In his Friday prayer sermon, senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami called for the government to protest the "leaders of protests, who were supported by the United States and Israel, strongly and with cruelty so it will be a lesson for everyone."
Khatami also said that 26-year-old protestor Neda Agha Soltan, shot last Saturday and memorialized by protestors as a martyr for their cause, was killed by those protestors.
"The proof and evidence shows that they have done it themselves and have raised propaganda against the system," Khatami said. "I say hereby that these deceitful media have to know that the ordeal will be over and shame will remain for them."
On CNN, the LA Times' Top of the Ticket reports, the Iranian Ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, said, speaking through a translator, "this death of Neda is very suspicious. She was shot from behind. The location was where there was not much demonstration, there was no police presence and the gun that shot and killed her was a smuggled gun. It was not a government-issued gun. In our view, this would be the work of those who wanted to put more fuel to the flame against the government."
Ghadiri said, "My question is that how is that this Nada was shot from behind and several cameras take that. And this is done in an area where there was no important demonstration. If the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the elements of the government, and then choosing a girl would be something good for them because it would have much higher impact. Therefore, we believe and we are looking into this to find who the elements were who did this."
Asked Wolf Blitzer, incredulously, "Are you seriously accusing the CIA of killing Neda?"
Said Ghadiri, "We say that the bullet that was found in her head was not a bullet that you could find in Iran. These are the bullets that the CIA and terrorist groups use. Of course they warned that there would be a bloodshed in these demonstrations and then they could attribute that to the Islamic republic. This is part of a common act of CIA in various countries…I'm not saying that the CIA had done this. There are different groups. Could be intelligence services, could be CIA, could be the terrorists."
Responded George Little of the CIA Office of Public Affairs: “Any suggestion that the CIA was responsible for the death of this young woman is wrong, absurd, and offensive.”