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Iran's President Criticizes Lashing of Student


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes a victory sign at a press conference, Tehran, June 7, 2011 (file photo).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes a victory sign at a press conference, Tehran, June 7, 2011 (file photo).

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the recent flogging of a student who was convicted of insulting him, a day after opposition activists say an Iranian actress was also sentenced to 90 lashes for her role in a film critical of the government.

Ahmadinejad said Tuesday he disapproved of the student's punishment since, in his words, more "influential people can freely defame" him.

Student activist Peyman Aref received 74 lashes on Sunday for complaining about university purges in a letter to the president that the government said did not address the leader with the proper respect. Aref was sentenced to a year in prison last year for political acts against the government and he was also been banned from journalistic or political activity.

The student has called his lashing sentence "illegal" and contradictory to the Iranian government's claims of tolerance.

Ahmadinejad's comments come a day after the opposition website Kalameh reported that actress Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced to a year in prison and 90 lashes for appearing in a film critical of the government.

The film, My Tehran for Sale, was shot in the Iranian capital and premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2009. The government has banned the movie in Iran.

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

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