Iran's chief prosecutor has criticized a plan by opposition leaders to hold a rally next week in support of uprisings in Arab nations, calling it a political move aimed at dividing Iranians.
Iranian reformist leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have asked authorities for permission to hold the rally on Monday, to show solidarity with recent anti-government revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
Chief prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie said Wednesday that Iranians who want to support the uprisings should do so at government-sponsored rallies this Friday marking the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Mohseni Ejeie said opposition figures who try organize rallies on another date are "distancing" themselves from the people and creating division for political gain.
Mousavi and Karroubi last organized major protests after losing a June 2009 presidential election that they say was rigged to secure a second term for conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran's government denies the charge. The post-election protests continued for several months until a violent government crackdown.
In an interview published Tuesday, Karroubi told The New York Times that if Iran's government issues a permit for next week's rally, he expects a "huge demonstration" that will show the vitality of the Green reformist movement.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also has expressed support for the Arab uprisings, saying they represent an Islamic awakening in the region. Karroubi says a denial of permission for his rally in support of the same uprisings would show the government's position is "fake."