Mousavi calls new gov't 'illegitimate'

After vote recount, Khatami lashes out at regime's "velvet coup" against pro-opposition protesters.

mousavi supporter 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
mousavi supporter 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
After Iran's Guardian Council announced Tuesday that the election case was closed following a recount of the contested June 12 vote which left incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said he considered Iran's cleric-led government "illegitimate," and former president Mohammad Khatami lashed out at the regime for a "velvet coup" against the Iranian people. "It is our historical responsibility to continue our protests and not to abandon our efforts to preserve the nation's rights," said a statement posted on the Web site of Mousavi, who has become the spearhead of the popular movement that disputed the vote. Mousavi also said he would join a planned association of leading figures which would follow up people's rights and "ignored votes" in the election. The group's demands would include "halting security and military confrontation with the election, returning the country to a natural political atmosphere, reforming the election law to prevent vote rigging, securing freedom of holding rallies and freedom of press," the statement said. Mousavi also called on the authorities to release detained "children of the revolution," in reference to scores of leading reformists arrested since the disputed poll, saying he could not compromise over people's rights. He called for a lifting of a ban on some moderate newspapers and websites, after Iranian authorities shut down a paper identified with Mousavi's supporters earlier on Wednesday. Similar remarks were made by ex-president Khatami, who denounced what he called the regime's "velvet coup" against those contesting the outcome of last month's presidential election. "Given what has been done and declared unilaterally, we must say that a velvet revolution has taken place against the people and democratic roots of the system," Khatami said in a statement posted on his Web site, alluding to the government's declaration of Ahmadinejad's election victory. "People's protests were suppressed, those who were required to protect people's rights humiliated the people ... yet it (the government) speaks of national reconciliation and peace," Khatami said, lashing out at what he termed "a poisonous security situation" in the wake of violent street protests. The two men's latest displays of defiance came as Iran's feared Basij militia accused Mousavi of undermining national security and asked a prosecutor to investigate his role in violent protests. On Tuesday, sources in Iran told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview that six supporters of Mousavi were hanged in the holy city of Mashhad on Monday. There was no independent confirmation of the report. Underlining the climate of fear among direct and even indirect supporters of Mousavi's campaign for the election to be annulled, the sources also reported that a prominent cleric gave a speech to opposition protesters in Teheran earlier this week in which he publicly acknowledged that the very act of speaking at the gathering would likely cost him his life. "Ayatollah Hadi Gafouri said that the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] never wanted [current supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei to succeed him. He even went to say that the Islamic republic died the day the Imam did," one source said.