Saturday, March 20, 2010
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed a "year of perseverance" in his fight against the government in an Internet message on Friday to mark the Persian new year. Mousavi has mostly maintained silence throughout much of the political crisis since last June's controversial Iranian presidential election, commenting from time to time in an effort to galvanize the opposition. The leader of the opposition Green Movement took the occasion of the Persian New Year to once again invoke his message of resistance. Mousavi said that election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was fraudulent and that the often violent response by the government to the Iranian people has been a disgrace and a disappointment. "The unbecoming and unislamic response of the government to [last June's] election created an ugly picture in the minds of our people and spawned more ugly events," Mousavi said. "That response does not befit the grandeur and pride of Iran. The crimes committed by the regime against the people on many occasions have been a shock. The government should have solved political problems by political means," he reasoned. Mousavi vowed, above all, to continue his struggle to uphold Iran's constitution, which he claims the government has ignored, and to make this coming year a "year of perseverance":
"Iran's constitution is a national covenant without which there would be chaos and darkness." he said. "After the numerous problems following the election, people realize that the best solution is a return to the constitution, with no political interference," he stressed, adding that this is his firm demand and he will not abandon it. The popular opposition leader, who has also taken the cautious approach of insisting that he will continue his struggle within the framework of Iran's Islamic Republic also criticized the government's repression and clampdown on the press. "The Iranian nation is great, progressive and civilized and must not be treated like ignorant, uncivilized people for whom decisions must be made," Mousavi said. He demanded that the government respect freedom of speech and freedom of the press so that everyone may express his thoughts freely and in public . "Then, and only then, will Iran become a progressive society imbued with freedom and justice," said Mousavi. Both Mousavi and fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi have repeatedly demanded that the government end its limits on the press and free hundreds of political prisoners. He has also been locked in a personal struggle with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has warned him not to question his authority.