rain.png
Friday December 13th, 2019 8:33AM

Iran opposition leader compares supreme leader to shah

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A long-detained opposition leader in Iran on Saturday compared a bloody crackdown on those protesting government-set gasoline prices rising under its supreme leader to soldiers of the shah gunning down demonstrators in an event that led to the Islamic Revolution.

The comments published by a foreign website represent some of the harshest yet attributed to Mir Hossein Mousavi, a 77-year-old politician whose own disputed election loss in 2009 led to the widespread Green Movement protests that security forces also put down.

Mousavi’s remarks not only compare Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the toppled monarch whom Khamenei to this day refers to as a tyrant. It also suggests the opposition leader views the demonstrations that began Nov. 15 and the crackdown that followed as a potentially similar last-straw moment for Iran’s Shiite theocracy as the 1978 killings represented for the shah.

“It shows people’s frustration with the country’s situation. It has a complete resemblance to the brutal killing of people on the bloody date Sept. 8, 1978,” Mousavi said, according to the statement published by the Kaleme website long associated with him. “The assassins of the year of 1978 were representatives of a non-religious regime, but the agents and shooters in November 2019 were representatives of a religious government.”

There was no immediate response from Iranian officials nor state media, which has been barred from showing Mousavi’s image for years.

The protests that struck some 100 cities and towns across Iran beginning Nov. 15 came after Iran raised minimum gasoline prices by 50%. The subsidy cuts, which the government said would help fund cash handouts to the poor, come as Iran’s economy suffers under crushing U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranians immediately began demonstrating and protests quickly turned violent, seeing gas stations and banks attacked. Online videos purport to show Iranian security forces shooting at demonstrators.

The scale of the gasoline price demonstrations remains unclear even today as Iran so far has not offered nationwide statistics for the number of people arrested, injured or killed in the protests. Amnesty International believes the protests and the security crackdown killed at least 161 people.

One Iranian lawmaker said he thought that over 7,000 people had been arrested, though Iran’s top prosecutor disputed the figure without offering his own. The country’s interior minister said as many as 200,000 people took part in the demonstrations. Iran blocked access to the wider internet for a week, further shielding its response from the world’s view.

Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, remain under house arrest in their home down an alleyway near Khamenei’s official residence in Tehran. However, the Kaleme website occasionally publishes statements from Mousavi, who earlier served as Iran’s prime minister before the position was eliminated in 1989.

The statement Saturday saw Mousavi compare November’s crackdown to “Black Friday,” a seminal moment in Iran’s revolution. That September day in 1978, soldiers opened fire on demonstrators in Jaleh Square.

How many the shooting killed remains in dispute today, with figures running anywhere from 86 to 4,000. However, historians mark the day as the point of no return for the fatally ill shah. Mass protests and strikes followed. The shah fled Iran in January 1979 and by the next month, the revolution took hold.

In his statement, Mousavi offered his condolences to those slain in the November crackdown and warned “this wound on the nation’s body and soul” would not heal until there are public trials of their killers.

“The bullying and talking about how we are in the middle of a world war are not a convincing answer for the people and it would not heal the people’s wounds,” Mousavi said, referring to tensions with the U.S. “It would be enough that the system just think about the consequences of the Jaleh Square assassinations.”

Mousavi is not the only one to compare the November crackdown to the time of the shah, however. Days earlier, lawmaker Mohammad Golmoradi at the Iranian parliament got pulled away after some news websites reported he criticized President Hassan Rouhani over the crackdown. Golmoradi’s area, Mahshar in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province, saw security forces violently put down protests, activists say.

