Iran Braces for Another Day of Massive Protests

Tehran, Iran (RPRN) 6/18/2009–Iran’s opposition prepared to defy authorities and take to the streets Thursday for another day of massive protests against the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a posting on his Web site, defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called on his supporters to wear black and gather for street marches to mourn those killed in post-election violence.

Iran has confirmed that at least seven protesters have been killed in clashes with a pro-government militia since Monday.

Mr. Mousavi also posted a letter in which he and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami urge Iranian authorities to release those detained and end the violence against their supporters.

Wednesday, tens of thousands of people marched silently through the streets of Tehran, many wearing green – Mr. Mousavi’s campaign color.

Vote fraud allegations

Official results show incumbent President Ahmadinejad won Friday’s election by a huge margin. Opposition allegations the vote was rigged triggered Iran’s most serious unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

State radio says the powerful Guardian Council has invited Mr. Mousavi and two other candidates who ran against Mr. Ahmadinejad to a meeting Saturday, to discuss their concerns about the election.

The 12-member council, made of clerics and Islamic law experts, had agreed to conduct a partial recount of the election at sites where candidates claim irregularities.

Opposition members arrested

Rights groups say numerous opposition members have been arrested in recent days. That includes Ebrahim Yazdi, the General Secretary of the banned Freedom Movement Party, who was arrested while in intensive care at a hospital in Tehran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have cracked down on foreign media and threatened legal action against Web sites that create “tension.” As a result, many of the images from demonstrations this week have been sent by Iranian citizens, using Internet services such as Twitter and Facebook.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s most powerful figure, has called for national unity and was due to lead Friday prayers in Tehran. The occasion is expected to be used as a show of strength for President Ahmadinejad’s supporters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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