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Atonement open to opposition, Iran says

TEHRAN, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Supporters of the opposition movement in Iran should wake up to the fact that the path to atonement is still open, a leading cleric said during Friday prayers.

Iran's Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised pro-regime supporters for turning out Feb. 11 in vast numbers to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

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He said those who supported the opposition must understand that backing the enemies of the Islamic Republic was in defiance of the national sentiment displayed during Feb. 11 celebrations, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reports.

"You showed that you do not fear enemies, threats or sanctions, are committed to your stances and are loyal to and believe in 'Velayat-e Faqih' (rule of the Islamic jurist)," he said, referring to pro-regime supporters.

Opposition supporters took advantage of national holidays to voice frustration with the clerical regime in Tehran. Protests during the Shiite holy day of Ashura in December turned violent, leaving several people dead.

Tehran met the opposition movement led by defeated presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi with a massive crackdown, sentencing several dissidents to death.

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Opposition protests during Feb.11 celebrations were muted in the face of heavy deployment of state security forces.

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