TEHRAN, Iran – Thousands of Iranian government supporters called for the execution of opposition leaders at a prayer service Friday in response to anti-government demonstrations earlier in the week. Authorities, meanwhile, appeared to tighten restrictions on one of the leaders under house arrest.
Hard-line cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during the service in Tehran that the opposition leaders have lost their reputation among people and are practically "dead and executed," while worshippers chanted for their actual executions.
Jannati proposed more restrictions on Mir Hossein Mousavi on Mahdi Karroubi, who are both under house arrest but still managed to organize the largest opposition protest in more than a year on Monday.
"Their communications with people should be completely cut. They should not be able to receive and send messages. Their phone lines and Internet should be cut. They should be prisoners in their homes," he said.
Authorities appeared to be acting to further isolate Mousavi.
An opposition website reported Friday that a new deployment of government guards appeared outside Mousavi's house and have stopped his three daughters from visiting or contacting their parents since Wednesday. The website, kaleme.com, said the new guards were wearing masks and were closely monitoring people near the house.
The report said the guards belonged to the prosecutor's office.
Hard-line government supporters have held numerous demonstrations outside Mousavi's house in past months, and authorities have briefly detained visitors in the past.
The head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said Thursday that opposition leaders would be prevented from communicating with their supporters and a possible trial was still on the agenda.
The remarks by these prominent figures, suggest there is still no concrete plan for arresting the opposition leaders, possibly to avoid giving them more public attention.
Late on Thursday, Karroubi's website, Sahamnews.net, quoted him as saying he was ready to stand trial.
The opposition demonstrations on Monday were aimed at showing solidarity with Egypt's uprising but turned into a major opposition rally. Two people were killed in clashes with police.
Mousavi and Karroubi are leaders of a protest movement that grew out of the disputed presidential election in 2009 in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected. Both men ran against Ahmadinejad, and Mousavi claims he was the rightful winner but that he was deprived of victory through fraud.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets after the election to protest the alleged fraud. The opposition says scores were killed in the massive security crackdown.
Dozens of opposition members and activists were sentenced to prison terms from six months to 15 years in the crackdown.
(This version CORRECTS that demonstrations were earlier this week).)