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Iran's Supreme Leader Lashes Out at Opposition and Threatens Action

Source: VOA

As the Iranian government wages a media campaign against the opposition for allegedly burning a poster of Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has raised the gauntlet against movement leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.  Calling them "former brothers," Khamenei warns them to dissociate themselves with the picture burners.

Ali Khamenei

Looking stern and sounding angry Ayatollah Khamenei lashed out at Iran's opposition movement, once again calling its supporters "rioters" and "lackies" of Iran's foreign enemies.  He also accused them of insulting and defiling the memory of Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The Iranian media has been waging a campaign for several days against student members of the opposition for allegedly burning a poster with the images of both Ayatollah Khomeini and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  Opposition members say the government staged the burnings to discredit them.

Tehran University Students protested again on Sunday and denounced the state run TV for fanning the flames against the students and opposition

The Ayatollah complains rioters are being encouraged by enemies outside Iran to burn, defile and desecrate Khomeini's image. He says opposition supporters have taken the honorable portrait of Imam Khomeini and torched it, defiling his memory. 

Ayatollah Khamenei also used his speech to a group of clerics to demand the opposition give up its claim, once and for all, that a June 12 presidential election was rigged, urging opposition leaders to put an end to agitation in the country:

He urges the opposition to remain calm.  Many, he says, have turned the election into a campaign against the Islamic Republic.  The election is over, he insists, and their charges of fraud were investigated, but they could not prove anything.

Despite the Ayatollah's call for calm, hundreds of opposition students demonstrated again Sunday at Tehran University.  They denounced the government campaign against them for allegedly burning photos of Ayatollah Khomeini.  Iranian police reportedly encircled the campus.

Protests at Tehran University on Sunday by students supporting the opposition

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard took the government campaign a step further, demanding on its website those responsible for burning photos be prosecuted and punished.  Such a crime in Iran carries a penalty of several years in prison.

A number of opposition websites warn the Iranian government is preparing to crack down on the opposition and arrest its top leaders.

Exiled activist Mohsen Sazagara says Revolutionary Guard commanders have urged Supreme Leader Khamenei to arrest opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Ali Nourizadeh of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies argues the government campaign against the opposition is not gaining popular support, other than that of a handful of hardliners, and he questions if Ayatollah Khameini will dare arrest Mr. Mousavi for fear of a major backlash. "They wanted to make something out of nothing.  They wanted to make demonstrations against the (opposition) Green Movement, and they burned Khomeini's picture-that is, you know, crossing all the red lines-but the response was nothing, just in Qom and some clergymen, some students, seminaries, and that is it.  Therefore, that is not enough for them to have strong support and enough guts to arrest Mousavi.  (Ayatollah Khamenei) may want couple of more days to see the response of the street and the response of the students, and we will see if Mousavi is going to be arrested," he says.

Mr. Mousavi's "Kalameh" website asked supporters to remain "alert," warning that "propaganda in the government-run media could lead to something new and unexpected."

Related Articles:

Iran opposition leader puts supporters on red alert - Opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi expressed concern over the suspect circumstances surrounding the tearing of Ayatollah Khomeini's picture and cautioned his supporters to be aware of possible government retaliation against them.

WARNING to Iran's Opposition Beware That An Event Is Unfolding! - Following the planned scenario for disgracing Imam Khomeini and accusing the Green movement and the students of this act, since yesterday official pro-Ahmadinejad media have started a heavy propaganda with a hidden agenda, and based on the information available it seems that they are preparing for some harsher crack downs of the opposition movement.

Iran Students Continue Protests, Condemn Insults to Khomeini as Regime Conspiracy - University Students and the opposition movement's leaders are denouncing the tearing down of Ayatollah Khomeini's photos and calling it a hoax and a suspicious act.  Furthermore, Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of Islamic Republic, has denounced state TV for broadcasting the images, describing them as "distorted."

Photos: Basij Students Protest Insult to Ayatollah Khomeini - A group of Basij students from Tehran Azad University gathered at Jamaran Hussainieh on Sunday to protest the burning of photo of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, which was allegedly done by students during the Student Day protests in Tehran University.

Photos: Qom Clerics and Seminary Students Protest Desecration of Khomeini's Photo - A large group of clerics and Seminary students held a gathering in the city of Qom Saturday to protest the burning of photo of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, which was allegedly done by students during the Student Day protests in Tehran University. The protest was led by the firebrand cleric Ahmad Khatami who is staunchly against anti-opposition.

... Payvand News - 12/14/09 ... --

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