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Iran: Israel, US Behind Demonstrations

Tuesday, 15 Feb 2011 08:09 AM


Lawmakers in Iran on Tuesday blamed the US and Israel for supporting the demonstrations which left one person killed and dozens injured a day before and urged the country's judiciary to issue death penalties to opposition leaders who incite civil unrest, Reuters reported.

"The main aim of Americans was to simulate the recent events in the Middle East in Iran to divert attentions from those countries," parliament speaker Ali Larijani told state radio.

"We have information...that America, Britain and Israel guided the opposition leaders who called for the rally," deputy police chief Ahmadreza Radan said, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

In addition, Iranian members of parliament on Tuesday called for the death penalty against several opposition leaders who they say incited the unrest in the country.

At an open session of parliament, pro-government legislators chanted "death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Kahatami," referring to opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

More than 220 lawmakers said in a statement that the trio should be held responsible for the unrest. "We believe the people have lost their patience and demand capital punishment" for the opposition leaders, the statement said.

Hardliners have long sought to put high-ranking opposition figures on trial, but the calls for the death penalty signaled an escalation in their demands.

Authorities appeared to be moving quickly in a bid to stifle the opposition before its gains momentum, issuing promises of swift action against leaders and activists, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The judiciary will quickly and resolutely deal with major elements and those who violated public order and peace," the spokesman for Iran's judiciary and state prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, told IRNA.

Protests in Tehran and other surrounding cities appeared to have come to an end on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Monday's clashes between police and tens of thousands of protesters wracked central Tehran as opposition supporters tried to evoke the spirit of Egypt's recent popular uprising. The opposition called for the demonstration in solidarity with Egypt's popular revolt that a few days earlier forced president Hosni Mubarak to resign after nearly 30 years in office. The rally was the first major show of strength for Iran's cowed opposition in more than a year.

Earlier Tuesday, Iranian police confirmed that one person was killed and dozens were injured during the clashes.

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