Iranian Cleric Calls for Execution of Protest Leaders
Khatami, a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts, said the judiciary should charge the leading “rioters” as “mohareb” or one who wages war against God.
“They should be punished ruthlessly and savagely,” he said. Under Iran’s Islamic law, punishment for people convicted as “mohareb” is execution.
UPDATE at 6/26/09 12:19:03 pm:
Jake Tapper reports that in his Friday sermon, Khatami also blamed the death of protester Neda Agha Soltan on the protesters themselves.
In his Friday prayer sermon, senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami called for the government to protest the “leaders of protests, who were supported by the United States and Israel, strongly and with cruelty so it will be a lesson for everyone.”
Khatami also said that 26-year-old protestor Neda Agha Soltan, shot last Saturday and memorialized by protestors as a martyr for their cause, was killed by those protestors.
“The proof and evidence shows that they have done it themselves and have raised propaganda against the system,” Khatami said. “I say hereby that these deceitful media have to know that the ordeal will be over and shame will remain for them.”
UPDATE at 6/26/09 12:21:49 pm:
Iran’s ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, blames Neda’s death on the CIA.
GHADIRI (through interpreter): My question is that how is that this Nada was shot from behind and several cameras take that. And this is done in an area where there was no important demonstration. If the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the elements of the government, and then choosing a girl would be something good for them because it would have much higher impact.
Therefore, we believe and we are looking into this to find who the elements were who did this.
BLITZER: Are you seriously accusing the CIA of killing Neda?
GHADIRI (through interpreter): We say that the bullet that was found in her head was not a bullet that you could find in Iran.
These are the bullets that the CIA and terrorist groups use. Of course they warned that there would be a bloodshed in these demonstrations and then they could attribute that to the Islamic Republic. This is part of a common act of CIA in various countries.
BLITZER: Do you really believe that, Mr. Ambassador? You’re a distinguished diplomat representing Iran. This is a very serious accusation that you’re making, that the CIA was responsible for killing this beautiful, young woman.
GHADIRI (through interpreter): I’m not saying that the CIA had done this. There are different groups. Could be intelligence services, could be CIA, could be the terrorists.
However, these are the people who do these things. You could ask Mr. Andreotti, who was an Italian diplomat, whether Gladiators were a secret group related to CIA or not. Now they of course they use better methods. Of course, you’re not going to say that CIA is a sacred organization that hasn’t done anything to other worlds.