Iran’s Basij militia has asked prosecutors to investigate the role of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the protests that rocked the Islamic Republic after last month’s contested elections. The government-backed militia that enforced much of the crackdown against protesters accused Mousavi of several crimes including undermining national security—which could see him imprisoned for up to 10 years.
The Fars news agency said the Basij sent the country’s chief prosecutor a letter accusing Mousavi of “disturbing the nation’s security” and eight other offences against the state. “Whether he wanted to or not, Mr. Mousavi in many areas supervised or assisted in punishable acts,” said the Basij letter, which also accused Mousavi of bringing “pessimism” to the public sphere.
In a statement on his website July 1, Mousavi remained intransigent: “From now on, we will have a government the legitimacy of which the majority of the people, including me, will not acknowledge. Our historic duty is to continue the protests to defend the rights of the people… and prevent the blood spilled by hundreds of thousands of martyrs from leading to a police state.”
Mehdi Karoubi, a cleric and fellow losing candidate, echoed Mousavi’s charges and called for the election to be annulled. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami issued his own statement accusing Iran’s leadership of a “velvet coup against the people and democracy.”
Authorities say 17 protesters and eight Basiji were killed in two weeks of unrest that followed the election. More than 1,000 were arrested, by the official toll.
EU to recall ambassadors?
European diplomatic sources said July 1 that EU members were considering a proposal from the UK to recall all their ambassadors from Iran in protest at the detention of Britain’s Tehran embassy employees. The threat was made as Britain said that two more employees from its embassy had been released. Iran’s Press TV said just one of the nine local staff members detained is still in custody. (AlJazeera, July 2; AP, July 1)
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