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Iran's Supreme Leader: Nation Will Not Yield to Pressure; More Protests Planned

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says Iran will not yield to pressure in the face of post-election protests over the nation's disputed presidential election.

His comments Wednesday come one day after Iran's Guardian Council ruled out overturning the election results, despite finding voter irregularities in 50 districts.

Khamenei during his July 19 sermon threatened to suppress further election protests

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday there are "big questions" about the legitimacy of the poll, which resulted in a landslide victory for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

More protests planned

Internet postings call for an opposition rally to be held outside Iran's Parliament Wednesday afternoon, but these plans cannot be confirmed. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard has warned it will use force to crush demonstrations about the election.

Protesters are demanding annulment of the June 12 election results

Separately, an aide close to defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi says police raided the offices of a newspaper owned by the former prime minister and arrested 25 members of the staff. The aide told Western media organizations Wednesday that the raid on the Kalemeh Sabz or 'Green Word' offices took place Monday.

Reformist figures in Iran such as Mehdi Karroubi are calling for a day of mourning this week in honor of those killed in post-election violence.

Journalists restricted

Iran's official death toll stands at 17, but witnesses to clashes between protesters and security forces put the toll much higher. Figures cannot be verified because Iran has severely restricted news organizations' abilities to report from the country.

Protesters in Tehran on June 17 (photo by Syma Sayyah)

Protests have been peaceful except when the protesters have come under attack by the security forces.

There were no reports of organized protests in Iran on Tuesday or early Wednesday, after riot police and militia violently broke up demonstrations days earlier.

The disputed vote has triggered Iran's greatest unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the government has created a special court to try the hundreds of Iranians it has arrested in the post-election turmoil.

Questionable victory margin

Opposition protesters say Iran's June 12 presidential vote was rigged. They cite numerous alleged instances of election fraud, among them a contention that the reported margin of victory for President Ahmadinejad over his reformist challenger Mr. Mousavi was impossibly high.

Iran's Guardian Council says it will continue to investigate polling complaints beyond Wednesday's set deadline. The council now has until June 29 to complete its work.

Another defeated presidential contender, Mohsen Rezaei, has withdrawn his complaints filed with the Guardian Council. Iranian media report he cited a shortage of time when he withdrew his appeal. Rezaei was the third-place finisher in the election, and official results indicate he won less than two percent of the vote.

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

... Payvand News - 06/24/09 ... --

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