Iranian Reformist Movements Plan More Protests

Tehran, Iran (RPRN) 6/17/2009–Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi are planning another rally Wednesday after Friday’s disputed presidential election. The reformist movement has asked Iran’s Interior Ministry for permission to hold the rally, but, to this point, Iranian authorities have banned such gatherings. Mr. Mousavi issued a statement Wednesday calling on his supporters to stage peaceful demonstrations or to gather in mosques Thursday to honor those killed in post-election violence.

Groups supporting re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mr. Mousavi staged large demonstrations on Tuesday.  Those rallies were held as Iranian authorities tightened restrictions on foreign news organizations, banning their reporters and photographers from covering the events.

Iranian state media covered the pro-Ahmadinejad demonstration and referred to it as a “unity rally.”

The disputed election has triggered Iran’s most serious unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Protests on Monday in Tehran turned violent, resulting in the deaths of at least seven people.

Iran’s powerful Guardian Council said Tuesday it will recount some ballots from Friday’s controversial vote after challengers to Mr. Ahmadinejad called his re-election a fraud.

In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama said he is greatly concerned about the dispute over Iran’s presidential election and the suppression of peaceful dissent in Tehran.

Mr. Obama also said the U.S. will not intervene in Iran’s political affairs, and that the Iranian people must decide how to resolve the situation.

The president also said there appears to be little difference in policy between the conservative Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Mousavi, a reformist.

Aides to two prominent reformist politicians, Saeed Hajjarian and Mohammed Ali Abtahi, say they were detained on Tuesday.  Abtahi is an assistant to former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.  Separate reports say 26 people have been arrested after Monday’s violence.

Government officials say Mr. Ahmadinejad won re-election with 63 percent of the ballots last Friday, compared to 34 percent for Mr. Mousavi.

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

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