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Iran Opposition Holds Mourning Rallies

Huge crowds are gathering in central Tehran for another protest against Iran's presidential election result, while the country's powerful Council of Guardians seeks a dialogue with defeated candidates.

Mousavi supporters in Tehran on 17 Jun 2009

Witnesses say opposition activists have packed Tehran's Imam Khomeini square, in growing demonstrations triggered by the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on his supporters to gather Thursday and wear black to mourn those killed in post-election violence. 

At least seven protesters were killed by a pro-government militia in Tehran on Monday.

Invitation extended

The Guardian Council, a powerful body that supervises Iran's elections, has invited Mr. Mousavi and two other defeated presidential candidates Mohsen Rezaei and Mehdi Karroubi to a meeting Saturday to discuss their concerns.

A spokesman for the council says it has begun examining a total of 646 complaints of irregularities in the June 12 vote.

Vote fraud allelgations

Official results show Mr. Ahmadinejad won last Friday's election by a huge margin.  Opposition allegations that the vote was rigged have sparked Iran's worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Tehran, June 17: Protesters demand annulment of the June 12 election results
photo by Syma Sayyah

Iran's authorities are trying to block foreign media coverage of the demonstrations, so news organizations have relied heavily on accounts and images sent by Iranian citizens using social media networks including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Wednesday, tens of thousands of people marched silently in Tehran, many wearing green - Mr. Mousavi's campaign color.

Opposition members arrested

Rights groups say numerous opposition members have been arrested in recent days.  That includes Ebrahim Yazdi, the general secretary of the banned Freedom Movement Party, who was arrested while in intensive care at a hospital in Tehran.

Mr. Mousavi posted a letter on his Web site in which he and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami urge Iranian authorities to release those detained and end the violence against their supporters.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called for national unity and is due to lead Friday prayers in Tehran.  The occasion is expected to be used as a show of strength for President Ahmadinejad's supporters.

... Payvand News - 06/18/09 ... --

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