* Comments reflect establishment's refusal to allow dissent
* Anniversary of disputed election on Saturday
By Robin Pomeroy
TEHRAN, June 10 Iran's post-election protests
one year ago posed a bigger threat to the Islamic Republic than
the devastating 1980s war with Iraq, the head of the elite
Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Iranian authorities are preparing for a potential revival of
the unrest on Saturday -- the anniversary of the election --
when opposition leaders have asked for permission to hold
In comments that underline a continued refusal to brook any
dissent, the Revolutionary Guards' commander said the protest
movement had been a worse threat to the regime than the invasion
by Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 1980 and the ensuing eight-year war.
"Although last year's sedition did not last more than around
eight months, it was much more dangerous than the imposed war
which Saddam began against us through the support of the
international community," Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was
quoted as saying in Iranian media.
"Because of the grace of God and the prophet-like guidance
of the supreme leader and people's vigilance, we put this bitter
incident behind us and the enemies found out the revolution
cannot be diverted through these methods," he said.
The Revolutionary Guards were instrumental in quashing last
year's protests which the hardline government of re-elected
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said was "sedition" stirred up by
foreign powers seeking regime change.
The Guards are fiercely loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei who said last Friday that any Iranians who backed
the "disgraceful events of the past months" cannot be true
followers of the Islamic Republic's founder Ruhollah Khomeini.
Millions of people took to the streets to protest the poll
result -- which many believed was rigged -- and to show support
for the defeated moderate candidate Mirhossein Mousavi. Protests
were suppressed by violent crackdowns, detentions and even
The post-election turmoil in the world's fifth largest oil
exporter -- the worst since the 1979 revolution -- exposed deep
divisions in the political and clerical elite, with hardliners
scrambling to curb demands for a more democratic system.