Opposition leaders court arrest by defying ‘unlawful Iranian regime’

Three of Iran’s most prominent opposition leaders flagrantly courted arrest yesterday by denouncing President Ahmadinejad’s Government as illegitimate, one day after the regime said that it would tolerate no more challenges to the election result.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former Prime Minister who lost the election, said that the suppression of dissent was tantamount to a coup. “It’s not yet too late,” he declared on his website. “It is our historical responsibility to continue our protests to defend the rights of the people . . . and prevent the blood spilt by hundreds of thousands of martyrs from leading to a police state.”

Ayatollah Mohammed Khatami, 65, a popular former President, accused the regime of mounting a “velvet revolution against the people and democracy” and called the security crackdown “poisonous”.

Mehdi Karroubi, 72, another defeated presidential candidate, said that “visible and invisible forces blocked any change in the executive power”. He added: “I will continue the fight under any circumstances and using every means.” The regime responded by shutting down his newspaper. [continued…]

Mousavi to disclose tell-all documents

As the Iranian opposition continues to express skepticism about the election result, defeated candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi says he will present documents that prove electoral fraud.

Mousavi, who has rejected the result of Iran’s presidential election as fraudulent, said on Wednesday that a number of Iranian scholars are set to form a committee to preserve the vote of the people.

The committee aims to “make public documents proving fraud and irregularities in the election,” Mousavi said in his latest statement issued on Wednesday. [continued…]

Time for Obama to make a course correction

Demonstrations may have disappeared from Tehran’s streets of shame, but Iranian acceptance is at an all-time low. The government is now illegitimate. Power has been usurped. The equation has changed.

I think Mahmoudi’s right. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad may begin to unclench their fist, as isolation and sullen defiance grow, in a bid to deliver what they would not allow the reformists to initiate: détente with America.

Obama must leave them dangling for the foreseeable future. He should refrain indefinitely from talk of engagement.

To do otherwise would be to betray millions of Iranians who have been defrauded and have risked their lives to have their votes count. To do otherwise would be to allow Khamenei to gloat that, in the end, what the United States respects is force. To do otherwise would be to embrace the usurpers.

The slow arc of moral justice is fine but Iran is gripped by the fierce urgency of now. Obama, the realist on whom idealism is projected, is obliged to make a course correction. [continued…]

Europe weighs pulling envoys from Tehran

Iran risked diplomatic isolation from the European Union, as European officials discussed whether to withdraw the ambassadors of all 27 member nations in a dispute over the detention of the British Embassy’s Iranian personnel.

European diplomats said Wednesday that they had made no formal decision to order their envoys home, but that the measure was an option as the European Union — Iran’s biggest trading partner — tried to work out how to defuse the dispute in a way that would shield other embassies in Tehran from similar action.

Withdrawing all 27 ambassadors would be a rare and unusually forceful display of European anger at Iran’s crackdown on dissent after the June 12 presidential election, and several diplomats said the European Union would prefer to avoid such a move. [continued…]

Witness to Neda’s death to be prosecuted

Fars News Agency in Persian on 1 July 2009 reports that the commander of the Law Enforcement Force said: Arash Hejazi who as the witness of the murder of Neda Aqa-Soltan has created uproar is being prosecuted by the International Police (Interpol).

Speaking to a gathering of reporters, General Esma’il Ahmadi-Moqaddam added: Arash Hejazi is being prosecuted by the Ministry of Intelligence and Interpol forces.

He stressed: The murder of Neda Aqa-Soltan is a scenario which has no links to Tehran’s riots.

Arash Hejazi, the doctor who was present at Neda Aqa-Soltan’s murder scene, has held certain sensational interviews with foreign media on this murder case after departing the country. [continued…]

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