Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have applied for interior ministry permission to hold a mourning ceremony for demonstrators killed in protests over last month's election, the ISNA news agency said today. "We request permission to hold a ceremony to commemorate the 40th day after the deaths of our citizens who lost their lives following the start of the saddening events," the two leaders said in a letter to interior minister Sadeq Mahsouli.
The website of Etemad Melli, the political party of Mr Karroubi, said the ceremony was to be held on Thursday. The ISNA report said the organisers planned to hold the ceremony in central Tehran's Grand Mosalla, an open prayer venue where religious ceremonies are often held. "The ceremony will have no speeches. It will consist only of recitals from the Quran and participants will be asked to pay their respects in silence," the letter carried by ISNA said.
Iran witnessed massive street protests over the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Official reports said at least 20 people were killed and scores wounded. Following the violence that erupted during the protests, authorities banned gatherings in the capital, especially those planned by opposition groups. Despite the ban, defiant protesters have managed to stage demonstrations but on a much smaller scale, although thousands took to the streets on July 9 on the anniversary of bloody student unrest in 1999.