Iranian Security Apparatus Beefs Up Presence in Tehran
Edward Yeranian | Cairo 31 December 2009
The Iranian government is escalating a crackdown on the opposition with more threats of arrests and possible executions. Eyewitness reports say security has been beefed up in the capital, Tehran, amid calls for more opposition protests.
Iran's top security figures are stepping up their threats to prosecute and punish supporters and leaders of the country's opposition movement in what appears to be a calculated attempt to demonstrate that they are still in control of the situation.
Opposition websites also report troops in Tehran have been reinforced.
Iranian government TV indicated the country's top security officials met late Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis created by what the television called "rioters and those fomenting sedition against the Islamic Republic."
Intelligence Minister Haidar Moslehi insisted the Marxist "People's Mujahideen" movement is heavily involved in the opposition movement and recent demonstrations:
He called the recent opposition demonstrations anti-revolutionary and says a large number of people arrested for participating in them are Marxists or belong to the People's Mujahideen. He said Iran's intelligence apparatus has a good deal of information and has identified many of these instigators and he expects the judiciary to take tough action against them.
Iran's top prosecutor Abbas Jaafar Doulatabadi also said opposition protests over the disputed June presidential election were just an excuse to attack the Islamic republic and its leaders.
Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani lashed out at the opposition during a visit to a provincial city, insisting the people are demanding an end to opposition demonstrations:
He says the people are losing patience with the sectarian conflict he claims some are trying to provoke. Both the government and the parliament, he argues, will do what is being asked of them and put and end to violence and seditious acts, like what he called the sacrilege against Imam Hussein by protesting during Ashoura.
Iran's top police official, Esmail Ahmedi-Moghaddam also warned the opposition the government would no longer be lenient. "The time of pardoning is over," he says. "We were patient at first, but now our reaction will be even more harsh."
Hundreds of opposition protesters, activists, and intellectuals have been arrested since Sunday's opposition demonstrations, in which protesters fought running-street battles against government security forces, leaving at least eight people dead.
Iranian TV also broadcast videos of pro-government marchers, chanting slogans in favor of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and against the opposition and Western powers that allegedly support it. Some participants have been shown wearing white shrouds to indicate they are ready to die for the Islamic Republic.
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