Tehran Threatens Opposition With Death


Published on the website of German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” on 4 June 2010
Source (German): http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2010-06/Teheran-droht-Opposition
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

On the 21. anniversary of the death of Khomeini, the founder of the state, Iran’s hardliners issued harsh threats against the opposition. The opposition leaders were not present at the ceremony.

by Martin Gehlen

Threats against the opposition: Revolutionary leader and hardliner Khamenei (in front of a photo of Khomeini, the founder of the state) - © /AFP/Getty Images

One week prior to the first anniversary of the controversial presidential election, Iran’s revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have delivered severe warnings to the opposition. During a commemoration ceremony on occasion of the 21. anniversary of the death of the state’s founding father Ayatollah Khomeini, Khamenei accused the green movement of trampling the ideals of the Islamic Republic. Referencing the Quran, he described the protests as “a rebellion” and for the first time threatened the opposition leaders with the death penalty.

In his speech, that was broadcast live on state television, Khamenei recalled that some of Khomeini’s associates who were on the airplane with him when he traveled from Paris to Tehran in 1979 were executed only months later for their betrayal of the Revolution. “The same standards still apply today.” He wished to point out especially to the youth that all attacks against the Islamic Republic of the past 30 years could not in the least shake the foundations of the state.

Ahmadinejad described his re-election one year ago as “hundred per cent democratic”. Those who deviate from the Imam’s path will be banished by the people, he said in the presence of the entire leadership, while the crowd chanted “We will not leave you alone”. Among the audience were former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is close to the green movement, and Ahmadinejad’s conservative opposing candidate Mohsen Rezai. Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Moussavi, and ex president Mohammad Khatami were not present. With last year’s elections “we broke the world record in democracy”, Ahmadinejad said, adding that the Iranian government is the most democratic in the world.

Shortly thereafter, however, Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, was forced to abandon his speech after a few minutes as he was heckled by chants of “Death to Moussavi” from the regime-organized crowd. The 38-year old cleric is the director of the shrine of his grandfather, that is situated on the outskirts of Tehran. He is regarded as a supporter of Mir Hossein Moussavi. Last year, he and the entire Khomeini family demonstratively stayed away from Ahmadinejad’s official inauguration.

The Iranian leadership announced that it gathered 2 million people from all over the country to attend the ceremony today. According to the head of the Tehran traffic police, about 50.000 buses and minibuses were used. Apparently, hundreds of thousands of the deployed basij militas are to remain in the capital until next week in order to thwart any attempt of the green movement to stage new protests against the rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad on 12 June.

Thursday evening, hardliners threatened opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi when he was visiting the shrine. According to Fars news agency, the attackers chanted “Death to the hypocrites”. Karroubi’s bodyguards escorted the cleric back to his car to take him to safety.

(An article taken from Tagesspiegel)

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