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August 28, 2009

Ahmadinejad calls for prosecution of opposition leaders

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the prosecution of opposition leaders on Friday, stating that the activists currently on trial in Tehran should not be the only ones punished. More from AP via NY Times:

“Serious confrontation has to be against the leaders and key elements, against those who organized and provoked (the riots) and carried out the enemy’s plan. They have to be dealt with seriously,” Ahmadinejad told a crowd of thousands in the capital Tehran before Friday prayers.
Ahmadinejad did not specifically name the opposition leaders. However, many hard-liners and members of the Revolutionary Guard have publicly called for the arrest of defeated presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi as well as former president Mohammad Khatami.
Ahmadinejad also admitted for the first time that detained protesters were abused in custody but also denied any government involvement, claiming instead that it was the work of Iran’s enemies and the opposition.

Ahmadinejad is referring to the external enemies’ plan, which is a considerable departure from a recent statement by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who  expressed his belief that there was no proof of a “foreign link.” Traditionally, the Supreme Leader’s word is the final point of arbitration.

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