Protestors in Tehran
Photo: AFP
Mousavi addresses his supporters
Photo: Reuters
Rallying for Iran in Europe
Photo: AP

At least 19 dead in Iran clashes

Reformist candidate Mousavi calls on country's highest legislative authority to annul election due to rampant evidence of tampering. Meanwhile thousands of his supporters clash with police in central Tehran, suicide bomber kills at least one at mausoleum of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini

At least 19 people were killed in Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan Saturday in clashes between reformists and security forces, sources in Iran have reported, bringing the number of people killed in the riots that erupted following the Iranian elections up to nearly 50.


Video footage displayed on the internet shows security forces firing live ammunition at protestors.


As thousands of his supporters continued to battle police in central Tehran, reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi released a letter addressed to Iran's top legislative body in which he demanded the results of the previous election be annulled.


Accusing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime of employing "irritating measures" – meaning election rigging - Mousavi asserted that the fraud was planned "months ahead of the vote."


In a lengthy statement, Mousavi detailed the various ills of the recent elections. These include restrictions on voting time, polling stations closed before the elections had ended, a shortage of ballots and irregularities in regards to the posting of monitors at the polling stations. In his letter Mousavi did not address the riots in Tehran on Saturday or throughout the previous week.


Mousavi vowed to continue his work for the Iranian people, indicating that he intends to pursue his opposition to the election results solely through legal means. His position contradicts that of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who warned opposition leaders Friday to end street protests or be held responsible for "the bloodshed, the violence and rioting" to come.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to Khamenei's show of support for his rule, thanking him. "Without a doubt you have waved the Iranian people's flag of daring and determination before the arrogant ones (i.e: the West)," he wrote.


The letter was posted to Mousavi's website while large police forces clashed with thousands of his supporters in central Tehran. At least 50 protestors have been reported seriously wounded after being battered by police, and were evacuated for urgent medical treatment at a nearby hospital. Witnesses said police beat protesters and fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands who rallied. The eyewitnesses described fierce clashes near Revolution Square in central Tehran after some 3,000 protesters chanted "Death to the dictator!" and "Death to dictatorship!"


Mousavi's supporters also set on fire a building in southern Tehran used by backers of Ahmadinejad, a witness said. The witness also said police shot into the air to disperse rival supporters in Tehran's south

Karegar street.


Also on Saturday afternoon a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Tehran mausoleum of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Saturday, killing himself and wounding three pilgrims, the official IRNA news agency reported.


It said the wounded included two people from Arab countries who suffered minor injuries. The third casualty was an Iranian.


פרסום ראשון: 06.20.09, 20:01
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