Iran's leader vows to thwart protests this week

February 8, 2010 22:55


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TEHRAN — Iran's supreme leader vowed Monday to deliver a "punch in the mouth" to the country's enemies if the opposition goes ahead with major new protests planned for this week, as a senior pro-reform figure was sentenced to six years in prison over post-election unrest.

The opposition has called for a large turnout for protests on Thursday to coincide with celebrations for the 31st anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is determined to participate in the demonstration, a step that could escalate tensions, his Web site reported Monday.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the opposition as "counterrevolutionaries" being used by the country's enemies, the United States, Britain and Israel, and vowed that Iranian unity in support of the Islamic revolution would defeat them.

Iranians "will punch (them) in their mouths to shock them," Khamenei said.

The opposition, he said, was not a part of the Iranian people. "Today, it is clear that those who stand against the great job done by the Iranian nation in the election, are not a part of the people" of Iran.

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