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article imageProtesters Continue to Defy Authorities in Iran

By Chris Dade     Jun 22, 2009 in World
Despite repeated warnings from various elements of the Iranian leadership and it's security apparatus, crowds gathered again today in the country's capital Tehran to protest at the results of the recent presidential election.
As the number of deaths that occurred over the weekend during clashes in Tehran between protesters and the police remain uncertain, estimates vary from 13 to 150 according to CNN, a new rally today, said to be 1,000 strong, has been dispersed by riot police using tear gas and members of the Basij militia who had armed themselves with clubs.
In a separate development Iran's Guardian Council, a body comprised of senior clerics, has conceded that 50 districts in the country are the subject of some form of voting irregularities. Irrespective of that fact, a council spokesman has nevertheless confirmed that the number of votes subject to any of those irregularities was too small to affect the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his closest rival Mir Hossein Mousavi. Much to the surprise of many analysts and experts, who had considered a Mousavi victory perfectly feasible, the figures released give Mr Mousavi only 33.75 percent of the vote compared to the victor's 62.63 percent.
And so the protests continue.
But the determination of the authorities to crush those protests, which they have continually claimed are being fomented by Western governments and the Western media, shows no sign of relenting. A statement issued on behalf of the 200,000 strong Revolutionary Guard makes clear their resolve, reading in part:the guardians of the Islamic revolution and the courageous Basiji together with the security forces following the orders of the supreme leader and following him unquestioningly, are determined to act strongly to return peace and tranquility to society ... and to clean the country of these plotters and hooligans.
When reporting on today's dispersal by authorities of the protesters in Tehran's Haft-e Tir Square, CNN also tells of a woman, seemingly unconnected to the protest, who was not permitted to even sit in a nearby park because, as members of the Basij militia told her, of "security concerns". Clearly the authorities are taking no chances with the slightest possibility of dissent occurring.
As Neda, the young woman whose death at weekend protests was captured on video, continues to become a worldwide symbol of the desire of the Iranian people for change, it has emerged that one of the protesters arrested at the weekend and subsequently released was the daughter of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Mr Rafsanjani still retains much influence in the country through his chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts and was a supporter of Mr Mousavi during the election.
With the world constantly watching for more news from Iran, a statement that is said to be a post on Mr Mousavi's own website, captures perfectly what it is that is at stake for his country:The country belongs to you. The revolution and the system is your heritage. Protesting against lies and cheating is your right. Be hopeful about regaining your rights. Do not allow anyone who tries to make you lose hope and frighten you make you lose your temper.
More about Iran, Ahmadinejad, Mousavi
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