IRAN: Reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi calls for fresh demonstrations
Iranian reformist politician Mehdi Karroubi said that rallies are to be held on the June 12 anniversary of the nation's disputed presidential elections, which triggered months of political instability that has yet to completely die down, according to a Persian-language article posted to his news website Sahamnews on Saturday.
"Although tranquillity has been restored, society is awaiting a spark," he was quoted as saying.
It was a rare, explicit and daring call. Iran's hard-line establishment has equated protesters opposed to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Western-backed "rioters" and "apostates" who deserve to die.
Sahamnews cited an interview Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament and two-time presidential contender, gave the German magazine Der Spiegel.
According to the article, he asked that authorities grant any protesters an official permit to rally.
That's highly unlikely given the uncompromising stance against the opposition taken by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the hard-line Revolutionary Guard and the clique surrounding Ahmadinejad, who have the upper hand in Iran's domestic politics.
Karroubi vowed that the opposition, dubbed the Green movement, would continue its efforts. "People should know that we will continue the campaign," he was quoted as saying. "The campaign is not against the [Islamic] republic. On the contrary, it is aimed at observing the constitution in which freedom of conscience and democracy has been clarified."
Photo: Mehdi Karroubi. Credit: AFP