Violent protest
Photo: AP
Tehran on fire
Photo: AP
Ahmadinejad with Medvedev in Russia
Photo: AP

Iran legislative body ready to recount disputed votes

Guardian Council says the recount of some ballot boxes from last week's presidential election may lead to changes in candidates' tally

Iran's top legislative body, the Guardian Council, said it is ready to recount disputed ballot boxes from last week's presidential election won by hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state television said on Tuesday.


The council said the recount may lead to changes in candidates' tally, according to the television report.


Press TV said the council had agreed for a recount of disputed ballot boxes in the election. Defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has appealed to the council for the election to be annulled, but has said he was not optimistic about its verdict.


But a senior reformist ally of defeated candidates Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi said they wanted a rerun rather than a recount of "a few ballot boxes".


Mousavi has appealed to the Guardian Council, the main legislative body of the Islamic republic, for the election to be annulled, but has said he was not optimistic about its verdict.


A council spokesman said it was "ready to recount the disputed ballot boxes claimed by some candidates, in the presence of their representatives."


"It is possible that there may be some changes in the tally after the recount," spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodai was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.


Earlier Tuesday, Iran's state radio reported that clashes in the capital of Tehran the previous day left seven people dead during an "unauthorized gathering" at a mass rally over alleged election fraud – the first official confirmation of deaths linked to the wave of protests and street battles after disputed elections in last week.


The report said the deaths occurred after protesters "tried to attack a military location." It gave no further details, but it was a clear reference to crowds who came under gunfire Monday after trying to storm a compound for volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard.


26 suspects arrested

Press TV also reported that the "primary agents" behind the violent protests in Iran were arrested in possession of explosives and weapons. The network reported of the arrests in a special breaking report, but did not provide additional details on the number of detainees, their identity and the circumstances of their arrest.


Iranian Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ezhei said in a television interview that "Iran arrested 26 primary elements responsible for instigating the atmosphere".


"The provoking elements are not hidden from the eyes of the Intelligence Ministry," said the minister whose office is responsible for spying and for thwarting counter-espionage. "If they take to the streets during the days and night and riot, we will arrest additional people and present them to the public."


He called on Iranian families to watch the young people, as "the young ones may be subject to satanic influences and will not identify the main incitement elements."


Ahmadinejad blasts US at Russia summit

The Iranian president on Tuesday sat side-by-side with world leaders at a summit in Russia, defiantly proclaiming the age of empires had ended and attacking the United States.


In a show of confidence after the worst riots in his country in a decade, Ahmadinejad made no mention of the violence or his hotly disputed reelection victory in his address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).


"The international capitalist order is retreating," the controversial president told world leaders, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.


"It is absolutely obvious that the age of empires has ended and its revival will not take place."


A broadly-smiling Ahmadinejad, wearing a dark suit and as usual no tie, earlier shook hands with a beaming Medvedev before the leaders went into the second day of the summit.


Ahmadinejad later held a bilateral meeting with Medvedev, the Kremlin said.


The Associated Press, AFP and Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.16.09, 11:39
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