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Iran: Ayatollah Sanei Slams Government Policies


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Ayatollah Yousef Sanei

Reformist Shiite cleric Ayatollah Yousef Sanei says the Iranian establishment is trying to divert people's attention from the "poverty, unemployment and social discord," that plagues the country.

He urged his audience at the meeting with the members of the Islamic Student Association of University of Fine Arts to remain "alert" to these ploys. He declared that the informed people of the society, especially academics are under pressure due to this policy and they must do their utmost to inform the public about the "issues and problems" at large.

Iran's socio-political atmosphere has been critical since the tenth presidential elections in June. The re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been contested with mass demonstrations by protesters who claim the elections were rigged and hence deny the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's consequent government.

Several moderate Shiite clerics have come out in support of protesters, condemning the government's violent crackdown on people and called for an end to the hostilities against protesters both on the streets and in prisons.

Ayatollah Sanei has been one of the most vocal supporters of the people. He told the members of the Islamic Student Association of the University of Fine Arts that "Excessive pressure is the sign of the government's weakness. Arrests, imprisonment and torture are signs of weakness."

He added that post-election detainees are "barred from outside visitors" and are kept in "solitary confinement" and these are all evidence of torture in the prisons of the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Sanei condemned the government's propensity to "lie" about the situation and in conclusion called on people to continue their struggle against oppression. He maintained: "If we retreat, oppression will only increase."

In the post-election unrest so far tens have been killed and thousands have been arrested. Many of these detainees remain behind bars. A number of them have gotten death and imprisonment sentences.

The establishment denies the number of dead and also claims that most of those who died were actually from the government security forces. They also deny there has been any systematic torture of detainees in prisons.

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