Skip to main content

Iran's parliament speaker calls for 'harshest punishment'

Iranian security forces clash with protesters in Tehran on December 27, 2009.
Iranian security forces clash with protesters in Tehran on December 27, 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Larijani said "no mercy" should be shown to protesters who disrupted Ashura observances
  • The influential speaker said protesters had insulted Imam Hussein
  • At least eight people killed in protests, although security forces deny killing anyone
  • Deadliest protest since June demonstrations following disputed presidential election

(CNN) -- Iran's influential parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Tuesday that authorities should mete out "the harshest punishment" to protesters who disrupted Ashura observances.

Addressing lawmakers, Larijani said the protesters had insulted Imam Hussein, whose death is commemorated during the religious observance.

He urged officials to "arrest offenders of the religion and mete out harshest punishments to such anti-revolutionary figures with no mercy."

Larijani also slammed Britain and the United States for condemning a government crackdown on the weekend's protesters, and said Iran would summon Britain's ambassador in Tehran to protest.

The protests were the deadliest since June demonstrations followed the nation's disputed presidential election. They left at least eight dead, though the Iranian government denied its security forces killed anyone.

Video: Perspective on Iran
Video: Your questions on Iran
Video: Iran: Blood in the streets

Police arrested hundreds of people, including prominent figures. Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi told CNN on Monday that Iranian intelligence officials had detained her sister, dentistry professor Nushin Ebadi.

Among the dead was the nephew of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi.

Moussavi's Web site said the nephew, Seyed Ali Moussavi, was killed in the demonstrations by a shot to the heart.

The Islamic Republic News Agency said the bullet came from a "terror team," and that other such teams were operating in Tehran, the nation's capital. It did not offer further details.

The news agency also disputed an account on the reformist Web site Parlemannews, which said the nephew's body had disappeared.

It said the government is holding the body and four others for autopsies. The delay meant the dead could not be buried within 24 hours, as Islamic custom dictates.

An Iranian media blackout has made it difficult to verify accounts of the weekend's violence, but videos that found their way west depicted bloodied and, in some cases, apparently dead protesters.

Human-rights group Amnesty International on Monday urged Iranian authorities to ensure that those attending the funerals of the weekend's victims be allowed to assemble peacefully.

"The Supreme Leader and government must instruct the police to end the use of force, while leaders of the Revolutionary Guard must withdraw the Basij (militia) from demonstrations, since time and time again it has been shown that their actions are fueling conflict, leading to the loss of life," Amnesty International said.

Officials such as Iran's Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan and Tehran Police Chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh denied their forces had killed anyone. In fact, they told the semi-official Islamic Students News Agency, their forces fired no weapons and weren't even carrying firearms.

Iran's influential parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Tuesday that authorities should mete out "the harshest punishment" to protesters who disrupted Ashura observances.

His comments, made during an address to lawmakers, were reported by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Larijani said the protesters had insulted Imam Hussein -- whose death is commemorated during the religious observance -- and he urged officials to "arrest offenders of the religion and mete out harshest punishments to such anti-revolutionary figures with no mercy."

The weekend protests were the deadliest since June demonstrations followed the nation's disputed presidential election. They left at least eight dead, though the Iranian government denied its security forces killed anyone.

Police arrested hundreds of people, including prominent figures. Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi told CNN on Monday that Iranian intelligence officials had detained her sister, dentistry professor Nushin Ebadi.

Among the dead was the nephew of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi.

Moussavi's Web site said the nephew, Seyed Ali Moussavi, was killed in the demonstrations by a shot to the heart.

The Islamic Republic News Agency said the bullet came from a "terror team," and that other such teams were operating in Tehran, the nation's capital. It did not offer further details.

The media blackout has made it difficult to verify accounts, but videos that found their way west depicted bloodied and -- in some cases, apparently dead -- .

Human rights group Amnesty International called on Iranian authorities on Monday to ensure that those attending the funerals of the weekend's victims be allowed to assemble peacefully.

"The Supreme Leader and government must instruct the police to end the use of force, while leaders of the Revolutionary Guard must withdraw the Basij (militia) from demonstrations, since time and time again it has been shown that their actions are fueling conflict, leading to the loss of life," Amnesty International said.

Officials such as Iran's Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan and Tehran Police Chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh denied their forces had killed anyone. In fact, they told the semi-official Islamic Students News Agency, their forces fired no weapons and weren't even carrying firearms.

Quick Job Search