Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Mousavi attacks elections

June 20, 2009 | 11:24 am

Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi -- during a day protesters clashed with security forces on streets streaked with tear gas -- has demanded the government annul the contested June 12 election that delivered President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to his second term. 

Mousavi reportedly wrote a letter to the Guardian Council, which oversees voting practices, stating that the elections were fraudulent. "The Iranian nation will not believe this unjust and illegal act," Mousavi wrote.

News of the letter came as police and a pro-government militia squared off with thousands of demonstrators in Tehran.

Reuters news agency quoted an unidentified witness as saying that Mousavi urged his supporters to stage a nationwide strike if he was arrested. The developments came as supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tried to stem unrest while the opposition attempted to create enough pressure in the streets to force a new election without tipping the nation into mayhem.

-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo