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Iran Opposition Leader Mousavi Not Afraid to Die for Reform


Top Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi says that he's not afraid to die for the cause of reform, and is offering the government a five-point plan for compromise.

The message from the top Iranian opposition leader was carried on the opposition Website Jaras Friday.

Mousavi called on government officials to recognize the rights of the people. He said jailing or killing opposition leaders will do little to calm tensions. He also proposed a five-point plan to help end the crisis. It calls for freeing political prisoners and establishing new, transparent election laws.

The opposition leader's statement follows some of the worst violence to hit the country since June, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a disputed election.

During Friday prayers at Tehran University, the deputy head of Iran's judiciary Ebrahim Raisi stressed that the law will be applied harshly to opposition demonstrators:

He says that (the judicial system) will not connive with these people whom he refers to as rioters, violators and law-breakers, insisting that they are endangering (ordinary) people's security.

The leader of the Tehran prayer service, Ayatollah Jannati, also accused the opposition demonstrators of colluding with the United States in a so-called combat against Islam and Iran's Islamic Republic:

The issue, he says, is that Islam is the basis of our regime. America, he complains, has been fighting us for 30 years (to topple our system) and it has failed. The Islamic Republic will not, he argues, tolerate any combat against (our Islamic system). (Such behavior) he says, is very, very pitiful. The people insist, he stresses, that the law is the law, and it must be respected.

Some Iranian hard-liners have been calling for the execution of opposition leader Mousavi, as well, for opposing the government.

Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham in Britain, who is behind the popular Iran blog Enduring America thinks that both the opposition and the government are digging in their heels for a confrontation:

"The five-point plan is not new. He said something similar in around October. That, therefore, is still a compromise within the system. The other thing that's important is that the language he uses before he gets to that about his possible martyrdom is striking, which is: 'my blood is no redder than those of others in the [opposition] movement, but I'm ready to die.' Therefore, it's a language of expected confrontation, as opposed to political compromise," he said.

Lucas also argues that Mousavi may be trying to re-establish himself as the clear leader of the opposition after complaints in recent months that he hadn't been showing up to lead public demonstrations. Many in the opposition, he notes, have been saying that the "opposition is leading Mr. Mousavi and not the contrary."

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