Iran’s Supreme Leader Endorses Ahmadinejad’s Presidency

TEHRAN (RPRN) 8/3/2009–Iran’s supreme leader has formally endorsed the second-term presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite a widespread dispute over his re-election.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency at an official ceremony in Tehran. Opposition leaders boycotted the occasion, saying Mr. Ahmadinejad’s re-election is fraudulent.

Mr. Ahmadinejad will be sworn in by parliament on August 5. The president has two weeks from that date to unveil his new Cabinet.

Iran security forces arrested hundreds of activists, politicians and protesters after the June 12 presidential election. A mass trial for more than 100 of the detainees began Saturday.

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who now heads one of the largest reform parties in the country, said Sunday the mass trial is unconstitutional.

Mr. Khatami called the judicial proceedings a “show” trial, and he lashed out at the court’s tactics Sunday. He said prosecutors are relying on confessions that were illegally obtained.

Defeated presidential candidate and one-time prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi says the detainees were tortured into confessing.

Iranian prosecutors are charging the detainees with organizing massive demonstrations and plotting to overthrow the government of Iran.

Among the accused are several high-ranking politicians, including former Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi who served with Mr. Khatami, the former vice speaker of parliament, Behzad Nabavi, and one-time government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.

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