Confusion prevails over the whereabouts of opposition leaders Mir-Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, a day after tens of thousands participated in the pro-government rallies across Iran.

The Fars news agency denied on Wednesday night reports that both leaders, who had lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the June 12 presidential elections had fled from Tehran to a location in northern Iran.

“Reports about the riot leaders’ escape from Tehran are denied,” said the agency.

However, earlier on Wednesday, state-run Islamic Republic New Agency (IRNA), in a veiled reference to the two leaders had reported that “two of those who played a major role in igniting tension in Iran following the [June presidential] vote fled from Tehran to northern Iran because they were scared of angry people who had called for their punishment.”

The report said they were staying in a western region of Mazandaran Province in northern Iran.

On Wednesday, huge pro-government rallies had been staged in several cities, including Shiraz, Arak, Qom and Tehran. Demonstrators at a rally in Tehran shouted: “Death to Mousavi.” “Rioter hypocrites must be executed,” some others chanted.

Meanwhile, an opposition website has reported that supporters of Mr. Mousavi planned to hold a rally in Tehran, but the government had been moving troops and armoured vehicles into the city. There was no independent confirmation of the report which appeared on the website, Jaras.


The year ahead — the world stage December 31, 2009

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