TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran will block the ability of opposition leaders to make statements to their supporters, the chief of judiciary said Thursday, on the eve of a “hatred” rally in Tehran against their movement.
“We urge everyone to allow the judicial system to work within the framework of the law,” said Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani in comments directed at Iranian people and lawmakers and reported by state news agency IRNA.
“They (the people) should be certain that we will block the mechanism through which the sedition leaders issue their statements,” he said, urging people to be patient and vigilant.
Larijani’s remarks come as Iranian lawmakers stepped up pressure against opposition chiefs Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi by demanding the pair, once the pillars of the Islamic regime, be executed.
Mousavi and Karroubi have regularly issued anti-government statements on their respective websites despite reportedly being intimidated by hardliners and the authorities.
Despite being under de facto house arrest, they have both managed to get their messages across through their websites, and had issued an indirect call for a rally in support of Arab uprisings on February 14.
Heeding the call, thousands of their supporters took to Tehran streets on Monday and turned the gathering into a fresh anti-government demonstration which led to clashes with security forces and militiamen.
Two people were killed and several others wounded, including nine members of security forces, officials and opposition websites reported.
The protests triggered the wrath of regime-backers who now have called for a rally of their own against the opposition on Friday.
The Islamic Propagation Coordination Council, which organises regime-backed programmes, said those joining the rally will “scream out their hatred, wrath and disgust against the savage crimes and evil movements of sedition leaders, their Monafeghin (hypocrites) and their monarchist allies.”
On Wednesday, Karroubi issued an Internet statement saying he was “ready to pay any price,” while Mousavi in a similar way stated that Monday’s protests were a “glorious achievement.”
Larijani said authorities will move in to disable Mousavi and Karroubi’s ability to communicate with their supporters.
“Sedition leaders should know that by issuing statements they will not have a place in the nation. Our people know very well for what reason the Zionists, Americans and British support them (Mousavi and Karroubi),” he said.
Iranian officials have accused the United States, Israel and Britain of influencing the opposition heads.
“The system, while being fair will not allow them to project themselves as heroes through their propaganda,” Larijani said.