“What did you do that the shah didn’t?” Golmoradi reportedly asked.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Iran opposition leader compares supreme leader to shah
A website long associated with detained opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has quoted him as comparing a crackdown on protesters under Iran’s supreme leader to another carried out under the country’s ousted shah
10:26AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Fierce 49ers defense vs Jackson’s Ravens highlights Week 13
Fierce 49ers defense confronts Lamar Jackson and dynamic Ravens offense
10:15AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Holiday travelers warned to be aware of powerful storm
A powerful storm making its way east from California is expected to bring intensifying snow and ice to the Midwest during the year’s busiest travel weekend
9:53AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
In ride-hail boom, livery cabs feel squeezed and forgotten
In low-income New York neighborhoods with no yellow cabs and sparse public transport, residents have long relied on livery cabs
8:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden heads to Iowa looking for a rebound in key state
Joe Biden is launching an eight-day bus tour in Iowa with barely two months remaining before the Feb. 3 Iowa presidential caucuses
7:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
Iraqi officials: 2 protesters dead in more violence
Iraqi officials say two protesters have been shot dead and at least 26 others wounded in Baghdad and southern Iraq in continued unrest after Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced he intended to resign
7:50AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Powerful storm interrupts nation’s busiest travel weekend
A powerful storm making its way east from California is causing major disruptions during the year’s busiest travel weekend.
11:55PM ( 10 hours ago )
Peru’s Keiko Fujimori leaves prison after top court ruling
Once-powerful opposition leader and two-time Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori has left prison to the cheers of her supporters and criticism by opponents who called it another blow for impunity for the corrupt
10:52PM ( 11 hours ago )
UK police: Bridge attacker had been jailed for terror crimes
A man imprisoned six years for terrorism offenses before his release last year stabbed several people in London, two fatally, before being tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge
10:17PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online National News
PG&E says blackouts limited fires despite 1 likely failure
The nation’s largest utility said its distribution lines haven’t sparked any major wildfires since it began shutting off power to Northern California customers during periods of high fire risk
7:28PM ( 15 hours ago )
Dutch police: 3 people wounded in Hague stabbing
Dutch police say 3 people have been injured in a stabbing in The Hague’s main shopping street
5:20PM ( 17 hours ago )
Head start on holiday deals tempers Black Friday frenzy
Early deals dampen Black Friday frenzy after retailers gave shoppers a head start to compensate for shorter holiday shopping season
5:03PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Business
Evacuation order lifted as huge Texas plant fire ‘contained’
Authorities in Texas say a massive chemical plant fire that rocked a Gulf Coast town with two major explosions is finally considered contained after two days
1:44PM ( 20 hours ago )
Markets Right Now: Stocks pull back from record highs
Stocks ended an abbreviated session of trading with losses after sharp drops in oil and gas prices dragged down energy companies
1:12PM ( 21 hours ago )
Gas station strike paralyzes Lebanon as crisis deepens
Angry motorists have closed roads in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon paralyzing entire areas with traffic jams to protest a strike by owners of gas stations who are demanding an increase in gasoline prices
1:05PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Judge keeps California law on utilities paying fire damages
A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has upheld a California law forcing utilities to pay for all damages when their equipment causes wildfires
8:12PM ( 2 days ago )
Officials: Iraq protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf
Anti-government protesters burn down an Iranian consulate building in southern Iraq, while six protesters were killed by security forces who fired live rounds amid ongoing violence
3:19PM ( 2 days ago )
Anti-government protesters burn down Iranian consulate
Anti-government protesters burned down the Iranian consulate building in southern Iraq, while six protesters were killed by security forces who fired live rounds amid ongoing violence
2:33PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Fierce 49ers defense vs Jackson’s Ravens highlights Week 13
Fierce 49ers defense confronts Lamar Jackson and dynamic Ravens offense
10:15AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Holiday travelers warned to be aware of powerful storm
A powerful storm making its way east from California is expected to bring intensifying snow and ice to the Midwest during the year’s busiest travel weekend
9:53AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Albania’s search for quake victims ends; death toll up to 51
Albania’s search for earthquake victims ends with death toll up to 51; thousands homeless
8:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
Impeachment’s influence hazy as issue in congressional races
With voters starkly divided, it’s unclear what impact impeachment will have on next year’s congressional elections.
8:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Relic thought to be from Jesus’ manger arrives in Bethlehem
A tiny wooden relic some Christians believe to have been part of Jesus' manger has returned to its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope
8:46AM ( 1 hour ago )