Iran's conservative Kayhan daily newspaper is calling opposition
leader and defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi a "U.S.
agent" and demanding that he be tried for allegedly collaborating with
foreign governments to incite post-election violence.
The editorial printed Saturday in Kayhan,
asks if Mr. Mousavi's actions during several weeks of post-election
unrest were in response to instructions by American authorities.
by a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, the article also
called for Mr. Mousavi and for Iran's former president and leading
reformist, Mohammad Khatami, to be tried for treason.
Khatami has accused Iran's leaders of a "coup" against democracy for
upholding the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
wave of attacks against alleged foreign involvement in Iran's internal
crisis is being waged by hardliners in an apparent bid to legitimize
the re-election of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, despite multiple
charges of fraud.
Another top hardliner, Ayatollah Jannati,
spoke of so-called Western involvement in post-election unrest during
prayers at Tehran University Friday, saying that local British Embassy
staff would be put on trial for inciting violence.
9 members of the British Embassy staff, one week ago, for allegedly
fomenting unrest, releasing all but two, amid condemnation by the
British Foreign Secretary David Milliband has
been urging the 27-member EU to jointly withdraw their ambassadors from
Tehran to protest the arrest of its embassy personnel.
Khonsari of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies says
that the onslaught of charges by Iranian hardliners of outside
involvement is aimed at legitimizing their crackdown against opposition
"Their strategy seems to be to try and externalize
this problem that they have been suffering inside the country, thereby
giving a form of legitimacy to their behavior in suppressing people
inside and arresting people and wanting to put people on trial," said
Khonsari. "If you want to, for example, accuse Mousavi of being a U.S.
agent, you have to establish a connection between what's going on and
outside elements, and their behavior the past two or three weeks has
always carried a consistent theme of trying to suggest to people inside
the country that these activities are being organized by people outside
Iran, and that gives them a free hand to put down externally-inspired
uprisings and arrest people charged as being agents of outsiders."
President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad addressed a technology conference in
Tehran, Saturday, accused the Western media of "trying to turn the
Iranian election into an international affair and turn public attention
away from the global economic crisis."
The head of the Iranian
parliament foreign affairs committee, Alaeddin Borojurdi, while
visiting Tokyo, also said that Iranian officials would not meet their
Western counterparts to discuss the Afghan crisis, "due to their
meddling in Iran's internal affairs."