alleged that the icon of the opposition, slain protester Neda Agha Soltan, was killed by demonstrators, not the Iranian security forces. Soltan, 27, was killed by a shot to the chest last week, on the sidelines of a protest.
Britain's Times newspaper quoted Dr Arash Hejazi, an Iranian who appeared on Internet videos helping Neda, as echoing opposition charges the 26-year-old was killed by a government militiaman.
The official website of Mousavi was hacked yesterday, leaving it blank, an aide said. – TradeArabia News Service