Iran canceling major Ramadan events in wake of election protests

Iran canceling major Ramadan events in wake of election protests

Iranian officials have canceled or downgraded major Shiite religious events during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, suggesting fear that the opposition might use them to stage protests.

A typically massive evening celebration scheduled for next weekend at the South Tehran mausoleum of the Islamic republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was canceled “due to problems,” the site’s public relations department said in a statement.

A traditional speech by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, marking the end of Ramadan, meanwhile, was changed from a large venue to one that is much smaller, the Ettemaad newspaper, which is critical of the government, reported Sunday. [continued…]

Iran’s Mousavi urges continued civil disobedience

Iran’s leading opposition figure Saturday called on his supporters to continue acts of peaceful civil disobedience, in his first major statement in weeks.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi also demanded that authorities launch an independent inquiry of the disputed presidential election and punish anyone who abused protesters or detainees during the unrest that followed.

“We shouldn’t leave any stone unturned and live to up to our commitments in our struggle against cheaters and liars,” he said in a statement on his website, “In pursuing our cause, we should brave all accusations, and we shouldn’t duck any act of courage or daring.” [continued…]

Ex-president denounces Iran’s government

Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former president, made a fiery speech Sunday against the government, accusing its leaders of trying to smear their enemies and purge them from public life with “fascist and totalitarian methods.”

The speech by Mr. Khatami, a leading reformist, came a day after his ally, the losing presidential candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi, called on supporters to deepen their protest movement, in his first major statement in weeks.

Together, the two statements, posted on the Internet by opposition Web sites, made clear that opposition leaders — much like their hard-line foes — are girding supporters for a long-term battle to be waged as much through ideas and quiet social organizing as through the public protests that followed Iran’s disputed presidential election on June 12. [continued…]

Iran announces plan to purge universities of Western influences

A hard-line deputy of Iran’s supreme leader announced steps Sunday to purge Iranian universities of Western influences even as the government faced accusations of “fascism and totalitarianism” leveled by the country’s former president.

Hamid Reza Ayatollahi, head of a government body that oversees universities, announced a plan to revise humanities curricula to bring them more in line with Islamic principles.

“Many of the syllabuses taught to students majoring in humanities are not in line with Iranian and Islamic culture and therefore their revision is a must,” Ayatollahi said in a statement published by Iranian news agencies. [continued…]

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