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Security measures stepped up across Iran to stifle protests

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian opposition wants to hold a rally on February 14.
February 14 facebook page

Iran has stepped up security measure as the opposition march proposed for February 14 draws near. Opposition websites report that the government has blocked Google searches of the word "Bahman."

That's the name of the current month on the Iranian calendar but it's also part of the name of the
facebook page launched for the proposed opposition rally: Bahman 25, which corresponds with February 14.

Opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have applied to the ministry of the interior for a permit to hold a march on February 14 in support of the recent Arab revolts.

Opposition websites now report a growing number of arrests all across the country. Karroubi has also been put under house arrest since Thursday, and yesterday his phones ere also cut off.

Iran's prosecutor, a senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards and other top Islamic Republic officials have warned against the march, calling it divisive.

The White House criticized the Islamic Republic's response to Egypt's uprising, saying Iran's government has revealed that it is frightened by the will of its people. Noting Iran's crackdown on opposition leaders and the blocking of news media, Robert Gibbs, the outgoing U.S. press secretary, called on Iran's government to allow its people to demonstrate peacefully.

Opposition leader's phones cut off

Iranian authorities stepped up pressure on opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi today, one day after placing him under house arrest, by cutting off all his telephone connections including mobile phones.

Mehdi Karroubi among supporters (December 2009)

Ever since opposition leaders announced they are seeking a permit to stage demonstrations on Febraury 14 in support of Arab uprisings, the government has increased the security forces stationed around Karroubi's home over the past year to isolate him from outside contact.

The security officials have told Karroubi's family that no one will be allowed to visit him, and only his wife, Fatemeh Karroubi, can come and go from the building.

Over the past two days, following the launch of a
facebook page for "Bahman 25" (February 14), Islamic Republic authorities have begun a new wave of arrests focused on reformist figures and relatives of the opposition leaders.

Today, as Iran celebrated the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution that toppled the monarchy and led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the customary annual marches also included slogans chanted in support of Arab protesters in Egypt and Tunisia.

Hardliner Ahmad Jannati told demonstrators in Esfahan that Iranians have already expressed their solidarity with the Arab people today, so there is no need to set up another date for such a march. He condemned the opposition leaders for their divisive actions.

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