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Ahmadinejad Again Criticizes Obama Over Election Remarks

By VOA News

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeated his call to U.S. President Barack Obama to not interfere in Iran's affairs.

The official IRNA news agency on Saturday quoted the Iranian leader as saying Mr. Obama talks about change, but continues to interfere in Iran's state matters.

Friday, President Obama called recent post-election violence against protesters in Iran "outrageous." He also said any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran will be affected by the recent events.  

The official death toll from violence since the disputed June 12 vote is 17, but witnesses say it is much higher.

Supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who allege the vote was rigged, held large demonstrations in the days after the election.

In a sermon at Tehran University Friday, a senior Iranian cleric, Ahmad Khatami, described the demonstrators as rioters who, in his words, wage war against God ("mohareb"), a crime under Islamic law, and punishable by death.

The street demonstrations that initially took place nearly every day following the election have largely subsided due to a heavy police presence.

However, in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, angry protesters threw stones and rushed the gates of the Iranian Embassy. A protest was also held in New York, with some Iranians calling for international action.

Iran's Guardian Council rejected allegations of fraud Friday, calling the June 12 presidential poll the cleanest vote the country has ever had.

The official IRNA news agency said the Guardian Council found no major violations in the vote, which authorities say was won by incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a large margin.

Both the Guardian Council and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have said the results will not be annulled.

Iran's crackdown has included heavy restrictions on reporting and the arrest of dozens of university professors, dissidents, journalists and ordinary citizens.  

Fars news agency reported Saturday that the head of Mousavi's information office, Abolfazl Fateh, was banned from leaving Iran due to his involvement in post-election activities. Fateh is a doctorate student in Britain.

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

... Payvand News - 06/27/09 ... --

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