Iran MPs rage against opposition after deadly demo

15th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Furious Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday demanded the hanging of opposition leaders who had called anti-government protests which left one person dead, saying they had been "misled" by Iran's arch-foes.

MPs singled out Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who had called for protests in Tehran on Monday in support of Arab uprisings that quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations and ended in clashes with police in which several people were hurt, including nine security force members.

Mohammad Khatami, former reformist president, also came under fire from the nation's conservatives following his open backing of the opposition movement since disputed June 2009 presidential elections.

"Mousavi and Karroubi should be executed! Death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami!" the lawmakers shouted in the house, state news agency IRNA reported.

They said the United States, Britain and Israel had orchestrated Monday's protests through the opposition leaders, who, according to parliament speaker Ali Larijani were being "misled" by Iran's arch-foes.

"The parliament condemns the Zionists, American, anti-revolutionary and anti-national action of the misled seditionists," a visibly angry Larijani told the parliament.

"How did the gentlemen (Mousavi and Karroubi) ... fall into the orchestrated trap of America?" he asked.

"Should they not have been cautious given the support, pleasure and joy of America and Israel as well as monarchists and Monafeghin?" Larijani added, referring to the outlawed People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI).

He also urged that a committee to be formed to probe and "confront" the opposition movement.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a hardline imam who often leads Friday prayers in Tehran, applauded the MPs and, accused the two opposition leaders of being "mohareb," or enemies of God, said they deserved the harshest of punishments.

"The chiefs of the sedition have reached the end of the road and it is time for (the authorities) to do their duty and judge and punish the chiefs of sedition," he said in a statement carried by Fars.

Despite a strict ban on the rally, heavy security force deployment and the placing of Mousavi and Karroubi under de facto house arrest, thousands of opposition supporters took to streets of the capital on Monday.

The demonstrations sparked violent clashes in which riot police fired tear gas and paintballs at demonstrators, witnesses and websites said.

Ahmad Reza Radan, deputy police chief of Iran, on Tuesday confirmed an earlier news agency report that a protester had died in the clashes.

"One person was martyred by Monafeghin in the shooting at yesterday's events," Radan was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

"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," he said, adding that one of the wounded security members was critical.

The PMOI issued a statement in Paris denying that its members were responsible for the protester's death.

The anti-government demonstrations were the first in Tehran since February 11, 2010.

Mousavi and Karroubi allege Ahmadinejad's re-election in June 2009 was massively rigged and in the months after the results were announced called for protests which drew tens of thousands onto the streets -- shaking the pillars of the Islamic republic and angering its leaders.

Britain, the United State, France and the European Union appealed to the Iranian authorities to show restraint, recalling Iran's earlier support for the uprising in Egypt.

Spain, meanwhile, said it has protested to Tehran over a "very serious" incident in which Iranian authorities detained a Spanish diplomat for four hours, the Spanish foreign ministry said in Madrid Tuesday.

Spanish media said the diplomat was detained by police outside the Spanish embassy in Tehran near where an anti-government demonstration was taking place on Monday.

© 2011 AFP

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