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Lawmakers in Iran move against protests, call for death of opposition leaders


Lawmakers in Iran move against protests, call for death of opposition leaders

Adam Russett February 15, 2011

After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned and Tunisian citizens overthrew their national leaders, protests have been sweeping through the Middle East. Iran is the latest country where people have assembled in the streets, but some of the country's lawmakers have now started taking steps to repress the movement, according to CNN.

The two prominent leaders of the opposition movement, former presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi, were named by the Iranian parliament in chants that were aired on television. Many were calling for their execution.

This represents a hard turn for the Iranian government, which expressed support for the Egyptian people but immediately started arresting activists after Karrubi and Moussavi organized a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square – the same place where the protests over the 2009 presidential elections were held.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested and others have been beaten by security forces. Iran's police chief has blamed the West for the demonstrations, claiming that they were being directed from America, England and Israel, the news source reports.

One statement aired on the IRNA news agency was signed by 222 of 290 Iranian parliament members.

"Mehdi Karroubi and Mirhossein Mousavi are corrupts on earth and should be tried," the legislative body said, according to Reuters. The charge of being corrupt on earth is a capital offense.

Television networks, which are controlled by the state, generally condemned all protesters, calling them "monarchists, thugs and seditionists."

YouTube has been one of the most effective tools used by the protesters. They have uploaded videos showing police chasing after demonstrators with clubs and massive crowds assembling against the current government.

Much of the information is difficult to verify, however, because Iran has not allowed journalists to cover the events. Reuters reports that many of the protests seem to be fizzling out as of Tuesday, as most affairs in the major cities were becoming peaceful again. Still, many are left wondering whether the Iranian parliament will make good on their threats.