Iran’s prosecutor general says the opposition’s request to hold a rally on February 14 in support of Arab uprisings is unacceptable because the opposition leaders are trying to create divisions among Iranians.
Opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have applied to the interior ministry for a permit to stage a demonstration on February 14 in solidarity with the recent revolts in Arab countries.
Many observers interpret the move as a ploy to rally opposition supporters and once again trigger mass protests like those which were violently crushed by the government, following the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s prosecutor general and spokesman for the judiciary, maintained that people can express support for the Arab uprisings by joining the state-endorsed annual demonstrations on February 11, which mark the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
“Choosing a different day would mean that these people have separated their path from the people,” Ejei said; “If anybody wants to side with the people of Egypt and Tunisia, they can join the state and the people on February 11 and take part in the rally.”
The two opposition leaders have requested a rally permit on several occasions over the past year, and each time the government has turned them down.
Mohseni Ejei described their requests as a “political act” that the people “will confront with alertness.”
The protests following the 2009 presidential elections evolved into the worst crisis in the history of the Islamic Republic, when millions of people took to the streets to protest alleged election fraud.
The crisis has created deep rifts in the ranks of the Islamic Republic establishment. Mousavi and Karroubi, both once considered pillars of the that establishment, have taken to criticizing the government, accusing it of “oppressive actions” comparable to those of the monarchical regime it toppled.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the opposition leaders presented themselves as representatives of a “new discourse” focused on “justice and freedom while avoiding violence and lies.”