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Reformist Cleric Under House Arrest In Iran Criticizes Crackdown on Protesters

Former reformist parliament speaker and presidential candidate Mehdi Karrubi seen in a 2008 photo.

One of the reformist candidates of the disputed 2009 elections in Iran who has been under house arrest since February 2011 published a statement lambasting the use of force against people protesting recently.

In his statement the 81-year-old Mehdi Karroubi harshly criticized the threatening language used by the authorities against the protesters and the "indescribable violence" against them.

Karroubi criticized the claims made by IRGC Commander Hossein Salami who addressing a pro-government rally in Tehran on November 25 called the anti-government protests "a war" and insisted the unrest was an international conspiracy against the Islamic Republic.

Several other Iranian officials have called the recent protests a "world war". Khamenei and others also refer to the protesters as "thugs" and "hooligans".

"Another member of this suppressive military body calls the days-long suppression of the defenseless men and women of this country a victory in a world war and nobody stops these people from uttering such stupid words, which will only increase the anger and hatred of the people," the imprisoned reformist leader said in his statement.

More than 140 were killed, thousands injured and more than 7,000 were arrested when the government raised gasoline prices on November 15 and people reacted immediately, holding demonstrations in the streets. But the protests quickly turned into an anti-government movement.

Motorists blocking a highway in Isfahan on the second day of protests, before security forces began attacking the peole.
Motorists blocking a highway in Isfahan on the second day of protests, before security forces began attacking the peole.

Karrubi warned the Iranian authorities about the day when people lose their patience and explode and there is another revolution. He also criticized the Internet blackout and said methods such as shutting down public communications and the media will only lead to the loss of people's trust.

According to Karroubi the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran and the unilateral sanctions against Iran have not only broken the backs of the Iranian people, particularly the underprivileged, but have also allowed the Iranian government to use ancient methods of governance under the pretext of fighting an "economic war" with the United States.

Mentioning the images and videos sowing security forces killing protesters, Karroubi called for an "independent truth-finding committee to explain the various dimensions of this catastrophe", including "the identify and punish" those responsible for shooting the protesters and destroying public property.

According to Karroubi the causes of the protests can be traced back to the corruption of the regime and discrimination and inequality in the society, not foreign conspiracies, as alleged by regime officials.

Iranian authorities have accused the former royal family of Iran, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) as well as the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Israel of inciting unrest in Iran which spread to more than 100 cities and towns.

In a speech on Wednesday Khamenei said the protests were instigated by a conspiracy for which foreign governments had made huge investments in advance.

In his statement Karroubi called on the administration of President Hassan Rouhani to apologize to those who were harmed during protests and compensate their losses. "I would definitely visit those who were affected and their families and sympathize with them if I were not facing limitations on my movements," Karrubi said, referring to his confinement.

The reformist cleric's statement was published by Saham News, a website that can only be accessed through proxy servers and VPNs in Iran.