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Iran MPs want death penalty for opposition leaders

After one killed & dozens arrested in protests

نشر في:

Iranian lawmakers urged judiciary on Tuesday to hand out death penalties to opposition leaders for fomenting unrest in the Islamic state after a rally in which one person was killed and dozens were wounded, state media said.

Clashes broke out between security forces and protesters when thousands of opposition supporters rallied in sympathy for popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia on Monday, reviving mass protests that shook Iran after a presidential vote in 2009.

"(Opposition leaders) Mehdi Karroubi and Mirhossein Mousavi are corrupts on earth and should be tried," the official IRNA news agency quoted lawmakers as saying in a statement.

The loose term "Corrupt on Earth", a charge which has been leveled at political dissidents in the past, carries the death penalty in the Islamic Iran.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said: "Those who created public disorder on Monday will be confronted firmly and immediately."

Iranian authorities have repeatedly accused opposition leaders of being part of a Western plot to overthrow the Islamic system. The claim has been denied by Mousavi and Karroubi.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani also accused the United States and its allies of providing support to the opposition.

"The main aim of Americans was to simulate the recent events in the Middle East in Iran to divert attentions from those countries," Larijani said, state radio reported.

Protests against Iran's clerical establishment appeared to have ended and life was back to normal in Tehran streets and other cities on Tuesday.

Those who created public disorder on Monday will be confronted firmly and immediately

Mohseni-Ejei, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein

One protester killed

Iran police Tuesday confirmed the death of one person in shooting that erupted during anti-government protests in Tehran and said a number of people were wounded, including nine security force members.

Blaming an outlawed group for the shootings on Monday, Ahmed Reza Radan, deputy police chief of Iran, said the gatherings were directed by the United States, Britain and Israel.

"One person was martyred by Monafeghin in the shooting at yesterday's events," Radan was quoted as saying by Fars news agency, referring to the outlawed People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI).

"In the events yesterday, some rioters were arrested and unfortunately Monafeghin elements fired shots at people and security forces. In these shootings nine security force members and some others were injured."

Radan said members of PMOI were "deployed" at what he said were illegal gatherings.

An Iranian news agency had earlier reported the death of a bystander in Monday's clashes but this had not immediately been confirmed.

The clashes came when thousands of anti-government protesters staged scattered demonstrations in Tehran under the pretext of holding rallies in support of Arab uprisings, witnesses and websites reported.

During the protests, supporters of the opposition movement shouted slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and clashed with riot police, particularly around Tehran's prominent Azadi (Freedom) Square.

Witnesses said police fired tear gas and paintballs to disperse the crowds and that roadside rubbish bins were set on fire.

Radan laid the blame for the upheavals on members of the PMOI and "American and British mercenaries who set a few trash bins on fire."

He also said that the protests were "directed from America, England and Israel."

"The hands of sedition leaders are drenched in blood and they should answer for these actions," he added, in reference to Mousavi and Karroubi.

The two leaders, described by Iranian officials as "seditionists," had sought permission to stage rallies in support of revolts sweeping the Arab world but their request was denied and both were kept under house arrest on Monday.

Increasing pressure

But wary of a repeat of the protests in 2009, which saw the biggest unrest since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, hardline rulers are expected to step up pressure on the opposition to prevent a new flare-up.

At least 20 pro-reform activists were arrested before the protests, opposition websites reported.

Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia against secular, Western-allied rulers an "Islamic awakening", akin to the 1979 revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed shah in Iran.

But the opposition say events in Tunisia and Egypt mirror their own protests after the June 2009 vote which they say was rigged to secure Ahmadinejad's re-election. Authorities deny this.

The opposition leaders, who called the protest, were prevented by security forces from participating the rally, Mousavi's website Kaleme reported.

Amnesty International, Britain and the United States condemned the authorities' reaction to the protests.

The anti-government demonstrations held Monday were the first in Tehran since Feb. 11, 2010. Also, the last anti-government protest in Iran was in December 2009 when eight people were killed.