Presidential hopeful promises he won’t give in to pressure
TEHRAN, Iran – After days of relative quiet, Mir-Hossein Mousavi launched a broadside against the Iranian leadership in comments published Thursday, suggesting that the political rift over the country’s disputed presidential election is far from over.
The former prime minister turned artist and scholar accused Iran’s supreme leader of not acting in the interests of the country and said Iran had suffered a dramatic change for the worse.
He slammed state-controlled broadcast outlets, which have intensified a media blitz against him and his supporters with allegations that recent unrest over the disputed June 12 presidential election was instigated by Iran’s international rivals. And he vowed to pursue his quest to have President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election nullified.
“I am not only prepared to respond to all these allegations but am ready to show how election fraudsters joined those who are truly behind the recent riots and shed the blood of people,” he said in comments that appeared on his Web site and were distributed to supporters via e-mail. “I am not prepared to give up under the pressure of threats or personal interest.”
Mousavi’s forceful remarks appeared to show that he was willing to risk his standing as a pillar of the Islamic Republic to take on Iran’s powerful leadership, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. And they seemed aimed at securing his position at the head of a broad and youthful movement seeking reform.
At least some of his comments apparently were delivered in a meeting Wednesday with a group of 70 social scientists, who were later arrested and taken to an unknown location.
Khamenei vowed Wednesday that he would not reconsider the lopsided official results, which have spurred infighting among the Islamic Republic’s elite and street violence between pro-government forces and demonstrators.