by Chris Bodenner

NIAC relays the news:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the prosecution of opposition leaders on Friday, stating that the activists currently on trial in Tehran should not be the only ones punished. More from AP via NY Times:

“Serious confrontation has to be against the leaders and key elements, against those who organized and provoked (the riots) and carried out the enemy’s plan. They have to be dealt with seriously,” Ahmadinejad told a crowd of thousands in the capital Tehran before Friday prayers. Ahmadinejad did not specifically name the opposition leaders. However, many hard-liners and members of the Revolutionary Guard have publicly called for the arrest of defeated presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi as well as former president Mohammad Khatami.

Ahmadi's words, however, are diametrically opposed to what Khamenei said yesterday. Juan Cole explains:

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei say on Thursday that he did not believe Iran's protesters against the official presidential election results was instigated by the West. [...] The supreme leader also cautioned that trials of dissidents should not be based on hearsay evidence but rather on solid evidence. Khamenei was signalling to hard liners such as Ayatollah Misbah-Yazdi that he would not permit treason trials against the defeated presidential candidates or their supporters. Such actions have the potential to tear the country apart, and could well backfire on the regime as the show trials it is conducting against arrested protesters have already done.

In contrast, regime critics have not also backed down but rather have become if anything more vocal than ever.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.