Key hardline figures in the Iranian government are pushing for severe punishment for opposition activists, with no pardon or reconciliation.  Opposition websites indicate more arrests have been made from their ranks.

The Iranian government continues to strike hard at the opposition, making more arrests while putting some of the detained activists on trial.

Iranian government TV and key government figures said those who were arrested will be punished by the full force of the law.

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar began the government's one-two punch, indicating that those individuals arrested in recent days were agents of foreign governments. He says the government has arrested some people belonging to the mujahideen and other elements supported by outside forces and governments, and the arrests were made because (these people) were found to be complicit in trying to create disorder.

Najjar insisted the government would never give in to the demands of the opposition. He says the government will under no circumstances yield, and that is a dream that the mujahideen, the monarchists, the Americans and the British will take to their graves, if they believe their agents can come back and take control of the country, once again.

Iranian judiciary head Sadegh Larijani maintained the government's firm stance protesters would face punishment. He says that in judging those arrested, all laws and verdicts must be in line with sharia law and the law of the land.  These, he says, will be the criteria that will determine any ultimate verdict.

Larijani also stressed political insight will have to be used by the judiciary in the sentencing process.He says prosecutors must have political understanding in order to apply the law correctly, but that this does not mean that they interfere in the political process.  Unless (judges) have understanding of the political context, he adds, they cannot impose the proper sentences.

The government's hardline position towards the opposition, new arrests, and the start of trials appeared to be a response to the five-point plan offered by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, Friday, calling for the government to compromise in order to put an end to a six-month old crisis. 

Mehrdad Khonsari of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies says the government has decided to dig in its heels. "They understand that if they were to move along the path of reconciliation, that would require certain compromises on their part, and they feel that if they were to make any kind of compromises at this stage, given the fact that the government has been under severe attack and the legitimacy of the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) has been brought into question, things will never go back to the original position and that would lay the groundwork for further concessions that would ultimately lead to the disintegration of the Islamic Republic," he said.

Government supporters are also trying to intimidate top religious leaders that support the opposition by a call to demote Grand Ayatollah Youssef Sanaei, and the confiscation of the offices and property of Ayatollah Ali Mohammed Dastgheib.

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