Iran faces new rally, opposition’s full report on “vote fraud” soon

Supporters of the defeated main opposition candidate in Iran’s presidential election, have called for a protest outside parliament in Tehran in defiance of a government ban.

The rally was scheduled for 4pm (13:30 GMT) on Wednesday in one of the capital’s main squares after the Guardian Council, Iran’s highest legislative body, said that the results of the disputed poll would not be annulled.

Also clerics have called for national mourning for protesters killed earlier.

Defiant cries of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) again echoed from Tehran rooftops at dusk on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad was officially declared winner of Friday’s election by a margin of two-to-one over Hossein Mousavi, but the reformist former prime minister has complained that the poll was “rigged”.

Ahmadinejad will be sworn in before parliament some time between July 26 and Aug. 19, the Iran News newspaper said.

“Not attending G8 meeting in Italy”

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he had no plans to attend a G8 meeting in Italy on June 25-27 on the situation in Afghanistan, the ISNA news agency reported.

“I have no plan to travel to Italy,” Mottaki told reporters.

Iran, like other neighbours of Afghanistan and Pakistan, was invited to attend discussions on June 26.

Italy, which hosts the meeting in the northern city of Trieste, said on Tuesday it would seek consensus from G8 ministers on some form of condemnation of Iran on election dispute.

At least 10 protesters were killed in the protests on Saturday, and about seven more early last week.

“Withdrawing complaint”

Meanwhile, one of the three defeated candidates in Iran’s disputed presidential election has withdrawn his complaints about the vote, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Conservative Mohsen Rezaie, a former Revolutionary Guards head who finished third in the June 12 election according to official results, cited the country’s sensitive political and security conditions as reasons for his decision.

“I see it as my responsibility to encourage myself and others to control the current situation,” Rezaie was quoted as saying in a letter to Iran’s top legislative body, the Guardian Council.

“Therefore I announce that I’m withdrawing my submitted complaints,” said Rezaie, who had previously said he had won many more votes than the official tally showed.

The other two defeated candidates — former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi — have demanded that the election be annulled.

Mousavi says the vote was rigged in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a charge rejected by authorities.

“National mourning”

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a “dissident” who is one of Iran’s most senior clerics, called for three days of national mourning from Wednesday for those killed.

“Resisting the people’s demand is religiously prohibited,” Montazeri said in a statement on his website.

Montazeri was once named successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but fell out with the founder of the Islamic Republic shortly before his death in 1989. Montazeri has been under house arrest in the holy city of Qom for around a decade.

Mehdi Karoubi, who came last in the election, also signalled opposition would continue, calling on Iranians to hold ceremonies on Thursday to mourn the dead.

Security forces have arrested 25 employees of Kalameh-y e Sabz, a newspaper whose managing director is Mousavi, the Sarmayeh daily reported. It quoted Alireza Beheshti, an editorial board member, as saying the arrests on Monday had been on the orders of Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi.

Police in the southeastern province of Kerman said they had arrested 137 “rioters” on June 15 for involvement in post-election unrest, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Some newspapers carried articles on Wednesday blaming Mousavi for the violence. One of them, Vatan-e Emrouz, quoted what it said was the father of one of those killed.

“The one responsible for my child’s blood is Mirhossein Mousavi and I will follow up this issue until I get my right,” it quoted him as saying, giving the victim’s surname as Ghanian.

“Full report on flaws”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who controls the levers of power in Iran, has accepted a request from the Guardian Council, which must ratify the election result, to allow five more days for candidates to lodge complaints.

The 12-man council has already rejected demands for a vote re-run from Mousavi.

Mousavi’s campaign office said on Tuesday it would soon release a full report on “fraud and irregularities” in the June 12 presidential election.

A Mousavi campaign committee “will soon release a full report of electoral fraud and irregularities to the people,” a statement posted on Mousavi’s official website said.


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