Iran's opposition: Defiant talk

IT WAS a comment calculated to provoke the Iranian regime shortly before the anniversary of the 1979 revolution. Mir Hosein Mousavi, a leader of Iran’s opposition Green Movement and a thwarted candidate in last June’s presidential elections, this week declared that the revolution has failed in most of its aims. Mr Mousavi suggested that the revolution has been unable to do away with “the roots of tyranny and dictatorship” in the country and likened the current regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to that of the shah, the unpopular king who was deposed after strikes and public protests.

Mr Mousavi has timed his comments to encourage a new round of anti-government protests that are expected next week. His defiance is courageous in the face of months of intense repression by the government and a particularly intense recent crackdown on opposition members. Late in January two men were executed after being accused of trying to topple the government. The two had been detained in the unrest following the disputed elections. Another nine people have been sentenced to death for taking part in pro-opposition demonstrations.

More executions could follow soon. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a hardline cleric who heads the powerful Guardian Council and is a close ally of Mr Ahmadinejad, has welcomed the latest hangings. He has also suggested that executions early in the post-election unrest would have deterred demonstrators. He has urged Sadeq Larijani, the head of the judici... >>>

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