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Iran's Parliament Speaker Rejects Detainee Rape Claims

Iran's parliament speaker has rejected claims that some election protesters were raped in detention after the disputed re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian state media said Ali Larijani told parliament Wednesday the rape claims were baseless. He said an investigation by parliament found "no cases of rape or sexual abuse in Iran's Kahrizak and Evin prisons," where most of the protesters were initially detained.

Larijani had called for an investigation into the sexual abuse claims after defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi made the allegations in a letter to powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Karroubi wrote that women and young boys have suffered severe physical and mental damage from rapes in detention centers.

On Tuesday, Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi repeated her call for a fresh election in Iran, held under the supervision of the United Nations. She also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Iran to receive a first-hand account of human rights abuses.

Ali Reza Beheshti, an ally of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, announced this week that 69 people were killed during post-election protests, a figure he based on reports from victims' families.

The Iranian government has put the death toll in the protests at about 30.

A judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, told reporters that security forces detained about 4,000 people in the aftermath of the election. He said 3,700 of the detained were quickly released.

Dozens of detainees have been tried in mass trials during the past two weeks. Ebadi said these mass judgments are "show trials" that must be stopped.

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