Standoff in Iran Deepens with New Show of Force
New York Times / Michael Slackman

CAIRO — Iranian authorities sent police officers into the streets to deter protests on Friday as Mir Hussein Moussavi, the principal opposition leader, said in a statement that he did not fear giving his life as “a martyr.”

The continuing show of force in the capital and Mr. Moussavi’s declaration, in which he said that even killing him would not end the unrest, were part of a day of charges, countercharges and warnings from both sides, illustrating the deep divisions that have emerged since Iran’s political crisis began six months ago.

The government and its hard-line supporters continued to rely on force, and the threat of force, to quell protests and demand loyalty, while the opposition refused to back down. There was no indication that compromise was on the agenda.

During Friday Prayer services in the capital, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a fundamentalist cleric who leads the powerful Guardian Council, called protesters “flagrant examples of the corrupt on Earth” and effectively urged that they be executed as “in the early days of the revolution.”

Mr. Moussavi issued a statement on his Web site,, that took a broad swipe at the government for its use of force against civilian protesters. It also criticized the government’s handling of the economy and foreign policy and its failure to address institutional corruption.

Mr. Moussavi offered a prescription for the government to restore its lost legitimacy, call... >>>

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