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IRAN: In video, anger boils over at Friday sermon

July 17, 2009 |  5:00 am

Friday sermon

Newly released video from Tehran shows crowds of angry opposition supporters reacting to a much-anticipated Friday sermon given by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who called for the release of political prisoners but stopped short of a wholesale condemnation of the government's crackdown.

Rafsanjani is one of Iran's leading power brokers and a supporter of opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi, but is widely considered more of a calculating politician than a risk-taker. But even as he urged police and security forces to "work within the framework of the law," unconfirmed reports appeared on the Internet of clashes between pro-government and opposition supporters.

Reactions posted on micro-blogging service Twitter reflected mostly disappointment that Rafsanjani had not taken a harder stance against government violence or offered a comprehensive power-sharing solution to the crisis.

"Very disappointed, nothing new, basically green light for the status quo," tweeted parsa4.

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Thousands gather for Rafsanjani's much-anticipated sermon today. Credit: Iranian Labor News Agency

Video: Angry protesters react to Rafsanjani's sermon. Credit: YouTube