Iran uprising fizzles out as Mousavi backtracks

Ahmadinejad close to sealing election / Cleric says protesters should be executed

A senior Iranian cleric yesterday called for protesters to be executed as "enemies of Allah", as authorities came one step closer to formally declaring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winner of the disputed election.

The demand that demonstrators "must be shown no mercy" came as the main opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi took a more conciliatory attitude towards authorities by saying he will seek official approval for future demonstrations – a significantly more emollient stance than 24 hours earlier, when he vowed to "neutralise this evil conspiracy" against the public. In addition his website was attacked by hackers, and is now blank.

The latest moves may signal the beginning of the end for the protests, which have swept Iran since the incumbent President Ahmadinejad claimed a landslide victory. The number of people attending marches has dwindled after demonstrators repeatedly came under attack from police and the Islamist Basiji militia, and almost 1,000 people were arrested.

Iran's Guardian Council yesterday seemed close to endorsing President Ahmadinejad as victor, in what it maintained was "one of the cleanest elections we have had".

Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodai said allegations of fraud by the opposition had proved groundless. "After 10 days of examination we did not see any major irregularities," he said. "I can say with certainty that there was no fraud in the election." In his latest message Mr Mousavi urged supporters not to break the law, while maintaining that the struggle to have the polls annulled must continue. The opposition leader said he had been asked by the Interior Ministry to apply in person for rallies to be authorised, and to give a week's notice. He pointed out that while restrictions were imposed on his protests, supporters of President Ahmadinejad were able to hold marches "that were well publicised on state television, seeming to encourage participation, with their regularly advertised march routes."

The attitude of the hardliners meanwhile appears uncompromising. In a sermon at Tehran University, a venue believed to have been chosen deliberately because of the prominent role played by students in the protests, one Assembly of Experts member, Ahmad Khatami, said: "I want the judiciary to punish rioters without mercy, to teach everyone a lesson."

Mr Khatami's speech, which was broadcast nationwide, continued: "Based on Islamic law, whoever confronts the Islamic state should be convicted as mohareb [one who wages war against God] and punished ruthlessly and savagely. Under Islamic law punishment for those convicted as mohareb is execution."

He also claimed that Neda Agha Soltan, the icon of the opposition shot dead last Saturday, was killed by demonstrators. But Associated Press reported that a Basij militiaman shouted "I didn't want to kill her" after she died. Demonstrators stripped him of his identity card and took his photograph before letting him go.

The US, which has taken a harder line towards the regime in the past few days, has accused President Ahmadinejad of trying to deflect attention from popular discontent at home by blaming outsiders. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "President Ahmadinejad is among people in Iran who want to make this not a debate among Iranians in Iran but about the West and the United States."

Russia, which along with China, had maintained that the election result should be accepted, said it was nevertheless, worried by the scale of violence by authorities. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We count on all questions which have arisen in the context of the elections being resolved in accordance with democratic procedures."

Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sport
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicReview: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Life and Style
tech
News
people
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
News
Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik, 37, 2.59 meter (8,5 feet) tall, the world's tallest living man, waves as he poses for the media by the Chevrolet Tacuma car presented to him by President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on March 24, 2008.
newsPeasant farmer towered at almost 8'5'' - but shunned the limelight
News
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in ‘The Front Page’, using an old tech typewriter
media
Life and Style
Could a robot sheepdog find itself working at Skipton Auction Mart?
techModel would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Job

£5k: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Head of Marketing - Pensions

£65000 - £75000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

SEN (Visual Impairement) Tutor

£120 - £180 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are looki...

School Receptionist

£70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: School Receptionist - Part ...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis