Iran opposition leader 'ready to pay any price' for change

Karroubi statement follows lawmakers' calls for his execution; Ahmadinejad: "there's a lot of hostility against the gov't."

Iranian oppostion leader Mahdi Karroubi 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Iranian oppostion leader Mahdi Karroubi 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
An Iranian opposition leader who became the target of death threats by lawmakers said Wednesday that he is willing to pay any price for trying to bring democratic change to the country.
Hard-line lawmakers called for Mahdi Karroubi and two other prominent pro-reform figures to be brought to trial and put to death in response to demonstrations earlier in the week. Two protesters were killed in clashes with police in the demonstrations.
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Karroubi said Wednesday on his website, sahamnews.net, that he was willing to "pay any price" to bring social and political changes to Iran. He is one of several leaders of a protest movement that grew out of the disputed presidential election in 2009.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday dismissed the seriousness of protests against his regime, saying that the demonstrations are "going nowhere," in an interview on Iranian state television.
"It is clear the Iranian nation has enemies because it is a nation that wants to shine, conquer peaks and change relations," Ahmadinejad stated.
He acknowledged that "there is a lot of hostility against the government," but said the protests' organizers "just wanted to tarnish the Iranian nation's brilliance."
"It is a shining sun. They threw some dust towards the sun... but the dust will return to their eyes," the Iranian president said.
Clashes between protesters and Iranian security forces in Tehran left two people dead and several wounded on Monday.
Earlier Tuesday, US President Barack Obama blasted the Iranian regimefor suppressing protesters and called on those taking to the streets to show courage in their pursuit for greater freedom.
“My hope and expectation is that we’re going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government,” Obama said at a press conference, comparing the demonstrations in Iran with those that ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from office on Friday.