Iran has witnessed a rare show of political dissent in the run-up to next week’s presidential election after mourners chanted anti-regime slogans at the mass funeral of a dissident cleric, according to amateur video footage. Chants of “death to the dictator” and “dictator, dictator, may your sleep be disturbed” were heard on videos of the funeral procession in Isfahan, Iran’s second city, following the death of Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri, who died on Sunday, aged 87. The footage – whose authenticity cannot be verified – also contained chants in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, presidential candidates in the country’s fraud-tainted 2009 election, who have been under house arrest for more than two years. Marchers were heard on one video chanting: “Mousavi and Karroubi must be released.”
There were no reported arrests or clashes between mourners and security forces, a possible sign that the authorities are wary of disturbances before the June 14 poll. The 2009 election, which returned Mahmoud Ahamdinejad as president, was followed by weeks of violent turmoil amid opposition charges of vote-rigging.
Tuesday’s funeral, attended by tens of thousands according to local estimates, coincided with an official day of mourning to mark the 24th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of Iran’s Islamic revolution.<