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Iranian Film Director says Election Was 'Coup d'Etat

Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf describes the declared victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran's recent presidential elections as a "coup d'etat."

Makhmalbaf says the present situation in Iran is not the result of voting irregularities, but a true and proper "coup d'etat."

Addressing the foreign media in Rome, the man who has become the official spokesman abroad for Mir Hossein Mousavi, spoke out strongly about the situation in Iran following the presidential election.

No peace

Makhmalbaf says opposition candidate Mousavi was preparing his victory speech when military commanders came to tell him he could not be the winner. He adds that the people of Iran do not want to be ruled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the next four years and there will be no peace in Iran if he is the leader.

Makhmalbaf spoke of the slogans called out by the people in Iran, saying they do not want the atomic bomb, but democracy. The people, he says, feel they have been robbed of their vote and that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not their president. He says they shout out that they do not want a dictatorship, but a free society.

Loss of freedom

Makhmalbaf says the Iranian people do not want Mr. Ahmadinejad because he has used oil revenues to finance Hezbollah and its war in Lebanon, and nuclear weapons. He says Iranians feel they have lost their freedom and Iran's image has been ruined in the world.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says he considers Iran's invitation to the Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting later this week in Trieste to have been declined because no answer was received by Monday.

Italy's top diplomat also strongly condemned the violence and aggression against peaceful demonstrators and called for a serious review of the presidential vote.

The Italian government has instructed its embassy in Iran to provide humanitarian assistance to protesters wounded during the clashes, pending an EU vote on a proposal to coordinate assistance.

Watch video of protests Obtained by VOA's Persian News Network
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