Now sworn in, Ahmadinejad could crack down harder
Top opposition candidates, including defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, are among those who may be targeted.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially inaugurated for a second term Wednesday, killing the slim hopes his opponents had of overturning his controversial election victory. Now Tehran is holding its breath, wondering if Ahmadinejad will seek to consolidate his position by widening his ongoing crackdown against reformers and his political opponents.Skip to next paragraph
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"The crackdown will continue over the next few months and will be extensive and ruthless," he says. "No one will be immune from repression...The line is traced and camps chosen."
Ahmadinejad has signalled in recent days that he intends to silence the voices at home who allege June's presidential election was rigged and end a cycle of protests that has gone on for almost two months.
While members of Iran's political elite were at one time safe from arrest and torture, Prof. Hassan-Yari says the rules of the game have changed. He says defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, around whom the reformist opposition has rallied, is in the line of fire, as are his allies – former presidents Mohammed Khatami and Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, and reformist cleric Mehdi Karoubi.
Though Ahmadinejad's inauguration was completed today, he still needs to convince the parliament to ratify his proposed Cabinet within the next two weeks. Iran's state news agency reported that 70 reformist members of parliament didn't attend the inauguration in protest.
Signs the crackdown could be expanded
The chorus of hard-liner demands for opposition leaders to be arrested and tried for "inciting unrest" in the aftermath of the June 12 poll appears to be getting results.
Mirhamid Hasanzadeh, a close Mousavi aide who ran his website during the presidential campaign, was arrested Tuesday by order of a Revolutionary Court and his computer confiscated, the reformist Parleman News reported. His arrest was the first of a high-profile member of the opposition since Saturday's opening of a trial of 100 Ahmadinejad opponents.
A number of religious figures aligned with the president have launched a public campaign of opprobrium against the opposition.