Iranian authorities appear set to haul into court all those who have been allegedly involved in the violence that followed the disputed June 12 presidential elections, irrespective of their political standing.

On Tuesday, senior figures in the 1997-2005 government of Mohammad Khatami appeared in court, including the former President's close adviser Saeed Hajjarian. A statement read by another defendant for Mr. Hajjarian, who suffers from partial paralysis, said: “I apologise to the great Iranian nation... and resign from the Islamic Iran Participation Front [the main opposition party] and announce my complete adherence to the Constitution and... to the Supreme Leader.”

Analysts say the resignation is significant as Mr. Hajjarian had emerged as a defiant symbol of the reformist movement, especially after his partial incapacitation following an assassination attempt in 2000.

Iran has already put on trial around 140 people on charges of conspiring with foreign powers to stage a “velvet coup détat.” Other prominent reformists who appeared in court on Tuesday included the former Interior Minister, Mostafa Tajzadeh, the former Deputy Foreign Minister, Mohsen Aminzadeh, and the former government spokesman, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh. Two prominent economists, Saeed Leylaz and Kian Tajbaksh, were also in the dock.

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), which, observers say is close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also demanded legal action against Mr. Khatami and presidential candidates Mehdi Karoubi and Mir-Hosain Mousavi, who were defeated in the June elections.

Yadollah Javani, chief of IRGC's political office, recently said “if Mir-Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami ...are the main cause of the velvet coup in Iran,” the judiciary and intelligence officials should “arrest, try and punish them”.

Hoping to negate the fall-out of the protests, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari has called upon the paramilitary Basij forces, which the IRGC commands, to develop “soft power” to counter the recent challenges. “Basij should seek to bolster political, cultural and social awareness through creating soft power and continuation of its high spirit,” he observed.

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