Tehran's streets erupt after a key cleric speaks
Protests in Iran will accomplish little or nothing but Rafsanjani is a power in Iran. When he speaks people in Iran, including the government and clerics. His words can not be dismissed like those of the protesters.
Security forces fired tear gas and plainclothes militiamen armed with batons charged at crowds of protesters gathered near Tehran University after a Friday prayer sermon delivered by the cleric and opposition supporter Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, his first appearance at the nation's weekly keynote sermon since before the election. Rafsanjani, in a closely watched speech, lashed out at the hard-line camp supporting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, criticized the June 12 election results and promoted several key opposition demands. However, he failed to offer a solution to what has emerged as Iran's worst political crisis in decades.
Thousands of opposition demonstrators took to the streets in defiance of a government crackdown Friday after a powerful cleric, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, publicly called for the release of people arrested in protests following last month's disputed election and urged authorities to ease restrictions on the news media.
Addressing a huge crowd in a sermon at traditional Friday prayers, Rafsanjani issued an appeal for national unity but stopped short of endorsing the officially proclaimed landslide reelection victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an omission that served to further widen a rift within the country's Shiite Muslim hierarchy over the results of the June 12 election.
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