Iran’s protesters finally rebuffed in call for election annulment

Iran’s top legislative body, the Guardians Council, has thrown out the opposition movement’s demand for a new election to correct the allegedly forged results in the poll that re-elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12. The decision followed the breakup Monday June 22 of a small demonstration in Tehran’s Haf-e Tir Square of up to 1,000 protesters by riot police using tear gas. They were backed baton-wielding Basijj militiamen who mingled with the crowd in civilian clothes.
The protesters braved a stern warning by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that “hooligans” would not be tolerated and would be “crushed forcibly.”
They were urged by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in a statement on his website Sunday night to commemorate the teenage girl killed in bloody clashes Saturday. He said Iranians had the right to protest against lies and fraud, but should show restraint.
The Guardian Council reached its final verdict 11 days after the election after admitting to some irregularities, specifically, three million votes were questionable in 50 out of 170 cities where the number of ballots exceeded the number of eligible voters. But the council still determined Ahmadinejad’s victory was decisive.
Statements issued by prominent Islamic Republic officials indicated differences within the Iranian leadership.
“Although the Guardian Council is made up of religious individuals, I wish certain members would not side with a certain presidential candidate,” said the parliament speaker Ali Larijani, who is known to be at odds with the president. This was in contrast to the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei who in a sermon Friday rejected opposition charges of vote-rigging and said the elections were “a definitive victory” for Ahmadinejad.
Foreign minister Manoucheh Mottaki called the possibility of irregularities almost nonexistent.
However, like Mousavi, his allies, ex-presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatami, have not appeared in the streets with their supporters.
To show the outside world that Iran is not weakened by its internal turmoil, Iran began a four-day air force exercise over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman Monday. It included a maneuver for topping-up warplanes, said to be Russian-made Sukhoi and Iranian-made Saegheh jet fighters. Their range was described as 3.600 kilometers, which would cover the distance to Israel and back.

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