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Iranian Clerics Protest Election Results

By VOA News

A group of leading Iranian clerics has criticized the results of the country's disputed presidential election. In a statement released Sunday, clerics from the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom said Iran's official electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council, failed to adequately investigate claims of vote rigging by the opposition.

Millions of Iranians have been demanding annulment of the elections


Related article by New York Times:

Leading Clerics Defy Ayatollah on Disputed Iran Election

The most important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the country's supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country's clerical establishment.

A statement by the group, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, represents a significant, if so far symbolic, setback for the government and especially the authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose word is supposed to be final. The government has tried to paint the opposition and its top presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, as criminals and traitors, a strategy that now becomes more difficult - if not impossible. (read full article)

The pro-reform group questioned whether the Council's validation is enough to legitimize the vote. Last week, the 12-member Council upheld the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has criticized the outcome. In a 24-page report posted to his Web site Saturday, Mr. Mousavi accuses supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad of handing out cash to voters in the run-up to the June 12 vote.

The report also says top officials with the Guardian Council and with the Interior Ministry, which is charged with counting the votes, were public supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Also Saturday, a top Iranian newspaper called for Mr. Mousavi to be tried for treason. An editorial in the conservative daily Kayhan accused Mr. Mousavi of inciting post-election riots on orders from the United States.

The editorial by hardline cleric Hossein Shariatmadari, a close aide of Iran's supreme leader ,also called for Iran's former president and leading reformist, Mohammad Khatami, to be tried for treason.

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

... Payvand News - 07/05/09 ... --

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