Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, angrily warned opposition leaders Friday to stay off the streets and denied opposition claims that last week’s disputed election was rigged, praising the ballot as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”
In a stern and lengthy sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, he also called directly for an end to the protests that have brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets to back demands for a new election.
“Street challenge is not acceptable,” he said. “This is challenging democracy after the elections.”
And what would a speech by the Supreme Leader be without mentioning eeeevil Zionists?
He blamed “media belonging to Zionists, evil media” for seeking to show divisions between those who supported the Iranian state and those who did not.
Although Ahmadinejad offered a lame apology for his “dust” comment in reference to the protesters, his goon squads are not letting up.
“I only addressed those who made riot, set fires and attacked people. Every single Iranian is valuable. The government is at everyone’s service. We like everyone.”
And this is how we show it.
With the other hand, the government continued to arrest prominent reformers, limit Internet access and pressure reporters to stay off the streets, and security officials signaled their waning tolerance.
What does this all mean? I fear protesters will now be seen as enemies of the government and the police will ramp up their bloody crackdown.