Friday, December 17, 2010
Publish date: December 11 • Printable version    

Karroubi slams government campaign to vilify opposition

Mehdi Karroubi

Iranian opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi condemned the government’s attempts at using the Shiite events of Ashura to slander and oppress the protest movement.

Ashura is part of the ceremonies carried out in the month of Muharram by Shiites. In Iran the month of Muharram, marked by the death of the third Imam of Shiites, is a month of mourning, processions and retelling of the circumstances of the killing of Hussein the son of Ali and his companions by Yazid, the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate in Karbala in 7th century AD.

A directive sent out to mosque authorities calls on presenters of Ashura and Muharram ceremonies to describe the dimensions of the post-election protests of 2009 which the establishment refers to as “sedition." According to this directive, the sermons are to include “elucidation of the different forms of confronting the soft war waged by the enemy.”

The Islamic Republic claims the reform movement which has been trying to make gradual changes in the Islamic Republic through social and media activities is in fact a soft war to topple the system.

Mehdi Karroubi warns that the mosques have been directed to draw parallels between the murder of the third Imam of the Shiites with the protests that followed the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and maintains that the establishment is abusing the Shiite ceremony to vilify the opposition and further justify the oppression of reformists and dissidents.

Iranian reformists and protesters have been the target of widespread arrests and heavy judicial sentences in the past year and a half in which the government has made every effort to silence the protests.

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