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Iran president urges prosecution of opposition leaders over election protests

[JURIST] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] called Friday for the prosecution of opposition leaders who allegedly conspired to orchestrate widespread protests after the country's disputed June 12 presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Ahmadinejad spoke in front of thousands before Friday prayers in Tehran, calling for pro-reformists to be dealt with decisively [NYT report]. The president's comments, directed toward opposition candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and Mehdi Karroubi along with former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, apparently contradict a statement made earlier this week by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [BBC profile] in which he said he was not sure that opposition leaders had conspired with foreign leaders to cause the post-election unrest.

On Tuesday, Iran began the fourth mass trial [JURIST report] of election protesters and reformists. Earlier in August, three UN human rights experts called on Iran's Revolutionary Court to reject protesters' confessions obtained through torture [JURIST report]. Also this month, Iran's Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dorri Najafabadi acknowledged [JURIST report] that some protesters arrested after the election were tortured. Human rights groups have called arrests political repression [JURIST report], saying that Iranian forces are using the protests to "engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals." Last month, Iran released [JURIST report] some 140 detainees arrested during the election aftermath. Also in July, a conservative newspaper called for Mousavi and Khatami to be tried for treason [JURIST report].

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