Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: February 22 • Printable version    

Opposition leader calls for free gathering of protesters

Iranian opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi

Mehdi Karroubi, one of the disputing candidates of Iran’s June presidential elections, urged the government to issue election protesters a permit to stage a gathering and thus establish the true number of protesters.

Islamic Republic authorities have repeatedly maintained that protesters are a limited groups of deceived individuals as opposed to the so-called "millions' that support the government.

The opposition leader’s letter, published today on Saham News Website, invites the government to allow protesters to gather in one of the city’s many squares or even “the deserts of Qom” so that “once and for all, the weight of each social propensity becomes evident without resorting to any force or threats.”

Mehdi Karroubi also criticized the actions of the Guardian Council and called for a free referendum to end the rule of the Council on Iranian elections. He maintained that the Guardian Council is an obstacle to free elections, forming of the Assembly of Experts and independent Islamic councils.

The opposition leader once more condemned the government’s attempt at “confiscating” the February 11 ceremonies by “turning Tehran into an army barracks.”

On February 11, the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Revolution which marks the commencement of the Islamic Republic, pro-government crowds were bussed in from all around the country to stage a mass demonstration. Protesters who intended to stage their own protests on this day were not able to come together as security and police forces confronted them in full force.

In his letter, Mehdi Karroubi addresses the participators saying: “We all know that your participation in February 11 demonstrations was certainly not because you are in favour of oppressive policies and filling of the prisons but rather it is because of your national concerns, your love for Iran, the Revolution and the Imam.”

He adds: “You, the good people of our country, did not participate in the march for the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution to make a covenant with the beating of people. You pious people of our country know better than anyone that spilling the blood of innocent people is against the very foundations of your religion and your morality.”

The Islamic Republic has responded to protests against the alleged fraud that has brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back to another term at presidency, with a violent crackdown which has so far caused at least 40 deaths and over five thousand arrests and widespread reports of torture in the prisons.

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