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Iranian protesters could get the death penalty

The conflict in Iran between the moderates and the conservatives has been ongoing for some time now. However, it really flared up after the June elections, when there was a dispute and the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was granted a victory over main opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi. The conservatives have used all the weapons at their disposal – they have used the religious power of Supreme Leader Khameini who threatened the protesters with stern action, they used the Revolutionary Guards and the Basiji militia to severely crack down on the protesters, many of those arrested were tortured and many died under torture (the torture grew so much that the Supreme Leader had to order the closing of one particularly reviled detention center), and yet the protests continue.
The surprising thing is that Moussavi is not a reformist in the shape of Khatami; he was part of the Government in the early days of the regimes soon after the revolution, and would have been involved in the repression that happened during those periods. However, Iran is now a state where there is a battle between a Government that has the Revolutionary Guards as one of the major factors of power, where the clergy are struggling to ensure their dominance, and where a younger population is looking to get more openness.
Now, the Government is wielding the threat even more strongly. Even 6 months after the election, there is a huge amount of feelings in the country about the election that gets expressed in huge demonstrations, even though people know that they are facing entrenched forces. On the occasion of Ashura, a Shiite religious holiday on the 27th of December, 2009, there was again a huge demonstration, and this was despite the preparation of the police and para-military forces to stop these demonstrations. In the fight, there were apparently protesters who died at the hands of security forces, and many more were arrested. Now the Iranian Government is claiming that since the protesters were doing their fighting on a holy day, they were effectively committing an act against God, and acts against god deserve the death penalty.
One would laugh, were it not for the fact that the regime faces a huge crisis, and is prepared to go to any levels to repress these protests. As a result, it is not totally rules out that the Government will indeed press for the death penalty and this will be supported by the judiciary. It is also true that the Iranian people are totally alone in this, with no Government pressing their support, no international human rights group fighting for these people.

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