Iran: No retreat on poll result

 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday he would not budge in response to protests over a disputed election that has sparked the biggest street demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue... Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost,” Khamenei said.

Now that riot police and religious militia have regained control of the streets, Iran’s hardline leadership seems to be taking a harsher line with its foreign and domestic critics.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran was weighing whether to downgrade ties with Britain after tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats this week. He also announced he had “no plans” to attend a G8 meeting in Italy this week on Afghanistan.

His remarks, a day after US President Barack Obama said he was “appaled and outraged” by the clampdown in Iran, provided more evidence of rising tension with the West.

Western diplomats had seen the June 25-27 event as a rare chance for Group of Eight nations to discuss with regional powers such as Iran shared goals for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The unexpected upheaval in Iran has thrown a spanner into Obama’s plans to engage the Islamic Republic in a substantive dialogue over its nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful but which the West suspects is for bomb-making.

Iran has accused the United States and Britain of fomenting post-election unrest and has paraded detained protesters on state television confessing that Western media had incited them.

Wife demands action
Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, demanded the immediate release of people detained since the election and criticised the presence of armed forces in the streets, his website reported.

“It is my duty to continue legal protests to preserve Iranian rights,” Rahnavard, who actively campaigned with her husband before the election, was quoted as saying.

Britons accused
Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei said some British passport-holders had been involved in “riots”. He said one of those arrested was “disguised as a journalist and he was collecting information needed by the enemies.”

At least 10 protesters were killed in the worst violence on Saturday, and about seven more early last week.

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