Moussavi forms ‘grass-roots’ movement in Iran

Moussavi forms ‘grass-roots’ movement in Iran

The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi announced the formation of a new social and political movement on his Web site on Saturday, following through on a promise made last month and defying a renewed government campaign of intimidation aimed at him and his supporters.

The movement is not a political party — which would require a government permit — but a “grass-roots and social network” that will promote democracy and adherence to the law, Mr. Moussavi wrote in a statement on his site. It is to be known as the Green Way of Hope, in deference to the signature bright green color of his campaign for the June 12 presidential election, which he maintains was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The announcement was Mr. Moussavi’s first major public statement since the Iranian authorities stepped up their pressure on the opposition by opening a mass trial two weeks ago. Prosecutors have accused Mr. Moussavi’s campaign of links to a vast conspiracy to bring down the Iranian government. After he and many others denounced the trial, the chief prosecutor issued a stark warning that anyone questioning the trial’s legitimacy could in turn be prosecuted. [continued…]

Hard-line cleric named Iran’s judiciary chief

Iran’s supreme leader appointed a hard-line cleric as the country’s new judiciary chief at the end of his predecessor’s term, state television reported Saturday.

Sadeq Larijani’s appointment does not appear to be related to the turmoil that has wracked Iran after the disputed June presidential election. But the new judiciary chief will face an early test in determining how to respond to allegations that opposition protesters detained after the election were tortured to death. [continued…]

The Revolutionary Guards: gaining power in Iran

The shadowy Revolutionary Guards already oversee a 130,000-strong parallel army and run large swatches of Iran’s economy, from dentist clinics to the country’s controversial nuclear program. But signs have emerged in recent weeks that the élite military arm isn’t satisfied: it may just want to run the entire Islamic republic.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), or Sepah for short in Farsi, is widely believed to have played a large role in orchestrating the crackdown on political dissidents and protesters following the disputed presidential election. Its political influence within the regime has always far exceeded the actual army’s, and it has increased exponentially since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected to office in 2005. But the speculation among Iranian opposition sources is that, these days, the IRGC’s powerful patron — whose second term officially began last week — has now become its puppet, falling under the influence of a gang of security chiefs (the so-called New Right) that harbor schemes to further radicalize the regime or topple it in a military takeover. [continued…]

Iran tries more activists in post-election turmoil

Iran on Sunday put on trial 25 more activists and opposition supporters, including a Jewish teenager, for their alleged involvement in the turmoil following the recent presidential election.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has attempted to paint those who took to the streets after the June election to protest his disputed victory as agents of foreign enemies seeking to topple the country’s Islamic system. [continued…]

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