24 Jun 2009

Tehran 'quiet' after days of protests

8:56 pm on 24 June 2009

Riot police and militiamen in Iran appear to have put a halt to protests in the capital, after days of clashes over a disputed presidential election.

Residents say Tehran is quiet, though opposition supporters have called for a day of mourning for those killed during the protests, the BBC reports.

Opposition supporters have repeatedly clashed with police since the election on 12 June, which saw incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned with 63% of the vote.

One of the three defeated candidates, Mohsen Rezai, a conservative and former leader of the Revolutionary Guards, said he had withdrawn his complaints about the vote in the interests of Iran's national security.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama used his starkest language yet to strongly condemn Iran's clamping down on election protests, saying "unjust" violence was used.

Mr Obama said he respected Iran's sovereignty and it was "patently false" of Iran to say the West was fomenting the unrest.

His comments came as Britain expelled two Iranian diplomats in response to the expulsion of two of its own officials from Tehran. The Iranian authorities have accused Britain and the US of trying to destabilise the country, something they have denied.

Earlier on Tuesday, the opposition was told by Iran's Guardian Council, the legislative body for elections, that the presidential election result would not be annulled.

Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhoda'i said there had been "no major fraud or breach in the election".

But Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later agreed to extend by five days the amount of time allowed to examine complaints of electoral fraud.