Iran – 7/20

Khatami seeks referendum

Iran’s reformist former president Mohammad Khatami called Sunday for a referendum on the legitimacy of the government in the wake of last month’s disputed presidential election, Iranian Web sites reported.

Mr. Khatami’s comments amounted to a bold challenge to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has dismissed the opposition’s claims that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory on June 12 was rigged, and has ordered protesters to accept it.

It is unlikely that Iran’s hard-line leaders will accept the referendum proposal. But the fact that Mr. Khatami proposed it at all suggests a renewed confidence within the opposition movement. [continued…]

Mousavi wants Iran protesters freed

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated reformist candidate in Iran’s presidential election, has demanded the release of scores of protesters detained following the poll, which he insists was rigged.

Speaking to the families of some of the activists and protesters held since the June 12 poll, Mousavi said that detaining people would not resolve the dispute over its outcome, reformist websites reported on Monday.

“Who believes these people, many of them prominent figures, would work with the foreigners and to endanger their country’s interests?” he was quoted as saying. [continued…]

Iran supreme leader warns opposition to back down

Iran’s supreme leader told politicians Monday not to disturb the country’s security in a strong warning to the opposition to back down after one of its top figures called for a referendum on the government.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed “Iran’s elite” and warned them to be cautious in the positions they take on the turmoil that has shaken the country since the disputed presidential election on June 12.

He said that hurting Iran’s security was “the biggest vice,” adding that “anybody who drives the society toward insecurity and disorder is a hated person in the view of the Iranian nation, whoever he is.” [continued…]

Iran’s ‘friend of Israel’ VP denies reports of his resignation

An entry on the website of Iran’s newly appointed vice-president Monday denied a local television report about his resignation.

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie’s website categorically denied Sunday’s resignation reports as a lie by enemies aimed at tarnishing the new government’s image.

He was appointed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last Thursday as first vice- and de facto acting president. [continued…]

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