Ahmadinejad. 'No one in Iran waiting for Western leaders' messages'
Photo: AP
Protest in Tehran over weekend (archives)
Photo: Reuters
Ahmadinejad sworn in as Iranian president
Parliament speaker opens ceremony, says inauguration will 'open a new chapter' for Iran. Ahmadinejad says not awaiting congratulation messages from Western leaders. Despite heavy riot police presence, hundreds of Mousavi backers gather around building; at least 10 arrested

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in Wednesday as president of Iran for a second term in office, appealing for national unity and denouncing foreign interference in his inauguration speech before parliament.


Ahmadinejad took the oath and pledged to protect the constitution but his inauguration speech was unusually soft-toned for the bellicose Iranian leader. He focused on foreign policy, saying he would make it "stronger and with more effective new plans."


"I hereby swear by the almighty God to protect the system of the Islamic Revolution and the constitution, I will spare no effort to safeguard the frontiers of Iran," Ahmadinejad said. He urged for unity and said: "We should join hands as we move forward to fulfill our goals."


Ahmadinejad did not directly address the massive street demonstrations against his proclaimed election victory, but said his government would "resist any violation of law and interference."


"We will not remain silent, we will not tolerate disrespect, interference and insults," he said.


Top officials and clerics attended the ceremony, which was boycotted by opposition leaders and moderate lawmakers.


Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani opened the ceremony, after a cleric recited verses from the Koran. Larijani says the inauguration will "open a new chapter" for Iran.


Ahmadinejad said he was not awaiting congratulation messages from Western leaders.


"We heard that some of the Western leaders had decided to recognize but not congradulate the new government ... Well, no one in Iran is waiting for your messages," he said in a speech after taking the oath of office in parliament.


Iran's opposition has claimed Ahmadinejad stole the vote in the June 12 presidential elections and there have been massive street protests that have shaken the country's religious leadership. At least 30 demonstrators were killed or wounded in the uprising.


'I'll uproot all sources of corruption'

Opposition groups called protesters to the streets Wednesday to coincide with the inauguration.

Hundreds of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi's supporters have gathered around Iran's parliament, a witness said.


Hundreds of policemen were deployed around the parliament, while a subway station nearby was closed to the public.


The official IRNA news agency said there was no "disturbance of the peace" on major streets and roundabouts in the Iranian capital during the inauguration but eyewitnesses said at least 10 people were detained by police.


Security troops also dispersed hundreds of protesters who chanted "Death to the Dictator" in nearby streets, according to the eyewitnesses. Authorities have banned media from covering the street protests, forcing them to rely on eyewitness accounts.


The eyewitnesses said the detained included protesters who wore black T-shirts in a sign of grief over Ahmadinejad's inauguration and a young man in green trousers - the color of Mousavi's movement - along with a middle-aged woman carrying a royalist banner in support of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


The inauguration followed an official endorsement of Ahmadinejad's presidency on Monday from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Under the constitution, Ahmadinejad has two weeks to draft a cabinet for approval in parliament.


Ahmadinejad also pledged to "uproot all sources of corruption" and move the economy forward, saying he believes he can "solve the problem of unemployment."


Before Ahmadinejad's speech, the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, urged Ahmadinejad "not to use force ... on minor issues."


The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 08.05.09, 08:37
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