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Iran warns of action as opposition remains defiant

world Updated: Feb 16, 2011 21:16 IST
AFP
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Iran said on Wednesday it is planning to take action against opposition leaders after MPs demanded they be executed, as the two former regime pillars defiantly launched fresh anti-government tirades.

Clashes meanwhile erupted between regime backers and "apparent" supporters of the opposition at a funeral attended by thousands in Tehran of a student killed in anti-government protests of Monday, state television reported.

Iran's prosecutor general Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie warned that action would be taken against opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who reject the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and who had called for Monday's demonstration which turned deadly.

"The heads of seditions are the people who should be punished for their criminal acts and God willing actions in this regard are being taken," Mohseni Ejeie said, according to Fars news agency.

"People have given them their punishment, but people also have a legitimate right to demand (punishment) from the judiciary which we hope we would be able to fulfill."

Mohseni Ejeie said several people were arrested during Monday's protests but some were immediately released, adding that some more arrests were expected.

"In general the anti-revolution current is behind these events. Unfortunately, some have fallen in traps of America," he said. Iranian officials accuse the United States, Britain and Israel of influencing the opposition movement.

Thousands of anti-government protesters took to streets of Tehran Monday and clashed with riot-police in which two people were killed -- including the student buried today -- and several wounded, officials and opposition websites say.

Among the wounded were nine members of the security forces, one of whom was seriously hurt.

The protest, initially held under the pretext of showing solidarity with Arab uprisings, were the first anti-government demonstration since February 11, 2010 when similar agitation was crushed by security forces and militiamen.

But Karroubi and Mousavi came out fighting today, issuing statements slamming the authorities and praising demonstrators, after lawmakers the previous day demanded they be executed for their role in Monday's protests.

Karroubi said in a statement posted on his website Sahamnews.org, he was ready to "pay any price."

"I declare that I am not afraid of any kind of threat and as a soldier of this great nation for the past almost 50 years, I am ready to pay any price," he said.

"I am warning that before it is too late, take out the buds from your ears and listen to the voice of the people. Forcing violence and opposing peoples' wishes will last only for a certain time," the cleric said.

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