The Associated Press is reporting that hard-line Iranian lawmakers called on Tuesday for the country's opposition leaders to face trial and be put to death, a day after clashes between opposition protesters and security forces left one person dead and dozens injured. Tens of thousands of people turned out for the opposition rally Monday in solidarity with Egypt's popular revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years in power. The demonstration was the first major show of strength from Iran's beleaguered opposition in more than a year.
At an open session of parliament Tuesday, pro-government legislators demanded that opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami be held responsible for the protests. Pumping their fists in the air, the lawmakers chanted, "Death to Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami."
"We believe the people have lost their patience and demand capital punishment" for the opposition leaders, 221 lawmakers said in a statement. Hard-liners have long sought to put senior opposition figures on trial, but the calls for the death penalty signaled an escalation in their demands.
The desire for democracy is continuing to spread across the Middle East. Perhaps leaders in Iran should pay closer attention to surrounding nations to see what opposition leaders can accomplish. Refusing to compromise and calling for trials and executions is not the way to go. Don't they know that democracy is contagious?
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