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Iranian Reformists Criticize Detainees' Trials


A former Iranian president and a former prime minister are sharply criticizing the trials of people detained in the nation's post-election unrest, saying the detainees' confessions are invalid.

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who now heads one of the largest reform parties in the country, says the mass trial that opened Saturday is unconstitutional. Mr. Khatami called the judicial proceedings a "show" trial, and he lashed out at the court's tactics Sunday.

He said prosecutors are relying on confessions that were illegally obtained.

Defeated presidential candidate and one-time prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi says the detainees were tortured into confessing.

Iran put another 10 post-election detainees on trial Sunday, one day after beginning a mass trial for detained activists, politicians and protesters arrested after the June 12 presidential election.

In the courtroom Saturday, prosecutors accused more than 100 Iranian detainees of organizing massive demonstrations and plotting to overthrow the government of Iran.

Among the accused are several high-ranking politicians, including former Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi who served with Mr. Khatami, the former vice speaker of parliament, Behzad Nabavi, and one-time government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.

The opposition says the election was rigged and the results were tainted. But Iranian officials have confirmed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election victory.

In other news, Iranian media report the president's press advisor has stepped down. Ali Akbar Javanfekr announced his resignation on Sunday. He said he wanted to give Mr. Ahmadinejad the chance to pick someone new for this new term.

Javanfekr, a close ally of the president, said he has not been nominated to another post.

Mr. Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for a second term on August 5. The president has two weeks from that date to unveil his new cabinet.

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