Iranian official warns against opposition rally

February 9, 2011

By the CNN Wire Staff

Tehran, Iran (CNN) — Iranian authorities have warned against any attempt by Iran’s opposition movement to hold a rally in support of the popular uprisings in the Middle East, Iran’s state news agency reported.

“We definitely see them as enemies of the revolution and spies, and we will confront them with force,” said Revolutionary Guard Cmdr. Hossein Hamedani, according to IRNA news agency.

Last week, Iran’s two leading opposition figures, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, requested permission to hold a rally on February 14.

Iran’s hard-line leadership has expressed strong support for the protests in Egypt, calling them an “Islamic awakening.”

In a letter to Iran’s interior minister, Moussavi and Karrubi said the demonstration was intended to show solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia, opposition website Saham New reported.

“In order to declare support for the popular movements in the region, particularly with those of the freedom seeking movements of the people of Egypt and Tunisia against dictatorships, we request a permit to invite the people for a rally,” said the letter, which was dated Saturday.

It’s not clear if Iranian authorities have officially denied the request.

On Wednesday, Iran’s top prosecutor dismissed the call for the rally as a ploy by the opposition movement to undermine the regime, Iran’s semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said if Iranians want to support the people of Egypt and Tunisia, they will attend the government-sanctioned rally on Friday to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

“Setting another date means these folks have separated themselves from the people and that is what causes splits and divisions. This is a political act, but the people of Iran are vigilant, and if it is necessary they will respond,” said Mohseni-Ejei, according to ISNA.


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