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Ayatollah Backs Pro-Regime Rally

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, released a statement on his web site Friday praising the turnout of "tens of millions" at the previous day's government rally, which commemorated the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Although the government rally dwarfed opposition protests, the authorities did their best to crush opposition activists. They jammed Internet connections and mobile phone networks, fired tear gas to disperse opposition rallies, marked protestors for later arrest with paintball guns, and physically attacked opposition leaders, including the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the head of the opposition movement. And what would an Ayatollah's statement be without a few potshots at the West? Khamenei lashed out at "bullying states," charging that "foreign enemies" should "wake up and abandon futile efforts to subjugate Iran."