Iran General NewsIran bans opposition mourning ceremony

Iran bans opposition mourning ceremony


ImageAFP: Iran has denied the opposition a permit for a ceremony to mourn people slain in protests over last month's presidential election, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran has denied the opposition a permit for a ceremony to mourn people slain in protests over last month's presidential election, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

"No permit has been issued for gathering and marching for any individuals or different political groups," Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, the ministry's political director, told the Fars news agency.

He said the ministry had received "a note signed by two presidential candidates, who were not favoured by the majority of voters, to hold a memorial service for those killed in post-election events."

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who lost to incumbent hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had submitted request for a "silent" memorial in Tehran on Thursday which would feature recitals from the Koran.

At least 20 people were killed in clashes with security forces after hundreds of thousands of supporters of Mousavi and other defeated candidates poured on to the streets of Tehran to protest the June 12 poll results.

"It is unprecedented for anyone to seeks permission for a memorial from the interior ministry unless they are pursuing a political aim," Meshkini said.

"No permit has been issued to those groups and or to people who disobey the law, disrespect the rules of defeat and do not accept the majority's vote and yet seek a permit for gathering," he said referring to Mousavi and Karroubi.

The opposition has charged the election was massively rigged and called for a re-run in defiance of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has dismissed the fraud allegations and strongly backed Ahmadinejad.

In a key speech after week-long mass protests Khamenei called for an end for street rallies and warned the opposition leaders would be held responsible for violence and bloodshed.

The authorities have banned all unauthorised gatherings and barred foreign media from covering them.

The organisers said the ceremony was planned to be held in central Tehran's Grand Mosalla prayer venue would have no speeches and participants were expected to pay their respects in silence.

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