Protestors break into Iranian embassy in Sweden
Angry demonstrators broke into the Iranian Embassy outside Stockholm on Friday, climbing in through shattered windows and injuring one embassy worker, police said.
More than 150 people had gathered outside the embassy to protest against the Iranian regime, when some of them attacked the building with rocks and tore down a fence to enter the embassy grounds, police spokesman Ulf Hoglund said.
“A few managed to climb through broken windows into the building,” Hoglund said.
He said one member of the embassy staff was injured inside the building, but didn’t know how seriously.
Fifty police officers and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene. Hoglund said police had evicted the demonstrators from the building and arrested one person.
Organizers of the demonstration said a few of the protesters were injured in clashes with the embassy’s security officers.
“We want a regime change,” said Firouzeh Ghaffrpour, one of the organizers. “The Islamic system is not wanted by the people of Iran.”
The protesters, mostly Iranians, also demanded the embassy be closed.
Police said the situation was under control later Friday, but demonstrators continued to block the entrance, preventing embassy personnel from leaving.
The protest followed several peaceful demonstrations in Sweden after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a June 12 vote that the opposition claims was marred by massive fraud.
Cleric: Rioters should be executed
A hardline Iranian cleric on Friday called for the execution of “rioters” in the latest sign of the authorities’ determination to stamp out opposition to the June 12 presidential election.
“I want the judiciary to … punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson,” Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran University.
Iran’s top legislative body, the Guardian Council, said it had found no major violations in the election, which it called the “healthiest” vote since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The council had already rejected a call for the annulment of the vote by moderate former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has led mass protests since he was declared a distant second in the election behind incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iranian state television said on Thursday eight Basij militiamen were killed by “rioters” during the protests. State media previously said 20 people were killed in the marches.
Iranian authorities have accused Mousavi of being responsible for the bloodshed, while the moderate former prime minister says the government is to blame.
Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said the judiciary should charge the leading “rioters” as being “mohareb” or one who wages war against God.
“They should be punished ruthlessly and savagely,” he said. Under Iran’s Islamic law, punishment for people convicted as mohareb is execution.
Mousavi’s supporters plan to release thousands of balloons on Friday with the message: “Neda you will always remain in our hearts”, in memory of the young woman killed last week who has become an icon of the demonstrations.
Mousavi, Iran’s opposition leader, said he will seek government approval for future protests, even as he complained of unfair restrictions – a new sign that he is backing away from confrontation with Iran’s rulers over a bitterly disputed election.
Mousavi, who says he is the real winner of the June 12 presidential vote, has sent mixed messages to supporters, as protests have become scattered amid a tough government clampdown.
Mousavi has urged supporters not to break the law, but also insisted he won’t drop his challenge of the proclaimed victory of hardliner Ahmadinejad. Mousavi has alleged massive fraud, but Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ruled out a revote.
Khamenei has unleashed the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guard, authorizing them to use whatever force is deemed necessary to squelch dissent. The militiamen have broken up even small groups of people walking together to prevent any possible gathering.
Mousavi said in a post late Thursday on his official Web site, Kalemeh, that he would seek permission for future protests, even though he said unfair restrictions were being imposed. He said he has been asked by the Interior Ministry to apply in person, a week ahead of time.
The opposition leader noted that his rival, Ahmadinejad, has been able to hold two post-election marches and a Tehran rally that were well publicized on state television, seeming to encourage participation with their regularly advertised march routes.
Mousavi has said the authorities are pressuring him to withdraw his challenge by attempting to isolate and discredit him. He hasn’t led a rally in more than a week.
Khamenei has ordered a large security detail around Mousavi – ostensibly to protect him, but presumably also to restrict his movements. Authorities have also targeted those close to Mousavi.
Late Thursday, state TV reported that the head of Mousavi’s information committee, Abolfazl Fateh, was banned from leaving Iran for Britain. The report, which could not be verified independently, identified Fateh as a doctoral student in Britain.
The semiofficial Fars news agency said Fateh was banned from travel so authorities could investigate some of the recent gatherings, a reference to election protests.
At least 11 Mousavi campaign workers and 25 staffers on his newspaper have been detained since the election.
On Wednesday, 70 university professors were detained immediately after meeting with the opposition leader. All but four have been released. Those still in custody included Qorban Behzadiannejad, Mousavi’s former campaign manager.
In all, at least 17 people have been killed in post-lection protests, in addition to eight members of the Basij, the government has said.