Iran’s reformist leaders reject links to foreigners

Iran’s reformist leaders reject links to foreigners
# 09 February 2010 03:58 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Iran’s reformist leaders Monday rejected the authorities’ accusation that the opposition movement had links to foreigners and urged people to attend rallies Thursday marking the 1979 Islamic revolution, APA reports quoting Euronews.
The opposition is expected to revive anti-government protests at the February 11 events, raising fears of further clashes with the security forces.
Mass street protests erupted after a disputed election last year which the opposition says was rigged to secure hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
The authorities have denied the charge and portrayed the protests as a Western-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.
“We say election matters are domestic and it has nothing to do with foreign (countries) ... Iran’s Green (opposition) movement is independent and will not in any way allow foreigners to interfere in its affairs,” Kalemeh website quoted opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi as saying.
“In our reform-seeking movement, we have neither fixed hope on foreigners nor hold the belief that they are benevolent towards us,” Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s president from 1997 to 2005 was quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency.
“If there is a dispute, it is an internal one and if in certain instances foreign governments take advantage of the conditions they do it uninvited,” Khatami added.
Opposition leaders have called on their supporters to take part in the February 11 events.
“God willing, all people will take part in the marches with the common points of defending the revolution and human rights, as the principal owners of the revolution,” Khatami said.
The authorities have warned backers of the pro-reform opposition of a firm response if they take to the streets again, eight months after the disputed presidential election.
“The Iranian nation will show on (February 11) how it will punch the faces of all the world’s arrogants — America, Britain and Zionists — with its unity,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday, state television reported.
“It is clear today that those who stood against the people were not a part of the Iranian nation … they were either anti-revolutionary figures or were acting like them,” he said.
Eight people were killed in clashes between the security forces and opposition supporters in late December in the most serious bloodshed since the aftermath of the vote.
The opposition is showing no sign of backing down, despite many arrests in a continuing crackdown by the authorities.
APPEAL
Earlier Monday, the Iranian news agency ISNA said a court had sentenced a prominent reformer who served as deputy foreign minister under Khatami to six years in jail over his role in the unrest that erupted after the election.
Mohsen Aminzadeh was one of many leading pro-reform figures detained after the vote, which plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the revolution three decades ago and exposed widening establishment divisions.
He was a prominent backer of Mousavi in the poll.
Thousands of people protesting against the conduct of the June vote were arrested. Most have since been freed, although more than 80 people have been jailed for up to 15 years.
Last month, Iran hanged two people sentenced to death in post-vote trials. The West and human rights groups condemned the executions, accusing Iran of staging “show trials” and of seeking to intimidate the opposition.
ISNA quoted Aminzadeh’s lawyer, Abbas Shiri, as saying he was accused of taking part in illegal gatherings, planning to disturb Iran’s security and of spreading propaganda against the Islamic government system in interviews with foreign media.
“Rejecting the charges, I will submit the appeal within the legal period,” Shiri said.
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED