Iranian Opposition Calls for Rally

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Despite being turned down for permission to organize a rally in support of Tunisian and Egyptian protesters, members of Iran's opposition are going forward with their plans, a reformist website reported.

Opposition groups posted a joint statement on Kaleme.com Sunday, inviting Iranians to take part in a solidarity rally and accusing the government of hypocrisy for supporting the protests while disallowing opposition groups to hold a peaceful demonstration in Tehran.

The statement said placing opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi on house arrest and restricting Mir Hossein Mousavi reflected the government's "increasing weakness and fear...about the most peaceful civil and political rights" of the Iranian people.

Late last week, Iranian State Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi cited potential "repercussions" as his reason for refusing permission to hold a solidarity rally on February 14 in support of anti-government demonstrators in Tunisia and Egypt.

Karroubi and Mousavi compared the protests there with the 2009 post-election demonstrations in Tehran when security forces brutalized peaceful protesters in a heavy military crackdown.

The government banned foreign news agencies from covering the crackdown and arrested scores of demonstrators, journalists and human rights workers. 

The demonstrations, which began in mid-June, were protesting what many believed were rigged elections that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

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AP contributed to this report.

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