Iran News ...


06/14/09

Musavi Calls For Iran Election Result To Be Canceled, As Protests Continue

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL


A protestor in Tehran
see more photos on TehranLive.org


Reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Musavi has formally appealed against Iran's election result to the legislative body the Guardians Council, according to a statement on his website.

"Today, I have submitted my official formal request to the council to cancel the election result," Musavi said in the statement. "I urge you, Iranian nation, to continue your nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way." He advised police to stop violence against protesters.


Incumbent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad won 62 percent of the June 12 vote to nearly 34 percent for Musavi, in a record 85-percent turnout, a result that sparked mass protests in Tehran and elsewhere in the country on June 13. Protests continued for a second day in the capital on June 14.

Musavi believes he was the true winner of the vote.

As antiriot forces violently clashed with protesters on June 13, dozens of reformists and members of Iran's largest pro-reform party, Mosharekat, were arrested in Tehran and other cities. Some have reportedly been released.

Mohammad Reza Khatami, the brother of Iran's former president; the leader of Mosharekat, Mohsen Mirdamadi; former Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh; and religious activist Taghi Rahmani are among those who were arrested at their homes.

Rahmani's wife, Narguess Mohammadi, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that her husband was taken away in a car by security forces from their home at around 12:30 a.m.

"I don't have any news about him and I really don't know where they took him, why they took him, and what the charges against him are," she said. "As far as I know, in the last 10 days he was always coming home late, he was leaving the house early in the morning, he was going to the provinces to encourage
public participation in the 10th presidential election.

"It's unbelievable for me and it's very strange to me that we have to witness how in our society these intellectuals and activists are being rewarded," Mohammadi continued.
 

 


Iran's official news agency IRNA said those arrested were involved in orchestrating the protests and leading "the rioters and thugs" in Tehran.

A number of journalists have also been arrested.

Iran's former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said that over 100 reformists have been arrested and that more arrests are expected.

The SMS text-messaging system remains down in Iran since election day, while the social-networking site Facebook as well as YouTube are also blocked.

Police clashed again with demonstrators in the city center on June 14. Protesters chanted Musavi's name and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. Police fired into the air to disperse another protest. (See some raw video of the June 14 protests here.)

Celebrations Planned

Meanwhile, Iran's government has planned celebrations in Tehran later in the day on June 14 to mark Ahmadinejad's reelection. The government has called on supporters to gather in some of the same streets that saw a level of unrest unprecedented since the days that led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
 

 

Ahmadinejad, in a victory news conference on June 14, called the vote "clean and healthy" and dismissed protests by defeated candidates and their supporters as sour grapes.

"How did you find out people don't accept the vote? Were you in touch with 40 million people?" Ahmadinejad challenged one reporter. "You just see the few people you like to see."

Student activist Mahdieh Golru witnessed some of the protests in central Tehran on June 13.

"People were chanting slogans and expressing their demands," Golru said. "They were saying they want their vote back, or that they will never vote again. In some cases, they were targeting the supreme leader. As the chanting was increasing, the security forces crackdown intensified."

There have been several calls to annul the results of the June 12 vote, including from Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, who heads the nongovernmental Committee to Safeguard Votes.

'Free And Healthy'

The speed with which the results were announced and finalized, as well as other issues, including how the candidates fared in their hometowns against Ahmadinejad, have increased concerns over possible election fraud and vote manipulation.

"There are mathematical mistakes in the results. They don't even know how to rig the election properly," said Ebrahim Nabavi, a reformist satirist who lives in exile in Belgium and who has campaigned for Musavi.

"We didn't think that it would be so [extensive] and -- I don't know what word to use -- shameless, impudent," he told RFE/RL's Radio Farda. "I don't want to use bad words, but sometimes the actions of [the authorities] are describable only with [harsh] words."

 


Musavi has called the vote "wizardry" and said that it will have devastating effects on the future of Iran.

Some of Musavi's supporters have called for a national strike on June 16.

World Reaction Cautious

Most world reaction has been cautious.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is monitoring the situation.
 

 
"The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran," Clinton said. "We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Iran's "brutal" repression of opponents is closing the door to dialogue.

"Brutality and never-ending military development will not bring any solutions," Kouchner said in Paris.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Iran's crackdown on protesters "unacceptable."

"The violent actions of the security forces against demonstrators is not acceptable, nor is preventing peaceful protest," he said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground very carefully."

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said London expects Iranian authorities to address allegations of voter fraud.

The European Union said it is "concerned" over alleged irregularities in the vote, but that it hoped to resume dialogue with Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

Syrian President Bashar Assad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez congratulated their ally Ahmadinejad on his victory. 

Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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