Iran's opposition leader said on Monday that the protest movement that has swamped Iran since the country's disputed presidential elections in June will continue, saying the government crackdown on protesters will only increase the size of his movement.
"The pro-reform path will continue," Mir Hossein Mousavi said in a statement on his Web site. "The establishment should respect the constitution and let us to gather to commemorate our killed loved ones on Thursday."
Mousavi and another reformist candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, called on Iranian authorities on Sunday to allow a mass public mourning ceremony Thursday at Tehran's "Grand Mosala" shrine to commemorate protesters who have died in the unrest that has gripped the country since the June 12 elections, Reuters reported.
International media have reported scores of arrests and disappearances in Iran — just one facet of a sometimes lethal government crackdown that human rights activists estimate has taken over a hundred lives. Protesters have taken to the streets to face down government militias, alleging the polls were rigged in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's favor.
Mousavi, who was prime-minister in the 1980s but has become the leading figure of the opposition, said arrests and intimidation could not halt the pro-reform movement.
"The killings and arrests are a catastrophe, people will not forgive those behind such crimes," Mousavi said on his Web site, Reuters reported.
"The country of 70 million cannot become a prison for all of them. The more they arrest people, the bigger this movement becomes."