Iran hardliners urge legal action against Mousavi

Iranian hardliners pressed on Thursday for legal action against moderate leaders accused of inciting post-election turmoil that has dimmed Western hopes of engaging Tehran on its disputed nuclear programme.

“Those who hold illegal rallies and gatherings should be legally pursued,” Parliament member Mohammad Taghi Rahbar was quoted as saying by the hard-line Javan newspaper.

It said he was among several lawmakers preparing to write to the judiciary complaining about defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi’s activities after the disputed June 12 election.

The student branch of the pro-government Basij militia, which helped police suppress street protests after the vote, has also urged the attorney general to take Mousavi to court.

The authorities have blamed Mousavi, a moderate former prime minister, for last month’s violence, in which at least 20 people were killed. Mousavi, who says the poll was rigged in favour of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, rejects the charge.

The unrest has posed a dilemma for Western powers torn between sympathy for the protesters and a desire to keep alive chances for dialogue on what they suspect is an Iranian nuclear weapons programme. Iran denies it is seeking to make bombs.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wanted next week’s Group of Eight (G8) summit to send a strong signal to Iran, without forfeiting possible talks on the nuclear issue.

G8 leaders will meet in Italy on July 8 to 10, a month after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a vote his opponents have denounced as a fraud.
Tehran has cracked down on protesters, jailing many and accusing the West of fomenting unrest.—Reuters

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