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Pro-Mousavi protest delayed after ministerial ban

Video by Gulliver CRAGG

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-06-15

A pro-Mousavi rally in Tehran has been postponed after Iran's interior ministry refused to authorise it. Iran is bracing for more unrest as defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi seeks to overturn the election results.

A rally planned by supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi appears to have been postponed after Iran’s interior ministry declared it illegal on Monday.

Conflicting reports, including posts by Iranians on FRANCE 24’s website, indicate ordinary Iranians are still prepared to take to the streets and that the rally will go ahead.


Mousavi has contested the results of Friday’s poll which gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory with 64% of the vote. Results from Iran’s electoral commission show Mousavi came second with 33.75% of the vote.


But Mousavi claimed that on Friday night Iran's interior ministry told him that he had won convincingly. His fellow candidates have also voiced their own doubts as to the veracity of the final result.


Opposition protests likely to continue


The Guardian Council, whose chairman, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, endorsed Ahmadinejad before the vote, said it would rule within 10 days on two official complaints it had received from Mousavi and another losing candidate, Mohsen Rezaie.


"Mousavi and Rezaie appealed yesterday. After the official announcement (of the appeal) the Guardian Council has seven to 10 days to see if it was a healthy election or not," the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodai as saying.


Earlier on Monday, Mousavi’s supporters had been handing out leaflets calling for a rally in Tehran’s Enghelab Square at 4pm local time.


Uncertainty as to whether the rally will take place at all comes after a weekend of violence and protests by Mousavi supporters who claim to have had their election ‘stolen’.


Tehran resident Sasfran Assadi told FRANCE 24 ordinary Iranians will keep up the fight while the state continues to support the official results.


“We are protesting because the results have been inversed,” she said. “Ahmadinejad put on a very funny show with his demonstration in Tehran on Sunday. It was a false image; it did not reflect the feelings of the majority of Iranians.”

State crackdown


The state crackdown on street protests has been violent, but has also extended to personal communication. Local and international phone networks were down, SMS messaging was blocked, as were popular social networking websites including Facebook.


Newspapers were ordered not to cover violence, and one, Etremad-e-Melli, hit the newsstands on Monday with half of its front page blank. Kalameh Sabz, a newspaper that is the mouthpiece for Mousavi, has had its publication suspended.


International television networks, meanwhile, reported interference with their broadcasting from Iran about the post-election violence.


The BBC said the satellites it uses to broadcast its Persian-language service were being jammed, as “part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election,” BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks told AFP.


The Arab news channel Al-Arabiya said Iranian authorities had closed their offices in Tehran for a week following the election.


"We are not allowed to do any coverage. No reason was given, and there was no earlier warning," executive editor Nabil al-Khateeb told AFP.


Ahmadinejad delayed a visit to Russia on Monday for a summit meeting, a source at the Iranian embassy in Moscow said. The source did not specify why the visit was delayed but said the president would arrive on Tuesday.

Date created : 2009-06-15