Iran's leadership has quelled mass protests over a disputed presidential poll two weeks ago, but the battle has moved off the street into a behind-the-scenes struggle splitting the clerical establishment into two camps, Reuters reported.
Hardline preacher Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami is expected to reinforce the government message when he leads Friday prayers that the June 12 election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared victor was legal and fair.
Supporters of defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, who want the result annulled, plan to release thousands of balloons on Friday with the message: "Neda you will always remain in our hearts," in memory of the young woman killed last week who has become an icon of the protests.
The last mass protests were on Saturday and a combination of warnings, arrests and the threat of police action have driven large demonstrations off Tehran's street with small gatherings dispersed with tear gas and baton charges.
The worst unrest since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 set off by the poll left about 20 people killed, prompting President Barrack Obama to say he was "appalled and outraged" by the security crackdown in the world's fifth largest oil exporter.
Group of Eight powers meeting in Trieste plan in a statement to deplore post-election violence, to urge Tehran to settle the crisis through peaceful, democratic means and to respect basic rights including freedom of expression, a diplomat said.
The condemnation by Obama, who had been trying to improve ties with Iran before the election, prompted Ahmadinejad to accuse Obama of behaving like his predecessor and say there was not much point in talking to Washington unless Obama apologized.
"I tell (the United States) that all those people who voted and all the Iranian nation will stand against them," the Iranian president, who was elected for a second four-year term, said in response to Obama's comments.
Before the poll, Obama, aiming to change the policy of George W. Bush toward Iran, had hoped to persuade Tehran to drop what Washington suspects are plans to develop nuclear bombs, while seeking cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq.