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Reports: Iran's Larijani Calls for Opposition's Opinions to be Respected


Iranian media report that Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has suggested a majority of Iran's people believe the nation's election results are not accurate, and that he said their opinion should be respected.

According to reports on Iran's Press TV, citing an interview broadcast live Saturday on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Channel 2, Larijani said differences should be drawn between those who question the election results and people who are miscreants and rioters.

The parliament speaker also said the powerful body that supervises elections, the Guardian Council, should not appear to take sides, and should use every possible means to convince protesters their complaints will be thoroughly investigated.

Earlier, state television reported the Guardian Council agreed to randomly recount 10% of the ballots in the presence of the presidential candidates' representatives.

Clashes Continue

On the streets of Tehran Saturday, thousands of Iranians clashed with police, in defiance of a warning by the country's supreme leader to halt demonstrations about the disputed June 12 elections.

Witnesses in Iran's capital say riot police used tear gas, batons and water cannons to disperse supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. The demonstrators chanted "death to the dictator."

The extent of casualties from Saturday's clashes is unclear, but amateur video on the Web site YouTube showed protesters seriously injured from apparent confrontations with security forces.

State television confirmed some incidents, saying police clashed with "rioters" trying to stage illegal protests against presidential election results.

Iran has severely restricted independent media coverage, so reports about casualties and arrests are difficult to confirm.

Other videos on the Web site YouTube showed fighting between civilians and security forces in Isfahan, south of Tehran, and in the southern city of Shiraz.

Security Council Warns Mousavi

Iran's Security Council has told Mr. Mousavi he will be responsible for "consequences of illegal rallies."

A Facebook page attributed to Mr. Mousavi said he is "ready for martyrdom." The statement on the page called for a national strike if he is arrested. It has not been independently verified whether the online account is Mr. Mousavi's, but previous calls for his supporters to protest have appeared there.

A leading human rights group says it has confirmed from sources across Iran the arrests of hundreds of opposition and reform activists. Human Rights Watch says those arrested include prominent political and religious leaders, along with intellectuals, students and journalists.

Also Saturday, a suicide bomber exploded near a shrine to the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the country's Islamic revolution. Iranian state media say the attacker was killed and at least three people were wounded.

Iran has confirmed at least seven protesters were killed Monday, June 15, during clashes with pro-government militia. Amnesty International says it has recorded at least 10 killings.

Video of the protests obtained by VOA's Persian News Network can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/pnnvideo. You also can follow PNN's Twitter feed in Farsi: http://twitter.com/VOAIran

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

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