West should allow Iran to solve its own problems, says opposition leader
Times Online / Martin Fletcher

President Ahmadinejad has betrayed the Iranian Revolution, violated the country’s Constitution and may be unable to serve his full term, his most vocal opposition rival has told The Times.

In a surprising twist, however, Mehdi Karroubi warned the West against exploiting the regime’s weakness to strike a deal to halt a nuclear programme that was, he insisted, for peaceful purposes.

“Nuclear science and achieving peaceful nuclear technology is a right reserved for all NPT [Nuclear Proliferation Treaty] members,” he said. “We ask Western governments not to use this internal situation as a bargaining chip with the present Iranian Government to reach agreements which would undermine the rights of the Iranian people.”

He also urged the West against trying to help the opposition in its battle against the regime, saying that such efforts would “pave the way for suppression and accusations of dependency on foreigners”. He added: “The challenges in this country should be solved by its own people.”

If Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who died last weekend, was the spiritual leader of the so-called Green Movement, Mr Karroubi, 72, has been its most defiant and outspoken political leader since he and Mir Hossein Mousavi were defeated by Mr Ahmadinejad in hotly disputed elections in June. He has appeared at street protests, exposed the widespread use of rape and torture against detainees and openly accused the regime ... >>>

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