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Western Nations Deny 'Meddling' in Iran's Post-Election Violence


Britain is strongly denying allegations by the Iranian government that Western nations are encouraging Iran's post-election violence.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Sunday that he "categorically" rejects the idea that foreign countries are manipulating protesters in Iran.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has accused Britain of trying to sabotage the June 12 vote, while Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has accused the United States, Britain, France and Germany of interfering in Iran's affairs.

Meanwhile, Iran expelled the British Broadcasting Corporation's permanent correspondent in Tehran Sunday after blaming the BBC and the Voice of America of "engineering the ongoing post-election riots."

VOA Director Dan Austin rejected Iran's accusations, saying "the Voice of America is working hard to provide the people of Iran with news and information that is accurate, comprehensive and credible."

He also urged Iran's government to cease efforts "to restrict the free flow of information to their citizens."

Iranian authorities have severely restricted independent media coverage of opposition protests. Witnesse to these events are reaching out online and by telephone to report what they see on the streets.

They are relying on social media Web sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to tell the world about demonstrations and crackdowns in their cities -- and news agencies find themselves relying on the information these citizens' publish.

One video broadcast on CNN Sunday, found on YouTube, appears to show a nighttime home invasion. The video is dark, but a woman can be heard screaming in Farsi, "they are coming from the balcony!" and shouting "get out!"

The topic of Iran's election (under the searchable term, or hashtag, "#IranElection") also remains one of the most popular trends on Twitter. Many people posting on the theme of "Tehran" also have tinted their profile pictures green, the color of the opposition.

And Facebook has announced it is making its Web site available in Persian, so Iranians can use the service in their native language.

Google also introduced a new Persian translating tool.

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



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