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Iranian opposition leaders react to deepening crisis

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Mir Hossein Mousavi

Mohammd Khatami

Mehdi Karoubi

Hashemi Rafsanjani

Iranian opposition leaders made public statements regarding the country's recent turmoil, listing peaceful and legal solutions to lead the nation out of its current crisis.

Former President Mohammad Khatami condemned extremists on both sides and expressed support for Mir Hossein Mousavi's proposals issued last week. He emphasized that legal and free elections is the first and most important step toward resolving the current problems.

Opposition Leader Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a statement earlier also calling for freedom of press, release of political prisoners and recognition of people's right to free assembly.

Chairman of the Expediency Council, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, also spoke today in a group of former lawmakers expressing concern over the political divisions in the country.

He maintained that Iranian society could regain its balance by "avoiding arbitrary actions" which according to Ayatollah Rafsanjani was the main point of the Supreme Leader's speech on Saturday.

Protesters have been the target of violent attacks by pro-government forces in plain clothes. Head of Etemad-e Melli Party, Mehdi Karroubi was target of a shooting last Thursday by a pro-Ahmadinejad crowd.

On Saturday, while Ayatollah Khamenei urged swift actions against "disturbers and rioters," he discouraged vigilante style confrontation of protesters by arbitrary forces.

The disputing candidate of the June presidential elections, Mehdi Karroubi also proposed several steps today for resolving the current crisis. Accountability of officials, refraining from violence, revisiting all deviations from the path of the Revolution and debate with government representatives to discover the roots of the current crisis could prove effective in resolving the crisis, according to the opposition leader.

June presidential election in Iran threw the nation into a major crisis as candidates and voters disputed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory claiming the ballot was rigged and votes were stolen.

The protests which are now stretching into their seventh month have divided the establishment and factionalized the upper echelons of the government.

Opposition leaders have been trying hard to draw a fine line between supporting people's protests yet keeping their demands within the frame work of the Islamic Republic regime.

The pro-Ahmadinejad faction has made every effort to portray the protests as a foreign-backed conspiracy to topple the government.

The Supreme Leader, despite supporting Ahmadinejad, has stirred away from directly ordering the arrest of opposition leaders because of the prominent place of these leaders within the Islamic Republic system.

Opposition leaders, while preaching calm and non-violence amongst their supporters, have refused to follow the Leader's advice in withdrawing their disputes regarding the elections and accepting the legitimacy of Ahamdinejad government.

... Payvand News - 01/12/10 ... --

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