Iran opposition leaders face execution: Khamenei aide

Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:48pm EST
 

By Parisa Hafezi and Reza Derakhshi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A representative of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday opposition leaders were "enemies of God" who should be executed under the country's sharia law.

The statement by cleric Abbas Vaez-Tabasi coincided with rallies by tens of thousands of government supporters calling for opposition leaders to be punished for fomenting unrest after June's disputed presidential election, state media said.

"Those who are behind the current sedition in the country ... are mohareb (enemies of God) and the law is very clear about punishment of a mohareb," the representative of Khamenei, who possesses ultimate authority in Iran, said on state television.

Under Iran's Islamic sharia law the sentence for "mohareb" is execution.

Vaez-Tabasi's remarks came two days after eight people were killed in anti-government protests sparked by the June poll which was won by hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Political turmoil has entered a new phase in Iran marked by bloody face-offs and arrests, with security forces calling on authorities to deal "firmly" with opposition leaders.

The establishment intensified a crackdown on the reform movement on Sunday by rounding up leading moderates to try to end street protests after the deadly weekend clashes erupted during the Shi'ite Muslim religious ritual of Ashura.

At least 20 opposition figures have been arrested since Sunday, including three senior advisers to opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, his brother-in-law and a sister of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, opposition websites said.   Continued...

 
<p>Iranian opposition supporters beat police forces during clashes in central Tehran December 27, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer</p>