U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Iran's leaders are "sowing the seeds of their own destruction" by continuing a crackdown on the Iranian opposition.
Biden said Tuesday the Iranian leadership's use of force to put down opposition protests has cost it moral credibility within Iran and around the region. He was speaking in an interview with a U.S. television network (MSNBC).
Biden also said Washington is moving toward imposing sanctions on Iran's government.
Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi also sharply criticized Iran's conservative leadership Tuesday, accusing it of failing to live up to the goals of the nation's Islamic Revolution.
In comments published Tuesday on his Web site (kaleme.com), Mousavi, a reformist, says the "roots of despotism and dictatorship" remain from Iran's pre-revolutionary monarchist system.
Mousavi says the current government has gagged independent media, filled prisons with opposition activists and, in his words, "brutally killed" peaceful protesters. He says these actions have led him to believe that the 1979 Islamic Revolution has not achieved its goals.
A senior Iranian judiciary official said Tuesday Iran will "soon" execute nine more dissidents convicted of involvement in protests against last June's disputed presidential election. Mousavi said on his Web site that he has "completely lost hope" in Iran's judiciary.
The opposition leader ran against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June election and accuses the conservative of rigging the vote to win a second term.
Iranian authorities deny allegations of vote rigging and accuse the opposition of colluding with external forces to try to oust the government. Mousavi said his Green opposition movement has no overseas representatives or spokesmen.
Iran's Fars news agency quoted judiciary official Ebrahim Raisi as saying the nine dissidents sentenced to be hanged are linked to anti-revolutionary groups. He made the same accusation against two other dissidents who were executed last week.