Iran opposition leader calls crackdown a wasteful exercise
Los Angeles Times / Borzou Daragahi

Reporting from Beirut - Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi on Saturday accused the government of wasting public resources in a massive show of force against the opposition this month, calling the country's hard-line leadership a "dictatorship and distortion of the Islamic Revolution."

But in his first public comments since protests failed to disrupt the Feb. 11 anniversary celebration of the 1979 revolution, Mousavi offered few specifics on what the so-called green movement should do next.

For now, Mousavi said he and fellow opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi would press for permission to hold their own rally and reach out to more Iranians.

"Increasing the level of people's awareness is not achieved only in street protests," he said in an interview published Saturday by his Persian-language news website, "Boosting the level of public awareness is the main strategy of the Green movement."

Mousavi also offered conciliatory gestures to Iranians opposed to the protesters, acknowledging their hostility toward his movement's aims and methods in the wake of the country's disputed June 12 presidential election.

"I oppose insulting those who disfavor the slogans of the green movement," he said. "Everyone is not supposed to be of our view. All Iranians, except a group of murderers and machete-wielders, are our brothers and sisters. Even military and police forces are our brothers, and we know well they were forced to exercise ... >>>

recommended by Shifteh Ansari