Speaking after Iran's top legislative body upheld the election victory of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sources in Iran told... 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.
Other criticisms from senior clerics over the regime's handling of the elections and subsequent protests included a report from a Persian news agency, which on Tuesday quoted a senior cleric from the city of Esfahan, Ayatollah Seyyed Jalaleddin Taheri-Esfahani, defending Mousavi against the regime's criticisms.
The ayatollah was quoted as saying: "Is it a case of justice to see that an honorable and modest Seyyed [a descendant of the household of the prophet Muhammad], who until the last moments of Khomeini's life was a dear and close companion of that grand leader, is now considered to be a rioter and an agent of arrogance who must be punished?"