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Iran Denounces US, British Criticism of Protest Crackdown

Source: VOA

Iranian officials are denouncing international criticism of the Iranian government's deadly crackdown on nationwide opposition protests last Sunday.

Protesters burning a police car after they were attacked by security forces
Tehran, December 27

Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani read a statement from lawmakers Tuesday saying U.S. President Barack Obama is disgracing himself by praising the Iranian opposition.

Mr. Obama said Monday he condemns what he called Iran's "violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranians." He also expressed "deep admiration for the courage and conviction of Iranians" who have been trying to exercise universal rights.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also praised what he called the "great courage" of Iranian demonstrators.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran Tuesday to file a complaint about foreign interference in Iranian affairs. The British government said its envoy would respond "robustly" to any criticism and call for Iran to respect human rights.

Iran's state-run Press TV also quotes Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying Britain will receive a "punch on the mouth" if it does not stop its "nonsense," as he put it.

A downed street sign.
The street is named after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Tehran also says Western nations are miscalculating if they think thousands of opposition protesters represent Iran's population of tens of millions of people.

Iranian opposition groups say authorities arrested several opposition activists Tuesday, including a prominent journalist, after detaining at least eight prominent reformists a day earlier.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi said in a statement that authorities arrested and jailed her sister Nooshin Monday. She says she does not know where her sister was taken or the reason for the detention. Nooshin Ebadi is a medical lecturer in Tehran.

Iranian state-run media say eight people were killed Sunday as tens of thousands of Iranians joined anti-government protests in several major cities. Authorities denied opposition claims that security forces opened fire on the demonstrations.

The protests coincided with the climax of Ashura, a solemn Shi'ite religious observance.

There was no independent confirmation of the casualties or arrests. Iran has barred foreign media from covering the demonstrations.

Sunday's violence was the most serious in Iran since protests that erupted after a disputed June election that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

... Payvand News - 12/29/09 ... --

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