Iran's hardliners call for opponents' death
U.S. voices support for 'universal rights' of Iranians
Iran's opposition leaders should face trial and be put to death, the country's hardline lawmakers said Tuesday, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces left one person dead and dozens injured.
At an open session of parliament Tuesday, pro-government legislators demanded that opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and former reformist president Mohammad Khatami be held responsible for the protests.
Pumping their fists in the air, the lawmakers chanted "death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami."
"We believe the people have lost their patience and demand capital punishment" for the opposition leaders, 221 lawmakers said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of people turned out for the opposition rally Monday in solidarity with Egypt's popular revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years in power as president. The demonstration was the first major show of strength from Iran's beleaguered opposition in more than a year.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said the calls for protesters to be executed were unacceptable.
"The hypocrisy of Iranian authorities' calls for democracy in Egypt and suppression of the same demands in Iran is deeply disturbing," Cannon said.
"Iranians gathered by the thousands to march in support of recent events in Egypt. The use of tear gas, batons and pepper spray against them by Iranian security forces was a gross violation of their rights to free expression and assembly. Iranian citizens should be free to express their political views and affiliations without fear of punishment or imprisonment," he said in a statement.
"I find it ironic that you've got the Iranian regime pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt when, in fact, they have acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully in Iran," Obama said.
Iran has already tried scores of opposition figures and activists on charges of fomenting mass protests following the country's disputed 2009 elections, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second term. More than 80 people have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years.
Following Monday's opposition demonstrations, authorities vowed to move quickly to stifle the opposition before its gains momentum.
With files from CBC News