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Sat 30 Jan 2010 08:58 AM

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Iranian cleric urges more executions of protesters

Pro-Ahmadinejad cleric says protests must end; thanks judiciary for executions.

A hardline Iranian cleric urged judicial authorities on Friday to execute more opposition protesters to end anti-government demonstrations kindled by last year's disputed presidential election, state radio reported.

A day earlier, Iran hanged two men sentenced to death on charges including waging war against God, trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment and membership of armed groups.

Opposition websites have been inviting people to hold further anti-government rallies on Feb. 11, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Hardline authorities have warned the opposition against "illegal" rallies.

"I thank the judiciary chief for executing two rioters and urge him to execute others if they do not give up such protests," Jannati told worshippers at Tehran University. His speech was broadcast live on state radio.

Jannati is head of the Guardian Council, which vets candidates for national elections, and is a staunch supporter of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose victory in the June vote he has repeatedly praised.

Iran's interior minister warned opposition activists on Jan. 5 they risked execution as enemies of God if demonstrations continued.

Authorities said the two were part of an 11-member pro-monarchy and anti-revolutionary group who had planned to plant bombs and assassinate officials to create tension on the day of election and afterwards. Death sentences imposed on the other nine are at the appeal stage.

In Iran's bloodiest unrest since the immediate aftermath of the vote, eight people were killed on Dec. 27, the date of the Shi'ite ritual of Ashura. Authorities have accused opposition leaders of links to "foreign enemies". The opposition denies the allegation.

Neither side has shown much appetite for compromise in the seven months since the vote and confrontations are expected to intensify on Feb. 11.

"We showed weaknesses until Ashura ... There is no more space for tolerance," said Jannati.

Opposition leaders say the vote was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election. Authorities deny this.

The opposition says more than 70 people have been killed, but Iranian authorities estimate the post-election death toll at about half that number, including pro-government militiamen. (Reuters)

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Allen 10 years ago

In on one hand many of the western media and human rights groups are shouting human rights violation, when they don't like wages or the accommodation of workers in Dubai (just go to ABC sight and see what I mean). But, on the other hand, when it comes to mass killing of innocent people in Iran, all of sudden they all go quiet. It is just shameful. I wish these organizations were wither always as vocal as they sometimes are on minor issues, or just be quite all together.

Dan 10 years ago

These Mullahs robed the Iranian people from their revolution and do anything to stay in power and profit them self. They brought mass executions during these 30 years and ruined the name and reputation of this great country with thousands of years of history and civility. They dragged the good name of the Iranian people in mud. They will struggle to the last breath to stay in power because after Saddam fate they know awaits them.

Rich 10 years ago

Historically, all dictatorships have fallen! Religious or political, what makes the "rulers" of Iran think that they are so different. With 70% of the population under the age of 45, time is on the side of change.