SANA, Yemen — Iran’s national police chief issued a stark warning to the country’s opposition on Friday, saying the era of “mercy” was over and that the authorities would begin cracking down more harshly not only on street protests but on anyone who used cell phone and email messages to publicize them.
The opposition has relied heavily on email, cell phones and the Internet to organize protests ever since the disputed June 12 presidential election, which set off the worst domestic unrest in decades. The government has shut down opposition newspapers and blocked Web sites, and has grown increasingly frustrated at the protesters’ continuing ability to elude government restraints.
The police chief, Ismail Ahmadhi-Moghaddam, said at a news conference on Friday that the authorities would punish those who use email and cell phones to organize protests even more harshly than the protesters themselves.
“After all the evidence we saw on Ashura, our tolerance has come to an end, and both the police force and the Judiciary will be confronting them with full force,” Mr. Ahmadi-Moghaddam said at a news conference, according to Iran’s semi-official ILNA news service.
Iranian security chiefs have issued similar warnings on several occasions since the disputed presidential election last June, which touched off anti-government protests that have yet to be quelled by the authorities.
Protests on Dec. 27, the Ashura religious holiday, tur… >>>