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Iranian Cleric Calls Opposition 'Enemies of God'

VOA News 29 December 2009

An Iranian cleric who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei says the country's opposition leaders are "enemies of God" who could be executed according to Islamic law.

The statement by Ayatollah Abbas Vaez Tabasi came Tuesday as Iranian opposition groups reported the arrests of more activists following Sunday's deadly anti-government protests. At least 20 high-profile opposition figures have been detained since Sunday.

Among those arrested are the brother-in-law of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and the sister of Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Opposition Web sites reported new protests and clashes between students and security forces at a university in Tehran Tuesday, as state-run television announced a crackdown on students it accused of being "responsible for seditious acts."

State TV also broadcast images of pro-government rallies, two days after the Shi'ite Muslim religious ritual of Ashura turned into massive anti-government protests.

State-run media say eight people were killed Sunday when tens of thousands of people joined the protests in several major cities. Authorities deny opposition claims that security forces opened fire on the demonstrations.

There is no independent confirmation of the casualties or arrests. Iran has barred foreign media from covering the demonstrations.

Sunday's violence was the most serious in Iran since protests that erupted after the disputed June election that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.



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