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Middle East
Iran plans poll protest executions
Official says nine demonstrators to be hanged "soon" over post-election unrest.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2010 03:57 GMT

Widespread protests followed last year's  disputed presidential election [GALLO/GETTY]

Iran will "soon execute" another nine people arrested over anti-government protests last year, a senior judiciary official has been quoted as saying.

The nine are among 11 protesters sentenced to death for "waging war against God" and seeking to topple the government.

"Nine others will be hanged soon. The nine and the two who were hanged on Thursday were surely arrested in the recent riots and had links to anti-revolutionary groups," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Ebrahim Raisi as saying on Tuesday.

But Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Tehran, the Iranian capital, said the final decision was being awaited.

'No final decision'

"The sense we are getting from the judiciary ... is that no final decision has been made yet," she said.

"The decision really lies with the head of the judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, and also Tehran's chief prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi.

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"Now what we understand - and perhaps significantly from Sadeq Larijani - is that he will not give in to political pressure to carry out quick executions.

"That's not to say that these nine [men] will not suffer a similar fate to what happened to two men who were executed on Thursday. They were accused, like the nine that are accused here, of Moharab, or enemies of God, a crime punishable by death under Iran's law."

Earlier in the day, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated reformist candidate in Iran's disputed presidential election, criticised Tehran's execution of anti-government protesters and vowed to continue to oppose the government.

Mousavi said the country's Islamic revolution had failed to sweep away "the roots of tyranny and dictatorship".

'Tyranny and dictatorship'

"The Green movement will not abandon its peaceful fight ... until people's rights are preserved," he said in an interview published on his Kaleme.org website.

"Today, one can identify both elements and foundations which produce dictatorship as well as resistance against returning to this dictatorship.

"Stifling the media, filling the prisons and brutally killing people who peacefully demand their rights in the streets indicate the roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain from the monarchist era ... I don't believe that the revolution achieved its goals."

Mousavi made the remarks in the run-up to the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Alireza Ronaghi,  also reporting for Al Jazeera in Tehran, said that Mousavi, who has spearheaded the anti-government protests since the disputed June election, made his comments to bolster his supporters' morale.

'Global arrogance'

"He's saying that part of the objectives of the revolution that are crystallised in Iran's constitution - including human rights and people's rights to free expression and freedom for peaceful gatherings - are being neglected," he said.

"That will definitely be received with a lot of noise within the conservative camp.

"They will try to analyse what Mir Hossein Mousavi said as another sign of him being behind all the unrest and that he - and the other opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi - [are] acting as a proxy for global arrogance and Western powers, including the United States and Britain."

The protesters sentenced to die were arrested in connection with the unrest that erupted in the wake of the disputed presidential vote in June last year.

Allegations that the election, resulting in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was rigged sparked widespread street protests and pitched Iran into one of the worst crises in the country's history.

The executed men were identified as Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani.

Both were reported by Iranian media as belonging to the monarchist group Tondar, also known as the Kingdom Assembly of Iran.

The executions drew international condemnation and were branded by opposition leaders as an effort to scare protesters and keep them off the streets.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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