Ahmadinejad demands opposition prosecutions

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The Independent Online

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called yesterday for opposition leaders to be prosecuted over Iran's post-election turmoil, stepping up pressure against the pro-reform movement that says he won the election by fraud.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called yesterday for opposition leaders to be prosecuted over Iran’s post-election turmoil, stepping up pressure against the pro-reform movement that says he won the election by fraud.

It was the first time Mr Ahmadinejad made such a call, publicly siding with hard-line politicians, clerics and commanders of the powerful Revolutionary Guard who have demanded that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and his top allies be arrested.

Mr Ahmadinejad took an even tougher line than his ally, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has said he has seen no evidence that opposition leaders were tools of Iran’s foreign enemies, a claim made by hardliners. The differing stances suggest there are divisions within Iran’s leadership over how far to take the crackdown against the opposition after the disputed 12 June presidential election.

Hardliners seem to be seeking to crush the pro-reform movement, calling for its political parties to be banned and leaders detained. Mr Khamenei is wary that going too far could fuel a backlash.

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