The Iranian Reform Movement denied official reports of cancelling protests scheduled for Sunday and warned the government of any attempts at using violence with the protestors.
The Iranian government sent mobile text messages to citizens claiming they are the reformist Green Movement, said Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, senior advisor to reformist and presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
“The messages said that the opposition decided to cancel Sunday protests in order to avoid bloodshed,” he said in a statement broadcast by Rasa T.V., the mouthpiece of the Green Movement.
Members of Iran’s opposition distributed flyers encouraging people to take part in the protests and warning the regime that violence is bound to breed violence and that they will respond in the same way if protests are crushed by the Basij, the paramilitary volunteer forces affiliated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Reformists wrote on the flyers a message to the regime: “We are the children of war. Stop that fight so we won’t fight.” The message came in response to a statement by Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar in which he warned of organizing any “illegitimate” protests and threatened that security forces will react harshly to protestors.
“Let those who organized the February 14 protests know that the Interior Ministry will confront leaders of sedition in accordance with the law,” he told the press Saturday.
Najjar accused protestors of being supported by hypocrites, by which he meant Mujahedin Khalq, the most prominent armed organization that calls for the fall of the Iranian regime.
“They are also supported by barbarians and spreaders of chaos,” he added.
Scholars slam regime
The union of religious scholars at the seminaries of Qom in Iran and Najaf in Iraq called upon all Iranians to take part in the demonstrations that aim at honoring the martyrs killed by security forces on the February 14 rally.
“Taking part in a demonstration that honors martyrs reminds us of the Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah in 1979 and exposes those who claim to be representatives of Islam and the values of the evolution,” said the statement issued by the union and of which AlArabiya.net obtained a copy.
The statement added that Iranians are pioneers as far as revolutions are concerned and that the 1979 revolution has inspired many countries in the region.
“Unfortunately, the revolution is now being deformed by hypocrites who claim to protect its principles.”
The statement stressed that peaceful demonstrations have to continue until the suppressive regime is toppled and constitutional legitimacy is restored.
“We call upon security forces to join the peaceful rallies and to learn from what happened in the region.”
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)