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IRAN: Opposition lashes out on eve of planned protests [Video]

February 19, 2011 |  9:34 am

Iran is bristling with tension on the eve of more anti-government protests planned for Sunday.

The opposition movement has gained new momentum following clashes between police and demonstrators on Monday that killed at least two people.

Video of those protests, above, showing running battles between protesters and security forces illustrates the magnitude of the unrest.

Followers of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi have called on supporters to take part in memorial services for two of the protesters as a means of reviving the protest movement that swept Iran in 2009. 

On Saturday, a senior aide to Mousavi released a statement lashing out at the government in some of the harshest language yet.

"The ruling regime went on a suppression spree for two years, jailed and even raped our youth, but the Green Movement is still alive," the statement said (Persian link).

Picture 20 "Last Monday’s rally proved to the regime that the movement is still alive," it continued. "This issue scared the rulers who decided to isolate the movement leaders."

During a pro-government event on Friday, some supporters of the government called for Mousavi and opposition figure Mehdi Karrubi to be executed.

"[Authorities] have to submit to people’s demands and let a democratic establishment take shape," the statement said.

"Honoring martyrs is a deep-seated tradition in our country and we expect a strong presence," it said. "We should watch out for infiltrators and vigilantes who may try to hijack the ceremony. In their slogans, people should ask the Revolutionary Guardsmen and police forces to join them. We should keep in mind that we are not enemies of our opponents; we oppose dictatorship and suppression of people."

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Video: Protesters clash with security forces in Tehran. Credit: YouTube

Photo: An image from a video of street protests in Tehran. Credit: YouTube