Mousavi calls day of mourning for Iran dead
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi urged supporters to stage peaceful protests or gather in mosques to mourn those killed after a disputed presidential poll set off Iran's worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. "In the course of the past days and as a consequence of illegal and violent encounters with (people protesting) against the outcome of the presidential election, a number of our countrymen were wounded or martyred," Mousavi said.
|Heavy EFL; just the new stuff.|
"I ask the people to express their solidarity with the families ... by coming together in mosques or taking part in peaceful demonstrations," said Mousavi, adding that he would take part in the day of mourning planned for Thursday.
Mousavi's statement on his website did not refer to a protest called for Wednesday.
|This is clever; guarantees a large turnout, and Muslims generally are very .. expressive .. when mourning their dead.|
Further protests planned for Wednesday and Thursday are a direct challenge to the authorities who have kept a tight grip on dissent since the U.S.-backed shah was overthrown in 1979 after months of protest. After Monday's deaths, Mousavi had urged followers to call off a planned rally in the same downtown area on Tuesday so the marchers headed north instead. Some sent messages to meet again on Wednesday for a rally at Tehran's central Haft-e Tir Square. In a stark warning, Fars News Agency quoted Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli as saying "no permission has been issued for a gathering or rally in Haft-e Tir Square" on Wednesday.
State television has said the "main agents" behind the turmoil have been arrested with guns and explosives.
Security forces arrested a pro-reform activist and an editor on Wednesday while a provincial prosecutor warned that those causing unrest faced the death penalty. Mohammadreza Habibi, prosecutor-general in Isfahan province, said: "We warn the few ... controlled by foreigners who try to disrupt domestic security by inciting individuals to destroy and to commit arson that the Islamic penal code for such individuals waging war against God is execution."
Tens of thousands of pro-Mousavi supporters defied authorities to rally in Tehran on Tuesday after the seven were killed in Monday's violence but international media were forbidden from leaving their offices to cover the event.
|Habibi's statement is the clearest evidence that the protests have spread into the countryside, and that the thugs are worried.|
Pro-Mousavi protests have been reported in the cities of Rasht, Orumiyeh, Zanjan, Zahedan, and Tabriz. ISNA news agency said 88 people were arrested during post-election unrest in the city of Mashhad and up to 60 people in the city of Tabriz.
A reformist source said Saeed Laylaz, editor of business daily Sarmayeh, and activist Mohammadreza Jalaiepour were both arrested on Wednesday. Jalaiepour was detained at Tehran's international airport, the source said. Mousavi said arrests would help to widen protests. "I condemn widespread arrests of children of the revolution and I'm warning that the expansion of this method will reveal the ugly face of those who are against the nation and will motivate people more to continue and expand protests," he said.
An official inquiry was launched into an attack on university students. Iran's Interior Ministry ordered an investigation into an attack on university students which they say was carried out by Islamic Basij militia and police. The inquiry came a day after Iran's influential speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, condemned the attack on the dormitory of Tehran University.
One student activist who declined to be named told Reuters on Tuesday that four students were killed during the violence. Tehran University denied anyone had been killed.
|This is interesting; Larijani is usually one of Khamenei's lap dogs. Fissures in the ruling elite?|
Mousavi urged the nation to be calm. "Therefore those rioters who damaged public property and create tension in the society are not part of us," he said, adding: "People have chosen peaceful methods and they avoid violence."
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday that Mousavi's wide support among reformists was "evidence of the will to revolt against oppression."
"We do not want to intervene directly and we are not doing that. But indignation, the need to support democrats, the need to support reformists -- that, we affirm loud and clear."
|Thank you France. Now if Obama could muster the same clarity ...|
Posted by: Steve White 2009-06-17