'Senior Iranian officers vow not to shoot at protesters'

Members of Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard say firing on their own people is against the laws of Shi'ite Islam, 'Telegraph' reports.

February 18, 2011 09:12
2 minute read.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard

revolutionary guards 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Senior officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guard have written a letter to their superior officer asking for guarantees that they will not be required to open fire on anti-government protesters, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.

In the letter, addressed to Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guards' commander,  the officers contend that using violence against their own people breaks the tenets of Shi'te Islamic law.

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"We promise our people that we will not shoot nor beat our brothers who are seeking to express legitimate protest against the policies and conduct of their leader," the letter states.

The Telegraph quotes western diplomats familiar with the letter as saying it has been passed on to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. No official Iranian response to the letter has been made.

On Monday, Iran's beleaguered opposition brought tens of thousands of its supporters into the streets, ostensibly to display solidarity with Egypt's anti-government protest movement. It was also a chance for the opposition to put on its first significant show of strength in more than a year, and it set off clashes with police that killed two people and injured dozens.

A day later, furious hard-line lawmakers pumped their fists in the air in parliament and called for opposition leaders to be tried and sentenced to death.

Iran’s regime said it called a rally in Tehran Friday to express “hatred” for the opposition movement, AFP reported.

Wednesday’s call for the mass rally came as clashes erupted between regime backers and “apparent” supporters of the opposition at a funeral, attended by thousands in Tehran of a student killed in anti-government protests on Monday.

“The noble people of Tehran will take to Enghelab Square after Friday prayers with their solid and informed presence,” the Islamic Propagation Coordination Council, which organizes regime-backed programs, said Wednesday.

It said those joining the rally will “scream out their hatred, wrath and disgust for the savage crimes and evil movements of sedition leaders,” AFP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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