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Karrubi Calls Ahmadinejad 'A Calamity,' Says Opposition Will Protest On Election Anniversary

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Iranian cleric and opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi has reportedly said in an interview with the German weekly "Der Spiegel" (to be published on April 26) that the opposition will launch fresh street demonstrations on June 12, the anniversary of last year's disputed presidential vote. (Coverage in Farsi here.)

People cheering for Mehdi Karrobi (file photo)

Karrubi says that he has called on authorities to grant official permission for a rally. But it is highly unlikely that Iranian leaders would grant such a permit to the opposition that they have tried to silence with the use of force.

Karrubi and opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi have asked for permission to demonstrate in the past, but never successfully.

Karrubi says that although calm has been restored in Iran's streets, a sense of deep disappointment remains. "Society is awaiting a spark," he is quoted as saying.

The Iranian cleric adds that the Green opposition movement will continue its efforts and its campaign aimed "at observing the constitution in which freedom of expression and democracy has been clarified."

Karrubi describes Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad as a "calamity" for the Iranian nation against whom a nonviolent struggle should continue.

Meanwhile, Karrubi's wife, former legislator Fatemeh Karrubi, has denied reports that the cleric is in ill health.

Fatemeh Karrubi said that if anything happens to her husband, Iranian leaders will be responsible.

Last week, a senior member of Karrubi's Etemad Melli (National Trust) party, Rasoul Montajabnia, described the reports of Karrubi's alleged illness as "psychological warfare" and warned about "a plot" against Karrubi.

Radio Farda reports that the conservative Jahannews website claimed recently that Karrubi is struggling with an incurable disease.

Writing in last week's issue of the hard-line "Kayhan" daily, former Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi said that "a friend of the revolution" who became entangled in "sedition" is sick and should repent.

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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