06/24/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Iran will not bow to pressures over elections

The grand ayatollah insists that he won’t yield to the demonstrations, which have been crushed in violence. Still a demonstration is scheduled for this afternoon in front of parliament. Rezaee withdraws his complaints about election fraud. Tomorrow is set to be a day of mourning.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that the government won't give in to pressures over the disputed presidential election, whether domestic or international. “Neither the system nor the people will give in to pressures at any price,” he told a group of lawmakers. Yet another protest is planned for today in front of parliament.

Khamenei’s statement comes a day after the Guardian Council said that new elections were not in the cards, and dismissed claims of fraud in the 12 June presidential elections.

For almost a week hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tehran and other cities to protest.

Khamenei and the Interior Ministry warned anyone that “illegal gatherings” would be entail serious consequences.

Since the post-election unrest began about 17 people have been killed, some in clashes with Basij (revolutionary vigilantes), who are loyal to President Ahmadinejad, others with police.

The demonstrations of the last few days are a stinging challenge of the Iranian regime and of Khamenei’s leadership, which are squarely behind Ahmadinejad who, according to official results, won the election.

In addition to its violence and propaganda against demonstrators, the Iranian regime continues to criticise the United Kingdom, the United States and the international community for allegedly fomenting disorder in the country.

Tehran in fact expelled two British diplomats and London responded by expelling two Iranian diplomats.

But the demonstrations and the regime’s violent response are also a sign of a struggle inside Iran’s ruling circles between ayatollahs lined up with the powerful Hashemi Rafsanjani and those siding with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.

As of yesterday the three losing candidates had submitted more than 600 complaints for election violations to the Guardian Council. Today one of them, Mohsen Rezaee, a former Pasdaran leader, withdrew his complaints.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who has become the symbol of the opposition, has renewed his call for new elections and called on the population to show its dissatisfaction. However, now he is rarely in public. Many of his aides, fellow politicians and journalists have been arrested.

Reformist leader Mousavi's official Web site announced that a protest was planned outside Iran's parliament for Wednesday afternoon, but distanced itself from him by calling the demonstration independent and saying it had not been organised by Mousavi.

Mehdi Kharroubi, the other candidate who lost, has called for a day of mourning for tomorrow to remember all those who have died during the demonstrations of the last few days.

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