Iran Protest Figures Assail Regime
Wall Street Journal

DUBAI—Iran's top opposition leaders signaled Tuesday they were trying to broaden their movement's popular appeal by emphasizing the economic shortcomings of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.

Mehdi Karroubi, who unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Ahmadinejad in June polls, heaped fresh criticism on the validity of the elections by highlighting what he said was the president's poor economic stewardship. And Mir Hossein Mousavi, another opposition leader who also lost to Mr. Ahmadinejad, called on supporters to expand the opposition's so-called Green Movement to a wider audience by, among other things, emphasizing that the current regime has mishandled the economy.

"If this movement wants to keep going and stay alive, we have to go to different segments of the society, and teach them and make them understand that economic issues are not in [the] right direction," Mr. Mousavi's Web site quoted him telling members of an opposition party.

One opposition operative, reached by phone in Tehran, said opposition leaders were now actively trying to use economic issues as a fresh rallying cry.

The comments from both men were delivered at the start of Iran's annual Festival of Fire, a rite rooted in Zoroastrian tradition and celebrated with fireworks and sometimes-rambunctious bonfires.

The festival is officially banned for being un-Islamic. Many analysts had expected opposition leaders to try to use it, along with celebrations surrounding the ... >>>

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