Iran confirms deaths in protest

MPs call for execution of opposition leaders who called for Monday's marches in several cities that turned deadly.

    The government blames protesters for the deaths of two participants in Monday's opposition marches [AFP]

    One day after protests took place in several Iranian cities, the online world is buzzing with reports of those who died, were injured or arrested in Monday's demonstrations.

    In the aftermath of protests, several members of the country's parliament called for reprisals against the opposition leaders who called for the marches.

    So far, two of the protesters have been confirmed dead by government sources who claim that the men - Sana Jaleh, 26, and Mohamad Mokhtari, 22 - were killed by members of an outlawed group, the  People's Mujahedeen of Iran.

    The group denied the allegations on Tuesday, saying that government security forces had "crushed the demonstrators, firing live rounds and tear gas at them".

    Jaleh and Mokhtari are named as "martyrs" by the government.

    'Iran enemies' blamed

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, said that the "enemies" who planned the anti-government protests in Tehran will fail to achieve their goals.

    "It is evident and clear that the Iranian nation has enemies because it is a country which wants to shine and achieve its peak and wants to change relations (between countries) in the world," Ahmadinejad said in a live  interview on state television on Tuesday.

    "Of course there is a lot of animosity, even against the government. But they (protest planners) will not achieve their goals," he added.

    Meanwhile, there is a chatter on the 25 Bahman Facebook page, where the demonstrations were organised, about a plan to hold a memorial for Jaleh at the arts university in Tehran on Wednesday morning.  

    There is a video posted on YouTube, purporting to be from Tuesday night, in which shouts of "Death to the dictator" can be heard being shouted from rooftops.

    Al Jazeera has attempted to contact demonstration mobilisers to confirm if the above events are happening. They did not respond to the inquiry.

    Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, has called for an investigation into the deaths and injuries reported in Monday's protests. 

    A statement released on its website on Tuesday said that "the Iranian authorities have singularly failed to allow a largely peaceful demonstration to proceed", and that plainclothes security personnel "repeatedly beat the demonstrators with batons after surrounding them".

    Dozens of injuries

    Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said that there are reports of dozens of injuries in Tehran, although it is unclear if there were any fatalities in other cities, such as Isfahan and Shiraz, where protests and clashes also took place on Monday.

    Meanwhile, the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, an Iran-based rights group, published an article on its website on Tuesday, saying that Iranian officials "declared a list of 1500 detainees".

    The story also said that all were transferred to Evin prison. Prior to that, Iranian authorities had told state media that 150 people had been arrested, and that nine security personnel were injured on Monday.

    A letter from the head of Tehran's Arts University, announcing the death of student Sana Jaleh, who died in Monday's protest

    Our correspondent said that members of parliament urged Sadeq Larijani, the head of the judiciary, to bring opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi before a court to "answer for their parts in Monday's events".

    The Fars state news agency reported that MPs want the opposition leaders held accountable for the damages sustained by Iran and the benefits afforded to its enemies as a result of the protests.

    Iranian parliament members chanted "Death to Karroubi, death to Mousavi" during a session on Tuesday, and calling for both to be executed. 

    Karroubi and Mousavi called for Monday's demonstrations in a show of solidarity with the Egyptian people, who overthrew the country's president last week. Both Karroubi and Mousavi are under house arrest [there are reports that his house was surrounded on Tuesday afternoon] and were unable to participate in the protests, for which  Ali Larijani, speaker of the parliament, blames the US.

    In a statement on Tuesday, Barack Obama, the US president, announced his support for the protesters.

    "My hope and expectation is that we are going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedom and a more representative government," he said.

    He also insisted that the US "cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran".

    D. Parvaz contributed to this story.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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