Moussavi calls off supporters’ rally to avoid more bloodshed
Iran’s opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi told his supporters not to assemble in Tehran’s main square Tuesday afternoon, June 16, as scheduled, shortly after a rally in support of the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi’s order went out after the authorities rounded up a group called by state TV “ringleaders of the current unrest in possession of explosives and guns.” He took this as a message that the ayatollahs’ regime led by supreme ruler Ali Khamenei had come down in favor of a crackdown against his movement and he decided to prevent a bloodbath after clashes left scores of casualties.
Furthermore, the Guardian Council announced the June 12 presidential election would not be cancelled despite the reformists’ allegations of vote fraud although some ballot recounts would take place in some disputed areas.
The Council has ten days to deliver its verdict.
debkafile‘s Iranian sources report that by pulling back from a showdown, Mousavi gives this round to the supreme ruler and the president. If his protest movement against the regime fails to keep up its momentum and avoids rallying Wednesday too, it is likely to run out of steam, very much like the Tehran students’ uprising eleven years ago.
Iran revokes some foreign press cards and restricts correspondents’ coverage from the streets.