Ahmadinejad’s swearing-in dogged by protesters facing riot police

An unusual number of empty seats in the Iranian parliament greeted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s swearing-in for a second term as president Wednesday, Aug. 5, indicating a broad boycott by the opposition and their supporters. Outside, hundreds of protesters faced large contingents of riot police. Referring to the last three weeks of unrest, Ahmadinejad criticized “oppressive foreign powers” for casting doubt on the validity of his election and vowed to resist them.
The White House, German chancellor’s office, Downing Street and the French Elysee have announced they will abstain from congratulating him. Feelings in the country against the regime are running higher than ever following its crackdown on the continuing demonstrations against its alleged July 12 election fraud and the abuses of detained protesters who went on trial Saturday Aug. 2.
The president has run into difficulties in forming a viable government as former allies among the conservative factions refuse to serve in his cabinet – even after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed him Tuesday.

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