Tehran will bar opposition rally

 Tehran will refuse permission for a reformist opposition rally in support of the uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a government official was quoted as saying Saturday.

"These people are fully aware of the illegality of their demand and they know they will not receive a permit for staging a riot," Mehdi Alikhani-Sadr, deputy director of the Interior Ministry's political bureau, was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying. It had always been highly unlikely the government would permit the rally organized by groups it considers seditious.

Mehdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, who lost a disputed 2009 presidential election, had applied for permission to stage a rally Monday in support of revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Tehran has presented the Egyptian uprising as an "Islamic awakening' similar to Iran's 1979 revolution. Thousands turned out Friday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the revolution in a Tehran rally promoted by the Iranian clerical establishment as a show of solidarity with "Islamic" protesters in Cairo.

Most opposition groups in Egypt have stressed the secular nature of their protests.

June 2009 saw mass protests in Tehran against the Iranian leadership following the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The movement was subsequently quelled, but critics of the government had seen events in Cairo as a possible stimulus for a revival of protest in Iran.


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