Iran deadline nears without complaint filed

Iranian opposition supporters shout slogans during a gathering in Tehran on Sunday.
No Iranian presidential candidates had filed complaints as a Monday deadline approached in the country’s disputed presidential election, state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported.

The powerful conservative Guardian Council last week extended the deadline for filing complaints after two candidates — Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi — questioned the legitimacy of the June 12 vote count. Separately, the council — a body of judges and religious scholars that oversees elections — ordered a “partial recount of 10 percent of random ballot boxes across the country,” government-funded Press TV reported Monday. “The order has been made following the hesitation of representatives of … Moussavi and an ineffective joint meeting between certain members of the special committee of the Guardian Council and Moussavi,” the office of the council’s spokesman said on Monday. The office said the results would be announced, but didn’t say when. Moussavi rejected the offer of a partial recount and refused to appoint a representative to the committee, according to Press TV. CNN could not immediately reach Moussavi for comment. There have been two weeks of sometimes violent protests following the announcement of official election results. At least 17 protesters have been killed, according to official statistics, and the actual number may be higher. Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, Iran’s prosecutor general said Monday that the country’s judiciary was making utmost efforts to identify those behind the latest riots, Press TV reported. “Definitely, those who attacked people with cold weapons and guns were not the Iranians, and the judiciary is making utmost efforts to identify those behind the country’s post-election turmoil,” Dorri-Najafabadi said. “Few people held illegal rallies and disturbed people’s peace and security in an inappropriate act. They will definitely be identified with the cooperation of people and the judiciary.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the disputed election by a margin of two-to-one over Moussavi, his nearest rival, according to official results. Moussavi and Karroubi said the results were rigged and have called for the vote to be annulled.

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Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for an end to street demonstrations Sunday after about 5,000 people shuffled in silence down Tehran’s Shariati Street to the Ghoba mosque. Watch as memorial gathering turns into protest » “I advise both sides not to provoke the emotions of the youth, not to stage people against one another,” he said in a speech on government-funded Press TV. “This integrated nation must not be split and a group must not be incited against one another.” Esmaeil Gherami Moghaddam, a spokesman for Karrubi’s party, said Sunday that the candidate would pursue a re-vote “through legal channels, until the end.” And another member of the country’s Shiite Muslim clerical leadership, Grand Ayatollah Abdol Karim Mousavi Ardebili, told an Iranian newspaper Sunday that the Guardian Council — the body of judges and religious scholars that oversees elections — should respond to complaints “within a logical framework.” “Rest assured that words of logic will be accepted by the people, and those who speak illogically will not find acceptance,” Ardebili told the Iranian newspaper Tahlil Rooz. Although authorities allowed Sunday’s demonstration — intended for “the pious” — they intensified their crackdown over the weekend, reportedly seizing wounded protesters from their hospital beds and arresting nine local British Embassy staff in Tehran. Watch how Iran has dealt with protesters » An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that five of the staffers have been released, while four other remain in custody as an investigation continues. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday protested the arrests, calling them “harassment and intimidation of a kind which is quite unacceptable.” And Amnesty International said Saturday that government-backed paramilitary forces are preventing doctors from getting names from wounded demonstrators or asking how they were hurt. “The Basijis are waiting for them,” said Banafsheh Akhlaghi, western regional director of the human rights group. Iran has restricted international news agencies — including CNN — from reporting inside the Islamic republic. Its intelligence minister, Gholam-Hosein Mohseni Ejei, blamed Western powers for stirring up protests Sunday, saying the British Embassy in Tehran “played a heavy role in the recent disturbances,” but describing the effort as one led by the United States. “The fact that Iran is stable, calm and secure, they’re upset with this,” Ejei told Press TV.

“The idea that the British Embassy is somehow behind the demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in Tehran in recent weeks is wholly without foundation,” Miliband said. Last week, Tehran expelled two British diplomats. London responded by booting two Iranians, prompting Iran to recall its ambassador to Britain — a serious gesture in diplomatic circles — and threatening to reconsider Anglo-Iranian diplomatic ties.