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IRAN: Karroubi denounces Guardian Council, calls for big 22 Bahman protests

February 3, 2010 |  1:43 pm

Iran-karroubi2For the second day in a row, an Iranian opposition leader has publicly questioned a pillar of the Islamic Republic, a sign of increasing boldness on the part of Iran's so-called Green movement.

Mehdi Karroubi called for an abolition of the Guardian Council's power to oversee elections, a direct swipe at the conservative body's leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who recently likened the opposition to defiant "Jews" who ought to be executed. 

"The Guardian Council's ugly arbitrary vetting process has to be abolished," Karroubi said Wednesday in a fresh statement posted to his website Sahamnews.org (in Persian).

He reiterated his and fellow opposition figure Mir-Hossein Mousavi's call for opposition supporters to rally on Feb. 11, or the 22nd day of the Persian calendar month of Bahman, which is the 31st anniversary of the Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Karroubi predicted the opposition's attempt to hijack the event will become a "turning point" in Iran's history.

"We will participate across Iran in Feb. 11 rallies, which  reflect our religious convictions and national determination of our people and a turning point in the history of our country," he said. "This day does not belong to any specific group and is the day of honor and dignity for the entire Iranian nation."

But he also warned some opposition radical activists to quit calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

"I make it clear to the supporters of the opposition movement that any illegal demand will give pretext to hard-liners to push ahead with their violent suppression," he said.

Some key translated excerpts below:

"We are approaching the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at a time when both the Islamism and republicanism of the regime have been seriously questioned. The 10th presidential election was tainted with fraud. Peaceful protests were met with violence and suppression, and finally the walls of trust between people and the establishment collapsed.

People's demands have to be taken seriously into account. Repression, mass detention of political activists, journalists and students, show trials, execution and heavy punishments and security crackdowns cannot contain the prevailing crisis. 

Those in power should reconsider their methods, and keep in mind that neither silence nor retreat on our part, nor threats, intimidation and violence on their part, can resolve the problems. 

The authorities take no step in favor of the people and give childish and bizarre images of the current bitter realities. 

State corruption and discrimination are rife in the country. The leaders are incapable of dealing with simple domestic affairs, but they claim to be able to run the world. 

Rigid-minded hard-liners continue to utter baseless accusations against the pillars of the regime and the faithful confidants of the late imam [Ruhollah Khomeini].

All articles of the constitution have to be fully implemented. All political prisoners have to be released unconditionally. Press restrictions have to be scrapped and criticism should be tolerated. The current climate of intimidation and fear has to change. These are the demands of the opposition movement. 

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: Mehdi Karroubi. Credit: AFP

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