Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati

Ayatollah Jannati, the hardline cleric and Friday Mass Imam in Tehran, today advised the judiciary to seal the opposition leaders in their homes.

“The doors to the homes of these individuals must be shut. They should be cut off from everyone; all their telephones, internet and communication devices blocked,” Jannati said. “In effect they should be prisoners in their homes.”

The Iranian opposition leaders, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were put under house arrest prior to the February 14 rally they had called for. They were prevented from joining any of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who responded by staging protests in every major Iranian city.

Conservative factions of the government, alarmed by the persistent popularity of the protests, called for the prosecution and execution of opposition leaders. In an unprecedented move, Iranian MPs opened the parliamentary session on Tuesday by chanting slogans that condemned the opposition leaders and demanded their deaths.

Yesterday Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, announced that the judiciary will not allow the leaders to abuse the “tolerance of the regime” by continuing to issue statements.

In the meantime, opposition groups have expressed concern over the complete lack of news about MirHosein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard, who have been incommunicado since Tuesday.

Their daughters have said they have no news regarding their parents’ well being.

In today’s Friday Mass, Ayatollah Jannati noted the recent calls to prosecute and hang the opposition leaders, saying: “These people are in effect already executed, and despite the request of our friends and supporters, one should say that these people have already collapsed in society and in public opinion.”

Denying the magnitude of the protests on Monday, Ayatollah Jannati insisted the opposition leaders are hated by the Iranian public and have no popular base among the masses.

In the last statement made by Mousavi, issued on Tuesday, he lauded the “magnificent demonstrations of Bahman 25 (February 24)” and said he stands by his previous demands.

In his last statement, Karroubi said he is ready to participate in a public trial and dared the establishment to give him the platform to defend himself.

“What has taken hold in this country is neither a republic nor Islamic,” Karroubi added. “The Islamic Republic has been toppled by the squanderers of the people’s heritage.”