In his prayers sermon this morning, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami (no relation to former president Mohammad Khatami) demanded the death penalty for demonstration leaders, "without mercy." Juan Cole reacts:

This call is a new and dangerous turn, since Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had praised the opposition leaders and simply urged them to accept the official results. Ahmad Khatami is close to the hard line faction of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and is surely voicing the sentiments of the worst of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards elements who have attacked the protesters.

On the other hand, in a statement released yesterday, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi urges "national conciliation." Cole again:

This statement is significant because it constitutes a clear rejection of the stance of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has declared the issue settled. You would not need practical reconciliation if the issue was settled.



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