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Iranian moderate vows to keep pressure on president
Tue Aug 4, 2009 11:15am EDT
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By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Prominent defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi Tuesday vowed to keep up pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose re-election sparked off Iran's worst unrest since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Ahmadinejad will be sworn in by parliament Wednesday when the authorities will want to avoid any repeat of the street unrest after the disputed June 12 poll in which at least 20 people were killed and hundreds were detained.
Leading moderates have accused the government of electoral fraud and have already branded the next Ahmadinejad government "illegal."
U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday summed up the position of some Western nations which are locked in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
"I don't have any reason to believe we will send any letter," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
"There is no plan to send any message," an official at the Elysee Palace told Reuters.
A German government spokesman said: "In view of the circumstances of the controversial re-election, the chancellor will not, as usual, write the normal letter of congratulation."
The Iranian government says the presidential election was fair and transparent and has accused Western nations, especially Britain and the United States, of being complicit in the bloody post-election unrest, a charge they deny.
Two former presidents, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, who backed defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, boycotted Monday's endorsement of the president by the Supreme Leader although they were present at such events in the past.
After the ceremony a witness said hundreds of Mousavi supporters, some of them honking car horns, gathered near a central Tehran square, where riot police and Basij militia were assembled to prevent any demonstration.
Karoubi, the most liberal of the presidential candidates who lost to Ahmadinejad, was quoted by the Spanish El Pais daily on Tuesday as saying that he and Mousavi would never capitulate.
"Neither Mousavi nor I have withdrawn. We will continue to protest and we will never collaborate with this government. We will not harm it, but we will criticize what it does," Karoubi said in an interview, adding:
"Quite honestly, if the authorities had acted in a different way, we would never have had these problems, because the majority of those protesting only did so for that reason."
SERVANT OF THE REVOLUTION
Mousavi's credentials as a loyal servant of Iran's revolution may help explain why he has escaped arrest for leading protests against an election he says was stolen to keep Ahmadinejad in power. Continued...
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