Iran Tehran Protest_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
TEHRAN - Opposition groups urged Iranians on Tuesday to attend in large numbers the funeral procession of veteran dissident Ezatollah Sahabi, a gathering that could turn into an anti-government protest.
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Sahabi, a former member of parliament who was forced into opposition in the 1980s, died of stroke in a Tehran hospital overnight at the age of 81.
Opposition websites carried statements urging broad participation in Sahabi's funeral, which will be held in Lavasan on Wednesday. They said there was already a heavy security presence in the northeastern city in anticipation of the event.
Sahabi served as budget chief in the administration formed after Iran's
1979 revolution. He was also elected to the first post-revolutionary
parliament but was sidelined by the powerful Islamic clergy in the
A longtime activist, Sahabi was jailed both before and after the
revolution and spent a total of 15 years behind bars on various charges
including efforts to overthrow Islamic rule.
His daughter, Haleh Sahabi, is one of many Iranian activists arrested
following a spate of protests in Iran in 2009. She is serving her
two-year jail sentence.
Iran's 2009 presidential election sparked huge opposition protests,
plunging the country into its deepest domestic crisis since the Islamic
Revolution and exposing divisions within the establishment itself.
The reformist opposition says the election was rigged to bring back
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The authorities deny those claims and
have portrayed the protests as a foreign-backed bid to undermine Iran's
unique system of clerical government.