Hardliners chant "Death to Mousavi" at Iran rallies
By Fredrik Dahl
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Government supporters rallied across Iran on Friday to protest against an opposition "insult" to the Islamic Republic's revered founder, with some calling for pro-reform leader Mirhossein Mousavi to be executed.
It was the first time such a call was made during a state-sponsored event and signaled increased pressure on the moderate opposition, which has continued to show defiance over a presidential election in June it says was rigged.
"Mousavi, this is our last warning. The sedition leaders should be executed," people chanted at a rally in Tehran.
But there were no reports of the kind of clashes that erupted at previous officially-organized events, when Mousavi supporters also took to the streets in a bid to revive their challenge to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Reformist websites had urged opposition supporters to stay away from Friday's rallies, which took place under a heavy police presence.
Iran's judiciary earlier this week said it had evidence that senior reformist figures had fomented trouble after the poll six months ago, which triggered huge anti-government street protests, and warned of legal action against them.
"The judiciary should confront people who continue this sedition ... with the maximum punishment," Mohammad Hossein Rahimian, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the crowd in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.
Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election plunged Iran into political turmoil and exposed deepening establishment divisions. Continued...