Saturday, June 12, 2010

Iran: Iranian opposition leaders call off June 12 rally

PanARMENIAN.Net - Iranian opposition leaders have called off a rally intended to mark the June 12 anniversary of last year's disputed presidential election.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi said in a joint statement they had decided to cancel the rally in Tehran to protect the lives and property of the people.

The two had sent a joint letter to Tehran's provincial governor earlier this month asking for a permit to demonstrate, but they say their request was not granted. It is necessary under the current Iranian administration to get government approval before holding a political gathering. The Iranian constitution, however, does not require government permission to hold peaceful gatherings.

Eight opposition groups, in addition to Mousavi and Karroubi's blocs, announced last week that they also had requested permission to protest. It is unclear if these groups will continue their plans to rally, VOA News reported.

Mousavi and Karroubi ran in last year's presidential election, which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. The opposition accuses Mr. Ahmadinejad of rigging the election, and says Mr. Mousavi should have won.

The results sparked massive street protests. More than 80 people were sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years in connection with the demonstrations. Several other activists face death sentences.