Iranian hardliners staged an enlistment drive Friday for suicide bombers to avenge a German court ruling that accused Iran of assassinating exiled dissidents.
Dozens of people - including a 12-year-old boy - signed up even though the group is not believed to have the power or means to carry out its threats and says the government has prohibited such attacks.
“We will confront insults to Islam and our religious leadership wherever in the world they occur,” Hossein Allah-Karam, head of the extremist Ansar’e Hezbollah group, told the crowd outside the German Embassy in Tehran.
“We are even ready to strap a bomb around our waists and go for martyrdom,” he said.
“Woe to you if you do not apologize for your actions.”
Ansar’e Hezbollah is mainly a pressure group of poor people who seek to prevent Iran’s Muslim clerical government from abandoning the hard-line goals of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Hundreds of police guarded the embassy as supporters signed up to become suicide bombers.
“I am ready to go for martyrdom whenever it is necessary,” said Nader Amani, 35, adding his name and address to a book of volunteers.
“I, too, am ready to be martyred,” 12-year-old Hamid Reza Alavi said.
Allah-Karam claimed hundreds of others had already volunteered for suicide attacks.
“Right now our government won’t allow such actions, but we are negotiating with it. Once our deadline passes, then Germany will be confronted with the explosion of the Hezbollah,” he said. He did not say when the deadline was.
However, he later told a reporter his threats extended not only to Germany but to “global arrogance,” a term Iran uses to describe the United States and the West.
Allah-Karam’s group is not associated with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.
A German court last week convicted an Iranian and four Lebanese men in the 1992 killings of Kurdish Iranian dissidents in Berlin, and said the murders were ordered by Iran’s leaders.
Iran has denied involvement.