Iranian military leaders say an intolerable coup against the Islamic republic calls for "swift retribution" to deter further threat of revolution.Civil unrest swept Iran in the wake of the disputed victory for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 election. Led by Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister and leading presidential challenger, the dissent has taken a political tone in the months following the vote.
Tehran held its fourth trial Tuesday for high-level opposition leaders the government blames for inciting unrest and working to undermine the clerical and political establishment in Iran.
Brig. Gen. Seyyed Massoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of the Iranian military, said now was not the time for prosecutions, state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.
"Iran is not in a situation where it can afford to lose time for prosecuting rioters," he said. "The national security calls for swift retribution for rioters."
The Press TV report says the defendants at the dissident trials implicated Mousavi and fellow candidate Mehdi Karroubi for inciting political violence in the wake of the election, while others blame foreign agents for leading a "velvet coup."
Jazayeri went on to say that little progress was made in quieting the efforts at a "soft overthrow" of the Iranian government.
"While basic layers of the 'soft coup' have been left untouched, we cannot be optimistic that the country will not face such threats and crises over again," he said.