Moussavi complains of arrests, as Iran stalemate continues (Lead)June 25th, 2009 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS
Tehran/Berlin, June 25 (DPA) Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi claimed Thursday via his website that the Tehran authorities had arrested 70 academics he had met with, as the tense post-election standoff continued in the capital.
Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, hit out at criticisms of the police crackdown in Tehran by US President Barack Obama, accusing him of “meddling”, according to the state-run Fars news agency.
Moussavi, on his website, claimed that reporters in the country trying to cover his supporters’ protests had been arrested, and called on his backers to continue legal protests against the disputed result of the June 12 election.
With foreign reporters in Iran working under tight restrictions, other sources, including the BBC, were reporting that nearly two-thirds of parliamentarians appear to have stayed away from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s poll victory party.
All 290 MPs were invited to attend the party, the BBC said citing Iran’s press reports, but only 105 turned up.
Hundreds of opposition supporters, who protested against alleged manipulation in the presidential polls, are believed to have been arrested.
Moussavi sharpened the tone of his rhetoric Thursday and spoke out against the restrictions placed on him since the vote, condemning the arrest of reporters, and blaming the government for “imposing a ban” on the press inside the country.
“The government has banned the media inside the country and just allows its own networks to make one-sided reports and has de facto encouraged the people to refer to news sources outside the country,” Moussavi said.
“It is up to us to neutralize these devilish conspiracies by keeping our protests within legal frameworks and principles of the Islamic revolution,” Moussavi said.
The Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying that Obama should stop interfering and indirectly demanded an apology from the US president for meddling. Obama should show he regretted “what he has said so that also the Iranian people become aware of it,”
Although the deadly stalemate in Tehran continues, large-scale street demonstrations appear to be dying down somewhat from the turnouts last week.
Iran’s leadership again Wednesday stood firm against calls to re-run or otherwise further investigate the results of the election.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected a proposal by Moussavi for an independent commission to review the results of the country’s disputed presidential election.
“We will not go one step beyond the prevailing laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khamenei told parliament deputies. “Because if we do, all issues will get knotted.”
According to state media, at least 17 people have died in the violence which followed the poll.
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