Mullahs stringing up opposition?

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Iranian regime has begun to make good on its threat to execute dissidents.  In the city of Mashhad, sources report that six people were hanged to death for their roles in the protests that paralyzed Iran.  Prior to that, a prominent cleric predicted his own death at the hands of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whom the cleric claimed held power illegitimately:

As the Iranian authorities warned the opposition on Tuesday that they would tolerate no further protests over the disputed June 12 presidential elections, a report emerged of the hangings of six supporters of defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Speaking after Iran’s top legislative body upheld the election victory of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sources in Iran told this reporter in a telephone interview that the hangings took place in the holy city of Mashhad on Monday. There was no independent confirmation of the report.

Underlining the climate of fear among direct and even indirect supporters of Mousavi’s campaign for the election to be annulled, the sources also reported that a prominent cleric gave a speech to opposition protesters in Teheran earlier this week in which he publicly acknowledged that the very act of speaking at the gathering would likely cost him his life.

“Ayatollah Hadi Gafouri said that the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] never wanted [current supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei to succeed him. He even went to say that the Islamic republic died the day the Imam did,” one source said.

In order to counter the massive number of women in the streets, and also to keep images of men beating women from Western TVs, the Guardian Council has sent out the Sisters of Zeynab to supplement the Basij.  They beat the women, under the protection of the Basij.

Meanwhile, the Basij have demands of their own.  They want an “investigation” of Mirhossein Mousavi’s role in the protests:

Iran’s Basij militia is calling for an investigation into opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s role in the street protests that followed last month’s presidential election.

The semiofficial Fars news agency says the militia has sent Iran’s chief prosecutor a letter accusing Mousavi of taking part in nine offenses against the state, including “disturbing the nation’s security.”

That charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

Readers of George Orwell will appreciate the irony of the leader of a regime’s hired thugs complaining about “disturbing the nation’s security”.  The Basij have been cracking heads and swinging axes for two weeks now.  That’s only security if you consider Altamont (or Amritsar) the epitome of a peacekeeping operation.

Mousavi insists that he will not back down from his demand for a new election, and increasing it seems that he has little choice.  Even if he conceded, he’d get arrested and thrown in prison, or wind up on the business end of a rope.