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Iran's Ahmedinejad Addresses Supporters as Opposition Protests

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed thousands of flag-waving supporters at a victory rally to celebrate being officially proclaimed winner of Friday's election, despite widespread accusations of fraud.

Supporters waving colored flags and banners turned out in Tehran's Vali Asr square for an election victory rally by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Mr. Ahmedinejad thanked the Iranian people for choosing him, against what he called "a united front of world arrogance and psychological war launched by the enemy."

At the same time al-Arabiya TV reported that Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, who is a reformist cleric, had issued a religious edict proclaiming that Mr. Ahmedinejad was "not the president and that it is forbidden to cooperate with his government."

Iranian police indicated that they had arrested 170 people following widespread street protests and clashes, Saturday that were sparked by the announcement that popular reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi had lost the election.

Mr. Ahmedinejad repeatedly defended his re-election, belittling charges of fraud by his opponents and their supporters. Earlier, he told a news conference Iran is ruled by "ethics and moral values, and the Iranian people hate lies and injustice."

Meanwhile, thousands of Iranian supporters of Mr. Moussavi expressed their anger at what many called "the lies and fraud of the regime of mullahs" on a popular Facebook website support group for the defeated candidate.

Iranian authorities pulled the plug on a popular Iran-based website for Moussavi supporters and blocked text messages. Authorities also cut mobile phone service in the Iranian capital, Tehran, where anti-government demonstrations were the worst.

But before the censorship, dozens of homemade videos were able to be posted to the Facebook website showing demonstrators being beaten by riot police and shouting "down with the dictator."

Unconfirmed reports indicate 15 top reformist leaders, possibly including Mr. Moussavi, are under house arrest.

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, who was overthrown in a coup by religious leaders, including Ayatollah Khomeini, in 1981, called the election a fraud.

He says he foresaw the results of the election and he expected that, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wanted to impose Mr. Ahmedinejad. This was done, he notes, in a major electoral fraud.

Mr. Bani Sadr argues the Iranian people have good reason to be upset with the results of the election:

He insists that for a population that wanted to express itself and vote, this kind of fraud is unacceptable and thus people have taken to the streets to protest. Since yesterday, they are fighting to re-impose popular sovereignty. The solution, he insists, is clear: the people must get rid of Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Guide with dictatorial powers.

Mr. Bani Sadr says he thinks the Iranian regime is "sharply divided" and its fate depends on whether opposition reformists, including Mr. Moussavi, Ayatollah Karroubi and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani decide to oppose Ayatollah Khamenei.

Mr. Moussavi has called on Iran's Guardian Council, which oversees elections, to cancel the results of Friday's vote. He also urged the Iranian people to "continue their nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way."