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UN's Ban Urges Iran to Respect People's Will


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Iran's leaders to respect the will of their people as they investigate allegations of fraud in Friday's presidential election.

Mr. Ban was speaking Monday at the United Nations in New York. It was his first public comment on the disputed outcome of the election, which gave a landslide victory to the conservative incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg issued a statement Monday urging Iran to investigate election complaints filed by Mr. Ahmadinejad's challengers.

The EU diplomats also expressed "serious concern" about Iran's use of force against reformists protesting Mr. Ahmadinejad's victory. They urged Iran to respect freedom of expression.

Hundreds of Iranian reformists living abroad held protests Monday against the election results in cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and London. Many of the demonstrators chanted "where is my vote?"

Malaysian police fired tear gas to break up the rally by about 500 Iranians in Kuala Lumpur. The demonstrators, mostly Iranian students, delivered a note protesting the election to a U.N. office before police ordered them to disperse.

Small groups of Iranians also rallied against Mr. Ahmadinejad Sunday in several U.S. cities, including Washington, New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

France and Germany summoned the Iranian ambassadors in their capitals Monday to express concern about the fairness of the vote and post-election violence.

In another development, North Korea congratulated Iran's president Monday on his re-election. Pyongyang and Tehran are allies and both are engaged in disputes with the international community regarding their nuclear programs.

North Korean state media say the government wished Mr. Ahmadinejad success in frustrating what it calls "foreign interference" in his country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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