France’s Kouchner Cites Threat From Senior Iran Clerics

PARIS (Reuters) — High-ranking clerics are undermining Iran’s government from within, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said.

A huge majority of “very high-ranking Shi’ites” disagreed with the government and contested its religious values, he said.

Iranian authorities have been unable to stop a protest movement, set off by the disputed June re-election of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, despite intensifying their crackdown after eight people were killed during protests on Dec. 27.

“We can all see that the regime is under threat from people who are very determined, Iranians, some of them very religious, from the Shi’ite hierarchy,” Kouchner said on RTL radio.

“Yes, the regime is under threat from internal opposition and I don’t know what it could lead to,” he said.

Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi said on January 1 that his country was in serious crisis and called for reforms, saying he was ready to die for the protest movement.

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