06/25/2009, 00.00
IRAN
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Kharroubi cancels the ceremony in memory of victims of repression in Tehran

The decision was made in the wake of new violence yesterday. According to witnesses, police fired on crowds and beat women with batons. The Council of Guardians reaffirms the validity of the election results. The protest continued into the night to the cry of "Allah akhbar!" And "Death to Khamenei". Moussavi and his wife Zahra propose to continue the protest.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - Mehdi Kharroubi, one of the presidential candidates who lost the election, cancelled a ceremony scheduled for today in memory of victims of the events of recent days. According to his website, the ceremony was postponed to next week. The decision follows more violence yesterday near the parliament in Tehran, where the police attacked with tear gas and truncheons groups of demonstrators gathered to protest despite a ban by the Ministry of Interior. The protesters launched stones at police. According to some witnesses, there were shots against the young and the police had massacred a woman, beating her to death.

 

The number of demonstrators was significantly reduced after warnings by the supreme leader Ali Khamenei against the protests and the crackdown of police and basej (volunteers of the Revolution, in the service of President Ahmadinejad). The official figures say that in recent days, there were at least 17 deaths and hundreds of injuries among the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated against the presidential election claiming fraud.

 

The fierce repression is stopping protests, but not dissent. In what is seen as the biggest challenge to the Islamic dictatorship in Iran, in the evening under the cover of darkness, many people in Tehran shout slogans like "Death to Khamenei", "Down with dictatorship" and "Allah akhbar! God is great",  the slogan used 30 years ago to oust the Shah. Today the Council of Guardians, delegated by Kahmenei to verify complaints of fraud, reiterated that the irregularities observed are minor and do not invalidate the result that gave the victory to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

Mehdi Kharroubi is opposed to the election results and has declared the new government "unlawful".  On his website he says that the vote “should be annulled". The other defeated candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, who has become the symbol of the opposition, has not been seen, but his website says that the protests must continue. The wife of Moussavi, Zahra Rahnavard, who has a strong following among Iranian women, requested the release of dissidents arrested during the event. Among the hundreds arrested, there are politicians and journalists and at least 25 people employed in the newspaper run by Moussavi.

 

In a statement issued this morning, the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri stated: "If the Iranian people can not claim its legitimate rights through peaceful demonstrations and it is repressed, growth of frustration could also destroy the foundation of any government, however strong it is ". Montazeri was at that time the Dauphin of Khomeini, but a fight to the summit has left him marginalized. He remains one of the most critical voices of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, and has a large following.

 

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