April 27, 2010 / 2:49 PM / 9 years ago

Iran opposition urges vote anniversary rally: website

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian opposition leaders have called on supporters to take part in peaceful protests on June 12 to mark the first anniversary of an election they say was rigged, a reformist website said on Tuesday.

Any anti-government demonstration could raise the prospect of new clashes with the security forces, which quelled mass protests that erupted after the presidential poll last year won by hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Sahamnews, the website of pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi, said he and moderate opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi held talks on Monday about the situation in the Islamic Republic.

“Their assessment of the government’s performance was negative in all fields — political and economic,” the website said, adding:

“Mehdi Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi called for the public’s participation in peaceful demonstrations on (June 12) — the anniversary of the presidential election.”

They urged groups and political parties to send requests to the Interior Ministry asking for permission to stage marches on that day. The authorities, which deny vote-rigging charges, have refused such requests in the past.

POST-ELECTION CRACKDOWN

Despite a post-election crackdown, Mousavi and his allies have vowed to continue their reform movement.

The last major protest took place in December, when eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition backers. Smaller protests occurred on Feb 11, when Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The aftermath of the presidential vote, which plunged the Islamic Republic into its worst internal crisis in the past three decades, exposed deepening divisions in the political establishment of the major oil producer.

Thousands of people were arrested during the post-election protests, in which dozens of people were killed.

More than 100 people, including senior reformist figures, have received jail terms of up to 16 years. Iran has hanged two people sentenced to death in post-vote trials.

The West and human rights groups have condemned the executions and also the government’s handling of the unrest.

Earlier this week, Mousavi — who came second in the election — said the Islamic state was in crisis and accused the government of pressuring opponents in the name of Islam, his website Kaleme reported.

Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Peter Millership

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